Despite an encouraging performance against title-chasing Shamrock Rovers, it was a 2-1 defeat on the road for Waterford FC on Tuesday.
Alan Reynolds made seven changes from the FAI Cup win in Donegal on Saturday with John Kavanagh, Rob Slevin, Tom Holland, Karolis Chvedukas, JJ Lunney, Will Fitzgerald and Dean O’Halloran replacing Rory Feely, Kenny Browne, Sam Bone, Shane Duggan, Cory Galvin, Michael O’Connor, Walter Figueira
After a slow start, Greg Bolger had the first shot of the game but the effort from Ethan Boyle’s cross was straight at Blues keeper Matthew Connor.
Kevin Lynch went close for the Blues after 20 minutes Greg Bolger fouled Dean O’Halloran’s but Lynch’s curling free kick was narrowly over the crossbar.
The home side took the lead after 36 minutes. Rob Slevin’s attempted backpass was intercepted by Graham Cummins and he fired the opening goal.
But the Blues levelled five minutes later. JJ Lunney’s brilliant free kick was met by the head of Dean O’Halloran and he superbly headed past Rovers keeper Alan Mannus.
Alan Reynolds’ side were dealt a massive blow in first-half stoppage time when Karolis Chvedukas was red carded for a poor challenge on Daniel Lafferty.
The home side almost made it count instantly. Dylan Watts’ free kick caused problems in the Blues penalty area with Rovers hitting the post twice but the ball somehow stayed out.
Shamrock Rovers retook the lead six minutes into the second half; Daniel Lafferty’s cross finding Graham Burke to finish from close range.
Burke then hit the post before Jack Byrne fired over for Rovers.
Matthew Connor saved well from Aaron Greene before the Blues had a good chance. Georgie Poynton found JJ Lunney on the left, his cross from to Figueira just saw the ball squirm away.
And Figueira had another late chance – Zack Elbouzedi’s deflected strike forced Mannus to save, but Grace got back to block and ensure Rovers kept hold of three points.
Waterford FC: Matthew Connor, John Kavanagh, Maxim Kouogun, Rob Slevin, Kevin Lynch, Tom Holland (Zack Elbouzedi 78’), Georgie Poynton, Karolis Chvedukas, JJ Lunney, Will Fitzgerald (Sam Bone 46’), Dean O’Halloran (Walter Figueira 69’).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Sean Callan, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Ethan Boyle, Greg Bolger (Aaron McEneff 46′), Dylan Watts, Danny Lafferty (Sean Kavanagh 74′), Graham Burke, Aaron Greene, Graham Cummins (Jack Byrne 46′).
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)