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Murphy stars as Blues make Saints suffer

St Patrick's Athletic 0 Waterford 1

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Ronan Hale of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Robert McCourt of Waterford. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Ronan Hale of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Robert McCourt of Waterford. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ronan Hale of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Robert McCourt of Waterford. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Maybe having some pre-season turmoil and a team put together at the last minute is not such a bad thing, as Waterford proved with a shock away win on the opening day of the 2020 season.

Waterford winning away to St Patrick's Athletic is not such a surprise as the Blues won on both of their visits to Emmet Road last season.

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Billy King of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Darragh Power of Waterford. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Billy King of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Darragh Power of Waterford. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Given that three of Alan Reynolds' starting XI were only signed days before the season's curtain-raiser, Blues fans would have travelled to Dublin with more hope than confidence. But a new-look Waterford side put on a very solid display, weathered the storm when Pat's had possession, and carried home a win thanks to a goal from debutant Kevin O'Connor early in the second half.

Veteran 'keeper Brian Murphy also played a role, making some key saves late on, one superb effort denying sub Chris Forrester a certain goal.

It was a testing off-season for the Blues, with doubts over the long-term plans of owner Lee Power, and the need for manager Reynolds to effectively build a team from scratch: nine of his starting XI in Inchicore were making their debuts.

Pat's had new faces too (five of them) but it was the hastily built Waterford side who looked at ease early on. But the Dublin club found their feet and Dean Clarke, Martin Rennie and former Blues player Rory Feely all had chances.

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St Patrick's Athletic players remonstrate with referee Sean Grant. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

St Patrick's Athletic players remonstrate with referee Sean Grant. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

But Pat's gifted Waterford their goal on 48 minutes, a poor pass from Robbie Benson giving possession to Matty Smith and his cross was converted by debutant O'Connor.

The Saints had enough chances but found Murphy in superb form as he denied Ronan Hale and Forrester, giving boss Stephen O'Donnell a tough start to his first full season,

ST PAT'S ATHLETIC - B Clarke; Feely, McNally, Desmond, Bermingham; McClelland (Forrester 55), Lennon (Hale 66), Benson; D Clarke (Doona 78), Rennie, King.

WATERFORD - Murphy; Bone, Burley, Odimayo, Wilson; Coote, Allardice, K O'Connor, McCourt; M O'Connor, Smith (Power 76).

REF - S Grant

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