Kilkenny emerge from epic clash in Thurles
Updated: Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 12:12
Champions Kilkenny are through to the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship after an epic 1-22 to 2-16 win over Waterford at Semple Stadium.
Extra-time was required to separate the sides after the regulation 70 minutes ended in a welter of controversy.
It appeared that Kilkenny had won the game when Matthew Ruth swept over a point at the Killinan End with the two minutes of additional time having elapsed, following an error by Waterford corner back Shane Fives.
But remarkably, it emerged that referee James Owens had blown the whistle as Ruth was about to gather possession and the game went into extra time.
The Cats eventually came through but there was time for more drama as sub Ray Barry, scorer of 1-3 for Waterford, whipped home an equalising goal in the 88th minute.
That tied the scores at 2-16 to 1-19 but the Cats hit the remaining three scores of the game, knocked over by Colin Fennelly, Ruth and Aidan Fogarty.
In a tumultuous encounter, watched by 17,235 spectators, there was another major talking point - this one before half-time in normal time.
The umpires at the Town End goal failed to spot that Richie Power’s powerful shot cannon off the underside of the crossbar and against the back stanchion of the Town End goal.
As the ball broke loose, Colin Fennelly appeared to double on it and send it over the bar but after consulting with his umpires, the green flag was raised and Kilkenny led by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break.
Kilkenny looked good for victory as they led by five points – 1-12 to 0-10 – with eight minutes of normal time remaining.
But Waterford hit five points without reply as Kevin Moran fired over a leveller in the second minute of stoppage time.
Then all hell broke loose as Owens ruled out Ruth’s apparent winner but when the teams regrouped, those fortunate enough to be present witnessed more helter-skelter excitement.
The Cats were on course for a comfortable lead at half-time in extra-time before Jake Dillon netted, despite looking suspiciously in the square.
Kilkenny were now 1-17 to 1-15 in front and they were clinging onto a three-point lead when never say die Waterford bagged an equalising goal in the 88th minute.
Maurice Shanahan’s 20m free was saved by Eoin Murphy but sub Ray Barry, who bagged 1-3, was on hand to pick up the pieces and find the net from a tight angle.
But Kilkenny’s remarkable resilience came to the fore in the closing minutes as Colin Fennelly, Matthew Ruth and Aidan Fogarty fired over the points that made the game safe.
Kilkenny had matchwinners in Fennelly, Richie Power and Richie Hogan in attack but unfortunately, Henry Shefflin lasted just half an hour after he was introduced as a substitute.
It remains to be seen if the Ballyhale Shamrocks wizard has suffered a recurrence of his foot injury.
A final word to Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe, who pulled off a number of fine saves. The pick of the bunch was O’Keeffe’s sensational save from Matthew Ruth at the death.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; M Rice, E Larkin; W Walsh, R Power, M Ruth; A Fogarty, C Fennelly, R Hogan.
Subs: H Shefflin for W Walsh (39), M Fennelly for Rice (48), W Walsh for Shefflin (70), L Ryan for A Fogarty (70), A Fogarty for W Walsh (84).
Waterford: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, D Fives; K Moran, R Foley; J Dillon, S Prendergast, S O’Sullivan; B O’Sullivan, M Shanahan, J Barron.
Subs: R Barry for B O’Sullivan (48), M O’Neill for Shanahan (55), S Walsh for O’Neill (58), P Prendergast for Foley (60), T Browne for D Fives (68), E Barrett for Barron (78), D Fives for Prendergast (82), M Shanahan for Moran (85).