Friday 24 November 2017

Stephen Bennett on the double as Waterford come good in second half to defeat Dubs


Noel Connors, left, Conor Gleeson and Jamie Barron of Waterford compete for possession with Dublin players, from left, Donal Burke, Rian McBride and Niall McMorrow
Noel Connors, left, Conor Gleeson and Jamie Barron of Waterford compete for possession with Dublin players, from left, Donal Burke, Rian McBride and Niall McMorrow

Stephen Bennett hit a goal in either half to get Waterford's Division 1B league campaign back on track with a defeat of Dublin in Croke Park tonight.

Pauric Mahony also chipped in with 12 points as Waterford picked up their first win at GAA HQ since their 2008 All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Tipperary.

Bolstered by Donal Burke's goal, and four points from Eamonn Dillon, the Dubs led by two at the break but their effort folded in the closing half as Bennett fired his second goal to help put Derek McGrath's Déise put in pole position for a quarter-final spot.

Mahony opened the scoring with a neat point from play within 60 seconds and five minutes later Stephen Bennett was quickest to react when Mahony's long-range free hit the post with the Ballysaggart attacker whipping the ball to the net.

Dublin weren't deterred, however, and were quickly level reeling off four points in succession through Burke (two frees), Dillon and Chris Crummey.

Dillon and Mahony (free) traded scores before the Dubs surged ahead with points from Rian McBride and Dillon before Burke brilliantly caught a Crummey delivery and shot past Ian O'Regan, 1-7 to 1-2.

Mahony broke a 15-minute barren spell for the Déise with a placed ball before the Ballygunner forward traded frees with Burke. Dillon sent over his fourth of the half before a late rally left Waterford in touch.

Captain Kevin Moran led by example with two quick-fire points before last year's Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson strode forward to fire an excellent point as Mahony and Burke traded frees to close out the half with the Dubs two ahead.

Waterford opened the second half like a house on fire with Stephen Bennett again on the scene to pounce on a Conor Dooley mistake and fire to the empty net.

Bennett followed up with a point and Mahony added a free to send them three ahead but Burke responded with a long-range free before Ryan O'Dwyer sent over a point when baring down on goal, 2-10 to 1-12.

Gleeson hit a lovely point before Burke and Mahony traded scores but the Déise powered on through a brace from Mahony and an exquisite effort by Stephen Bennett from the touchline.

With Gleeson now acting as a sweeper McGrath's men shut up shop in the final quarter and closed out the game to get their second win of the campaign.

SCORERS – Waterford: P Mahony 0-12 (10f), Stephen Bennett 2-2, K Moran and A Gleeson 0-2 each, M Shanahan 0-1

Dublin: D Burke 1-7 (7f), E Dillon 0-4, R McBride and R O'Dwyer 0-2 each, C Crummey 0-1, N McMorrow 0-1

WATERFORD – I O'Regan; N Connors, B Coughlan, S Fives; C Gleeson, T de Búrca, S Daniels; J Barron, K Moran; M Walsh, S Bennett, P Mahony; A Gleeson, Stephen Bennett, P Curran. Subs: M Shanahan for Curran (49), M Kearney for Barron (50), B O'Halloran for S Bennett (61), J Dillon for Stephen Bennett (66), D Lyons for C Gleeson (67).

DUBLIN – C Dooley; J Madden, E O'Donnell, S Barrett; B Quinn, L Rushe, C Crummey; N McMorrow, C Conway; R McBride, E Dillon, E Conroy; D Burke, R O'Dwyer, F McGibb. Subs: C Boland for Conway (47), C Mac Gabhann for Madden (55), C Barrett for Conroy (61), C O'Sullivan for Quinn (69), F O Riain Brion for S Barrett (72).

REF – J Ryan (Tipperary)

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