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Munster SHC: Waterford vanquish Rebels

Jamie Barron of Waterford celebrates after scoring a point during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Waterford and Cork at Walsh Park in Waterford. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

Jamie Barron of Waterford celebrates after scoring a point during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Waterford and Cork at Walsh Park in Waterford. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 1


By Tomás McCarthy at Walsh Park

"Up The Déise!" exclaimed the PA announcer after Waterford won a 53 score cracker against Cork at an electric Walsh Park.

Goals in either half from Jamie Barron and Stephen Bennett drove Davy Fitzgerald's side to an unexpected victory in front of 11,973 fans in the April sunshine. Three-time All Star Barron dazzled with 1-3 from play on his 100th senior appearance. New free taker Dessie Hutchinson hit ten points for the white and blue. Calum Lyons, Michael Kiely, Jack Prendergast, Darragh Lyons and Neil Montgomery also produced big moments.

Alan Connolly's late goal couldn't rescue Cork. A black card for Ciaran Joyce and two yellows for Damien Cahalane hurt Pat Ryan's men.

Walsh Park erupted after just 90 seconds when Jamie Barron sprinted onto a puckout and burst the top corner of the net. The perfect way to mark his 100th senior appearance. Dessie Hutchinson was handed the free taking duties but the Ballygunner ace missed his first. The hosts raced 1-4 to 0-1 ahead by the tenth minute with Michael Kiely, Barron and Jack Prendergast all split the uprights. The Rebels with three unanswered points via Patrick Horgan (free), Darragh Fitzgibbon and Alan Connolly.

Pat Ryan's registered eight first half wides as Waterford moved seven clear. Stephen Bennett belted over two from play while Hutchinson hit two frees.

The pace of the Deise half forward line caused Cork problems. On 22 minutes, a last ditch block from Mark Colmean denied Michael Kiely a goal.

Despite their erratic shooting, three Darragh Fitzgibbon points from play kept Cork in the contest. Waterford missed four placed balls in the opening half but reached the dressing rooms four in front (1-11 to 0-10). Calum Lyons landed a long range effort in injury time for Davy Fitzgerald's men.

Mark Coleman moved to midfield for the start of the second half and pointed within ten seconds. Tommy O'Connell man marked Jamie Barron. Fitzggibon's fourth point left just the bare minimum between the sides.

Barron got a beauty from the stand sideline. On 42 minutes, Stephen Bennett soloed through on the Cork goal but Patrick Collins thwarted him. Alan Connolly won a free at the other end and Horgan converted. A foul on Fitzgibbon gave Horgan the chance to level (1-13 to 0-16).

Neil Montgomery regained the lead for the Deise. Calum Lyons from play and Hutchinson from a free left a goal in it. Seamus Harnedy and Alan Connolly hit back for Cork. Hutchinson added two frees to his tally entering the last quarter.

With thirteen minutes left, Jack Prendergast fetched a ball and was pulled down by Ciaran Joyce. Referee Michael Kennedy flashed a black card to the Cork defender and Stephen Bennett buried the penalty in the corner of Patrick Collins' net (2-18 to 0-19). Seamus Harnedy and Ger Mellerick sliced the gap to three.

On 62 minutes, the visitors were reduced to thirteen men when Damien Cahalane received his second yellow. Late points from Hutchinson and Calum Lyons gave the leaders a five point cushion. Davy Fitzgerald's charges got a fright however when Alan Connolly billowed the net in the last minute. In a grandstand finish, like Waterford-Cork battles of old, Patrick Curran and Hutchinson eased the nerves of the home supporters with injury time white flags.

Scorers for Waterford: Dessie Hutchinson 0-10 (9fs), Jamie Barron, Stephen Bennett (1-0 penalty, 1f) 1-3 each, Calum Lyons 0-3, Patrick Curran, Jack Prendergast 0-2 each. Neil Montgomery, Michael Kiely 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Alan Connolly 1-4 (2fs), Patrick Horgan 0-7 (7fs), Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-4, Shane Barrett 0-3, Seamus Harnedy 0-2, Ger Mellerick, Mark Coleman, Conor Lehane, Robbie O'Flynn, Brian Hayes 0-1 each.

WATERFORD: Shaun O'Brien; Iarlaith Daly, Conor Prunty, Kieran Bennett; Calum Lyons, Tadhg De Burca, Mark Fitzgerald; Darragh Lyons, Neil Montgomery; Michael Kiely, Jack Prendergast, Jamie Barron; Kevin Mahony, Stephen Bennett, Dessie Hutchinson.

Subs: Patrick Fitzgerald for Mahony (58), Patrick Curran for Montgomery (63), Padraig Fitzgerald for Kiely (73).

CORK: Patrick Collins; Ger Mellerick, Damien Cahalane, Sean O'Donoghue; Robert Downey, Ciaran Joyce, Mark Coleman; Tommy O'Connell, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Sean Twomey, Conor Lehane, Seamus Harnedy; Shane Barrett, Alan Connolly, Patrick Horgan.

Subs: Robbie O'Flynn for Twomey (HT), Brian Hayes for Lehane (52), Luke Meade for Harnedy (60), Eoin Downey for Horgan (64), Jack O'Connor for Coleman (71).

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary)