Waterford FC U-17 manager, John Furlong
Mark Farren U-17 Cup Semi-final: Waterford FC 4 Shamrock Rovers 2 AET: John Furlong
The sound of the final whistle, after eight minutes of second-half extra-time injury-time was greeted with great scenes at the Village Grounds on Tuesday night last as Waterford FC qualified for the final of the Mark Farren Under 17 Cup after a 4-2 win over Shamrock Rovers.
For manager John Furlong and his side, it’s a brilliant achievement after defeating two of Ireland’s biggest clubs in the previous two rounds of the competition and now they can prepare for the showpiece decider at home against Sligo Rovers on a date to be decided by the FAI over the coming days.
HEART IN MOUTH
Speaking after the game, the Blues boss said, “The spectators may have enjoyed it but it was heart in the mouth stuff at times to be honest. I’m going to use the old cliché again that it was a game of two halves. In the first-half we scored twice, had an offside goal and a penalty miss. I think that 3-0 at half time probably would have seen us home and dry but you know yourself that 2-0 is a dangerous lead in football and that’s how it turned out. I thought in fairness to Shamrock Rovers, they were fantastic in the second-half and really got at us.
“They took their first goal very well and it’s a mistake by Charlie (Heffernan) for the second goal but like I said to him, he has been outstanding in our last three or four games so he was probably due a mistake. I think that the lads showed a lot of character there because at 2-2 going into extra time, Rovers looked a bit hungrier.
“It looked as if the tie was swinging in their favour but to come back in extra-time and score two goals is absolutely fantastic. I know that Colm Whelan is getting a lot of plaudits lately but what intelligence he showed for the penalty because he was fouled and he dusted himself off to score. The fourth made us breath a lot easier.”
“We got off to the perfect start but it was Rovers that scored inside a minute when we met in the league so we returned the favour. It was a fantastic delivery from Regix and Collie kept his scoring run going with the finish. I think that in the opening 25 minutes we totally dominated the game and missed a penalty.
“We were a bit unlucky with the penalty miss but we hit the post twice and for the goal that was offside I think they have ruled interference. We started off well and were quite comfortable but in this game if you don’t take your chances you can be punished.
“It made for an entertaining game for those watching it but I wasn’t enjoying it at 2-2. In fairness to the lads, they have been winning games comfortably and everyone has been praising them for their attacking play but I think tonight we saw their doggedness, determination, discipline and the will to win again.
“We have been lucky to get a home draw in the final against Sligo Rovers and we know that they will be a tough challenge as they are a good side. We haven’t played them before but any team that gets to a final is going to be decent. I’m looking forward to it and it would be lovely for the lads to get a trophy to cap off this brilliant unbeaten run but I keep reminding them every day that we haven’t won anything yet so fingers crossed.”