McGrath Cup Football – Waterford 2-7 Limerick 0-7

Waterford defeated Limerick by 2-7 to 0-7 in McGrath Cup Football Group B Round 3 on Sunday January 17th at Rathkeale.

Waterford outplay Limerick to end on high note

By John Redington for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Waterford 2-7 Limerick 0-7: Although a heavy midweek defeat to Cork meant they relinquish the McGrath Cup title that they won 12 months ago for the first time in 34 years, Waterford signed off their campaign in Munster’s secondary senior football competition with an impressive victory yesterday over Limerick in a wet and windy Rathkeale.

A Donie Breathnach goal just before the break brought Waterford level after they had been being playing second fiddle. But they made no mistake in the second half as they outplayed their hosts and opened up holes in a wobbly Limerick rearguard.

With Cork already qualified from the group, both managers used the opportunity to have a look at what was available in their panels, but this being their last outing before their league openers on Sunday week, the game still had a competitive edge.

However, the visitors retained their outstanding midfielder and forward of recent seasons, and Kilrossany clubmates Tommy Prendergast and Paul Whyte proved to be the difference between the sides. Limerick showed the more decisive movement early on and shot in front with two Seán McSweeney frees and two Danny Neville strikes from play. But all that effort was negated minutes before the break when a hole opened up in front of Breathnach and his low shot to the corner tied the scores at 1-1 to 0-4.

The home side failed to convert chances on the restart and were made pay when Whyte’s free gave Waterford the lead. Minutes later, he was left unmarked for Gavin Crotty’s pass and his effort into the top corner left Limerick with a mountain to climb. Despite responding with three points of their own after the visitors had widened the gap to six, they lost their shape and conviction in the closing period as the Deise pressed home their superiority.

Scorers for Waterford: P Whyte (1-3 1 free); D Breathnach (1-1); S Corcoran (f), R Ó Ceallaigh, T Prendergast (0-1 each)

Scorers for Limerick: S McSweeney (1 free) D Neville (0-2 each); I Corbett, J Naughton (f), S Kelly (f) (0-1 each).

WATERFORD: S Enright; T Ó hUallacháin, T O’Gorman, M O’Gorman; M Curry, J McGrath, S Prendergast; C Prunty, T Prendergast; D Breathnach, M O’Halloran, D Allen; S Corcoran, JJ Hutchinson, P Whyte.
Subs G Crotty for JJ Hutchinson (43m), P Hurney for S Corcoran (49m), P Crowley for M O’Gorman (inj 61m), L Ó Curráin for M O’Halloran (64m), B Carroll for D Breathnach (71m).

LIMERICK: D O’Sullivan; S O’Dea, G Noonan, C Moran; S Cahill, I Corbett, P Hannan; B Fanning, D Tracey; D Neville, J Lee, C Sheehan; S McSweeney, I Ryan, J Naughton.
Subs: S Flanagan for G Noonan (ht), T Childs for S McSweeney (bc 41m), S Kelly for I Ryan (43m), J Kelly for J Lee (58), B O’Donovan for J Naughton (58m).

Referee: D Grogan (Tipperary)