Curran praises forward line as Déise book place at top table
Waterford 5-13 Kerry 1-17
Waterford manager Ciaran Curran says his players can only improve when they test themselves against Lidl NFL Division 1 opponents next year.
The TG4 All-Ireland Championship is the first test on the horizon, and after their brilliant eight-point victory over Kerry they will face off again in Munster next Saturday.
Cusack Park in Ennis will be the venue for that provincial battle, but Waterford were by far the better team at Parnell Park yesterday.
First-half goals from Michelle Ryan, Kelly Ann Hogan, Maria Delahunty and Eimear Fennell laid the foundation before Aileen Wall sealed the win.
"Everyone wants to play at the highest level they can possibly play," said Curran.
"Our girls are no different and they'll take that challenge on board and hopefully relish it next year.
"It will be difficult, when you play the better teams you're improving and your limitations are exposed, but you can improve them at the highest level and we're looking forward to it.
"It's a great win now, we're delighted for the girls. They put in a lot of hard work. The difference today was we took our chances.
"I know it looked like a one-sided affair at the end, but Kerry had a lot of chances too. Our girls took their chances in the forward line and that was the difference."
When these sides met in the league it finished in a 0-15 to 2-9 draw at Kerins O'Rahillys in February, but this was a very different encounter.
Kerry hadn't won a league title since they beat Galway in the Division 2 decider five years ago, and Waterford blitzed them early to race into a 4-8 to 0-8 half-time lead.
Kerry were resilient and they did show signs of an unlikely comeback after half-time, but despite Lorraine Scanlon's late goal Donal O'Doherty's side fell to a heavy defeat.
"It could have been a completely different game," said O'Doherty.
"We had no answer to it, everything went wrong, and we just couldn't get the goals that we needed to get back into it.
"Waterford had four goals in the first-half and every shot we took went the wrong side of the post. Normally they would go in for us and it just didn't."
Scorers - Waterford: M Delahunty 1-4 (1f), M Ryan 1-1, E Fennell 1-1, A Wall 1-1, KA Hogan 1-0, R Tobin, K Murray 0-2 each, C Fennell, A Mullaney 0-1 each. Kerry: S Houlihan 0-6 (4f), L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-5 (3f), L Scanlon 1-0, H O'Donoghue, M O'Keeffe 0-2 each, A Brosnan, F Tangney 0-1 each.
Waterford - R Landers; R Casey, C McGrath, M Dunford; R Tobin, Karen McGrath, Kate McGrath; M Ryan, KA Hogan; E Murray, K Murray, M Delahunty; E Fennell, C Fennell, A Wall. Subs: A Mullaney for Dunford (36), S Dunphy for E Fennell (60), C McCarthy for Tobin (63).
Kerry - R White; T Breen, A Desmond, C O'Brien; S Murphy, A O'Connell, A Galvin; L Scanlon, A Brosnan; C Murphy, H O'Donoghue, N Carmody; S Houlihan, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, M O'Keeffe. Subs: K Cronin for White (26), S Lynch for S Murphy (26), F Tangney for O'Keeffe (34), E Dineen for Galvin (45), E Lynch for Desmond (60).
Ref - G Chapman (Sligo).