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“Policy to Improve Schooling after Ebola”

first_imgBackgroundThe Government of Liberia school year has traditionally run on a September-June cycle. With the advent of Ebola, schools were officially closed in September 2014. This prudent measure was pivotal in containing exposure to, and spread of Ebola, amongst children and their families. As Ebola became contained, and with a learning deficit of 6 months per pupil, the Ministry of Education (MoE) prioritized getting children back into school. MoE announced the reopening of schools in February 2015, and a resetting of the school calendar to a March-November cycle.The MoE has a mandate to develop, promote and implement educational policies and create the necessary institutional framework that will provide universal education for all Liberians; and thus enable government to provide and support sustained human resources development in all its aspects of human endeavor. We must intensify the process of transformation by developing a highly educated and skilled labor force. Improving education is therefore crucial for the country, and crucial for every child – so that each child can fulfill his or her potential.During our confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Education and at a Cabinet meeting afterwards, the MoE leadership team presented a comprehensive vision to optimize the gains we have made in the educational system since the end of the Civil War. We said then, and would like to repeat here, that our Government’s mandate to progress from “mess” to “best” demands improving learning conditions and outcomes in Early Childhood Development, Basic and Secondary Education. This requires addressing the 6–month learning deficit head-on with both the optimal school calendar and the resources needed to support learning.The grievous direct and continuing indirect hardship imposed by Ebola has resulted in close to nil in learning outcomes for children between September and June 2015. In addition, the rainy season will significantly reduce pupil and teacher attendance, particularly in rural areas, in the coming months. Seeking to achieve one school years’ worth of learning in the remaining period running till November 2015 is an unrealistic burden to expect either teachers or pupils to shoulder.All students need to master the content and skills, which will allow them to excel in future years. Moreover, all students in Grades 9 and 12 need to be fully prepared for WAEC Exams, which had been set for October 2015. In the past five (5) years our students have received poor scores in WAEC Exams; after 6 months out of school, it is not likely that students will achieve better results in the WAEC Exams, which had been set for October 2015.The further risk is that desired learning outcomes in future years are lowered irrecoverably to cater for the short-term learning deficit. We know that the scale of the challenges we face is monumental. We spent last week travelling through several counties, listening to students, teachers, parents, school boards, and community members. The listening tour was disheartening, to say the least. In many places, the system is not merely a mess; the system has collapsed.To illustrate, In Wotoken, Sinoe County, because of appalling conditions in the only public school there, school where, when the children left, goats came in and left their waste; no chairs, so parents stopped sending their children and moved them to a church building. With the onset of the rainy season and thunder storms, the roof caved in and the parents withdrew their children; In Grand Kru, there were no Science and Math teachers in any of the three high schools: PG Wollor, Barclayville Central High, and Sasstown High.The structural integrity of Cape Palmas High School has been badly compromised, so much so that students have been evacuated to a nearby makeshift facility in which there are no toilets. In Wleboken, River Gee, students have nowhere to go when it rains. There are too many schools with no latrines, no water, no roofs across the country.Speaking to a group of students, 1 in 3 were willing to report, publicly, that they had been directly asked for bribes by teachers or teaching assistants. All of this means that students aren’t able to learn, and aren’t able to reach their full potential. Liberians want and deserve better. Students and teachers want books, instructional materials, and support.MoE is therefore resetting the school year to the original cycle, and to rapidly implement improvements during a shortened school break. This policy will provide a solid foundation for full recovery of teaching and learning: students will have more time in school to learn, and teachers will be better prepared and better supported. Furthermore, the rainy season, a real challenge for poor, rural children and their families, will not disrupt schooling year on year.School calendar:The following are changes to the school calendar, with adjustments to promotions and WAEC dates.1) The school calendar for ECD, Basic and Secondary Schools will revert to the normal cycle, with the 2015 condensed school year concluding on July 31, 2015.2015/2016 school year: September 2015 – July 2016 (for a total of 210 school days for Grades 1 -12 and 220 school days for pre-school).Henceforth, All ECD, Basic and Secondary Schools in the Republic of Liberia will close on July 31, 2015, for this current school calendar. Schools will re-open on September 7, 2015.Grades 1 – 12 will close on July 12, 2016, while Pre – school will close on August 12, 2016.2) For the 2015/2016 school year, students will enrol in the grade appropriate to their learning to date.Students in Grades 1– 8, 10 and 11 may promoted on the basis of attainment, as judged by their school: if they have met the learning objectives, then they will be promoted. Students who have not met the learning objectives will not be promoted; they will have a full cycle to learn what they need to for the school year just passed.Students who were enrolled in Grades 9 and 12 during the 2015 condensed school year will continue in that grade and be properly prepared for 2016 exams.3) There will be no WASSCE or WAEC Exams in 2015 for school-based candidates. Examinations will be held in May 2016.Students will be credited for fees already paid to WAEC.Improving schooling. Changes to the school calendar go hand-in-hand with work being