Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony to the fore as Waterford get off the mark
Waterford 1-20 Cork 1-15
Derek McGrath can breathe a sigh of relief as Waterford deservedly secured the first win of their Division 1A League campaign against 14th man Cork this afternoon.
The Rebels had former All-Star Seamus Harnedy sent off in the 25th minute for a nasty altercation with Barry Coughlan and the the Cork skipper could face some time on the sidelines after dropping his knees onto his opponent.
Pauric Mahony was in top form for the Déise hitting ten points while Austin Gleeson was brilliant at half-back setting up several attacks and firing over two points from distance.
It was nip and tuck in the early exchanges with little to choose between the sides but Conor Lehane and Patrick Horgan were causing trouble for the Waterford defence off limited resources with the sides level at 0-6 apiece after the first quarter.
Horgan then produced a moment of magic when brilliantly flicking down a Bill Cooper delivery to take three Déise defenders out of the game and bat the ball past Stephen O'Keeffe in the 20th minute.
The Waterford response was instant, however, with the lively Mikey Kearney superbly knocking the ball past two Cork defenders before finishing low to the left corner past Anthony Nash.
2016 Hurler of the Year Gleeson and Horgan traded scores before the game was turned in its head with the dismissal of Harnedy in the 25th minute.
The visitors pushed on before the break with Pauric Mahony unerring from dead balls as they surged into a deserved three-point lead with the Rebels totally reliant on the exploits of Horgan and Lehane, 1-12 to 1-9.
Waterford rued their inaccuracy upon the resumption with four quick wides and instead of being out of sight, Cork hung to their coat tails with Tom O'Mahony, Mark Ellis and Horgan's placed balls levelling affairs by the 50th minute, 1-13 each.
A hat-trick of Mahony frees quickly changed that and with Gleeson controlling affairs at the back and subs Stephen Bennett and Stephen Roche on target up front, they surged on to a five-point win.
In front of 10,445, Cork had little to offer in the closing quarter and the two sides may meet again in a relegation play off in two weeks time.
SCORERS – Waterford: P Mahony 0-10 (8f), M Kearney 1-1, A Gleeson 0-3 (1f), Stephen Bennett 0-2, J Barron 0-1, T de Búrca 0-1, C Dunford 0-1, S Roche 0-1
Cork: P Horgan 1-10 (9f), C Lehane 0-2, T O'Mahony 0-1, M Ellis 0-1, C Spillane 0-1.
WATERFORD – S O'Keefe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; A Gleeson, T de Búrca, P Mahony; J Barron, C Gleeson, K Moran, M Kearney, P Mahony; M Shanahan, T Devine, C Dunford.
Subs: B O'Halloran for Shanahan and S Roche for Dunford (both 48), Stephen Bennett for Devine and J Dillon for Kearney (both 57), K Bennett for Moran (68)
CORK – A Nash; C O'Sullivan, E Cadogan, C Spillane; C Joyce, T O'Mahony, D Browne; M Ellis, M Ellis, M Coleman; B Cooper, C Lehane, D Brosnan, A Cadogan, S Harnedy, P Horgan.
Subs: R O'Flynn for Lehane (half-time), L McLoughlin for Joyce (54), L Meade for Brosnan (58), M Cahalane for O'Sullivan (64), S Kingston for Cooper (66)
REF – S Cleere (Kilkenny)