Waterford FC suffer playoff heartbreak

Waterford FC suffer playoff heartbreak

Waterford FC have fallen to a 1-0 defeat against UCD in the promotion/relegation playoff final.

On a rainy night in Richmond Park, the Blues set out with real intent and forward drive.

Less than two minutes had been played before Phoenix Patterson was presented with an opportunity on the left, which he blazed over the bar.

UCD supporters will never get on their player's backs. Given the nature of their playing commitment to the club, a general understanding exists between players and supporters alike.


Having withstood the early barrage, the Dubliners were comfortable in possession and happy to play at a lower tempo, applauded by the aforementioned contingent.

Waterford enjoyed much of the ball but failed to convert any of their possession into meaningful opportunities.

In the 15th minute, the students took the lead through the impressive Thomas Lonergan.

A delicate free-kick from the right side of the pitch was headed home by the talented 18-year-old.


The Blues continued to push for the remainder of the half but failed to create any credible opportunities.

The threat on the left side through Patterson was always evident, but even he couldn't ignite a spark for the first-division side.

The second half was a strange spectacle as UCD were content to sit with eleven men behind the ball and for large periods, Waterford sat deep and played lethargic passes across the park.

Junior Quitirna began to threaten down the right, but Danny Searle's men continued to struggle to break a resolute Dublin defence.

The tireless Lonergan covered every blade of grass for UCD and his performance will live long in the memory of the League of Ireland supporter.

Searle introduced Raúl Uche with 15 minutes to play and encouraged his defenders to retain a higher position up the field.

The three minutes of injury time will remain a talking point for some time in Waterford.

Captain Kilian Cantwell was shown a second yellow card in the 91', meaning that the Blues would finish with ten men for the second-straight year.

With injury time played and the crowd waiting for the whistle, a final moment of drama with the game's last kick.

To the delight of the travelling support, Waterford were awarded a fortuitous penalty, with the ball deemed to have hit the hand of a UCD defender.

Up stepped Quitirna, whose spot-kick sailed high over the bar.

For the second straight year, it's heartbreak for Waterford and the reality of another season without Premier Division football.

Andy Pilley will have much to contemplate over the coming days, as will many of the club's talented youngsters.

For Danny Searle, in a season that promised so much, it is the cruellest of conclusions.