Munster Senior Hurling League: Kingston stays grounded as Cork foil Déise to seal final spot
Cork 1-17 Waterford 1-13
Cork sealed their place in the Munster SHL final after surviving a second-half Waterford fightback at a well-attended Fraher Field.
Kieran Kingston's men got four of the last five points to seal a spot in the decider against Clare or Limerick.
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He said he was "happy with the performance," adding: "We set out to give some new lads a chance and to give some guys a run-out in different positions. It's December 29, we're not going to get too carried away."
Kingston will have to juggle his panel for the January 12 decider. "That's the first day of the Fitzgibbon and we have 21 players involved in Fitzgibbon. That's going to be a challenge." New Waterford boss Liam Cahill blooded five new players in his first game in charge. Iarlaith Daly, Kieran Power, Neil Montgomery and Jack Fagan all started while Tom Barron came off the bench.
Sixteen wides (nine in the second half) proved costly. "You'd have to be positive enough, I know we left a number of scores after us," said Cahill. "I was really happy with how the boys applied themselves.
"We have very little hurling done and that was evident with the chances we left behind us. I'd be more concerned about the gilt-edged chances we gave Cork out of basic errors. That's something we have to look at.
"At this grade and at any grade, you have to nail the basics and today I thought our basic hurling let us down at vital times and created easy scoring chances for Cork."
Throw-in was delayed by five minutes due to crowd congestion as 2,976 spectators attended the festive fixture. The large home crowd had some Christmas cheer in the eighth minute as Billy Power supplied Patrick Curran for a goal (1-1 to 0-3).
The sides were level four times before Cork hit a purple patch, shooting 1-5 without reply. Conor Lehane was responsible for five first-half efforts (three placed balls).
Substitute Tommy O'Connell netted within seconds of his introduction. Three Waterford defenders were caught under a high ball and O'Connell accepted the late Christmas gift.
Jack O'Connor added two from play as five of the six starting forwards were on target.
Waterford got the last two points of the half via Stephen Bennett and Darragh Lyons as they trailed 1-10 to 1-5. The hosts lost Iarlaith Daly to concussion after a heavy collision with O'Connell.
Sub Mikey Kearney fired a goal chance wide early in the second half as Curran cut the deficit to two. The deadly Dungarvan front man nailed four points (three frees and one from play) to leave it 1-11 to 1-9. Robbie O'Flynn and Aidan Walsh replied for the Rebels. Shane McNulty, Curran and Moran narrowed the gap to just one. Late points from Lehane, Aidan Walsh, O'Connell and O'Connor saw Cork advance.
Scorers - Cork: C Lehane 0-6 (3f, 1 '65'), T O'Connell 1-1, J O'Connor 0-3, L Meade, R O'Flynn, A Walsh 0-2 each, M O'Halloran 0-1. Waterford: P Curran 1-6 (0-5f), S Bennett 0-2 (1f), S McNulty, K Moran, K Bennett, D Lyons, C Lyons 0-1 each.
Waterford: B Nolan; C Gleeson, C Prunty, S McNulty; I Daly, K Power, K Moran; K Bennett, J Dillon; N Montgomery, D Lyons, J Fagan; B Power, S Bennett, P Curran. Subs: C Lyons for Daly (40), M Kearney for Montgomery (HT), J Prendergast for Fagan (HT), T Barron for Bennett (53), S Ryan for Curran (66).
Cork: G Collins; S O'Leary-Hayes, D Cahalane, E Murphy; C O'Leary, B Cooper, N O'Leary; A Walsh, R Walsh; R O'Flynn, C Lehane, S Twomey; L Meade, M O'Halloran, J O'Connor. Subs: T O'Connell for Twomey (25), S O'Regan for O'Halloran (55), S O'Donoghue for R Walsh (60), T O'Connell for Lehane (65), D Lowney for Cooper (68).
Ref - J McCormack (Tipperary).