O’Brien’s penalty save ensures full points for Waterford

Goalkeeper keeps McManus’s late strike out of the net to deny battling Antrim a draw

Antrim 2-22 Waterford 3-21

Waterford had goalkeeper Shaun O’Brien to thank for keeping a Neil McManus stoppage-time penalty out of the net to deny Antrim a share of the spoils at Corrigan Park.

The Deise would play over half the game with 14 players after Colin Dunford was sent off, but Liam Cahill's side rallied well in the second half to get ahead and they managed to stay there despite Antrim roaring back in the final quarter.

Playing with a significant wind advantage, Antrim were much quicker to settle with Neil McManus landing points either side of efforts from Keelan Molloy and Daniel McKernan, but the hosts had goalkeeper Ryan Elliott to thank for diverting Stephen Bennett’s rasping shot up and over for a point.


The Dunloy man was unable to do anything on nine minutes when Colin Dunford rounded Stephen Rooney to slot home on the angle and give the visitors a 1-2 to 0-4 lead.

Antrim responded brilliantly with four of the next five scores including a missile from Gerard Walsh deep in his own half and the route one approach would pay off on 14 minutes as a long ball squirted free with Keelan Molloy playing it back to Domhnall Nugent who finished to the net.

Waterford hit 10 wides in the first half with the wind playing havoc but Antrim were much more economical and had moved six clear when first, Tom Barron pointed and then on 29 minutes, Dunford was first to a dropping ball to fire low to the net to reduce the gap to two.

However, he would then blot his copybook when dismissed for what appeared an off-the-ball swipe at Nugent and with McManus continuing to knock over frees, Antrim led 1-14 to 2-7 at the break.

Waterford made much the better start to the second period and after hitting two of the first three points, struck for goal when Stephen Bennett read Gerard Walsh's attempted short pass to intercept and find Michael Kiely who blasted home to level.

By the midway point of the second period, they had pushed on and led by five with Gleeson and Bennett leading the way, but it was game-on again on 62 minutes when Ciaran Clarke rattled the net after pouncing on a break from a tight angle and a Cunning point left just one in it.

However, Waterford were able to find the answers with three Gleeson points leaving a goal in it until Antrim were given a penalty deep in injury-time after Conor McCann was taken down when about to finish to the net after O’Brien had saved from David Kearney.

McManus stepped-up and went high, but O’Brien got the vital touch to keep the ball out of the net and ensure the points were heading back to the south east.

ANTRIM: R Elliott; D Kearney, G Walsh (0-1), S Rooney; P Burke, E Campbell, R McGarry; K Molloy (0-2), D McKernan (0-1); M Bradley (0-2), D Nugent (1-0), C Cunning (0-2); S Elliott (0-1), N McManus (0-13, 8f, 1p, 1'65'), C Johnston.

Subs: N O'Connor for S Rooney (HT), J McNaughton for M Bradley (52), C Clarke (1-0) for C Johnston (52), C McCann for S Elliott (60)

WATERFORD: S O'Brien; C Gleeson, C Prunty, I Daly; C Dalton, T de Burca (0-1), T Barron (0-1); D Lyons (0-1), J Fagan; N Montgomery (0-2), A Gleeson (0-8, 4f, 1sl), DJ Foran; Stephen Bennett (0-6, 5f), C Kirwan (0-1), C Dunford (2-1).

Subs: J Prendergast for C Kirwin (HT), M Kiely (1-0) for DJ Foran (ht), C Daly for T Baron (59), K Bennett for N Montgomery (70+1)

REFEREE: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin)