Munster SHC: Rebels blow Munster wide open
Munster Senior Hurling Championship
CORK 2-22 WATERFORD 1-19
By Dermot Keyes at Walsh Park
Cork stormed back into Munster Championship contention thanks to a win that was even more commanding than their six-point margin of victory suggested.
Inspired by Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy, Kieran Kingston’s side engineered a first provincial championship win for the Rebels at Walsh Park since last they met at this venue in this competition back in 1975.
With the breeze in their favour in front of a 10,986-strong gate, Cork held a slender 1-12 to 1-11 advantage following a first half which ebbed and flowed in either direction.
Waterford led by 0-6 to 0-2 after 13 minutes having struck four unanswered white flags, with Stephen Bennett’s free-taking eye clearly well calibrated during the opening half.
But the Rebels roared back into contention to lead by 1-6 to six points by the 22nd minute, with Alan Connolly reacting well to Shaun O’Brien’s save to find the net following assistance from Darragh Fitzgibbon and Robbie O’Flynn.
But Waterford recovered well and were back in front by the 27th minute thanks to a goal from Michael Kiely following excellent approach play by Dessie Hutchinson and Patrick Curran.
Between then and the break, the game swung one way and then the other, with long distance points by Cork goalkeeper Patrick Collins and Mark Coleman particularly catching the eye. While Waterford had shown enough in the first half to suggest they could turn the tide after the interval, Cork had other ideas entirely.
Points from Patrick Horgan, on the day he became the Championship’s all-time leading scorer and substitute Shane Kingston, extended Cork’s lead before Patrick Curran and Stephen Bennett (a free) pointed to reduce the arrears.
Waterford struggled to develop any meaningful level of rhythm while Cork kept the scoreboard working through Seamus Harnedy’s brace of points in the 44th and 49th minutes respectively.
Deise substitute Neil Montgomery found his range in the 50th minute and when Austin Gleeson pointed barely a minute later, the home crowd found its voice once more.
The next score felt like it would prove critical and so it did, as Alan Connolly, played in by Harnedy following a sweeping upfield move, goaled for the second time to leave Cork four clear.
Lehane pushed Cork further ahead before Deise sub Peter Hogan opened his account, followed moments later by a second Montgomery point to leave a goal separating the sides.
Connolly doubled the ball over the City End crossbar in the 62nd minute, followed moments later by Austin Gleeson’s dismissal for a second bookable offence, as Waterford’s slope grew increasingly steeper.
Lehane and Curran (after much deliberation among the officials) traded points in the 66th and 68th minutes and when Shane Bennett found his range with just a minute of normal time remaining, the hosts still had a sniff.
But with the extra man and a level of confidence they’d not demonstrated against either Limerick or Clare, Cork finished much the stronger with a brace from Lehane and a brilliant catch and shot by Harnedy hammering home the Rebels’ advantage.
And so a Super Sunday now awaits, with Cork taking on Tipperary in Semple Stadium while a deflated Waterford will head to Cusack Park (both 4pm throw-ins) for a match they know they must win.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett (0-7; 0-6f), Austin Gleeson (0-4; 0-1f), Patrick Curran (0-3; 0-1f), Michael Kiely (1-0), Neil Montgomery (0-2), Jack Prendergast (0-1), Peter Hogan (0-1), Shane Bennett (0-1).
Scorers for Cork: Alan Connolly (2-1), Seamus Harnedy (0-5), Conor Lehane (0-5; 0-2f), Patrick Horgan (0-4f), Mark Coleman (0-2), Darragh Fitzgibbon (0-2), Luke Meade (0-1), Shane Kingston (0-1), Patrick Collins (0-1).
Waterford: Shaun O’Brien;Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Jack Fagan, Tadhg De Búrca, Carthach Daly; Jamie Barron, Calum Lyons; Jack Prendergast, Austin Gleeson, Patrick Curran; Dessie Hutchinson, Stephen Bennett, Michael Kiely. Subs: Peter Hogan for Carhtach Daly (HT), Darragh Lyons for Jamie Barron and Neil Montgomery for Jamie Barron (both 47), Shane Bennett for Stephen Bennett (64).
Cork: Patrick Collins; Niall O’Leary, Robert Downey, Sean O’Donoghue; Damian Cahalane, Ciarán Joyce, Mark Coleman; Darragh Fitzgibbon, Luke Meade; Robbie O’Flynn, Patrick Horgan, Conor Lehane; Alan Connolly, Seamus Harnedy, Shane Barrett. Subs: Shane Kingston for Shane Barrett (28), Tim O’Mahony for Patrick Horgan (39), Conor Cahalane for Robbie O’Flynn (63),
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)