Sport Hurling

Tuesday 20 February 2018

O'Brian switch to full-forward proves critical for the Rebels

Cork 1-21 Waterford 3-9 MUNSTER IHC QUARTER-FINAL

Manchester's Fullen Gaels sent Leinster champions Ballinamere crashing out in this war of attrition
Manchester's Fullen Gaels sent Leinster champions Ballinamere crashing out in this war of attrition

Cork produced a devastating final-quarter surge against Waterford to ease to a six-point win in the first round at Semple Stadium.

Tommy Ryan's stunning point from the right wing made it 3-8 to 1-11 in favour of Waterford after 42 minutes, but Cork then asserted themselves and, with Peter O'Brian in incredible scoring form, they overwhelmed their neighbours in a one-sided conclusion to an otherwise closely contested fixture.

A mistake from Waterford goalkeeper Seanie Barry allowed Mark Kenefick to feed Jamie Wall for the game's first goal after eight minutes, but Ryan Donnelly replied in kind for the Deise men in the very next play. Three minutes later Waterford led for the first time when Donnelly played in Gavin Crotty and the centre-forward raised another green flag.

After the break, a lapse in defensive concentration allowed Donnelly to sneak in behind the full-back line, collect a handpass from captain Killian Fitzgerald and blast the sliothar to the net to restore Waterford's lead and subsequent points from Fitzgerald and Ryan suggested that momentum might push them over the line.

However, Cork gradually came back into the tie and the move of O'Brian to full-forward was critical, with four of his last five scores coming from open play as Waterford chased the game.

Subs Colm Spillane and Ronan Crowley weighed in with excellent points to push the Rebels clear and set up a meeting with Clare in three weeks' time.

Scorers – Cork: P O'Brian 0-13 (6fs, 1 '65'), J Wall 1-1 (1f), C Casey 0-2, C Murphy, J Cronin, C Spillane, M O'Sullivan, R Crowley 0-1 each. Waterford: K Fitzgerald 0-7 (5fs), R Donnelly 2-0, G Crotty 1-0, T Ryan, S Keating 0-1 each.

CORK – R Cunningham; B O'Tuama, A Dennehy, J O'Callaghan; C Murphy, R Cashman, M Walsh; N Kelly, J Cronin; M O'Sullivan, P O'Brian, B Lawton; C Casey, J Wall, M Kenefick. Subs: D Drake for O'Sullivan (7 – temp), C Spillane for Kenefick (40), T Healy for Cashman (43), R Crowley for Lawton (51)

WATERFORD – S Barry; C Burke, M Wyse, Shane Roche; J Roche, K Power, P Walsh; Stephen Roche, S Keating; M Harney, G Crotty, K Fitzgerald; T Connors, R Donnelly, T Ryan Subs: S Power for Keating (h-t), B O'Sullivan for Stephen Roche, J Lyons for S Power (50), M O'Brien for Harney (53).

REF – D O'Driscoll (Limerick)

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