Thursday 8 December 2016

Scenes of jubilation as five-goal Waterford end 24-year wait for All-Ireland under-21 glory

Waterford 5-15 Galway 0-14

Published 10/09/2016 | 18:38

10 September 2016; Patrick Cullen and Adam Farrell of Waterford lift the James Nowlan Cup after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Patrick Cullen and Adam Farrell of Waterford lift the James Nowlan Cup after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Bord Gáis Energy Ambassador Austin Gleeson of Waterford fields the sliotar ahead of Brian Molloy of Galway during the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Bord Gáis Energy Ambassador Austin Gleeson, left, and Stephen Bennett of Waterford celebrate after the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Shane Bennett, left, and Míchéal Harney of Waterford celebrate with supporters after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Patrick Curran of Waterford celebrates after the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Patrick Curran of Waterford is presented with the Bord Gáis Energy Man of the Match by Leah Spillane, from Stratford, Co. Wicklow, after the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Shane Bennett, left, and Austin Gleeson of Waterford celebrate after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Míchéal Harney of Waterford with supporters after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Conor Prunty of Waterford celebrates after the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Austin Gleeson, left, and Colm Roche of Waterford lift the James Nowlan Cup after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Patrick Curran of Waterford celebrates with Waterford senior hurling selector Dan Shanahan, right, after the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Austin Gleeson, left, and Colm Roche of Waterford lift the James Nowlan Cup alongside their team-mates after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
10 September 2016; Patrick Cullen and Adam Farrell of Waterford lift the James Nowlan Cup after winning the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Shane Bennett of Waterford celebrates scoring his side's 4th goal in the 49th minute during the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

A sublime goalscoring display from a talented Waterford team eased them to their first All-Ireland U-21 title for 24 years at Semple Stadium.

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Backboned by one-third of the team that had gone so close to dethroning Kilkenny in the senior semi-final replay at the same venue four weeks earlier they justified odds of 1/7 to follow on from their All-Ireland minor success three years earlier.

A flying start from DJ Foran's goal gave them impetus and the inevitability that they would win this repeat of the 2013 All-Ireland minor final comfortably.

Patrick Curran led the rout with 1-9, his batted goal on 12 minutes lifting the Deise into a 2-3 to 0-3 lead.

From then to half-time it was a procession with Curran's underhand pass to Stephen Bennett one of the evening's most magical moments.

By the break they led by 3-10 to 0-6, Galway's decision to place a sweeper in front of Curran and Bennett too little too late.

To Galway's credit they steadied things after the break with five unanswered points to reduce the deficit to eight points within seven minutes.

Brian Molloy and Conor Whelan did most to initiate the recovery while Eanna Burke also found his range.

And for almost 20 minutes Waterford, imperious throughout this championship, lost their way.

But another wonderful stroke of genius, this time from Shane Bennett who slid to meet his brother Shane's crossfield ball, delivered a fourth goal on 49 minutes.

Shane Bennett got his second goal and again there was a real touch of class about it as he unleashed a powerful shot off his left from the most acute of angles to beat Cathal Tuohy.

Scorers for Waterford: P Curran 1-9 (0-6f), Stephen Bennett 2-0, Shane Bennett 1-1, DJ Foran 1-0, A Gleeson (1f) & M Kearney 0-2 each, T Devine 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: B Molloy 0-6 (3f), É Burke 0-3, S Linnane & C Whelan 0-2 each, K McHugo 0-1.  

 

WATERFORD: J Henley; W Hahessy, C Gleeson, D Lyons; M Harney, A Gleeson, C Prunty; M O’Brien, Shane Bennett; C Roche, T Devine, DJ Foran; M Kearney, Stephen Bennett, P Curran.

Subs: A Farrell for Devine (57), D Ryan for Lyons (58), B O’Keeffe for Harney (60), B Whelan for Hahessy (60+1), P Hogan for Shane Bennett (60+2).

GALWAY: C Tuohy; C Jennings, D O’Donoghue, D Cronin; V Doyle, S Cooney, S Loftus; D Nevin, D Dolan; K McHugo, B Molloy, S Linnane; T Monaghan, C Whelan, É Burke.

Subs: E Brannigan for Monaghan (h.t.), J Grealish for McHugo (42), F Burke for Nevin (55), C Burke for Linnane (60), A Morrissey for Dolan (60). 

Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny)

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