Shelbourne 2 (Prendergast ‘9, ’79) Waterford FC 2 (Browne ’45, McDaid ’59)
A difficult St. Patrick’s Night didn’t go to script for Waterford FC on as the Blues failed in their bid to make it three wins on the trot after Derek Prendergast scored a 79th minute equaliser to give Shelbourne a share of the spoils at Tolka Park.
After conceding a goal inside the opening nine minutes of the tie, Waterford regained their composure in a game played in wind and rain to go in front before the hour mark thanks to goals from Kenny Browne and David McDaid but disappointingly they couldn’t see the game out.
It was a night where the two goalkeepers Ian McLoughlin and Dean Delany earned their corn during the ninety minutes with a string of good saves and when referee Paula Brady sounded the final whistle, it was hard to argue with the final 2-2 outcome.
The hosts struck for the lead goal on nine minutes when Dayle Rooney whipped in a free kick that wasn’t dealt with by the Blues defence and after James English knocked the ball down, Prendergast was on hand to pounce from close range.
Derek Daly could have brought Waterford FC level on 19 minutes but he fired into the side-netting after getting on the end of a Kenny McEvoy right-wing delivery before McLoughlin had to be at his best to tip over a James English effort minutes later.
Garry Comerford did have a good chance to draw the Blues on 37 minutes when a sweeping move involving Anthony McAlavey and Derek Daly saw the latter put the ball into the danger zone for the midfielder but his goal bound effort from 14 yards was blocked by a Shelbourne defender.
Shelbourne keeper Dean Delany showed his class with a brilliant save to deny David McDaid four minutes later when the attacker got on the end of a Daly right-wing free kick but his cracking right-footed strike from 16 yards was superbly tipped over the bar.
Under the watchful eye of owner Lee Power from the stands, the Blues did get the goal that would have made him happy as in the second minute of first half added time, Kenny Browne rose highest at the back post to head home a right-wing free kick from Derek Daly.
HALF TIME 1-1
The home side could have regained their lead five minutes into the second half when Rooney sent in a corner kick from the left that found the head of substitute Niall Lanigan at the near post but his free header was just inches wide of the target.
Blues keeper McLoughlin made a brilliant save to keep his side from conceding a goal on 57 minutes when Adam Evans crossed from the right that fell nicely for the lively English but his cracking right-footed shot was superbly kept out.
Waterford went in front for the first time less than two minutes later when Daly won a corner kick out on the left and after his delivery found Kenny Browne, his mishit effort fell nicely for McDaid, who hammered a close range effort to the far corner of the net.
McDaid could have put the tie to bed on 67 minutes when he latched onto a long clearance from Patrick McClean but after racing into the penalty area from the left-side, his effort struck the far post with keeper Dean Delany well beaten.
But with just over ten minutes remaining in the tie, Shelbourne levelled as the Blues were caught on the break as Rooney got free down the left and after his cross was cut out by Dean O’Halloran, the ball fell for Prendergast, he hammered past Ian McLoughlin from 12 yards.
SHELBOURNE: Dean Delany, James Browne, Reece McEnteer, Derek Prendergast, Aidan Collins (Niall Lanigan `46), Mark Hughes, Alan Byrne, Dayle Rooney, James English, Lorcan Shannon (Jackson Ryan `71), Adam Evans
WATERFORD FC: Ian McLoughlin, Dave Mulcahy, Kenny Browne, Patrick McClean, Shane O’Connor, Garry Comerford, Tom Smith, Anthony McAlavey (Jake Evans `78), Kenny McEvoy (Dean O’Halloran `69), David McDaid, Derek Daly (Mark O’Sullivan `83)
Referee: Paula Brady