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Alan Connolly goals prove crucial as Cork make their mark with victory over Waterford

Cork 2-22 Waterford 1-19


Cork manager Kieran Kingston celebrates with Darragh Fitzgibbon

Cork manager Kieran Kingston celebrates with Darragh Fitzgibbon

Cork manager Kieran Kingston celebrates with Darragh Fitzgibbon

Cries of “Rebels, Rebels, Rebels” rang around Walsh Park after the Cork hurlers finally announced their arrival in this championship with a resounding victory over Waterford.

It was the perfect reply to their many critics and, particularly, a stirring statement of revenge for their heavy defeat against the same opponents in the recent National League final.

Seamus Harnedy was on fire for Kieran Kingston’s men while two goals from Alan Connolly proved critical as Cork ensured their final round game against Tipperary next weekend would now have real meaningful context.

The result also means Waterford must now go to Ennis next week in need of a result to ensure they make, as a minimum, a place in the All-Ireland series as one of the top three teams in Munster.

It didn’t take long for Patrick Horgan to accrue the two points needed to overtake Joe Canning as the highest scorer in hurling championship history. Five minutes to be precise, separating him from any other senior inter-county hurler.

The Glen Rovers man would finish his day with just four points though, replaced just five minutes after the resumption following a broadly peripheral display.

There was a ferocity to the exchanges from first whistle, Cork clearly programmed to respond to what had been a pretty caustic chorus of punditry following their defeats to Limerick and Clare.

Damien Cahalane, a late replacement for Tim O’Mahony, might have had an early card, twice putting Stephen Bennett on the floor inside the opening three minutes, yet facing no censure from James Owens or his officials.

That was the tenor of it though, neither side giving an inch in the physicality stakes. And, to begin with, Waterford looked the more comfortable with that narrative, racing into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the 13th minute with scores from Austin Gleeson and Patrick Curran especially noteworthy.

That said, there was a real edge to Cork’s hurling too, Conor Lehane and Robbie O’Flynn getting in spectacular blocks on Jack Fagan and Shane McNulty respectively within seconds of one another before a huge eighteenth minute point from his own half by Mark Coleman got Rebel supporters off their feet.

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They had drawn level by the 22nd minute, at which point marvellous running from Luke Meade and Darragh Fitzgibbon paved an opening for O’Flynn to shoot for goal, Waterford goalkeeper Shaun O’Brien deflecting the sliotar away only for Connolly to follow up and bat the rebound home.

Waterford’s immediate response was precisely what you would expect of League champions, Michael Kiely getting the goal after Curran’s initial shot had been saved by Patrick Collins.

It was end to end stuff now, Bennett almost getting another Waterford goal on 26 minutes, Collins deflecting the shot brilliantly over his crossbar.

Waterford led 1-10 to 1-6 on the half-hour only for Cork to impressively out-score them by 0-6 to 0-1 and go in at half-time leading by the narrowest of margins, 1-12 to 1-11.

Cork’s second and critical goal arrived on 52 minutes, O’Mahony coming in off the bench to play a crucial role with Harnedy and Kingston in setting up Connolly for a brilliant finish.

With just under ten minutes remaining, Waterford were then reduced to fourteen men, Austin Gleeson put off for a second yellow, the home team simply no longer able to contain a Cork team pushing for home now with unstoppable venom.

They had big performances all over the field, not least from O’Mahony who stepped in off the bench approaching the 40th minute to provide a real stand-out impact on a team making a big redemptive statement about their resources of pride.


Cork – A Connolly 2-0, S Harnedy 0-5, C Lehane 0-5 (0-2 frees), P Horgan 0-4 frees, M Coleman, D Fitzgibbon and S Kingston 0-2 each, P Collins and L Meade 0-1 each.

Waterford – Stephen Bennett 0-7 (0-6 frees), A Gleeson 0-4 (0-1 free), M Kiely 1-0, P Curran 0-3 (0-1 free), N Montgomery 0-2, P Hogan, J Prendergast and Shane Bennett 0-1 each


CORK: P Collins, N O’Leary, R Downey, S O’Donoghue, D Cahalane, C Joyce, M Coleman, D Fitzgibbon, L Meade, R O’Flynn, P Horgan, C Lehane, A Connolly, S Harnedy, S Barrett. Subs – S Kingston for Barrett (28 mins), T O’Mahony for Horgan (39 mins), C Cahalane for O’Flynn (63 mins), T O’Connell for Meade (70 mins), B Roche for Lehane (74 mins).

WATERFORD: S O’Brien, C Gleeson, C Prunty, S McNulty, J Fagan, T de Burca, C Daly, J Barron, C Lyons, J Prendergast, A Gleeson, P Curran, D Hutchinson, Stephen Bennett, M Kiely. Subs – P Hogan for Daly (half-time), D Lyons for Barron (46 mins), N Montgomery for Kiely (46 mins), Shane Bennett for Stephen Bennett (65 mins), C Dunford for Curran (70 mins).

Referee – J Owens (Wexford).

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