A first-half brace from Cian Kavanagh proved to be the difference at the RSC on Saturday afternoon as Dundalk slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Waterford in another more than useful workout ahead of the new SSE Airtricity League campaign.
Head coach Stephen O’Donnell once again used the opportunity to give as many of his players some game time ahead of the big kickoff against Derry City on February 18th with Greg Sloggett and Joe Adams both starting for the first time in pre-season.
Teenagers Michael Keys and Jack Kavanagh were handed their full debut for the club while Mark Hanratty started at left-back. Two more academy graduates, Tadgh Walsh and Craig Moore, were named on the substitutes bench and acquitted themselves very well when introduced.
Waterford looked bright in the opening stages and Ian Morris’s men deservedly hit the front just past the half-hour when Yassine En-Neyah threaded a ball through for Cian Kavanagh and he placed his effort past Peter Cherrie.
Kavanagh made it 2-0 with a crisp drive in the 39th minute but captain for the day David McMillan pulled one back two minutes later when he rounded Brian Murphy to find the net from a difficult angle.
Paul Doyle almost made it 2-2 but his left-footed effort flashed just past the upright just before the half-time whistle and McMillan should have equalised after a well-worked move involving Ryan O’Kane in the opening stages of the second half.
Both management teams emptied their respective benches as the game passed the hour and Kavanagh squandered a great opportunity to complete his hat-trick for the Blues.
Substitute Dan Williams almost gave the travelling support something to really sing about when he curled a fine effort against the crossbar with 13 minutes left to play but it was the majority of the 560 in attendance who went home happy as Waterford saw it out.
Next up for Dundalk is another road trip on Wednesday with Eamonn Deacy Park the destination for the penultimate pre-season friendly against Galway United.
WATERFORD FC: Brian Murphy, Daragh Power (Roland Idowu 65), George Forrest (Jeremie Milambo 65), Eddie Nolan, Richard Taylor, Anthony Wordsworth, Cian Kavanagh (Owen Oseni 72), Junior Quitirna (Shane Griffin 70), Yassine En-Neyah (Killian Cantwell 65), Callum Stringer (Niall O’Keeffe 65), Phoenix Patterson (Nigel Aris 70). Subs not used: Paul Martin (GK), Tunmise Sobowale, Dean Larkin.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie, Michael Keys, Sam Bone (Mark Connolly 60), Jack Kavanagh (Craig Moore 41), Mark Hanratty (Darragh Leahy 60), Greg Sloggett (Robbie Benson 60), Paul Doyle (Dan Williams 60), Keith Ward (John Martin 41), Joe Adams (Tadgh Walsh 60), David McMillan, Ryan O’Kane. Subs not used: Patrick Hoban, Nathan Shepperd (GK).
REFEREE: David Keeler.