Stephen Bennett scored 13 points as Waterford effected a nine-point turnaround to take victory over Cork in the Co-Op SuperStores.ie Munster HL at Mallow last night.
In manager Páraic Fanning's first game in charge, the visitors had trailed by 1-11 to 0-12 at half-time following a strong finish to the first half by the Rebels and Michael O'Halloran put a goal between the teams immediately after the restart.
However, Waterford were level as Michael 'Brick' Walsh, beginning his 17th year on the county panel, found the net, having been switched from midfield to full-forward. Thomas Ryan put them ahead and they led from there to the end.
With Cork having already lost to Clare last weekend, this result means that Sunday's meeting of Waterford and the Banner at Fraher Field will effectively be a semi-final.
Experienced While Cork led by 0-4 to 0-3 after the opening ten minutes, Waterford - with a more experienced side and the wind behind them - took control and scored seven of the next eight points, with Bennett, Jamie Barron and Mikey Kearney all on target.
But, just as it looked that Cork had allowed the game to slip from them, they responded well. First, Aidan Walsh's goal got them back in it and then Declan Dalton's excellent free-taking saw them eat into the lead. Cormac Murphy was another to find his range and by half-time John Meyler's side led by 1-11 to 0-12.
O'Halloran extended the advantage further after the start of the second half but Walsh cancelled out the lead and then Waterford pushed on impressively, with Ryan scoring twice and Barron getting his second as they led by three.
While Cork stayed in touch for a time, a trio of bad wides was costly and three Bennett frees, followed by Mikey Kearney's fourth point, left it 1-21 to 1-15 with six minutes left.
Cork had one last kick, scores from Tim O'Mahony, Christopher Joyce and Dalton to come to within a goal, but Bennett (two) and sub Jack Prendergast had points as Waterford finished strongly.
Scorers - Waterford: S Bennett 0-13 (12f), M Kearney 0-4, M Walsh 1-0, J Barron, K Moran, T Ryan 0-2 each, J Prendergast 0-1. Cork: D Dalton 0-9 (7f), C Murphy 0-3, A Walsh 1-0, M O'Halloran 0-2, T O'Mahony, C Joyce, R O'Flynn, W Kearney 0-1 each.
Waterford - B Nolan; S McNulty, S Fives, N Connors; J Henley, M O'Brien, K Moran; J Barron, M Walsh; DJ Foran, M Kearney, B O'Halloran; T Ryan, S Bennett, C Roche. Subs: C Prunty for O'Brien (55), S Roche for Walsh (56), A Gleeson for Moran (66), J Prendergast (0-1) for Roche (67), K Bennett for McNulty (70).
Cork - P Collins; N O'Leary, D Griffin, D Lowney; C Joyce, T O'Mahony, R Downey; C Cahalane, W Kearney; C Murphy, M O'Halloran, A Walsh; J Coughlan, D Dalton, R O'Flynn. Subs: C Beausang for O'Flynn (25, inj), C O'Callaghan for Lowney (34, inj), E Murphy for Walsh (h-t), S O'Leary Hayes for Downey (65), P Leopold for Coughlan (66).
Ref - J Murphy (Limerick)