University of Limerick 0-1 Waterford IT
The University of Limerick Collingwood squad began their league campaign with an agonising loss to Waterford IT in a hard fought game.
The loss is UL’s first loss at home in over a year, but they can take a lot of positives from the game as they blooded in players that were with the Harding cup team last year and new first years.
A strong crossfield breeze made for testing conditions right from the off.
The early exchanges were understandably edgy as it took both teams to settle in after a five-month break from playing college football .
The first attack of the game came from the home side.
Team captain Alan Murphy made inroads down the left and put in a delightful cross which was met by Adam Foley only to be denied from the Waterford goalkeeper with an excellent save.
UL were starting to dominate the game around the middle as they settled into the game, but Waterford’s high press worked a treat.
From a throw-in UL’s centre back Andy Quaid received the ball and tried to play the ball into the middle, but Waterford’s striker intercepted Quaid’s pass and squared it to Adham Masood who slotted it passed Sean McCormack leaving him with no chance.
The goal unsettled the home side. Waterford started to dominate the game now and were camped in UL’s half for the rest of the first half. UL’s keeper Sean McCormack was in inspired form, making a string of fine saves to keep UL in the game.
Ten minutes from the break UL went on the counter attack and had a strong penalty claimed waved away by the referee after striker Conor Whittle was pulled down during a scramble in the six-yard box following a corner, which ended the first half with Waterford having a slight advantage.
UL came out a new team at the start of the second half with a swift move up the right-wing which saw right back Evan Patterson deliver a perfect ball to the back post where striker Whittle missed what looked to have been a sure goal.
The intensity shown in the opening seconds after the restart was maintained by the hosts throughout as they threw the kitchen sink at Waterford to no avail.
A heavy shower of rain combined with the strong gusts did little to help UL as they looked to bring the match level.
UL had a huge chance in the 60th minute, but after a goalmouth scramble, the away side somehow cleared to deny UL the equaliser.
The UL management than rang the changes from the bench with the introduction of Liam Wilson, nearly making an instant impact only to be denied by the Waterford goalkeeper.
With a little over 20 minutes to go, the visitors looked to shut up shop and moved to a five at the back-formation.
This enabled UL to push up at every opportunity.
They were denied by the keeper and woodwork on different occasions.
As time ticked on, UL decided to go route one, and they sent up centre back Tom Carney for the last 10 minutes.
Once again, the Waterford goalkeeper denied UL, and Waterford hung on for the win.
UL’s second-half showing merited a draw at the very least, but it simply wasn’t their day.
They will take lots of positives from the game with the second-half performance and the blooding of new players.
UL travel to Blanchardstown next Wednesday for their second game of the season and will be looking to bounce back to winning ways.
Team: Sean McCormack; Sean Madigan, Andy Quaid, Tom Carney, Evan Patterson; Alan Murphy, Shane Ryan, Shane Donegan, Donal O’Connell; Adam Foley, Conor Whittle
Subs: Liam Wilson for Adam Foley
Martin Madden for Donal O’Connell
Oleg Vysochan for Shane Donegan