Waterford can only fire blanks

IT was total domination from Waterford United in their opening game in the Airtricity League of Ireland First Division but Stephen Henderson’s side came unstuck by a very defensive Athlone Town outfit that held out for a share of the spoils at the RSC last night.

Assistant referee Michelle O’Neill ruled out an early goal for the home side on 10 minutes when Gary Keane put the ball in the net after Athlone keeper Michael Schlingermann had made a top class save to deny a close range shot from Kenny Browne following a Paul Murphy delivery.

United midfielder Conor Sinnott went down in the area two minutes before the half-time whistle but the referee waved away appeals for what looked like a certain penalty.

Gary Dunphy brought a brilliant save out of keeper Michael Schlingermann with four minutes to go as his angled effort was superbly kept out and when Gary Keane whipped the breaking ball into the penalty area, Seamus Long’s back post header was kept out by defender Niall Scullion.

WATERFORD UNITED: Burns; Chin (Breen 81), Murray, Browne, Long; Barrett (Dempsey 81), Sinnott, Dunphy, Wilson (Rafter 65); Murphy, Keane

ATHLONE TOWN: Schlingermann, Scullion, Carr, Barrett, Danaher; Relihan, Williamson, Higgins, Smith; Gill, Coffey (Stack 73)

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)

Finn Harps 2 Limerick FC 2

By Chris Ashmore

FINN HARPS and Limerick both finished with 10 men after an absorbing stalemate at Finn Park last night.

Harps got off to a great start with Kevin McHugh heading home after four minutes before Stephen O’Flynn deservedly equalised on 24 minutes. Harps restored their lead with a close range Gareth Harkin effort on 36 minutes. In a turbulent second-half, Harps’ Mark Forker was sent-off on 60 minutes and O’Flynn also saw red, on 76, seven minutes after Paudie Quinn had made it 2-2. Ultimately a draw was a fair outcome.

FINN HARPS: Gallagher, Doherty, Coll, McLaughlin, Mailey, O’Grady, Forker, McHugh, Brolly, Harkin, Bonner.

LIMERICK FC: Ryan, Broughall, Frost, McCarthy, Purcell, O’Leary, Coleman, Quinn, O’Flynn, Hynes, Sheehan.

Subs: Breen for Hynes (55 mins), Judge for O’Leary and Tracey for Sheehan (both 65 mins)

Referee: J. Grimes (Dublin).

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