Young guns crush early Rebel-lion to lead Waterford to narrow victory
New Waterford senior hurling manager Liam Cahill can only have been impressed with that afternoon’s work and the reaction of his team, especially the new faces making their first competitive intercounty appearances for the Déise.
After a disaster of a start, Waterford turned it around and came out a point on top in another National Hurling League Division 1A thriller.
What Liam Cahill must have been thinking just two minutes into his the first competitive game as new manager and a new beginning in front of an expectant home crowd – conceding two shockingly poor goals in the opening two minutes. Could Cahill have every imagined it starting so badly?
Waterford could not have started sloppier, 0-0 to 2-0 and the watch had barely broken 100 seconds.
Sorry Liam – let’s start over. And credit where credit is due, Waterford sporting lots of new faces today didn’t panic and got on with the task in hand.
Over the next 11 minutes, they outfought, out-hurled and outscored Cork 1-06 to 0-2 to take the lead – Cork racking up so many fouls out around the middle if it were rugby a man would have certainly been in the bin.
Conor Lehane and Shane Kingston’s early scores were pegged back by some fine scores from Jack Fagan pair, one a beauty of a sideline cut, Shane Walsh and Kieran Bennett, before Patrick Curran finished to the net, when it looked like he overran his opportunity.
The whirlwind calmed then around the 15th minute and we were treated to more of a battle, as the sliothar seemed to die on the surface causing a lot of errors and untidy moments.
The teams now going point for point, Stephen Bennett cracking over a peach from about 80 yards out to put Waterford two ahead.
With the game level and three minutes on the clock till the half, Shane Kingston blew an unreal chance to put the Rebels three up.
Just as the clock hit half-time minutes the was a few words exchanged between a couple of players under the stand and this seemed to spur on Waterford in time added on, two more scores – one another cracker by the impressive Patrick Curran. Waterford leading 1-13 to 2-08 at the half.
How different the start of the second half, eight points shared between the two teams in 20 minutes – uninspiring stuff.
Then Cork found two in a row just past 50 minutes to tie it up before a soft free in front of the posts put Waterford a point up with six to play.
A monster point with by the very impressive Iarlaith Daly put the Déise three ahead with ten minutes left on the clock.
The teams then swapped points, before Michael Kearney finally put more than a score between the teams pushing Waterford into a 1-22 to 2-15 lead with five minutes to go, followed by another shortly after by the excellent Patrick Curran.
Cork’s Shane Kingston made injury-time interesting, rattling the net to cut the deficit to two points with two minutes to go. Damien Cahalane then reduced it to the minimum with 60 seconds left.
Cork then piling on the pressure put two chance wide in 30 seconds and Waterford held on for a one-point victory which seemed unlikely just two minutes into the game, eventually winning out 1-24 to 3-17.
Liam Cahill must have been impressed with the team’s reaction to the terrible start and the performances of Stephen Bennett, and young guns Jack Fagan, Patrick Curran and Iarlaith Daly.