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Extra special win for Déise

WATERFORD'S Shane O'Sullivan was fully intent on sucking up every last ounce of positive energy that was permeating Semple Stadium after the Déise's extra-time Munster SHC final win over Cork.

He pointed to his county's All-Ireland final drubbing by Kilkenny in 2008, and hinted that his team-mates might have a point to prove this year.

"We're where we want to be," said O'Sullivan. "We've been knocked a lot of times in the past and come through difficulties. To come back after a hammering in an All-Ireland final (2008) and to win this is great."

Michael 'Brick' Walsh echoed O'Sullivan's positivity: "Look, any day you win a Munster final it's a great thing," he said. "But I suppose there'd be no one too afraid of the hurling that was seen out there. We got through, we battled hard and that's the basis for any success.

"Maybe it's a measure of how far we've come. We've four Munster finals at this stage and fellas are over the moon. I suppose it would be playing in the back of your mind that, if you lost, you were going to be playing next week. So that's an added bonus."

Davy Fitzgerald was a picture of pride after his side's 1-16 to 1-13 win, Dan Shanahan becoming the hero with an extra-time goal.



Shuddering

"The character of the players shone out there tonight," said. Fitzgerald. "I'm just very proud of them. We took a knock and a half two years ago. We were written off and I was more or less told to stay away, that there was no point being with these lads. This is nice."

Cork manager Denis Walsh picked through the debris of a shuddering setback with quiet dignity.

"At half-time, 0-8 to 0-4 down, it was a big mountain to climb," he sighed. "But I thought we were magnificent for maybe the first 20 minutes of the second half. We had three goal chances in the first half too and, if we had got one of them, it might have put a different complexion on things. It was so tight, a goal was going to be worth a fortune really."

In wet conditions, Shanahan blasted past Donal óg Cusack in the second period of extra-time to confirm the Déise's first provincial success since 2007.

Eoin Kelly, who top-scored with 0-8, missed some late chances to win the replay in normal time. Ben O'Connor's speculative goal from an angled free saw Cork fight back for a 1-11 to 0-14 stalemate, and one of their points came from a John Gardiner penalty which was deflected over.

But Waterford, helped by the introductions of Dan and Maurice Shanahan and Eoin McGrath, outlasted their great rivals in extra-time to earn the sweetest of victories in front of 22,763 spectators.

Denis Walsh's side had the better of the exchanges in the half-backs and midfield but did not get the scores to show for it and three goal-scoring chances were also missed as Pat Horgan, Niall McCarthy and Aisake Ó hAilpín failed to find the net.

By that stage, John Mullane, who the Déise used as their furthest man forward, had landed his first point. It was a terrific length-of-the-pitch score, with Michael 'Brick' Walsh and Declan Prendergast involved in the build-up. Cork responded with a free from Ben O'Connor who added a '65', and John Gardiner did likewise, to close the gap for Cork to 0-6 to 0-4.

After a Mullane shot had bounced back off a post on the re-start, Cork raided forward for three points, two of them from lively substitute Paudie O'Sullivan. Ó hAilpín also increased his influence, laying off for Cussen to point and using his strength to create the second for O'Sullivan.

As the rain got heavier and handling conditions worsened, scores were really at a premium. Cussen sliced badly wide and on the cusp of half-time, defender Tony Browne, the goal-scoring hero from last Sunday, planted a long range free between the posts to give Waterford a 0-16 to 1-12 advantage.

The game slipped from Cork's grasp three minutes into the second period when Eoin McGrath helped break the ball through for Shanahan to drill a shot beyond the reach of Cork stopper Cusack.

Cork never let their effort slip though and following an O'Connor free which reduced the arrears to three points, Waterford had to defend a number of balls played in towards Ó hAilpín and company before referee Brian Gavin brought this battle of wills to a close.


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