Rebels left reeling as the Déise dream of lifting Liam alive after thrilling win
The Déise are in dreamland after Waterford pounced on a disappointing Cork team to surge into the All-Ireland hurling final with a stunning four-goal display.
The fans' cautious optimism before the game turned into joy as they beat the Rebels by 4-19 to 0-20.
Déise fans are now dreaming of a first All-Ireland victory since 1959.
But after years of false dawns and broken dreams, many of the blue and white faithful were understandably cagey before throw-in at Croker.
Cathal Herlihy, from Waterford city, said he has "been through enough heartbreak before so the hopes are remaining low".
Such tempered expectations were alien to those from the Rebel county and after stirring performances to date they travelled confident of victory.
Samantha Coomey, from Cork city, said the "Cork magic is back" and boldly predicted they were going to "no win with no problems".
Indeed, Niamh Finn, also from Cork, said she was "expecting a three-point win", while her friend Matt Maguire said, "It'll be close but we should have enough to get over the line."
In an early flurry of points, Michael 'Brick' Walsh's fourth-minute goal brought a deafening roar and the crowd knew they were in for a classic. The Rebels took up the majority of Hill 16 and there was a notable sense of frustration as they trailed Waterford during the first half. As it drew to a close, you could feel the belief flooding into the Waterford supporters as they dared to dream of a first All Ireland final since 2008.
As the game ebbed and flowed, Damien Cahalane's red card added spice to an occasion that wasn't lacking in bite. Despite the sending-off, Cork pushed ahead and cries of "Rebels, Rebels" came thundering from the terraces as they went two points ahead.
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But the biggest noise was reserved for Austin Gleeson's stunning solo effort shortly afterwards as the Deise began to really believe.
The Deise were in dreamland as Jamie Barron powered home a fourth goal in injury time.
After the game, Waterford native Mike Carey, who lives in Fourmilewater, said they were "bringing the Liam McCarthy Cup home."
"Our clubman Jamie Barron was outstanding. Aussie Gleeson played a superb pass to him for a brilliant goal," he said.
Raymond Hayes, from Roanmore, Co Waterford, said the Deise were "more capable than anyone" to beat Galway in the final.
"Aussie changed it. He was very quiet but his class was there in the end, but Conor Gleeson will be missed now in the final after his red card."
The Brackett family from Waterford had a rebel among their clan as Katie, one of four siblings, said she was supporting Cork. Katie said she was devastated as she "really thought they were going to win", but her father Anthony said Waterford were going to "take the cup home".
Sarah Murray, from Cork, said she was "really disappointed."
"I really thought it would have been closer," she said.