The Waterford Express was up to full steam yesterday in Dungarvan as the Deise were looking for atonement from their defeat in London. A physically bigger Waterford team opened this potential promotion decider at full throttle against the wind and moved with pace through Leitrims centre registering 3 wides from play in 4 minutes. The signs were there for a very tough encounter as they opened their account on the 6th minute from a free. Leitrim who had a slow start steadied a little and Philly McGuinness scored 1 minute later with a point from play after Leitrim put together a series of passes to free him up in front of the posts. Waterford replied with a free 2 minutes later but Leitrim playing with more vigor started to open the Waterford defence up front. A fine sequence of moves left Gary McCloskey one on one with the keeper on a loose hopping ball and Gary fisted the ball over the keepers head and unfortunately over the bar for a point for what should have been an opportunist goal.
Then the tide turned in Dungarvan as the swiftness of the earlier Waterford attacks came to the fore again. A 3 minute period that put Leitrim very much on the back foot started with a Liam LenihanÓgoal from play as he Scórched down an open right hand side line from the 45 and swiftly dispatched the ball to the back of the net. Leitrims woes continued as Declan Maxwell who had been putting pressure on the Waterford defense with high balls received an injury and had to be substituted by Emlyn Mulligan. This was followed quickly by another Lenihan attack onÓgoal and Waterford were now 2-02 to 0-2. Leitrim put together their best period of play as they scored 5 points without reply over 13 minutes before Waterford finished the half with a free on the 33rd minute. During this sequence Emlyn Mulligan scored 2 frees and 1 from play and Ray Cox scored 1 of each with a chance for a goal missed when he drove the ball over the bar. James Holohan received an injury and was replaced by Darren Duignan and just before half time Ray Cox was replaced by Tomas Beirne. All of the full forward line were now replaced due to injury. Two points between them at half time but you felt Waterford were the most comfortable going in for the break.
The second half against the wind opened with a BrendanÓgallagher point from play followed by a Waterford point from a free. Waterford missed another chance before Emlyn Mulligan pointed from a free. Daniel Beck replaced Adrian OFlynn on the 43rd minute. Waterford again left 2 between them with a point from play as their no 5 got on the score board. On the 53rd minute Leitrim was hit with a devastating blow as Waterford won a dubious penalty which was neatly slotted passed Enda Lyons who dived left and the ball hit low and hard to the right. Gary McCloskey was yellow carded in the process and was replaced by Shane Canning. Waterford quickly followed up the goal with a point from play again followed by a sustained period of attacks resulting in wides. Positional switches on the field meant that Pat Gilmartin was introduced as Darren Duignan was substituted on the 63rd minute. Leitrim then moved enmass into the Waterford half and for 12 minutes were pretty much hammering the Waterford defense with attack after attack with little in return as it ended with 1 point from Michael Foley and three wides from Tomas Beirne, Dermot Reynolds and Barry Prior. Waterfords defense had held out and moved back up field to score from a free followed by 2 wides. More Leitrim pressure ended in a fisted goal from Dermot Reynolds and despite several more attacks on a wall of blue and white Leitrim couldnt penetrate and the game ended Waterford 3-07 Leitrim 1-10.
Leitrims promotion chances are all but over with 2 rounds to play as another away game in Kilkenny this Sunday is followed by a home game to Clare the following weekend.
23-Mar-09 by Brendan Doyle – PRO