Waterford U17 booked their place in the SSE Airtricity League Mark Farren Cup Final after a pulsating six-goal thriller at Ferrybank. Watched by a crowd of 355, John Furlong's side needed two goals in extra-time to seal their place in the final pas
Waterford U17 booked their place in the SSE Airtricity League Mark Farren Cup Final after a pulsating six-goal thriller at Ferrybank.
Watched by a crowd of 355, John Furlong's side needed two goals in extra-time to seal their place in the final past a stubborn Shamrock Rovers team.
It only took the home side 22 seconds to score the first goal of the game as they caught the Rovers defence napping and the impressive Colm Whelan stole in to glance the ball home.
Waterford had the chance to make it the dream start just two minutes later when Ciaran Brennan was fouled in the area and the referee awarded a penalty. Jack Larkin stepped up but his low penalty hit the post and incredibly, his rebound went out of play off the upright.
The Blues didn't have to wait long to discover a two-goal advantage as 19 minutes in, Darryl Walsh scooped to head home a Whelan corner at the near post to put the home side in firm control.
Despite the scoreline, Rovers were a threat and as the second-half wore on, they battled their way back into the contest. Stephen Rice's team reduced the deficit with 22 minutes remaining as Dean Williams finished off a low right-sided cross to put the pressure back on Waterford.
The pressure grew and in the 77th minute, Rovers were deservedly level after Williams once again finished off a well-worked move and should have took the lead a minute later, but the Waterford keeper Noel Heffernan did brilliantly to block the efforts of Rhys Murphy twice.
Heading into extra-time, it was anybody's game with the 355 spectators at Ferrybank thoroughly entertained by the high-quality under-age semi-final. Nine minutes into extra-time, the referee awarded a penalty as Whelan was fouled and he stepped up to place it low into the right-hand corner.
The final action and the moment the home side sealed their place in the final came in the final minutes of injury-time in extra-time as Walsh fired home his second of the night from a well-worked indirect free-kick after a Rovers back-pass.
SSE Airtricity League reporter Kieran Crowley spoke to the winning manager John Furlong after the game...