All Ireland SHC S-F: Wonderful Waterford finish with a flourish
All Ireland SHC Semi-Final
WATERFORD 4-19 CORK 0-20
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
Ultimately it was decided by a glorious four minute Waterford second half burst which yielded 2-2 without reply.
When Patrick Horgan launched a spectacular point in the 58th minute Cork, gaining in belief even though Damien Cahalane had been sent off earlier, were 0-18 to 1-13 ahead.
Waterford’s response dripped with character and craft as Austin Gleeson flared to prominence. Gleeson’s razor sharp delivery found the influential Jamie Barron, who batted the match turning goal.
Conor Gleeson quickly added a point prior to another flash of class from Austin Gleeson, who burst through to rattle the Cork net.
Within seconds Pauric Mahony rifled over a free; Waterford weren’t going to be denied. Late on Cork’s Patrick Horgan and Conor Gleeson were dismissed before Barron nailed a fourth Waterford goal.
Few would have predicted an 11 point Waterford win at the turnaround. Tight, tense, and tactical the opening half included small bursts of enterprise from two evenly matched teams.
A couple of gorgeous Patrick Horgan points arrived either side of a Pauric Mahony effort as the game commenced at a blistering speed.
Waterford pounced for a fourth minute goal when Shane Barrett’s pass located Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, who had sufficient guile to rattle the Cork net.
Despite the concession, Cork hung on in there with Horgan all clever touches inside as the Glen Rovers clubman struck seven first half points, including three from play.
At the opposite end, though, Kevin Moran rifled over three for Waterford, who went in at the break armed with a slender 1-7 to 0-9 advantage.
It was keenly contested on the pitch and sideline, but the issue remained delicately poised as Cork and Waterford returned for the second period.
That is how it stayed in the third quarter, but Cork suffered a significant setback in the 51st minute when Cahalane was sent off for a second bookable offence following a foul on Conor Gleeson.
At that stage Cork were 0-15 to 1-11 to the good, but Waterford were beginning to stir. Pauric Mahony and Austin Gleeson rifled points, but Cork came thundering back.
Three fine points on the spin from Alan Cadogan and Horgan (2) had Cork in front, but then Waterford administered the decisive blows.
Barron (58) and Austin Gleeson (59) bagged the goals as the travelling Deise faithful celebrated furiously. There was no way back for Cork.
Horgan and Conor Gleeson were red carded with two minutes left on the clock. The last grace note was supplied by the energetic Barron, who thumped a fourth Waterford goal. It merely embellished a stirring Waterford win. Next month’s decider against Galway won’t be short on drama or intrigue either.
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-8 (6fs), Jamie Barron 2-1, Austin Gleeson 1-2, Kevin Moran 0-4, Michael Walsh 1-0, Darragh Fives, Brian O’Halloran, Conor Gleeson, and Maurice Shanahan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-12 (7fs), Alan Cadogan and Conor Lehane 0-2 each, Shane Kingston, Luke O’Farrell, Seamus Harnedy, Darragh Fitzgibbon (sideline) 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors; Kieran Bennett, Philip Mahony, Conor Gleeson; Jamie Barron, Kevin Moran; Michael Walsh, Pauric Mahony, Austin Gleeson; Shane Bennett, Jake Dillon, Darragh Fives.
Subs: Maurice Shanahan for Jake Dillon (46), Brian O’Halloran for Shane Bennett (55), Tommy Ryan for Michael Walsh (59), Colin Dunford for Pauric Mahony (69), Patrick Curran for Jamie Barron (70).
CORK: Anthony Nash; Stephen McDonnell, Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane; Christopher Joyce, Mark Ellis, Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Seamus Harnedy, Conor Lehane, Shane Kingston; Alan Cadogan, Patrick Horgan, Luke Meade.
Subs: Michael Cahalane for Luke Meade (HT), Daniel Kearney for Bill Cooper (65), Luke O’Farrell for Alan Cadogan (65).
REFEREE: James Owens (Wexford).