done to rapidly improve teaching and curricula. Three measures are especially important.The Ministry is in the process of distributing new textbooks, supplementary workbooks and instructional materials to schools. During the August-September break, teachers will be provided with training on using these. This training will take into account the effects of the 2015 condensed school year.During the second half of the 2015/2016 school year, Grade 12 students will be taught a curriculum designed to consolidate their learning, maximize their performance on WAEC, and also teach appropriate life skills and career skills.Science clubs will be run from October 2015 for all Grade 9 and 12 students. These will provide excellent teaching in a range of subjects, consolidating students’ learning and preparing them for WAEC.All students will begin the 2015/2016 school year with books; teachers will have new instructional and supplementary materials, and additional training. In short, our students and teachers will be better equipped and supported than they have been in the past ten years. A full list of the deliverables to be met is provided below.It is no exaggeration to say that education in our country is a “mess”; indeed, in some places, the education system has collapsed. Even before the coming of Ebola, too many of our students were struggling; too few of our students were excelling.This is a collective failure, a failure of all Liberians. If we do not take bold action, the next generation will be far, far less educated than the one from which it is supposed to take over. Our children are bright and capable, and they deserve a better education than we are currently providing. To fix the educational system and to get at the “best”, we need to make some tough decisions, to reorient students, teachers, parents, and school administrators.Already, the public conversation has begun and, in the view of the MoE leadership team, it is healthy for us to discuss education and how we can get at the ‘best’ to service the needs of our economy now and in the future. In addition to all of the deliverables outlined herein, we will embark on a community-based communications strategy to discuss the intent of this reform.Though making tough decisions can be controversial, community trust in government will be fostered if we act as leaders, making tough decisions and then delivering on our promises. This policy will deliver tangible improvements in education that Liberian students, parents and teachers are desperate to see.[Please see following pages for full list of deliverables.]Policy to improve schooling after Ebola: key deliverablesBefore schools resume in September, MoE, with its partners, will meet the following deliverables.Books for all studentsDistribute 1 million textbooks for Grades 5-9 in the four core subjects (Math, Science, Social Studies, & English) for public schools.Distribute 1. 3 million Supplementary readers for Grades 1-4 nationwide to all public basic education schools.MoE will work with the MoJ to stop the selling of public school materials.Out of the Ebola Emergency Response Fund from the World Bank, 3.2 million has been allocated to Ministry of Education for the procurement and distribution of secondary textbooks for public schools. Between now and October 2015, textbooks for Grades 10 – 12 (in the six core subjects – Math, English, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry), will in Liberia for distribution.Teacher training will complement the distribution of books.Additional training to support our teachersTrain four thousand teachers in public schools in the use of the textbooks and associated curriculum. Work with LTTP to run cluster workshops for teachers from some schools in selected counties.Work with LTTP to run some workshops on reading for Grades 4-6. Work with LTTP to run some Continuous Professional Development workshops.Other learning resources for students Provide a variety of instructional materials (globes, geometry sets, science posters, magnets, and instructional materials) to public basic education schools.Work with UNICEF to provide 700,000 teaching and learning kits to schools across Liberia benefiting over 750, 000 children and about 44, 000 teachers in 4, 460 schools.Science clubs: great teaching by subject specialistsScience Clubs in all public basic and secondary schools will be initiated and conducted every Saturday beginning October 2015 for Grades 9 & 12.Subject (Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Reading Comprehension and Writing) specialists from WAEC will develop aptitude tests for nearly 400 (newly recruited) teachers who will teach in the Saturday Clubs and the clubs will be opened to all students, public and non-public alike.Contracts will be signed by students for punctuality and conduct. Schools will also sign up to ensure their participation.WASH facilities improvedThe WASH Cluster, in collaboration with MoE, MoPW, LWS, MoH, MoFDP and our donor partners, will be going to all counties/school districts from June 20 to June 30, 2015 to validate the TOR and Guidelines to implementing The WinS project (rapidly). The School Health Department of MoE received $60,000 US from UNICEF to perform this exercise. GSA will be providing three (3) cars to transport the three (3) teams, grouped six (6) members per team.Address payroll issuesWork with the Civil Service Agency, USAID and its implementing partners and LIBTELCO to close the supplementary payroll for teachers and develop legal and procedural links to identify and pay the right teachers, principals, CEOs, and DEOs.Complete the vetting and payment for private school teachers and staff.Assessment of other parts of the systemWith the support of The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), develop a Preparedness Plan for Emergency Response in Schools – providing school need assessment tools based on lessons learned from Ebola.The Joint Education Sector Review will be conducted to assess performance of the operational plan and provide strategic direction for the next two – five years.Improvements to school buildings and facilities.Complete a comprehensive assessment for schools needing repairs and generate information for desks and chairs to identify actual need for county-based interventionsShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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There is nothing to “settle” – Jagdeo

