IRISH football correspondent Dylan O’Neill (@Dylanoneill_95) has unearthed a slice of value in Easter Monday’s EA Sports Cup action.
Waterford United v Rockmount | Easter Monday 14.00
On Easter Monday, Waterford host Munster Senior League side Rockmount United in a rescheduled EA Sports Cup first round tie.
Waterford have begun this season in decent form as they currently occupy second-place, having won two of their opening four games and already there seems to be a marked improvement on their results from last year when finishing seventh of eight with a meagre five wins in 28.
However, the position they currently sit in isn’t necessarily reflective of their performances this season. Waterford lost both their opening matches against a very youthful and inexperienced Drogheda (2-1) and runaway leaders Limerick (5-2).
In the Blues’ third fixture they were fortunate to come away from UCD with three points as opposition gaffer Collie O’Neill attributed it to what seems to be a regular “slow start” to the season, where defensive mistakes cost them. Finally, last weekend they were deserved and ultimately comfortable winners against a weak Cabinteely team 2-0.
Waterford manager Roddy Collins has recruited well in the off-season, picking up Athlone’s top goalscorer from last year Philly Gorman (10 goals in 19), and already has he’s already notched twice in four outings.
Collins also managed to sign Galway United midfielder David O’Leary, Collins’ own son Roddy Collins Jr. and former Athlone midfielder James O’Brien – all guys who have Premier Division experience and players who will be key if Waterford want to be challenging for promotion.
Though Collins Snr has worked well in the transfer market, United have endured a drastic change to their squad over the off-season, losing close to all of their best players from last year.
Midfielder Ethan Boyle joined the squad from the U19s and impressed with a string of consistent performances for both Waterford and the Irish underage set up before securing himself a big move with Finn Harps to the Premier Division.
Joint-top goalscorer Willie John Kiely has also departed. Brothers Cory and Evan Galvin have moved on to Cobh Ramblers, having only joined midway through the season. Cory Galvin proved very popular in his short stint with five goals in nine appearances and he somehow tied for Waterford’s top goalscorer in that time.
First-choice goalkeeper and 18-year-old Matthew Connor has left for Wexford Youths, who were also promoted to the Premier Division. Prolific 19-year-old striker Daniel Pender, defenders Shaun Corcoran and Dylan Mernagh, midfielder Shane Dineen all also left for pastures new.
Rockwell, on the other hand, sit third in the Munster Senior League on 16 points from seven games, with 5 matches in-hand over table-topping UCC on 25 points. The guests have already toppled UCC in a tightly contested game (3-2) so the level of both sides is obviously quite close.
Something to note is, UCC were the surprise package of the EA Sports Cup last year, where they defeated both First Division champions Wexford Youths (2-1) away in the first round and mid-table side Cobh Ramblers away (2-0) in the second round.
With UCC having been crowned Munster Senior League champions for the 2013/14 season, Rockmount stole the championship last year for the first time since 2011 with two games to play, whilst also claiming the Keane Cup – an inter-divisional cup between the MSL’s Premier & First Division – as well, with the league win qualifying them for this year’s EA Sports Cup.
What should also be noted is that this Rockmount team has already knocked out Premier Division title-chasing Cork City in the Munster Senior Cup in January, with Cork having fielded a strong team, including several new signings.
So I’m expecting a closer game than the pre-match odds suggest, especially if Collins chooses to rest several players for Friday’s league game against Cobh Ramblers – after all, it is only the League Cup.
With that in mind, I’ll take the Asian Handicap option of Rockmount +1.75 at 9/10 with Winner. With this selection, we’ll pocket profit should the visitors win, draw or lose by a one-goal margin – should Rockmount lose by exactly two goals, we’ll only lose half of our stake with a three-goal loss or larger resulting in a full loss.
Waterford United v Rockmount – Rockmount +1.75 Asian Handicap (9/10 Winner)
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