Deise delight as McGrath's men make big 2017 statement with win in Kilkenny
Waterford 1-15 Kilkenny 0-17
It may have been the first round of the Allianz Hurling League on a bitterly cold afternoon in Nowlan Park but it certainly put down an exciting marker for the year ahead as Waterford held out in hectic finish.
Richie Hogan had a late chance to snatch a draw for Kilkenny but his shot drifted wide, much to the relief of Waterford supporters in the crowd of 8,793.
Waterford led by six points after 50 minutes before a spirited Kilkenny revival pared the margin to the minimum when Kieran Joyce pointed in the 72nd minute.
However, they failed to grab the equaliser as Waterford’s gritty defence held out.
Pauric Mahony and TJ Reid each scored ten points on a day when Waterford were the more composed outfit for long stages. It was only in the closing quarter that Kilkenny established anything like their usual level of momentum but, in the end, they came up short on the closest of calls.
Waterford led by 1-11 to 0-10 at half-time, Mahony having scored 0-8 from placed balls while Reid countered for Kilkenny with five pointed frees, plus a point from open play.
Waterford’s goal came in the 13th minute when Patrick Curran beat Eoin Murphy from close range. Earlier, Murphy had made a brilliant save from Shane Bennett, diverting a goal bound shot out for a ‘65’ which Mahony drove wide.
Backed by the breeze, Waterford were that bit slicker than Kilkenny in the opening period and should, in fact, have been further ahead at the break. However, they shot five wides, one of which was a clear goal chance from Mikey Kearney, whose shot whizzed across the goal at a tight angle.
Scorers: Waterford: P Mahony 0-10 (9f, 1’65), P Curran 1-1, J Barron 0-3, C Gleeson 0-1.
Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (6f , 2’65s), R Hogan, P Lyng, L Blanchfield, O Walsh, W Walsh, E Murphy (f), K Joyce 0-01 each.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; J Holden, P Walsh, C O’Shea; K Joyce, P Murphy, C Buckley; O Walsh, C Fogarty; P Lyng, TJ Reid, S Morrissey; JJ Farrell, L Blanchfield, R Hogan.
Subs: W Walsh for Morrissey (ht), P Deegan for Walsh (52), R Leahy for Lyng (56), S Prendergast for Buckley (61), C Martin for Blanchfield (73).
Waterford: I O’Regan, N Connors, B Coughlan, S Fives; C Gleeson, T De Burca, S Daniels; J Barron, K Moran; M Walsh, M Kearney, P Mahony; P Curran,T Devine, Shane Bennett.
Subs: A Gleeson for Kearney (53), B O’ Halloran for Bennett (55), J Dillon for Devine (63), G O’Brien for Curran (69), S McNulty for Daniels (71).
Ref - F Horgan (Tipperary)