Cork 2-10 Waterford 0-7
IF Cork, go on to win this year’s All-Ireland final they could well look back on this battle with Waterford as a key moment in their season.
They needed a test and in Walsh Park yesterday evening they got it against an excellent Waterford side.
I mentioned in my preview that Cork wouldn’t have it all their own way against a side that have captured the imagination his season. In front of a sizeable home crowd Waterford more than held their own against the champions. They led them by two points at the break in a low scoring opening half. With Waterford’s strong work rate, they closed down Cork’s short passing game.
Driving rain made conditions very difficult. Player’s slipped, passes went astray. When it was Cork making the errors, Waterford pounced. Cork didn’t get a spare second on the ball. Waterford’s lighting fast defence made life very difficult for Cork’s speedy forwards. Both Aoife Murray and Waterford keeper Brianna O’Regan pulled off confident saves as nothing separated the sides in general play.
Cork looked somewhat lethargic. They were qualified for the semi-final regardless of yesterday’s result and maybe that was the reason for their lack of spark. The speed of their play wasn’t where it has been all season, but this was their toughest game to date. This was the game which showed the areas for improvement and that is something Cork will be thankful for.
With the first half scores dominated by frees, five from the stick of Beth Carton and two from Orla Cotter, the free count wasn’t excessive considering the conditions. Scores were just hard to come by.
Cork were level within two minutes of the restart with two Orla Cronin points. Cork’s work-rate improved.
The driving rain continued. You could see the effect it had on long distance striking and frees as hurleys visibly slipped, the reliable Beth Carton missing two from placed balls.
Cork broke Waterford’s challenge on 44 minutes when Orla Cronin tore down the middle and struck a rasping shot to the back of the net. Waterford had chances after that, but wayward shooting cost them. Further points from Orla Cotter (f) and Libby Coppinger and Cork were six ahead before Niamh McCarthy hit the net on 61 minutes to make the game look easier than it was.
Scorers for Cork: O Cronin 1-3, O Cotter 0-3 f, L Coppinger 0-2, A O’Connor 0-1, H Looney 0-1.
Waterford: B Carton 0-5 f, A Lyng 0-2.
CORK: A Murray; L Hayes, P Mackey, L Treacy; H Looney, G O’Connor, C Sigerson; J White, B Corkery; A O’Connor, O Cronin, O Cotter; L Collins, J White, L Homan.
Subs: N McCarthy for J White (h-t), C McCarthy for O Cronin (49), K Hickey for L Coppinger (53), C Healy for L Collins (56), L O’Sullivan for H Looney (59).
WATERFORD: B O’Shea; K Lynch, I Heffernan, S Harney; C McGrath, S Curran, L Bray; E Hannon, O Hickey; A Lyng, N Rockett, B Carton; F Morrissey, A Power, S Lacey.
Subs: C Griffin for E Hannon (h-t), M Power for S Harney (47), A Landers for A Power (49), C Whyte for C McGrath (54), A Power for S Lacey (57).
Referee: Ray Kelly (Kildare).