Waterford booked their place in a first Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final since 1992, following a hard-earned 2-12 to 0-16 win over Kilkenny at Croke Park.
Sean Power’s charges were forced to dig deep after being reduced to 14 men with 12 minutes remaining, following the dismissal of defender Shane Bennett for a second yellow card.
Waterford led by 2-05 to 0-09 at half-time, thanks to goals from Adam Farrell and DJ Foran, while Alan Murphy kept Kilkenny in touch from placed balls, but the Cats were unable to stay in touch after the restart.
The Cats came into this game after a long lay-off since their Leinster final win over Laois last month, while for Waterford it was a tougher route, losing a Munster final replay to Limerick.
Subsequently, they booked a place in today’s last-four encounter, having led by 4-20 to 1-9 in their quarter-final against Antrim, which was abandoned due to an injury after 56 minutes, but saw Waterford advance.
Deise manager Seán Power stuck with the same side he had named midweek, but there were two late changes to the Kilkenny line-up.
Cats captain James Tyrrell was replaced by Conor Delaney in defence, with John Walsh replacing Daniel O’Connor in attack.
Kilkenny got off to the perfect start and, playing into the Hill 16 end, had two points on the board inside the opening four minutes with Kevin Kenny and Murphy on target.
Waterford kept in touch thanks to the brilliance of Curran from placed balls, with the Dungarvan clubman firing the Munster side's first point after five minutes.
Waterford pressed hard and were rewarded for their endeavours when they breached the Kilkenny net for the first time in the seventh minute.
Stephen Bennett cut the ball into the middle for Farrell to blast to the net from close range and give Waterford the lead for the first time.
Kilkenny rallied with a trio of scores to push them back ahead with Murphy and Kenny on target.
The Cats relied hugely on their dead-ball accuracy, with all, bar three, of Kilkenny’s first-half scores from placed balls.
A Kenny pointed free handed Kilkenny a 0-05 to 1-01 lead after 14 minutes, but again Waterford had something spectacular in reserve.
Portlaw’s Foran bagged Waterford’s second goal.The power of the teenager’s shot so great, that the ball bounced off the cross-bar, over the line and came back into play, but the green flag was raised and Waterford took a 2-01 to 0-05 lead.
Kilkenny rallied to level the tie for the second time, with a John Walsh score levelling the game for the third time after 20 minutes, on a 2-02 to 0-08 score-line.
Waterford were strongest before the break with scores from Curran and Stephen Bennett helping them to a 2-05 to 0-09 half-time lead.
The Deise continued to impress in the second half, and extended their lead to four points within 90 seconds of the restart.
Kilkenny tried to eat into Waterford’s lead, but each time they did in the closing 30 minutes, they were unable to level the tie.
Waterford led by 2-11 to 0-13 with 18 minutes remaining, following a trio of unanswered points, with Austin Gleeson, Mark O’Brien and Curran on target.
Kilkenny battled hard thanks to the efforts of Alan Murphy, to cut the gap to two points with nine minutes remaining.
The dismissal of Shane Bennett for a second yellow card offered Kilkenny hope, but the Cats were guilty of three wides in the closing eight minutes.
Kilkenny forward Eoin Kenny followed Bennett to the line for a second yellow card late on.
Scorers for Waterford: P Curran (5f, 1 ‘65) 0-07; DJ Foran 1-01; A Farrell 1-00; A Gleeson, M O’Brien, S Bennett, M Kearney 0-01 each.
Scorers for Kilkenny: A Murphy (9f) 0-09; K Kenny (1f), L Blanchfield, J Walsh 0-02 each; N Mullins 0-01.
Waterford: G Power; C Leamy, K Daly, W Hahessey; M Harney, A Gleeson, S Bennett; M O’Brien, T Devine; S Bennett, C Roche, DJ Foran; P Curran, A Farrell, M Kearney.
Subs: C Gleeson for Foran (9-11); MJ Sutton for S Bennett (Blood 23-26); C Curran for Roche (41); C Gleeson for Farrell (52); S Hogan for Foran (61).
Kilkenny: D Brennan; C Wallace, E Cody, D Joyce; J Stanley, J Maher, C Delaney; L Blanchfield, E Kenny, V Teehan; A Murphy, K Kenny, J Walsh.
Subs: M Kenny for Blanchfield (Blood 7-11); M Kenny for Mullins (36); L Scanlon for Ryan (45).