You may need to refresh to see videos and images.
Waterford 0-2 Dundalk (Full-Time – Dundalk win 4-2 on aggregate and will remain in the Premier Division next year)
19.40 – Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog. It should be an intriguing affair following Tuesday’s 2-2 draw in Dundalk.
And keep in mind that there’s no away goals, so the game will automatically go to extra time if it ends in a draw after 90 minutes.
19.46 – Here are the teams:
Waterford: Packie Holden, David Breen, John Frost, Seamus Long, Dylan Mernagh, Gary Dempsey, Paul Phelan, Ben Ryan, Peter White, Sean Maguire, Daragh Walshe.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Paul Whelan, Eoghan Osborne, Robbie Gaul, Liam Burns, Chris Shields, Lorcan Shannon, Gary Shanahan, Stephen McDonnell, Michael Rafter, Mark Griffin.
19.46 – We’re underway…
19.56 – Waterford have had the majority of the play so far, though their opponents look threatening on the break.
And as I type, Maguire has blasted over, having been given a clear sight at goal.
It’s a lively start.
20.03 – Dundalk, unsurprisingly given that they’re the away side, have started the far more cautious of the two teams.
Yet despite their noticeably defensive approach, Waterford have already opened them up on a few occasions.
Darius Kierans must be worried.
20.08 – Waterford continue to play the more enterprising football, though Dundalk are now coping better with their attacks.
That said, they’ll surely need to get hold of the ball a bit better over the next few minutes, now that they’ve weathered the home side’s storm.
20.11 – Chance for Dundalk! A dangerous free-kick is played in, and the Waterford defence fail to adequately deal with it.
The ball falls to Griffin, and he snatches at it, striking it over. He was awkwardly positioned, though the striker will still feel he could’ve done better there.
24 minutes played so far.
20.16 – The game continues to be played mainly in the Dundalk half.
Waterford look short of ideas in attack however, though as I type, Dempsey has curled a free-kick from about 30 yards out just over the bar.
20.19 – Chaos in the Dundalk defence, as not once, but twice, they fail to clear the ball properly.
It eventually comes to Ben Ryan, who smashes it just wide from the edge of the box.
With defending like that, it’s no wonder Dundalk are currently in this position.
20.24 – A standard hump forward sends Maguire through, but his touch isn’t great, allowing the defender to get a solid tackle in.
There were half-hearted claims for a penalty, but the replay proves the referee made the correct decision.
20.29 – The game’s gone fairly quiet at the moment.
Neither side will be particularly happy going into the break, assuming nothing happens in the next two minutes.
Dundalk will be pleased that they’ve kept it at 0-0, though they haven’t always looked entirely assured at the back, and seem as if they may have a mistake in them.
20.30 – GOAL FOR DUNDALK!
20.34 – It’s an absolutely stunning effort from Michael Rafter (44 mins).
The ball is lofted into the box, and the Tipperary native chests it beautifully, before swiftly turning and smacking it into the corner.
It’s his eight goal of the season, and it’s worthy of Didier Drogba.
20.35 – HALF-TIME: WATERFORD 0-1 DUNDALK
20.42 – As Jamie Redknapp would say, that late goal has literally put the cat amongst the pigeons, silencing the previously buoyant home support.
Waterford will probably feel aggrieved, given that they’ve had more of the play, though Dundalk have had a few good chances, so the hosts can’t say they weren’t warned.
Expect no change in Dundalk’s cautious but evidently effective tactics in the second period.
Waterford, meanwhile, will be somewhat demoralised on account of that goal, yet they can take heart from the fact that the visitors have occasionally looked suspect at the back in that first half.
20.48 – The second half is underway…
20.53 – Setanta commentator and one-time TheScore.ie contributor, Will Downing, calls this the most important half “in a generation” for both these sides.
Meanwhile, the crowd think it’s a penalty, when the ref blows his whistle after Maguire goes down in the box, but the teenager is instead booked for diving.
