Wednesday, 20th September 2017
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Cork roll on as Waterford challenge ends

In the cauldron that was Semple Stadium Thurles on Sunday last it was Cork who produced the goods against Waterford as they came through on a 0-23 to 1-15 scoreline in the Munster Senior Hurling semi-final. The Rebels, who opened their championship campaign with a defeat of reigning All-Ireland kingpins Tipperary, showed that they have very quickly become battle hardened with a comprehensive display that has catapulted them to "possible" ultimate winners. In the sweltering conditions it was Cork who finished the stronger and restricting Waterford to just three points in the final fifteen minutes was never going to be enough for the Deise.

Over thirty three thousand fans packed into the "home of hurling" for this encounter between neighbours Waterford and Cork. It was part of a double header with the under 25 Reserves Munster Final between Waterford and Limerick getting proceedings under way. Waterford, under the stewardship of minor and under 21 All-Ireland winning manager Sean Power, were quickly on the scoreboard with points from JP Lucey, Shane Ryan and Jack Prendergast and held an advantage throughout the opening quarter (0-6 to 1-2). The Limerick goal coming after a mixup in the Waterford defence allowed Oisin O'Reilly to score. A second goal for the Treatystone on nineteen minutes from Kyle Dillon saw them four points ahead after twenty minutes. Credit Waterford they came roaring back with five unanswered points from Andy Molumby (2) and one apiece from Shane Ryan, Jack Prendergast and Cormac Curran which helped the Deise to a slender one point lead (0-13 to 2-6) at the break. No doubt Waterford would have been reasonably satisfied with the opening half and more so as JP Lucey pointed right on the restart. For much of the third quarter it was Waterford just holding sway but another goal from O'Reilly in the 48th minute saw Limerick steal ahead 3-9 to 0-17. The Deise however were back in front within a minute as JP Lucey and Shane Ryane combined for the De La Salle man to goal 1-17 to 3-9. Limerick then had an opportunity spurned as Conor Boylan broke the defence but his effort was wide. The Shannonsiders were back in front however when a superb run from Kilmallock man O'Reilly saw him crash the ball past Billy Nolan in the Waterford goal. With time ticking down and Limerick leading 4-12 to

1-18 a high challenge saw Limerick defender Andrew La Touche Cosgrave red carded. Waterford goalkeeper Billy Nolan came forward to look for the goal but his rising shot was over the bar and Limerick held out to claim the inaugural final of this unique competition.

SENIOR DISAPPOINTMENT

As fans basked in the sunshine of Thurles it was relentless pressure conditions for Waterford and Cork as they did their warmups before this Munster Senior Hurling semi-final. The winner having a date with Clare in the final. Cork chose to defend the town goal as Barry Kelly got proceedings underway but Waterford had the early chance as a huge long distance free from Pauric Mahony was just short. Patrick Horgan then opened the scoring for Cork as he pointed within two minutes. Centre forward Conor Lehane was wide with an effort before Darragh Fitzgibbon added a second point in the 3rd minute. Waterford's Stephen Bennett pointed and when Bennett and Mahony added a brace the Deise were in front 0-3 to 0-2. Early days but scores can settle teams. a short lull before Seamus Harnedy pointed to level for Cork.

Austin Gleeson with a magnificent point saw the Deise back in front but a Mark Coleman line ball sailed over in the 12th minute to level once again. Cork were beginning to create chances as Conor Lehane added a brace of scores 0-6 to 0-4. Cork saw two more opportunities squandered before Pauric Mahony added a point. A huge free from Horgan and a point from Mark Ellis saw the Leesiders three ahead 0-8 to 0-5. Pauric Mahony and Shane Bennett added Waterford points but again Horgan was on target for Cork 0-9 to 0-7. Freetakers Mahony and Horgan exchanged points as Cork led 0-10 to 0-8 with the game inside the final ten minutes of the half.

Both teams missed a couple of scoring chances but Waterford through the industry of the superb Jamie Barron were back to the minimum 0-10 to 0-9 on 32 minutes. The Fourmilewater man being sent through by Tadhg de Burca. The Waterford defence was very nearly breached within the following minute as Cork broke through only to see Waterford keeper Stephen O'Keeffe bring off two incredible saves from Horgan and Alan Cadogan. Straight back upfield and Kevin Moran levelled for Waterford 0-10 apiece. In the minutes remaining in the opening half both Pauric Mahony and Conor Lehane saw efforts wide of the mark and the sides remained level at the break. In the sweltering conditions it was a credit to both teams that they served up such a thrilling game.

