Nolan saves day as Deise pay penalty
Allianz Hurling League Divison 1B: Dublin 1-26 Waterford 4-15
There was high drama in Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon as Dublin absorbed the concession of four Waterford goals and a 78th-minute penalty to win their Division 1B clash by two points.
Stephen Bennett, who combined superbly with his brother Shane all afternoon, had his shot saved by Alan Nolan when a goal would have given Waterford a victory they scarcely deserved.
Having slumped to a disappointing loss in Salthill the previous week, the victory seemed more important to Dublin than the tangible reward.
Dublin finished the first half in the distinctly weird position of being two points up but hugely frustrated with that position.
Mostly, that's because the three goals Waterford scored in the first 26 minutes could be easily filed under the 'soft' category.
After just four minutes, a poorly struck Stephen Bennett free of 65 metres appeared to be falling harmlessly into Alan Nolan's hand, only for the Dublin goalkeeper to inexplicably spill the ball into his net.
Fourteen minutes later a sideline from Jamie Barron from his own '45 cleared everybody in a condensed middle third, dropping awkwardly behind Darragh O'Connell and Seán Moran into the stride of Tommy Ryan who galloped through and managed to squeeze a shot past Nolan.
Then, with 10 minutes left in the half, Stephen Bennett managed to turn Eoghan O'Donnell, and with Dublin bereft of cover he squared to his brother Shane, who had the luxury of time to place Waterford's third goal inside Nolan's left-hand post. But that was mostly it for positive Waterford attack play in the half. By contrast, Dublin's play was much more creative and they scored 0-14 off 19 attacks.
Eamonn Dillon threatened to break loose on goal a couple of times, but 0-3 was a decent return for his energy.
Danny Sutcliffe, who dropped deep from centre forward to exploit Austin Gleeson's reluctance to vacate the central channel of the Waterford defence, matched him for output.
Dublin had seven scorers in the half, against Waterford's three, but with the benefit of a slight breeze in the second half, that dynamic changed. Jamie Barron become a force in the game and Waterford exerted more control around the middle.
But mostly, the Bennetts weaved patterns of intelligent attacking play. Rushe scored Dublin's goal after 43 minutes after he and Sutcliffe had conspired to dispossess Barron. Sutcliffe fed Rushe, who buried from close range.
Waterford inched their way back into it, though, and again the Bennetts combined for their fourth goal, the score that ensured the final 10 minutes were a frantic scramble for the lead.
Kevin Moran put Waterford a point up on 68 minutes, but with Sutcliffe prominent the Deise gave up a couple of easy free for Oisín O'Rorke to convert.
With Dublin two points up in the 77th minute, a long ball from Gleeson dropped towards the square, where Tommy Ryan and O'Connell got involved in a wrestling match. Fergal Horgan adjudged O'Connell the aggressor and awarded a penalty. Stephen Bennett stepped up, but Nolan made up for his earlier mistake and Dublin claimed the points.
SCORERS: Dublin - O O'Rorke (9f), L Rushe 1-2, E Dillon, D Sutcliffe 0-4 each, J Hetherton, C Crummey 0-2 each, S Barrett, F Whitely 0-1 each; Waterford - 2-7 (1-7f), Shane Bennett 1-2, T Ryan 1-1, K Moran, J Moran 0-2 each, J Prendergast 0-1.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O'Donnell, D O'Connell; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; D Gray, R McBride; C Conway, D Sutcliffe, E Dillon; J Hetherton, L Rushe, O O'Rorke. Subs: T Connolly for Barrett (49), S Treacy for Gray (49), J Malone for McBride (54), F Whitely for Treacy (56 inj), D Burke for Conway (64).
WATERFORD: B Nolan; S McNulty, C Prunty, N Connors; C Lyons, A Gleeson, K Moran; J Barron, M O'Brien; DJ Foran, S Roche, J Prendergast; T Ryan, Stephen Bennett, Shane Bennett. Subs: M Walsh for Foran (h-t), M Kearney for O'Brien (h-t), Philip Mahony for Lyons (54), J Henley for Prunty (58 inj), Pauric Mahony for Prendergast (61).