The referee has been faultless so far, and replays show he got that one correct as well.
20.57 – Predictably, Waterford have continued to put heavy pressure on the visitors’ goal since half-time.
Though as I type, Shanahan misses a gilt-edged opportunity, failing to properly connect with a pinpoint Rafter cross.
Will they come to rue that miss ultimately?
20.58 – WATERFORD SUBSTITUTION: Paul Phelan has been replaced by 18-year-old Jack Doherty.
21.00 – Waterford seem to be targeting the left-hand side of the Dundalk defence at the moment.
Virtually all of their second-half attacks have come down that side.
21.02 – DUNDALK SUBSTITUTION: Nathan Murphy replaces Gary Shanahan.
21.05 – With an hour played, both sides are starting to look tired, and their play is increasingly laboured.
The effects of having played an equally intense first leg on Tuesday are perhaps beginning to show in some cases, and there’s been a bit of a lull in proceedings as a consequence.
21.09 – Chance for Waterford! A Peter White shot from just inside the box is parried away by Peter Cherrie.
23 minutes of normal time remain.
21.11 – GOAL FOR DUNDALK!
21.13 – Waterford naively had almost everyone up for a corner, and Dundalk break swiftly.
Michael Rafter runs through on goal, before slotting home calmly (69 mins).
21.16 – It could’ve have been so different for Waterford there, with Ben Ryan blasting over after a clever through ball from Griffin, moments before the goal.
The home fans will wish he showed the kind of composure that Rafter demonstrated shortly thereafter.
21.20 – Waterford have roughly 15 minutes to score two goals that would bring this game into extra time.
Dundalk have defended with increased confidence as the game’s progressed, so a Waterford comeback looks highly unlikely at the moment.
21.23 – WATERFORD SUBSTITUTION: Peter White has been replaced by another youngster – Conor Coad.
As I type, Maguire goes on a good run, but he just takes too long to pull the trigger, allowing the defender to get a clean tackle in just inside the box.
21.27 – Frost attempts to get a cross in, but O’Brien blocks the ball twice.
Credit to Waterford for not letting their heads drop, but there appears to be no way past this defence.
Meanwhile, down the other end, Dundalk miss an opportunity to kill the game off completely, with Griffin dragging it wide from close range, following a goal-line scramble.
Some of the Waterford fans have now left.
21.31 – Maguire has a goal ruled out after slotting home from close range.
Replays prove inconclusive, though it seemed harsh based on Setanta’s limited camera angles.
Meanwhile, Nathan Murphy hits the post with a clever curling effort, as Dundalk look to add a third.
In addition, Michael Rafter is deservedly given man of the match.
21.33 – We’re into injury time, and Waterford have a free-kick that’s lofted unthreateningly over the bar from Gary Dempsey.
The game is effectively over now, barring a miracle.
21.36 – FULL-TIME: WATERFORD 0-2 DUNDALK
21.43 – So Dundalk are staying up at the expense of Waterford.
Their win was well-deserved ultimately. They produced a dogged and, for the most part, defensively solid display.
Moreover, in stark contrast with the hosts, they were invariably ruthless in attack, with Man of the Match Michael Rafter proving the difference between the sides, owing to two accomplished finishes.
Waterford will point to a late goal that was ruled out for offside, seemingly harshly. However in truth, they didn’t deserve anything from the game, due to their defensive naivety and consistently poor finishing.
21.49 – Michael Rafter says he’s “absolutely delighted” to “give something back to the fans”.
He said the “keeper made it easy for me” for the second goal, and calls his teammates “a great bunch of lads”.
21.53 – Dundalk manager Darius Kierans admits his team’s opponents were “the better side” for the first 25 minutes.
He admits he’s “so proud” of his team’s achievement, and says he’s “delighted for the people of Dundalk” who have “worked so hard to keep this club alive”.
21.58 – Some of the night’s most striking images, all courtesy of INPHO/Donall Farmer.
22.01 – Alright, that’s it from me. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Enjoy your weekend!