Cork City moved off the foot of the table on Saturday afternoon after a scoreless draw with Waterford FC at the RSC.
While the stands maybe empty and the masses at home watching in front of a computer screen, there was still plenty of bite and vigour in this Munster derby.
Saturday’s encounter was no different to any of the recent clashes between the provincial rivals. Epic games between the two clubs can be traced back to 1972 when the Blues faced Cork Hibernians in a title decider at the Mardyke. A draw that day would have secured Waterford the championship with Hibs needing a win to force a play-off.
26,000 people turned up on the banks of the River Lee to see the home team race into a 2-0 lead. Then three goals in the final ten minutes pushed Waterford ahead and secured the title.
Most recent stories from this derby have included the ‘Game Over’ taunts and banners from Waterford fans to Cork City following their flirt with liquidation in 2010 and the legendary 2-1 win for Waterford in 2018 which ended in six red cards and both managers sent off.
Unlike previous games, this derby was slow to come alive with Waterford happy to sit back and let City come at them. The Rebel Army, whose last away win came at the RSC just under 12 months ago, probed the Blues through the neat footwork of Daire O’Connor, Corey Galvin, and Cian Murphy.
No matter what they tried though, Waterford were determined and easily cleared the danger.
The second half saw an improvement from both teams. Just minutes after the restart Michael O’Connor skied a ball from point blank range and minutes later tangled feet saw Curtis Byrne block the ball on the line for the Blues. These chances were certainly the best of the game for Waterford and they definitely were noted by City.
Seconds from Byrne’s block in front of goal, Dylan McGlade hammered a shot off the cross bar in what was the Rebel Army’s best chance of the game.
Deep into injury time, substitute Ronan Hurley kneed a shot from Byrne from the goal line and into the hands of Mark McNulty. The point pushes Waterford level on points with St. Patricks Athletic in fourth, with the two teams separated on goal difference.
Waterford FC: Brian Murphy, Tyeke Wilson, Sam Bone, Robert Weir, Alistair Coote, Michael O’Connor (Will Fitzgerald 68), Matty Smith, Robbie McCourt, Shane Griffin, Tunmise Sobowale.
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Niall O’Keefee, Daragh Power, Mike Zongong, Will Longbottom.
Booked: Sam Bone (74).
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Alan Bennett, Rob Slevin (Ronan Hurley 89), Henry Ochieng, Cian Coleman, Daire O’Connor (Dylan McGlade h/t), Corey Galvin (Cian Bargary 70), Kevin O’Connor, Joseph Olowu, Cian Murphy, Uniss Kargbo.
Subs not used: Liam Bossin, Charlie Flemming, Graham Cummins, Dale Holland.
Booked: Henry Ochieng (90+6).
Referee: Adriano Reale
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Sam Bone (Waterford)