Waterford v Cork: Rebels roar back into contention

Victory in Walsh Park achieved with powerful performance
Waterford v Cork: Rebels roar back into contention

Cork's Alan Connolly of Cork celebrates his first goal. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Waterford 1-19 Cork 2-22

Cork kept their season alive as a spirited performance secured victory over Waterford in Sunday’s Munster SHC clash at Walsh Park.

Having lost to Limerick and Clare, there was no room for error against the side that had beaten them in the Allianz Hurling League final but Cork’s display was much improved and they were full value for the six-point win.

Playing with the wind in the first half, Cork didn’t have a score from play in the opening quarter of an hour, with Patrick Horgan’s third point on 14 minutes bringing them back to within three points, 0-6 to 0-3. That was after Waterford had had four in a row, with some soft frees on both sides.

Cork were working hard, though, and they came to lift after a long-range Mark Coleman point was followed by a good Séamus Harnedy effort following a Darragh Fitzgibbon sideline cut. Benefiting from the breeze, goalkeeper Patrick Collins levelled with a huge score from play and then Cork hit the front with a goal.

Fitzgibbon initiated the move with a burst from midfield, feeding Robbie O’Flynn, who did well before shooting goalwards and, while Shaun O’Brien saved from him, Alan Connolly was there to touch home the loose ball for a 1-6 to 0-6 lead.

Another point would have given them a cushion but instead, Waterford came back strongly with an unanswered 1-4, the goal from Michael Kiely after Collins had saved from Patrick Curran. Two from Bennett and Gleeson’s second of the game made it 1-10 to 1-6, but Cork were refusing to wilt. They scored six of the last seven points of the half, with Fitzgibbon really to the fore as he scored a brilliant individual effort and sent another over from distance to send the visitors in leading by 1-12 to 1-11.

While Waterford would have the breeze for the second half, Cork had two more points added before the Déise added to their account as Horgan sent a free over and Shane Kingston – a first-half sub for Shane Barrett – got off the mark. Horgan might have had a goal chance but he was unable to reach a Harnedy pass and he was soon to depart, replaced by Tim O’Mahony.

The Newtownshandrum man – unable to start and replaced in the half-back line by Damien Cahalane – made himself a nuisance of himself at full-forward and helped Harnedy to get his third point after a nice one-two. Harnedy followed that with a superb team score involving Ciarán Joyce, Collins and Robert Downey to make it 1-16 to 1-13 after 49 minutes.

While Waterford came back with points from sub Neil Montgomery and a Gleeson free, the second Cork goal, on 52, provided breathing space again. It was brilliantly worked, with O’Mahony and Harnedy linking to get the ball towards Kingston, whose lovely touch allowed Connolly to rattle the net for the second time. Lehane’s free in the wake of that made it 2-17 to 1-16.

Though subs Peter Hogan and Montgomery replied for Waterford, they were rattled, as evidenced by missed frees from Gleeson and Stephen Bennett before Gleeson was involved in an altercation with Downey. Both were yellow-carded but, as Gleeson had already been booked, it was his last action and Waterford had to finish with 14.

They needed a goal to stay in it but the resolute Cork defence didn’t look like allowing it, apart from a couple of scrambles that amounted to nothing. A third goal at the other end would have made life easier and Connolly nearly had his hat-trick after O’Mahony’s good run but O’Brien saved from him.

As injury time dawned, Waterford had the gap down to three, 2-19 to 1-19, after Shane Bennett’s point, but Cork weren’t going to be denied. Lehane, tireless to the last, added two late points – one following a Joyce turnover and the other created by a Connolly flick – before Harnedy rounded things off with his fifth following a skyscraping catch.

It left six between the teams at the end, Cork living to fight another day.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-7 (0-6f), A Gleeson 0-4 (0-1f), M Kiely 1-0, P Curran (0-1f), N Montgomery 0-2 each, J Prendergast, D Hutchinson, Shane Bennett, P Hogan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: A Connolly 2-0, S Harnedy, C Lehane (0-2f) 0-5 each, P Horgan 0-4f, S Kingston, D Fitzgibbon, M Coleman 0-2 each, L Meade, P Collins 0-1.

WATERFORD: S O’Brien; S McNulty, C Prunty, C Gleeson; C Lyons, T de Búrca, J Fagan; C Daly, J Barron; Stephen Bennett, P Curran, J Prendergast; D Hutchinson, M Kiely, A Gleeson.

Subs: P Hogan for Daly (half-time), D Lyons for Barron, N Montgomery for Kiely (both 46), Shane Bennett for Stephen Bennett (65), C Dunford for Curran (69).

CORK: P Collins (Ballinhassig); N O’Leary (Castlelyons), R Downey (Glen Rovers), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra); M Coleman (Blarney), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), D Cahalane (St Finbarr’s); D Fitzgibbon (Charleville), L Meade (Newcestown); R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), S Barrett (Blarney); A Connolly (Blackrock), P Horgan (Glen Rovers), C Lehane (Midleton).

Subs: S Kingston (Douglas) for Barrett (27), T O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum) for Horgan (40), C Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) for O’Flynn (64), T O’Connell (Midleton) for Meade (69), B Roche (Bride Rovers) for Lehane (70).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).

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