first_imgOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has denied having any knowledge of former Government ministers, officials, or close associates of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Administration contacting the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) to settle payments for lands at Pradoville Two, East Coast Demerara.It was reported that former Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Ramesh Dookoo, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali- Hack, and former Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud are some of the persons who have contacted SARA and have expressed willingness to settle.Jagdeo, however, said he has not received any such information, and as a recipient of one of the properties in that village, he would not take that route, even if it were true regarding the settling.“I don’t know about that…I was not contacted, and I don’t intend to settle,” Jagdeo told the press on Thursday.It has been reported that several persons close to the last Government had received land belonging to the state at extraordinarily low cost. SARA claimed that they paid as little as $114 per square foot, while citizens were being made to pay as much as $500 a square foot for ordinary land. SARA had threatened criminal charges against the Pradoville beneficiaries, but later advised that those persons can settle the matter instead of having charges pressed against them. Those questioned over the Pradoville properties include former PPP/C Ministers Shaik Baksh, Dr Nanda Gopaul, Irfaan Ali, Priya Manickchand, and Dr. Jennifer Westford.The daughter of former President Donald Ramotar, Lisaveta Ramotar; former Deputy Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Marcia Nadir-Sharma; Dr Gansham Singh, the son of Dr Gopaul, former Minister of Housing; former Chief Financial Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Taslim Baksh; and former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds were also questioned.SOCU has only recently instituted charges against former Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, Winston Brassington, for the sale of three plots of land which are claimed to have also been undervalued.last_img read more

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PSG cruise to victory as Neymar set to miss Man Utd clash

first_img0Shares0000Edinson Cavani celebrates with his teammates after scoring one of his two goals in PSG’s 4-1 win over Rennes on Sunday © AFP / Zakaria ABDELKAFIPARIS, France, Jan 28 – Edinson Cavani scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain beat Rennes 4-1 on Sunday, a victory overshadowed by coach Thomas Tuchel’s admission that Neymar is set to miss next month’s Champions League showdown with Manchester United.Neymar was missing against Rennes after suffering a recurrence of a metatarsal injury in a French Cup win over Strasbourg in midweek. Without him, Cavani scored twice either side of goals from Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe as PSG stayed unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season and went 13 points clear again from second-placed Lille with two games in hand.Neymar missed the last three months of last season after suffering a fracture in the same foot last February. Le Parisien reported on Sunday evening that he had now suffered another “hairline” fracture.Tuchel said he could not confirm that, but accepted it would be “super difficult” for Neymar to be ready in time for the Champions League last-16, first leg at Old Trafford on February 12.“It is still too early to talk about a return date because we need to wait and see how ‘Ney’ reacts to treatment to be more precise,” he said.Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar is expected to visit the world’s most expensive player on Monday, with the Selecao thinking ahead to the Copa America, which they will host in June and July.– Tite in crowd –Brazil coach Tite and national team coordinator Edu were in attendance at the Parc des Princes at the start of a European tour to check on the form of some of their key players, but it is unclear what they will have taken from PSG’s victory.While Neymar was absent, his compatriots Marquinhos and Daniel Alves were played out of position in central midfield due to a lack of other options available to Tuchel.PSG are hoping to complete a deal to sign the Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes from Zenit Saint Petersburg, and have also been linked with a move for Everton’s Idrissa Gueye before the January transfer window closes.On the field, PSG won a game played in a rather flat atmosphere, with one end of the stadium partially closed as a punishment following incidents during a game late last year.Cavani’s headed opener was cancelled out by Mbaye Niang just before the half-hour, and Rennes were arguably the better side in the first half.With Neymar out, Mbappe returned from illness to get one of PSG’s goals in their win over Rennes © AFP / FRANCK FIFEHowever, Tuchel was raging after Niang escaped with a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Thilo Kehrer. The referee upheld his decision even after a VAR review.Nevertheless, PSG ran away with the game after the break, going back in front on the hour mark when Thiago Silva sent Di Maria through to clip a delightful finish over goalkeeper Tomas Koubek.When Clement Grenier was caught in possession, Julian Draxler released Mbappe to score his 18th league goal of the campaign and make it 3-1.PSG completed the scoring in the 71st minute when Mbappe squared for Cavani to grab his second of the evening and 16th league goal of the season, making it 15 goals in three home wins for Paris in nine days.“We reacted well after a very difficult first half against a very brave side,” said Tuchel.– Lyon consolidate third –Earlier, Lyon strengthened their grip on a Champions League position after defender Jason Denayer’s headed goal handed them a 1-0 win at Amiens.With their Champions League last-16 first leg against Barcelona looming on the horizon, Lyon remain third in Ligue 1, three points behind second-placed Lille.Lille won 2-1 at Marseille on Friday, while struggling Monaco slumped to a 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Dijon on Saturday in their first game since Thierry Henry was sacked as coach.Henry lasted just three months in charge before being replaced by his predecessor Leonardo Jardim, who watched Saturday’s game in the stands in Dijon. Monaco remain three points from outright safety.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Harry Kane hails debut England goal as the best moment of his career

