Waterford edge tough contest against Galway

Galway 0-16 Waterford 1-14

Waterford gave their league campaign a much-needed shot in the arm by overcoming Galway in a breathless finish at Pearse Stadium.

Six successive points for the hosts, including braces from Barry Daly and Niall Burke, had them back on level terms in injury-time.

However, Michael Ryan’s Déise side battled to their first win in Division 1 with goal scorer Shane Walsh providing the point that split the sides.

It was an encouraging result for Waterford particularly as Tony Browne (virus), Seamus Prendergast and Stephen Molumphy were all forced out of the team.

John Mullane made an eye-catching return to the line-up and the recalled Eoin Kelly was also sprung from the bench as Ryan’s side belatedly opened their win account in Division 1A.

Late call-up Paraic Mahony landed five frees to help the visitors take a 0-8 to 0-5 lead into the break, with Mullane, making his first start of 2012, causing plenty of problems for the Galway defence.

Mullane won an early free which Mahony pointed, and Walsh and Maurice Shanahan followed up with further scores to move the hosts into a 0-03 to 0-01 lead with Niall Burke (free) accounting for Galway’s opener.

Galway corner back Declan Connolly picked up a yellow card for a foul on Mullane, and Mahony converted the free from the left in the 19th minute.

Waterford could have been further ahead but they shot seven wides over the opening 35 minutes, and also had defender Shane O’Sullivan sent-off for fouls on Joseph Cooney and Daly.

Cooney made a good impact for Galway as a substitute, helping them recover from a 0-5 to 0-1 deficit after 22 minutes’ play. But the sending-off of defender Connolly also hampered them.

Mullane got free from David Collins’ grasp to slot a point from play which his efforts deserved. Galway free-taker Burke took his tally to 0-03 just before the half-time whistle.

Into the second half, Waterford moved 1-10 to 0-8 ahead when Mullane beat Collins again and passed for the unmarked Walsh to fire home his goal from the edge of the square.

Free-taker Mahony took his tally to 0-9 as the Déise widened the margin to six. Galway came storming back though and substitute Brian Flaherty squared things up at 0-16 to 1-13 until Walsh decided it right at the death.

Waterford’s battle to avoid relegation moves on to Fraher Field in Dungarvan next Sunday where they face fellow strugglers Dublin, whom they could yet meet in a relegation play-off.

Meanwhile, Waterford boss Ryan confirmed after the win over Galway that there have been further changes to his backroom team ahead of the Championship.

Earlier in the week, selector Nicky Cashin stepped down with former All-Star Ken McGrath taking his place.

Now a second selector, Br. Philip Ryan, has decided to call it quits with Sean Cullinane from Passage East coming on board.

Scorers - Galway: N Burke 0-5 (0-3f), D Burke 0-3, A Smith, B Daly 0-2 each, C Cooney, N Donoghue, B Flaherty 0-1 each

Waterford: P Mahony 0-9 (0-9f), S Walsh 1-2, J Mullane 0-2, M Shanahan 0-1

GALWAY: J Skehill; G O’Halloran, D Collins, D Connolly; J Coen, F Moore, N Donoghue; D Burke, A Smith; C Cooney, N Burke, C Donnellan; D Hayes, B Daly, B Burke.

Subs used: J Cooney for B Burke (20 mins), J Ryan for Skehill (43), D Glennon for Donnellan (50), B Flaherty for Donoghue (52), J Regan for Smith (62).

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; Philip Mahony, L Lawlor, A Kearney; D Fives, M Walsh, S O’Sullivan; D Twomey, K Moran; M Shanahan, Paraic Mahony, E McGrath; J Mullane, S Walsh, G O’Brien.

Subs used: J Nagle for Twomey (48 mins), S Prendergast for McGrath (56), E Kelly for Shanahan (63), M O’Neill for O’Brien, D O’Sullivan for Paraic Mahony (both 70).

Referee: Anthony Stapleton (Laois).

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