Waterford ease to win over kingdom
The Waterford Senior Hurling team saw a number of established players back in the starting lineup for the visit of Kerry to Dungarvan last weekend. Over the last number of weeks the management under Derek McGrath have used the Munster Hurling league as an opportunity of looking at the extended panel and indeed, many who have not previously been involved with the county panel. Under the circumstances the management, although suffering defeat, will certainly have been heartened by the display of many of the players on view in those earlier games and no doubt some of the debutants will have posted notice for inclusion in the Allianz National League squad. On Saturday last the men from the Kingdom were the visitors to Fraher Field. While this game was originally scheduled for a Kerry venue, the Dungarvan fixture suited as the men from the Southwest had planned a training schedule away for the weekend.
Before a very sparse attendance (200 plus) it was the home side who made a quickfire start with three goals in a seven minutes period midway through the opening half. Stephen Bennett was the first to bring up a green flag as he got the ball over the line in the 12th minute following a mistake by Kerry keeper Aidan McCabe. Waterford bainisteoir Derek McGrath and his backroom team had made one switch before proceedings got under way with Mikey Kearney replacing Jamie Barron. A second goal from Michael "Brick" Walsh five minutes later saw the Deise ahead by nine points 2-5 to 0-2. Conor Gleeson then placed Austin Gleeson for goal number three on nineteen minutes and it was already an uphill struggle for the men from the Kingdom. Points for the visitors from John Egan, Daniel Collins and Shane Nolan gave them some impetus but the magnificent striking of Ballygunner clubman Pauric Mahony with seven points in the opening half saw the Deise comfortably in the lead at half time 3-9 to 0-7.
The second half was a much closer affair as Padraig Boyle and Shane Nolan landed frees but three from substitute Brian O'Halloran kept the Deise well in front. Goal number four for Waterford arrived as substitute Thomas Ryan finished to the net on 62 minutes to leave Waterford fifteen points ahead 4-17 to 0-14. However it was Pauric Mahony who finished the scoring for Waterford as he landed three more points to leave his team seventeen points ahead 4-21 to 0-16 as referee and Cork clubman Nathan Wall called time on proceedings.
No doubt Derek McGrath and his backroom team will have been pleased with the result. A win, even if against a lower division team is always welcome. There are bigger games ahead and over the next couple of weeks, before the first Allianz National League outing against Kilkenny, the little problems will surely be ironed out.
LISMORE LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Having been relegated from the Waterford Senior Hurling Championship at the end of the 2015 season, it was always going to be the target of Lismore to bounce straight back up in 2016. That ambition was fulfilled with a very comprehensive win over Dunhill in the domestic final and so the lads from the Cathedral Town went on to represent the county in the Provincial championship and again they claimed all before them to capture the Munster crown. Going into their semi-final clash against the Mannion Brothers led Ahascragh/Fohenagh last Sunday there was every reason to believe that again the Waterford standard bearers could come through and claim their place in a Croke Park showdown.With players of the calibre of the Shanahans, Bennetts, Prendergasts, the Barrys and the experience of veteran Brendan Landers their was great expectation that Sunday could well be a defining game for the club.
The early skirmishes of the game saw Galway corner forward Cathal Mannion very much to the fore and his sharpshooting helped the Tribesmen to a 0-6 to 0-3 lead after ten minutes. However if Mannion was delivering for Galway then Maurice Shanahan was also doing his bit for Lismore and they were level 0-7 apiece after fifteen minutes. The crucial score of the game came on 26 minutes when Luke Cosgrave escaped the defence and goaled. This gave Galway a six point lead 1-10 to 0-7, a lead that Lismore could never subsequently erase. Both sharpshooters Maurice Shanahan of Lismore and Cathal Mannion of Ahascragh ended the half on six points apiece.
The early exchanges of the second half saw the Galway men hold their lead withsix points between the sides 1-13 to 0-10 after forty minutes. Lismore were denied a goal on 43 minutes as a shot from Maurice Shanahancame screaming back off the crossbar. What a difference that might very well have made. In the end the Cathedral Town men just could not peg back the deficit and despite having both Maurice Shanahan and John Prendergast dismissed they continued to battle but went down in the end on a 1-17 to 0-13 scoreline.
FOOTBALLERS UP FOR LEAGUE
On Sunday next in Leamybrien the Waterford Senior Football team will face London in the opening round of the Allianz National league. With a few games under their belts the results have not gone the way of the deise but manager Tom McGlinchy and his squad will be hoping that Leamybrien will change all that on Sunday next. I'm pretty sure that the management starting fifteen will remain pretty close to that which has been seen lately with Ballinacourty clubman Stephen Enright in goal. Outside him Thomas O'Gorman will police the edge of the square with James McGrath, Ray O'Ceallaigh and Stephen Prendergast all looking to lock down a place. Midfield will be entrusted to Tommy Prendergast and Michael Curry in the hope that they can win more than break even in the engine room. Up front the main targets will surely be Paul Whyte and Patrick Hurney. They have consistently been at the head of the scoring charts for Waterford and with the right supply will punish any lapse of concentration in the London defence. No doubt Michael O'Halloran, Joey Veale, Donie Breathnach, Gavin Crotty and Dylan Guiry etc will also be hoping to get an opportunity to help Waterford get off to a flier of a start to their Allianz campaign. Difficult to know what London will produce this year but fair to say that they can always provide a shock or two. Also interesting to see what we will make of the famous "mark".