first_img1 Harry Kane Harry Kane described his first goal for England within two minutes after coming onto make his debut as the best moment of his career so far.Kane scored 80 seconds after replacing Wayne Rooney during England’s 4-0 victory over Lithuania at Wembley on Friday night which saw Roy Hodgson’s men remain six points clear in their Euro 2016 qualifying group.Goals from Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling had put England in control before Kane’s introduction, and the Spurs striker believes the goal trumps everything else he has achieved in his fledgling career so far.“It is by far [the best moment of his career]. To represent your country at senior level is the top and hopefully I can continue to do it and it’s the first of many,” Kane told ITV.Kane’s long anticipated debut arrived 20 minutes from the end and the Spurs striker wasted no time announcing himself on the international scene, heading home from Raheem Sterling’s clipped cross.The Spurs striker’s rise has been stratospheric this season, scoring 29 goals in all competitions, but he was almost lost for words after opening his international account with instant effect.It’s all a bit of a blur at the moment but obviously I’m delighted for the lads and the most important thing was the win,” Kane added.“It’s a start that I dreamed of. To see it come true is amazing.”last_img read more

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Abramovich would be “off his head” if he sacks Mourinho, talkSPORT told

first_imgAlan Brazil insists Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich would be “off his head” if he sacks Jose Mourinho.Pressure is mounting on the Blues’ boss following a string of poor results, his unsavoury row with former club doctor Eva Carneiro and his latest disciplinary issue with the Football Association which has seen him charged with misconduct following his half-time dismissal in the weekend defeat to West Ham.Mourinho admitted in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT Breakfast Show host Brazil earlier this months he has “never had such a bad to a start to a season”, but the former Scottish international claims it would be “ridiculous” for Chelsea to part company with their manager.He said: “This is all too much. It’s over the top. Yes, Chelsea are not playing as well [as they could be] but have a look at the table. If they sort it, just give him some leeway, let him get on with it, they’ll be back up there.“I think if you push Jose out of this job, you’re off your head. Who’s going to come in? And whoever comes in to take over will know he’s got a bunch of rebellious players.“If this blows over, and it is a big if – because when you hear people like Tony Cascarino and Jason Cundy talking the way they are, you know this is definitely serious for Jose – but if he comes through this he will get back to winning ways. I am absolutely certain of that.“I like winners and if you look at wherever Jose’s been, he’s a winner. You can’t just push someone [like that] aside and say he’s having a bad time, let’s get rid of him. It’s ridiculous, nonsense.”JOSE MOURINHO: “CHELSEA ARE JUST THE WORST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY”last_img read more

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DONEGAL TAX SPECIALIST ADVISES CUSTOMERS TO USE P60 TO CLAIM CASH BACK

first_imgA leading Donegal tax specialist has warned PAYE workers not to put their P60 documents in the bottom drawer and forget about them.Michael Coll from www.thetaxclinic.ie said they could well be paying more tax than they should be, but the good news is that it can be claimed back.Any employees who were in employment at the end of the year have all now received a P60. A P60 is a very valuable document that summarises all your pay and tax details.Michael, who is based in Letterkenny, says “We have all suffered with the tax increases and the cutting of tax credits in the last budget, but as we all saw in last week’s media The Department of Social Protection confirmed that €10 million has already been refunded back to taxpayers with millions more yet to be claimed in PRSI refunds.“The average tax refund we’ve been claiming for our clients is about €880,” he revealed.Mr Coll says it is important that taxpayers realise that you can claim tax back for up to four years so if you haven’t claimed for a few years it’s still not too late. For further information on the many other allowances and reliefs available log onto www.thetaxclinic.ie. Or Call into our office at 40 The Port Road, Letterkenny or call Michael on 086 3862370 or Noel on 087 7507083. DONEGAL TAX SPECIALIST ADVISES CUSTOMERS TO USE P60 TO CLAIM CASH BACK was last modified: February 2nd, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:P60The Tax Cliniclast_img read more

