Bennett leads Deise rout to step up push for promotion
Waterford 4-30 Antrim 0-10
Waterford remain the only unbeaten team in Division 1B after an effortless 32-point destruction of Antrim at Walsh Park.
The Deise will make their way to Wexford Park next Sunday with promotion up for grabs. Manager Derek McGrath was pleased to move a step nearer. "I'm happy enough with the performance," he said. "I'm generally happy with the application because that's all we're asking from the lads to work as hard as they can."
Stephen Bennett starred on his first league start in white and blue. The Ballysaggart front man struck 1-4 over 42 minutes. Maurice Shanahan also lit up the stage on his introduction. The Lismore forward pounced for 2-5 as the Antrim heads dropped.
After a lukewarm opening, Waterford started to pull away. Antrim number one Chris O'Connell saved with his feet on seven minutes when Bennett struck for goal.
He wasn't to be denied on 18 minutes. Colin Dunford played a precise handpass across for Bennett to finish low under Chris O'Connell (1-5 to 0-3). Bennett popped over two further points from the sideline to finish the half with 1-3 in his account. Antrim boss Kevin Ryan was forced into a double substitution after just 23 minutes.
It took the Saffrons 27 minutes to register from play through Conor Johnson as Paul Shiels claimed four frees. Pauric Mahony piled on the pressure with seven points as the home side raced 1-13 to 0-5 clear.
Bennett added another point before he was taken off to a huge ovation after 42 minutes. Substitute Maurice Shanahan squeezed in 2-5 to leave the Antrim defenders dazed.
Michael Walsh placed him in the clear to fire home on 59 minutes. Other replacements Tom Devine, Shane O'Sullivan and Paudie Prendergast also added their names to the scoresheet.
Kevin Ryan admitted Antrim's display was "demoralising and deflating". He will have to rally his troops for their final-round clash with Offaly.
Man of the Match: Stephen Bennett
Scorers - Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-11 (6fs); M Shanahan 2-5; S Bennett 1-4; T Devine 1-0; M Walsh 0-3; P Prendergast, J Dillon 0-2 each; C Dunford, K Moran, S O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Antrim: P Shiels 0-5 (4fs); Conor Johnson, Ciaran Johnson (f) 0-2 each; S McNaughton (f) 0-1.
Waterford: I O'Regan 7; S Fives 7, B Coughlan 7, N Connors 7; Philip Mahony 7, T De Burca 7, K Moran 7; J Barron 7, M O'Neill 7; J Dillon 7, M Walsh 8, Pauric Mahony 9; B O'Halloran 7, S Bennett 9, C Dunford 8. Subs: M Shanahan 8 for Bennett (42), T Devine 7 for O'Halloran (42), S O'Sullivan 7 for O'Neill (45), S McNulty 6 for Connors (56), P Prendergast 6 for Pauric Mahony (60).
Antrim: C O'Connell 6; R McCambridge 5, N McAuley 5, A Graffin 5; S McCrory 5, C McKinley 5, M Bradley 5; N McManus 5, Ciaran Johnson 6; N McKenna 5, T McCann 5, P Shiels 6; PJ O'Connell 5, S McNaughton 5, C Clarke 5. Subs: M Donnelly 5 for Clarke (23), Conor Johnson 7 for McKenna (23), E Campbell 5 for T McCann (H-T), C McCann 5 for McManus (H-T), T O Ciarain 5 for S McNaughton (47).
Ref - D Kirwan (Cork)