Davy Fitzgerald praised Waterford's fighting spirit as they came close to a thrilling victory over Dublin despite finishing the game with 13 players.

The Déise led by 1-05 to 0-00 after 17 minutes, only to go in level at the interval after Dublin rallied, and they had Jack Fagan dismissed midway through the second half before Stephen Bennett received a straight red with nine minutes remaining.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Waterford eked out a two-point lead in injury-time but Dublin finished strongly to come away from Dungarvan with a share of the spoils.

"I’m absolutely thrilled with the fight," Waterford manager Fitzgerald told RTÉ Sport after the 2-19 to 3-15 draw.

"When you go down to 13 against 15 and there’s still a nice bit of time left, that takes character. I’m delighted with that.

"My honest opinion is we conceded two soft goals. We should have won that game. We let Dublin back into the game. We wouldn’t be happy with the first two goals they got but the character at the end, really happy with it."

Fitzgerald was frustrated with linesman Colm Lyons for his role in Bennett’s sending off. The full-forward, who top-scored with 2-07, saw red for an altercation with Paddy Doyle.

"What I would say to Colm Lyons, who was the sideline guy at the time, he is really good at what he does but he has got to watch what happens before an incident takes place," said Fitzgerald.

"Two things happening and it might have looked a lot worse than it actually was. We’re not going to crib and cry, it is what it is, we’ll deal with it and that’s it.

"People have doubted the character of these guys. That’s serious character here."

Fitzgerald was delighted with the impact of his bench, with Austin Gleeson scoring four points after his introduction.

"There'll be competition for places and that’s what we want," he said, 'but we still have a lot of work to do, and I said that from day one.

"Some things were really good out there today and we have improved on certain things, but there’s aspects we need to tighten up. And we will do that."