The opening minutes of the second half saw Bill Cooper and Austin Gleeson exchange points. Waterford very nearly goaled in the 37th minute as Shane bennett saw his effort hit the side netting. Within a minute Seamus Harnedy very nearly goaled for Cork but his effort was blocked.

From the resultant 65 metre free Patrick Horgan pointed. Mark Coleman opened the way for Conor Lehane to point and when both Horgan and Alan Cadogan added two more the lead way out to four points 0-15 to 0-11. Pauric Mahony added a point for Waterford and the Cork defence was finally breached when Maurice Shanahan raced through to goal. Sides level 1-12 to 0-15. Waterford manager Derek McGrath brought Tallow clubman Tommy Ryan into the action. On such a blisteringly warm afternoon no doubt the management believed that the pace of Ryan would open the Cork rearguards.

The Rebels, with Conor Lehane the chief architect, opened up a healthy three point lead once again as Horgan, Lehane and Cadogan found the range 0-18 to 1-12. Perhaps it was fatigue, but both sides were off target with efforts before substitute Brian O'Halloran, introduce for Shane Bennett, added a point. Michael Cahalane and Patrick Horgan added

Cork points as the Rebels edged back four in front 0-20 to 1-13. Darragh Fives replaced Shane in the Waterford defence. This was a battle in the sun from two heavyweights. Perhaps, I dare say, the second coming of the "Thrilla in Manilla" for those of an older generation and all without the punches.

Ten minutes on the clock and Cork found themselves down to fourteen men as corner back Colm Spillane was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Jake Dillon replaced hurler of the year Austin Gleeson in the Waterford attack. Seamus Harnedy added a Cork point as Jamie Barron did likewise for Waterford 0-21 to 1-14. Pauric Mahony was wide with an effort as Patrick Curran replaced Michael Walsh in the front line of attack. A Patrick Horgan free edged the rebels further clear as Seamus Harnedy added yet another 0-23 to 1-14. Deep into injury a Maurice Shanahan point from a free the only consolation at the end for Waterford in what was a most disappointing day.

The Deise were clear favourites going into this game but it appeared to all unravel midway through the second half. A return of just one point between the 46th and 64th minutes will never be good enough to win games at this level. However all is not lost and dare I say there may yet be a long Summer ahead. Today there will be huge disppointment but we know that this team has "risen from the ashes" on previous occasions so let's hope they can do so again.

FOOTBALLERS MAKING PROGRESS

Fraher Field in Dungarvan played host to Round 1A of the All-Ireland Senior Football qualifiers as Derry came to town to play the Deise. The Oak leaf county have fallen from their lofty heights of a few years ago when they were at the top of the football tree, but that said, they are still a formidable outfit as shown by their run in the qualifiers in 2016 following defeat to Tyrone.

Waterford entered this game on the back of a superb effort against Cork, a game incidentally they could, no perhaps, should have won. That said this was the qualifiers and a different challenged was now posed. The opening half saw the Deise play with the aid of a gentle breeze and they operated the defensive system so successful against the Rebels. It was however the men from the "walled City" who were very much on the offensive and they led 0-4 to 0-0 after ten minutes. The Deise did however have a couple of placed ball chances which were not taken but Gavin Crotty did open their account on eleven minutes.

The home side were dealt a huge blow midway through the half when James McGrath was black carded for a block on Danny Heavron. It was real end to end stuff with the visitors just keeping their noses in front.

Waterford continued to create opportunities with Donie Breathnach, Gavin Crotty, Ferghal O'Cuirrin and Tommy Prendergast all adding scores to leave Derry just two ahead 0-11 to 0-9 at the break. Kieran McFaul and James Kielt continued to torment the Waterford defence which was eventually breached when Karl McKaigue put Heavron through on goal.

Despite a valliant effort from Stephen Enright the Derry midfielder slipped the ball to the net. That set the Derry men on the road and they ran out 1-17 to 0-13 winners despite a huge effort from Tom McGlinchy's side.

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