Allianz HL D1: Kilkenny edge out Waterford
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B
Kilkenny 0-18 Waterford 0-16
By Robert Cribbin at UPMC Nowlan Park
Kilkenny booked their place in the semi-finals of the Division 1 Allianz National Hurling League after they dug out a two point victory over Waterford in a damp and dreary UPMC Nowlan Park.
It was the accuracy of Billy Drennan that helped the Cats garner the required result as they came from three points behind to claim victory.
Drennan has impressed in all five league outings thus far and while the All-Ireland Under 20 winner was restricted to just a single point from play it was his accuracy on placed balls that saw him score nine out of nine that was most impressive.
Waterford looked to have the upper hand at different stages of the second half but with Drennan keeping the Cats in touch, they found a way to turn the momentum with subs Shane Walsh and Alan Murphy hitting important late scores.
The opening half's fare was riddled with mistakes and while the Deise seemed to have the better of it, they did hit eight wides that would eventually pay in the end.
Like against Tipperary a few weeks ago, Kilkenny continued to mix things up in their style of play but it came undone on many occasions during that first half and if it weren't for their opponents wastefulness in front of goal, it could have been a much different game.
Drennan hit five points, all from frees for the Cats in the first half and while they didn't score from play until the 12th minute Derek Lyng's side still opened up an 0-8 to 0-5 advantage through efforts from Martin Keoghan, John Donnelly and Darragh Corcoran.
A pair of frees from Paudie Fitzgerald who took over the reins from Patrick Curran after he had already missed two brought Waterford back within a point by the half-time whistle.
The Munster side then owned the opening minutes of the second period where points from Fitzgerald, Tadhg de Burca and Neil Montgomery gave Waterford a 0-12 to 0-9 lead.
Kilkenny responded with three on the bounce via Drennan, Conor Fogarty and Gearoid Dunne to go level but Waterford still held the initiative with further points from Fitzgerald and Tom Barron.
The Cats then surged forward and after hitting the next five points including a superb on the sideline free from Drennan, they appeared to have the job done.
Waterford hit back with points from Patrick Fitzgerald and Colin Dunford but Kilkenny held out with Alan Murphy hitting over the insurance score in stoppage time.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 0-10 (9fs), Conor Fogarty, Shane Walsh, John Donnelly, Martin Keoghan, Eoin Cody, Darragh Corcoran, Alan Murphy and Gearoid Dunne 0-1 each
Scorers for Waterford: Paudie Fitzgerald 0-6 (6fs), Colin Dunford, Tom Barron, Neil Montgomery 0-2 each, Tadhg de Burca 0-1 (1f), Patrick Fitzgerald, Patrick Curran and Jack Prendergast 0-1 each
Kilkenny: Darren Brennan; Tommy Walsh, Conor Delaney, Padraig Walsh; David Blanchfield, Paddy Deegan, Darragh Corcoran; Conor Fogarty, Cian Kenny; Billy Ryan, John Donnelly, Eoin Cody; Billy Drennan, Martin Keoghan, Gearoid Dunne.
Subs- Alan Murphy for Kenny (HT), Timmy Clifford for Ryan (42), Shane Walsh for Dunne (58), Tom Phelan for Keoghan (67), Ronan Corcoran for Cody (69).
Waterford: Billy Nolan; Iarlaith Daly, Mark Fitzgerald, Conor Ryan; Jack Fagan, Tadhg de Burca, Callum Lyons; Carthach Daly, Neil Montgomery; Tom Barron, Dessie Hutchinson, Jack Prendergast; Colin Dunford, Patrick Curran, Paudie Fitzgerald.
Subs: Patrick Fitzgerald for Curran (48), Paddy Leavey for Daly (59), Kevin Mahony for Paudie Fitzgerald (69), DJ Foran for Dunford (70).
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway).