Kerry cruised into the Munster SFC final on 7 July with minimum of fuss after a 4-21 to 1-04 win over a very limited Waterford side before 4,719 supporters in Killarney.
Following a frustrating first half, Kerry raced clear in the second with goals from Kieran Donaghy, Declan O’Sullivan, Anthony Maher and a Bryan Sheehan penalty.
Kerry had established a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the 16th minute but points from Paul Whyte, Shane Aherne and Tony Grey brought the Deise right back into the contest at 0-6 to 0-4.
Kerry then struggled during the latter stages of the half due to Waterford’s defensive resistance, but two late Johnny Buckley frees steadied the Kingdom somewhat as they led 0-8 to 0-4 at the interval.
But for some poor handling, Kieran Donaghy might have done better with two goal chances for Kerry in the first half, while at the other end Whyte and John Hurney bore down on the Kerry goal and had to be dispossessed by some fine defending.
It was a different Kerry that emerged in the second half, and Donaghy’s goal four minutes into the second half opened the floodgates.
Declan O’Sullivan added a second four minutes later as the Waterford challenge completely evaporated.
Anthony Maher stole in for a third goal in the 48th minute as Kerry turned the match into target practice, and by the time Bryan Sheehan rolled an injury-time penalty past Stephen Enright Kerry were already 3-21 to 1-4 ahead.
Tony Grey did creep through the Kerry defence to score a consolation goal past Brendan Kealy but Kerry’s minds were already on a Munster final meeting with Cork or Clare in five weeks.
In the end up the scoreboard did not reflect the Waterford challenge in the first 35 minutes, but the savage gap in standard overall was evident by the huge 26-point margin of victory.
Kerry: B Kealy, M O Se (0-01), A O’Mahony, F Fitzgerald (0-01), T O Se (0-02), K Young, P Crowley (0-01), A Maher (1-00), J Buckley (0-04, 0-02f), P Galvin (0-02), C Cooper (0-04, 0-02f), D Walsh (0-01), Declan O’Sullivan (1-00), K Donaghy (1-00), J O’Donoghue (0-02).
Subs: Darran O’Sullivan (0-01) for D Walsh (44mins), E Brosnan for T O Se (50 mins), B Sheehan (1-01, 1-00pen, 0-01f) for Maher (51 mins), S Enright for M O Se (56 mins), K O’Leary (0-01) for Donaghy (60 mins).
Waterford: S Enright, T O hUallachain, N Walsh, T O’Gorman, C Phelan, S Briggs, J Hurney, M O’Gorman, T Prendergast, T Grey (1-01), S Aherne (0-01), A Doyle, P Whyte (0-02, 0-01f), G Hurney, R Aherne.
Subs: C O’Keeffe for C Phelan (47 mins), L O Lonain for A Doyle (47 mins), P Hurney for R Aherne (53 mins), S O’Hare for Prendergast (66 mins).
Referee: Martin Higgins (Fermanagh)