Waterford IT cruise into Davy Fitz sights
WATERFORD IT 3-15 CORK IT 2-8
WATERFORD IT produced a powerful display against last year's runners-up in Carriganore to secure home advantage in the last eight.
WIT, eight-time winners of the competition, will now face Davy Fitzgerald's Limerick IT next week.
That should be a titanic clash, while Cork IT must regroup for a local derby against holders UCC in what is a repeat of last year's final.
WIT took care of business with a clinical performance against the Cork students, as a star-studded outfit provided evidence that they could emerge as serious contenders to win the competition for the first time since 2008.
The Waterford team were on offer at 10/1 before a ball was pucked in this year's tournament, but they have class in every line and Kilkenny's Eoin Murphy was in excellent form up front.
According to seasoned Noreside observers, Murphy will challenge David Herity hard for the Kilkenny goalkeeper's shirt this year.
However, on this evidence, Murphy could be pushing for a place in attack as he finished with 1-8 to floor CIT last night, including 1-1 from play.
Murphy's overall performance was certainly eye-catching, but WIT were solid all over the field and they finished with scoring contributions from seven players.
Jake Dillon helped himself to a brace of goals, one in each half, and they were almost identical efforts as the Waterford hitman lobbed CIT goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan with cheeky finishes from close range.
Defensively, WIT were led by Wayne Hutchinson at centre-back, with Waterford corner-back Noel Connors and Tipp's Ciaran Haugh also impressive.
Michael Sheedy, nephew of former Tipp boss Liam, scored three first-half points from centre-forward and at half-time, the tie was virtually over as a contest as WIT led by 2-10 to 0-4.
With 13 minutes left on the watch, WIT were 2-4 to 0-0 clear as Dillon and Murphy provided the goals.
CIT rallied with three points, but WIT stepped on the gas to add six without reply in a most eye-catching performance.
Cork IT had some big names in their ranks, but they could not live with the slick stickwork and better workrate of WIT.
The likes of Lorcan McLoughlin and Jamie Coughlan cut peripheral figures, but in Coughlan's defence, the young Cork ace requires a hip operation that will see him miss the entire National League campaign.
He limped out of the action early in the second half in obvious discomfort as CIT looked to haul themselves back into contention.
But whatever scores came their way in the second half were mere consolation as Waterford IT cruised into a 14-point lead midway through the second half.
Cit scored two late consolation goals through Michael O'Sullivan, who never stopped trying from start to finish, and centre-forward David Drake.
Scorers – Waterford IT: E Murphy 1-8 (0-7f), J Dillon 2-0, M Sheedy 0-3, N Connors, C Haugh, S Roche, H Keogh 0-1 each. Cork IT: M O'Sullivan 1-2, D Drake 1-1, D Lordan 0-3 (2f), J Coughlan (f), B Cooper 0-1 each.
Waterford IT – Stephen O'Keeffe; Stephen O'Keeffe, L Lawlor, N Connors; C Haugh, W Hutchinson, J Dowling; L Harney, S Roche; H Kehoe, M Sheedy, E Murphy; M O'Neill, J Dillon, G O'Brien. Subs: M Power for O'Neill (44), P Mahony for Kehoe (44), L McGrath for Sheedy (50), G Teehan for Stephen O'Keeffe (2) (53), T Hamill for Hutchinson (53).
CORK IT – S Nyhan; A Dennehy, B O'Sullivan, S O'Halloran; S Daniels, L McLoughlin, P O'Connor; J Coughlan, N Kelly; J Cronin, D Drake, A Walsh; D Lordan, M O'Sullivan, B Cooper. Subs: T Lawrence for Coughlan (38), N Doherty for Kelly (38), J Goggin for O'Halloran (47), E Concannon for Cooper (50), S O'Brien for O'Connor (58).
Ref – J Owens (Wexford).