Allianz National Football League Division 4
LONDON soaked up their first league win of 2016 as they stunned Waterford with a late flurry at a gusty Fraher Field on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors trailed by 0-12 to 0-10 as the clock entered the red but Mark Gottsche, Adrian Hanlon and Cathal Greene all landed injury-time points against the strong breeze to move them off the bottom of Division 4.
Management, players and backroom staff all stayed out on the pitch afterwards to savour the moment and pose for photos.
Only 121 supporters came through the turnstiles in Dungarvan for this basement battle. The hosts won the toss but Déise skipper Tommy Prendergast opted to play against the wind for the first-half.
Liam Gavaghan hit London’s opener with only 30 seconds gone and Dualtach Molloy quickly added a second from 45 metres. Although Gavin Crotty replied with a fisted effort, Adrian Hanlon managed to restore a two-point lead for the away side.
This developed into a physical encounter from the off and London paid the price for their indiscipline at the back. JJ Hutchinson slotted three frees in a row to edge Waterford in front after 14 minutes (0-4 to 0-3).
Dean Moore and Hutchinson traded scores before Hanlon levelled matters for the third time though a smashing 55 metre free by Mark Gottsche recovered London’s lead. Lorcan Mulvey then blasted over after he seized on a sideline ball from Hanlon.
Waterford forward Paul Whyte suffered a heavy knock early doors and he was replaced by Michael O’Halloran on 26 minutes. In this bruising encounter, London corner back Conor O’Neill also limped off with Ciaran Dunne taking his place.
Soon after, Scott Conroy and Hutchinson swapped frees in first-half injury-time to leave London with the slimmest of half-time leads at 0-8 to 0-7.
Tipperary referee Sean Lonergan waved three yellows to Gavaghan, Colin Dunne and Scott Conroy at the start of the second period, whistling for 60 frees in total.
Hutchinson was on hand again to punish London from a dead ball situation on 42 minutes. A delicate through ball by Gavin Crotty then found Hutchinson and he made no mistake. The industrious Crotty curled in a beauty off his right to grant Waterford a two-point cushion.
However, the Déise couldn’t shake off their sticky opponents. Gottsche drilled a free between the posts from 40 metres into the teeth of the wind after 52 minutes. Stephen Enright had to be on his toes a minute later to thwart both Dean Moore and Gavaghan with an astounding double save.
At the other end, Crotty spurned a glorious goal chance as an unmarked Hutchinson screamed for the ball to be played across. Despite this missed opportunity, Hutchinson banged over a huge free with ten minutes left to make it 0-11 to 0-9 to Waterford.
London continued to plug away though. Eoin Murray made a positive impression off the bench as his effort crept over Enright’s crossbar. A penetrating run by Conor Prunty was halted by Lorcan Mulvey as he approached the target and the number nine received a black card.
Hutchinson converted the subsequent free and Waterford appeared set to bag their second win of the season.
Sean Hickey kicked short into the goalkeeper’s hands as four minutes of injury-time were signalled. Gottsche reduced the arrears to one with another free off the ground. With the next attack, Maurice O’Gorman fouled Adrian Hanlon and became the sixth Waterford player to see yellow. Hanlon split the uprights to make it all square for the fifth time.
The home side managed to win a free in London territory but decided to work a quick one and Prunty blazed left and wide. In a hectic finale, Enright blocked Alfie McNulty’s goalbound shot but Greene picked up the rebound, composed himself and calmly stroked the winner.
London: G McEvoy; P Butler, C Carty, C O’Neill; D McGreevey, D Ryan, Colin Dunne; C Greene (0-1), L Mulvey (0-1); M Gottsche (0-3, 3fs), L Gavaghan (0-1), D Molloy (0-1); D Moore (0-1), S Conroy (0-1, 1f), A Hanlon (0-3, 2fs).
Subs: Ciaran Dunne for O’Neill (29), E Murray (0-1) for Molloy (50), S Hickey for Conroy (59), A McNulty for Moore (67), S Buckley for Mulvey (68, BC).
Waterford: S Enright; T Ó hUallacháin, M O’Gorman, T O’Gorman; M Curry, S Prendergast, R O Ceallaigh; T Prendergast, C Prunty (0-1); G Crotty (0-2), C Guiry, P Whyte; L Lawlor, JJ Hutchinson (0-9, 8fs), J Veale.
Subs: M O’Halloran for Whyte (26), S Corcoran for Veale (49), J O’Mahony for Lawlor (50).
Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary)