Points for Waterford after dour struggle

 

ALTHOUGH far from impressive, Waterford overcame a lethargic Kerry side and appalling conditions to earn their first points of the current National Hurling League campaign in a dour Division One struggle in Killarney yesterday.

Prior to the game, Waterford propped up the table following four consecutive losses and Kerry had not fared much better with just two points to show from four outings. And, on the basis of this performance, it looks odds-on that both sides will make the dreaded drop this season.

Yesterday's encounter at rain-lashed Fitzgerald Stadium was a very low-scoring and scrappy affair and Kerry failed to register a single score in the second half while Waterford could only man.age one point in the opening 30, minutes. Playing with the advantage of a powerful breeze Kerry had two clearcut goal chances and eight great opportunities of points in the opening ten minutes. But the forward division was beset by poor finishing and all their efforts went wide.

The very small attendance had to wait until the 19th minute for the first score, a pointed free, by Pat O'Connell. But Kerry were on target again within 30 seconds. thanks to an opportunist point from full-forward Philip Healy.

Wing forward Paul Flynn, opened Waterford's account alter 21 minutes, but Kerry's Pat O'Connell had the final say in the half with another converted free to give his side an interval advantage of 0-3 to 0-1.

Waterford looked a different proposition on the resumption while Kerry's game seemed to collapse totally as they appeared to struggle to cope with the wild cross-wind.

The critical Waterford breakthrough came four minutes after the restart when a long clearance from defence fell kindly for big full-forward Sean Daly and he out-srparted his marker before striking the all-important goal.

Daly increased Waterford's advantage to two points a minute later and after that the visitors were plagued by the type of poor finishing which troubled Kerry in the first half.

The remainder of the game was virtually all fought out in Kerry's half of the field, but Waterford struggled to find the target and wasted no less than 12 good scoring chances.

Mid-fielder Johnny Brenner pointed in the 47th minute, Billy O'Sullivan added another three. minutes later and in the closing moments Michael Hickey sealed the tie in Waterford's favour with another point.