Apart from the first five minutes of this one-sided affair William O'Sullivan was a pleased man leaving the Seanpobal GAA ground in Dungarvan. "We were a little nervous heading into the game as we had not played since September and Waterford had a lot of early work done with winning the Jim Kennedy Cup," the Kerry manager admitted. He had no need to experience such a feeling as a near perfect Kerry performance was brought about by a real hunger and desire as Kerry seemed to be first to everything.
Kerry lead at half time 2-12 to 1-5 and even with running the bench and losing a player to a yellow card Kerry seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Pat O'Brien, the Waterford manager, certainly experienced the opposite feeling to his Kerry counterpart.
"We thought we would put it up to Kerry today. I'm disappointed as we never got off the ground. Kerry were just too good and the signs of a senior team playing an Intermediate team were plain to be seen they never left us play"
Patrice Dennehy got Kerry's account opened within the first minute with a well taken point from 35 metres but Waterford's response was rapid and effective. Michelle Ryan pointed two close in frees before adding a third from play inside two minutes.
The Kerry backline went missing as Aileen Wall hammered to the net a minute later and when Edel Murphy was forced to pull off a great save a few moment later from Mairead Wall it looked as if Kerry were in for a long afternoon, trailing 1-3 to 0-1 after six minutes.
However, this was as much resistance as Waterford were going to put up as Megan O'Connell, Mags O'Donoghue and Deirdre Corridan took control around the middle and were the platform for almost every attack for the rest of the first half. Kerry were back on level terms on the 10th minute with Patrice Dennehy on the end of a Louise Galvin pass to goal.
For the remainder of the half Kerry's power and greater physical strength was to the fore as they went on to add another 1-9 with Mags O'Donoghue goaling on the 20th minute. Waterford's only response was a Michelle Ryan free and a fine effort from Mairead Wall but they were already now tens points behind at the short whistle.
Waterford needed something special early in the second half to keep the contest alive but it was Kerry again who moved up another gear. Louise Ni Mhuirtearaigh (pictured) rattled the net in the 34th minute followed by her hard working full forward Louise Galvin raising a green flag a minute later and when Sarah Houlihans free dropped into the net in the 40th minute - Kerry led 5-17 to 1-6 and it was time to run the bench for William O'Sullivan. Waterford were more competitive in the last 20 minutes putting up a total of five points to Kerry's eight but Kerry were now moving down the gears with one eye on the Clare game.
Kerry's hunger, movement and handling all things that have lacked at different stages of previous league games in 2011 were at a new level and William O'Sullivan feels that getting to the All Ireland has had that effect.
"The experience of reaching the All-Ireland final last year will come in to play more this year. We have a bigger panel than we previously had and we have a real competition for places which is really good. It's great to see Breda and Gina back. Both have worked hard to get back and also to see Mags get a full game all positive," the Kerry boss said.
Kerry now focus on Clare next weekend in Listowel. Kerry were beaten by Clare last season and Clare also posed problems for Kerry in the Munster Championship before Kerry finally seeing off the banner ladies 3-12 to 1-14. Clare will be coming off the back of a somewhat surprise defeat at the hands of Fermanagh. If Sunday's display can be repeated Kerry will be strong favourites to collect their second win in two games but they will be well aware of the threats of Niamh O'Dea, Maria Kelly, Louise Henchey, Eimer and Ailish Considine may pose.
Throw-in in Listowel is at 2pm with Cork's Michael John O'Keefe to referee the contest..
Kerry: Edel Murphy, Cait Lynch, Aisliin Desmond, Caroline Kelly, Bernie Breen, Julie Brosnan, Denise Hallisey, Emma Sherwood, Megan O'Connell (0-3), Mags O'Donoghue (1-1), Deirdre Corridan (0-1), Maria Quirke (0-1), Louise Ni Mhuireartaigh (1-11), Louise Galvin (1-1), Patrice
Dennehy (1-3). Subs: Sarah Jane Joy (0-2) for Maria Quirke, Breda Lane (0-1) for Julie Brosnan, Sarah Houlihan (1-1) for Deirdre Corridan, Lorraine Scanlon for Megan O'Connell, Gina Crowley for Cait Lynch.
Waterford: Amy Jordan, Aoife McGovern, Anne Dunphy, Nora Dunphy, Grainne Enright, Aoife Landers, Mary Foley, Michelle McGrath, Karen McGrath, Linda Wall (0-1), Elaine Power (0-1), Mariead Wall (0-1), Aileen Wall
(1-0), Michelle Ryan(0-6) Shona Curran. Subs: Sinead Ryan (0-2) for Shona Curran.
Referee: Keith Delahunty