Thirteen yellow and one red card was the story of a dull game between the sides in front of 282 hardy souls.
Finn Harps went close twice in the opening three minutes of the contest when striker Blaine Curtis was inches wide with a cracking right-footed from 25-yards in the first minute before ‘keeper Kevin Burns produced a super stop to turn a Stephen O’Donnell shot around the posts two minutes later.
Blues keeper Burns and captain Kevin Murray came to the home sides rescue on five minutes when Kevin McHugh had a close range effort kept out brilliantly by the netminder and when McHugh squared to O’Donnell, Murray was on hand to make a vital block.
The visitors continued to pepper the United goal in search of the breakthrough and it took another classy save to keep Harps at bay on 15 minutes when Kevin Devaney whipped over a great cross from the left but Curtis’ stunning close range effort was turned around the posts at the expense of a fruitless corner.
Michael Coady went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Finn Harps keeper Ciaran Gallagher on 29 minutes but referee Sean Grant sounded the whistle for simulation and Coady saw the first yellow card of the game.
It came as no real surprise that it was Harps that continued to control the first half and they had two further chances in the final six minutes of the half to find the net.
On 39 minutes, striker Kevin McHugh had an angled drive from the right side of the penalty area tipped over the bar by Burns before Curtis fired inches wide two minutes later after racing onto a Barry O’Mahony through ball.
Referee Sean Grant went card happy in the final minutes of the first half as he flashed four yellow cards in a row to Blues players Seamus Long, Adam McSherry, Kevin Murray and Paul Carey in what could only be described as some bizarre refereeing from the Wexford official.
The home side had their first glimpse at goal on 49 minutes when Kenny Browne played Paul Phelan clear on goal but he failed to hit the target when he fired wide of the advancing Ciaran Gallagher from inside the penalty area.
It took a super clearance off the line from Finn Harps midfielder Barry O’Mahony on 64 minutes to deny Waterford the breakthrough when Gary Dunphy’s right-wing corner kick was met at the back post by Kevin Murray. His towering header was brilliantly cleared off the line.
The yellow cards continued to be flashed like confetti as Harps had five players booked in the space of a 20-minute spell, while the Blues saw Paul Murphy booked and it was the latter that went close to finding the net on 77 minutes. However his fantastic right-footed strike whistled inches wide of the left-hand upright.
The referee produced a red to Michael Coady for a second yellow card three minutes from time and also booked substitute David Breen to finish on a final card tally of 13 yellows, eight Waterford, five Finn Harps and one red.
Waterford United: Burns; Carey, Browne, Murray, Coady; Walsh, Long, Dunphy, Phelan; McSherry, Murphy
Subs now used: Kiely, Breen, Nolan, Wilson, Hayes, Heaslip, Keane.
Bookings: Coady, Murray, McSherry, Long, Murphy, Carey, Breen.
Red Cards: Coady.
Finn Harps: Gallagher; Redmond, Mailey, Cowan, Coll; O’Mahony, Devaney (McGoldrick `72), Bonner, O’Donnell; Curtis (Forker `72), McHugh.
Subs not used: Curran, Doherty, Patton.
Bookings: Redmond, Mailey, Cowan, Devaney, Bonner.