Sutcliffe’s goals decisive as Dublin preserve their top-flight status

Waterford consigned to relegation due to costly home play-off defeat

Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe in action against Waterford’s Austin Gleeson during the relegation play-off at Walsh Park. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe in action against Waterford’s Austin Gleeson during the relegation play-off at Walsh Park. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

 


Waterford 1-17 Dublin 4-13

The aesthetics of Dublin’s victory can wait for another day. In winning they staved off relegation from Division 1A, the primary concern on a day when a soft surface and doughty opponents made for a difficult assignment at Walsh Park.

Dublin hadn’t won in Waterford on their last six visits to the county, 2003 to be precise – five defeats and a draw – and the latest setback in that sequence was l during the league proper. When the home side racked up five unanswered points in the first six minutes, the portent didn’t look bright.

However a consolation of sorts for the visitors was that their travails were largely self-inflicted, the Dublin backs guilty of clumsy touches as the home side pursued a direct aerial route into the heart of the visitors’ defence. Waterford were sharper and in Pauric Mahony had arguably the game’s most consistently influential player.

Despite a few errant strikes from long-range frees, he accumulated 0-11, eight points from frees, a tally that kept the home side ticking over and clinging to Dublin’s coat-tails. Waterford’s susceptibility to conceding goals – nine in the last two matches before yesterday – was to once again prove an Achilles heel, fuelling Dublin’s challenge that in the opening 50 minutes had fired only fitfully.

Red card
Waterford were reduced to 14 men when Shane O’Sullivan appeared to catch Michael Carton high and referee Johnny Ryan immediately brandished a red card. At that point, 26 minutes into the match, the home side led by four points, 1-7 to 1-3.

Waterford manager Derek McGrath said: “I didn’t see it and that’s being straight up. We’ll have a look at it (again) and decide whether there are grounds for an appeal or not.”

Waterford were dogged by misfortune in the build-up and during the match. They lost goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe on Friday night, Jamie Barron on the morning of the game, Philip Mahony in the warm-up, and then midfielder Stephen Molumphy (hamstring) and goalscorer Darragh Fives (calf) to injury during the contest.

But on the day, the better team prevailed. Dublin, despite periodically overplaying possession when easy points beckoned, took enough goal chances, starting with Paul Ryan’s free on nine minutes. Danny Sutcliffe was the player fouled and it was the latter who was to have a sizeable influence on the outcome with a brace of goals in the 44th minute of the match that eased the visitors into a 4-7 to 1-10 lead.

Dublin manager Anthony Daly conceded that the Sutcliffe goals proved key.

“We didn’t have him here the last day. . . . But they were two massive goals. He gambled, made the run on both occasions, and finished superbly. That’s really what you want from a top class player like that, . . .. ”

The Dubs had rotated the free man between a couple of players in the first half – they led 2-6 to 1-8 at the interval – but Shane Durkin took exclusively charge after the interval and discharged those duties superbly.

Waterford demonstrated oodles of character but the visitors’ goals ultimately proved decisive. “It’s vital, because the last couple of years have been a bit disappointing really at underage. We’ve lost a few to football as well, so there’s only one place to be and that’s up there,” said a pleased Daly.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.