Simon O’Gorman reports from the RSC
Waterford booked their place in the FAI Cup quarter-finals on Friday evening when they put four goals past Leinster Senior League side Kilnamanagh who managed one late reply through substitute Adam Buckley.
As Cup ties go, you would have to say that this was one of the less dramatic varieties. The Blues were always in control of the game, bossing possession and never looking like being upset by their Leinster Senior League opponents.
They started well with Isaac Tshipamba clattering a shot off the Kilnamanagh crossbar in the seventh minute but for all their comfort on the ball Waterford struggled to turn their dominance into efforts on goal.
Indeed, Kilnamanagh’s Brian Connaughton was presented with an opening on nine minutes that the midfielder, who was excellent throughout the game, made rather a mess of. He scuffed a weak shot off Blues defender Darragh Power when he should have tested Matt Connor in the Waterford goal.
As the first half progressed a pattern emerged. Waterford would pass the ball well before shooting harmlessly from distance while Kilnamanagh would defend as best they could before breaking forwards only to lose the ball due to a lack of either fitness or finesse.
When the opening goal came, ten minutes before the break, there was no surprise that it was Waterford who scored it. Phoenix Patterson, Waterford’s most lively performer, took a shot from the edge of the area that Karl Coleman in the visitors’ goal could only parry into the path of John Martin who finished clinically.
Four minutes later Kilnamanagh were a hair’s breadth away from equalising when Sean Byrne’s corner from the right was headed off the Blues’ crossbar by Connaughton. But the LSL team trailed at the break and when the second half came around it was a case of ‘more of the same’, with the first half patterns of play being repeated.
Waterford continued to dominate but there seemed little threat of a goal when, on 57 minutes, the ball came to Cameron Evans 25 yards from goal. The midfielder took a touch and then blasted a low drive into the bottom left hand corner of the Kilnamanagh goal.
At 2-0 down there seemed little hope of a revival by the Dublin side and just after the hour mark John Martin scored his second of the evening to put the result beyond doubt. Darragh Power flung over a cross from the right that Martin met at the back post only having to stick out a leg to divert it over the goal-line.
A flurry of substitutions followed from both sides and while the outcome of the game had already been decided Kilnamanagh continued to battle. Substitute Adam Buckley hit the Waterford bar on 81 minutes before Waterford added a cruel fourth a minute later when Patterson guided an exquisite free kick over the wall and into the corner of the goal.
Still Kilnamanagh fought on, and on 85 minutes they claimed their reward, Buckley touching a through ball past Connor to put themselves deservedly on the scoresheet.
There was never any real threat to Waterford’s progression to the quarter-final draw but credit where it’s due to Keith Foy’s Kilnamanagh side who never lay down and battled to the end.
Waterford: Matt Connor; Darragh Power (Greg Halford 77), Kyle Ferguson (George Forrest 69), Eddie Nolan, Jack Stafford (Jeremie Milambo 69); Isaac Tshipamba, Cameron Evans, Phoenix Patterson, John Martin (Max Hutchison 77); Prince Mutswunguma; Cian Kavanagh (Jamal Dupree 77).
Subs Not Used: Kye Cooke (gk).
Booked: Isaac Tshipamba (48).
Kilnamanagh: Karl Coleman; Karl Russell, Gavin Kavanagh (David Nolan 61), Conor Kenna (Adam Buckley 72), Andrew McGovern; Ciaran O’Sullivan, Alan Curry (David O’Brien 72), David Dowling (Keith O’Neill 63), Brian Connaughton; Sean Byrne; Anthony Hanevy (Darragh Deegan 72).
Subs Not Used: Paraic Kelly, Shane Maguire, Calum Foy, Luke O’Reilly.
Booked: David Dowling (18), Karl Russell (22), David O’Brien (82), Sean Byrne (90).
Referee: Robert Hennessy
Extratime Player of the Match: Phoenix Patterson (Waterford)