Waterford 4-7 Wicklow 1-12
Waterford had a new hero in corner-forward Mark Ferncombe as he clobbered Wicklow with three killer blows in the first half at Aughrim yesterday.
Both counties were looking for the win to boost their promotion prospects, but on the evidence of this game, it is Waterford who enhanced their chances of making a quick return to Division 3.
Ferncombe was on fire in the opening 20 minutes as he blasted Wicklow with a brilliant hat-trick and the home side were never able to recover from those blows.
Before being substituted, Wicklow's corner-back Jason Bolger had a nightmare opening 20 minutes trying to police Ferncombe, who applied the clinical finish to a move involving Shane Ahearne and lively Gary Hurney for his opening goal in the seventh minute.
Four minutes later he fisted to the net from the edge of the small square and completed his hat-trick on 15 minutes to steer Waterford to a 3-6 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Wicklow were in deeper trouble 12 minutes into the second half when Ahearne punched to the net, but a late rally saw the losers' Leighton Glynn convert a 63rd-minute penalty.
Midfielder James Stafford was sent off on a second yellow card three minutes from the end, while Waterford's corner-back Kieran Connery was dismissed in injury- time after picking up two yellows.
Man of the Match: M Ferncombe (W'ford)
Scorers -- Waterford: M Ferncombe 3-0, S Ahearne 1-0, P Hurney 0-3, S Fleming 0-2, G Hurney 0-1 (1f), C McGrath 0-1. Wicklow: L Glynn 1-3 (1-0 pen, 1f), S Furlong 0-5 (3f), A O'Malley 0-2, J Stafford, P Burke 0-1 each.
Waterford -- K Cotter 6; K Connery 6, M O'Gorman 7, C Phelan 7; T Grey 7, E Walsh 7, W Hennessy 7; S O'Hare 7, S Ahearne 7; C O'Keeffe 6, C McGrath 6, P Hurney 7; S Fleming 7, G Hurney 7 , M Ferncombe 8. Subs: T O'Gorman for C O'Keeffe, J Veale for C McGrath, JJ Hutchinson for S Ahearne, A Brophy for S Fleming, T O hUallachain for P Hurney.
Wicklow -- M Travers 6; C Hyland 6, A McLoughlin 6, J Bolger 4; P Cunningham 5, R Finn 6, A Byrne 6; J Stafford 6, A Merriman 7; J Kelly 6, A O'Malley 6, D Hayden 6; D O'Sullivan 6, S Furlong 7, L Glynn 7. Subs: N Gaffney for J Bolger, N Mernagh for D Hayden, M McLoughlin for P Cunningham, P Burke for J Kelly, T Hannon for A O'Malley.
Ref -- D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).