Kilkenny’s good work in their first two Allianz League games against Cork and Clare yielded no points but it was a very different story in their third game as they powered past Waterford in Walsh Park.
late goal by sub Tommy Ryan took the bleak look off the Waterford scoreline but it really was a disappointing day for last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists, who are without a point at the bottom of the 1A table.
TJ Reid, who scored 1-11 (1-1 from open play) and Martin Keoghan (0-5) were Kilkenny’s top marksmen while goalkeeper, Eoin Murphy also made a massive contribution.
That included a penalty save from Stephen Bennett in the 53rd minute.
It came shortly after Reid had scored Kilkenny’s goal, which took them six points clear. Waterford had done well in the early stages of the second half, cutting the deficit to three points but Reid’s goal and Bennett’s miss re-energised Kilkenny who controlled the remainder of the game quite comfortably.
They led by 0-11 to 0-5 at half-time, a fully-deserved lead on their basis of their impressive workrate. They had other advantages too, notably the ability to work the ball calmly out of defence to set up scoring opportunities.
With the Waterford defence under pressure, Reid had plenty free-taking opportunities, most of which he converted into points. Indeed, if he and his colleagues had been a little more accurate in open play, their half-time lead would have been considerably higher.
Waterford were hanging on for much of the way but had a great chance to cut the lead to two points in the 32nd minute when Tom Devine powered towards the Kilkenny goal.
A goal looked certain but Kilkenny goalkeeper, Eoin Murphy made a splendid save and, as Kilkenny swept downfield, Reid added a point.
It was an effective four-point turnaround, after which Kilkenny added two more points to lead by seven before Austin Gleeson closed the scoring with a pointed long range free.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; J Holden, P Walsh, P Deegan; C Delaney, C Buckley, E Morrissey; L Ryan, C O’Shea; M Keoghan (0-5), TJ Reid (1-11, 9f, 1’65’), P Lyng; B Ryan, W Walsh, J Donnelly (0-2).
Subs: L Blanchfeld for Ryan (33), J Maher (0-1) for O’Shea (42), L Scanlon (0-1) for Ryan (54).
Waterford: I O’Regan; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; C Gleeson, T De Burca (0-1), Philip Mahony; J Barron, K Moran; A Gleeson (0-1,1f,) Pauric Mahony (0-7, 6f, 1’65’), T Devine (0-1); J Dillon, M Shanahan, M Kearney.
Subs: P Curran (0-1) for Gleeson (ht); C Dunford (0-1) for Kearney (ht), S Bennett for Dillon (45), DJ Foran for Shanahan (58), T Ryan (1-0) for Pauric Mahony (62).
Ref - F Horgan (Tipperary)