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MASSIVE CROWD EXPECTED AT THE TOYOTA FEST IN LETTERKENNY THIS SUNDAY!

first_imgFEATURES: Letterkenny gearing up for a huge boost this weekend when Toyota Enthusiasts from all over descend on Letterkenny, for Ireland’s Toyota Fest 2016.Toyota enthusiasts from all over Donegal, Ireland and beyond will arrive in Letterkenny, this Sunday for the annual gathering of Toyota Fest Ireland. The organisers are expecting a large turnout, which takes place at Kelly’s Toyota, Port Rd., Letterkenny from 12 noon.Toyota Fest Ireland is a static Toyota Car Show displaying all things Toyota, Lexus & Daihatsu.Speaking on behalf of this years event was one of the organisers, Gary Kelly,“We are absolutely delighted to take the Toyota Fest Ireland again to Donegal for the 2nd time. “It was a huge success previously and the response through Toyota networks and through our social media from Toyota Enthuasiats all over, has been unreal.“It will be a great day out for all car enthusiasts and a fun day out for all the family”.“This will be a unique event when all Toyota enthusiasts will bring their vehicles, visit and meet with other enthusiasts, build camaraderie, partake in a sense of community, and enjoy the day with friends and family.“It will be a safe and fun event for everyone to enjoy and all with a common love of TOYOTA vehicles.”“We are also delighted that we can help the local Jigsaw Donegal branch by creating awareness and money for this charity, who have helped so many young people with mental health issues in our county.They are a service that lends a listening ear & provides an invaluable counselling service for young people in our county, you are all welcome to come along & I would like to thank Kelly’s Toyota, Letterkenny & all the local businesses who have supported us again this year”. “Pre-Registration is not essential, just arrive with your car and you will be granted entry. A €10 registration fee per car will apply. Spectator parking will be located opposite the Kelly’s Toyota show grounds at Donaghey Motorhomes and will be signposted.“Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday, says Gary.”MASSIVE CROWD EXPECTED AT THE TOYOTA FEST IN LETTERKENNY THIS SUNDAY! was last modified: June 2nd, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessdonegalFeaturesIrelandnewsToyotaToyota Festivallast_img read more

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GLENSWILLY TO HOST ANNUAL CLEAN-UP AHEAD OF ANNUAL 5K

first_imgThe community of Glenswilly are coming together to give their area a summer clean-up.The clean-up, which takes place this Wednesday night, coincides with the hosting of Glenswilly GAA Club’s annual 5K on Tuesday week.All cleaning materials including gloves, etc will be supplied on the evening.   GLENSWILLY TO HOST ANNUAL CLEAN-UP AHEAD OF ANNUAL 5K was last modified: June 13th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:clean-updonegalGlenswilly 5Klast_img read more

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European Football Show Podcast on talkSPORT 2, June 29 2017

first_imgNat Coombs and Andy Brassell discuss the latest transfer stories from around Europe.They catch up with the latest from the Confederations Cup and the Uefa European Under 21 Championship.last_img

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WATERFORD HITMAN DEMPSEY ENDS HARPS UNBEATEN RUN

first_imgA pair of stunning Gary Dempsey free-kicks brought Finn Harps ten game unbeaten run to a halt at Finn Park last night.Both sides were evenly matched in the first half but harps were left on the back-foot when Waterford midfielder Dempsey struck in the 44th and 49th minutes.Ever dependable goal-poacher Kevin McHugh gave Harps a chink of light when he scored in the 56th minute. The home side threw everything at the visitors for the last half hour but Waterford did well to shut up shop to eventually win out 2-1 winners.Harps can feel a little hard-done-by and perhaps should have got a share of the spoils from Waterford who are now four points behind leaders Limerick. WATERFORD HITMAN DEMPSEY ENDS HARPS UNBEATEN RUN was last modified: September 30th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:finn harpsWaterford Utdlast_img read more

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