‘Some fellas didn’t know their team-mates’ names’ – Waterford defy winter upheaval to make winning start

Waterford manager Alan Reynolds celebrates after their win over St Patrick’s Athletic.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DESPITE SEEING HIS side begin their season with a valuable victory on the road, Alan Reynolds reckons there’s plenty of improvement required from Waterford.

A new-look Blues outfit earned a 1-0 win against St Patrick’s Athletic in Friday night’s League of Ireland Premier Division opener at Richmond Park.

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Kevin O’Connor scored early in the second half after being teed up by Matty Smith, who intercepted Robbie Benson’s attempted backpass to Pat’s goalkeeper Brendan Clarke.

While understandably thrilled with the outcome, Reynolds admitted that his team were fortunate to take all three points from Inchicore at the expense of Stephen O’Donnell’s men.

“I’d like us to be better than that,” he said. “I know there was a lot of effort and character, but we won’t be able to ride our luck every week like that. We’ve got to pass the ball better than that.”

Reynolds was forced to build an almost-entirely new squad during a winter of upheaval. Only two of the players who started against Pat’s – Sam Bone and Michael O’Connor – played for Waterford last season. 

Among the new arrivals who featured in Friday’s win was veteran goalkeeper Brian Murphy, as well as the centre-back pairing of Akin Odimayo and Andre Burley.

Kevin O’Connor is congratulated by Robbie McCourt following his decisive goal at Richmond Park.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Following a decade-long spell in the UK during which he played for Ipswich Town, Queens Park Rangers, Portsmouth and Cardiff City, Murphy’s return to the League of Ireland was announced by his hometown club on Wednesday.

Waterford also confirmed the double loan signing of Odimayo and Burley from English Championship club Reading last week. Reynolds was full of praise for the pair, who were “excellent” in their Waterford debuts having only joined the club 24 hours earlier.

“Some fellas didn’t know their team-mates’ names. Fellas came in the day before but that will help them grow,” said the Blues boss, whose side will host Bohemians at the RSC on Friday night.

“We played a really good team and rode our luck at times. We got a goal at the right time and just hung in there. I suppose only for Brian Murphy it would have been a different score.

“He came in on Wednesday and you could see everyone getting a lift and a boost from it. Having him in goal and the two lads at centre-back, at least you have a base.”

– With reporting by Dave Donnelly

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