Waterford 1-13 Cork 1-21
Cork resurrected their Allianz Hurling League title ambitions with a stunning 1-21 to 1-13 victory over Waterford at Walsh Park.
Kieran Kingston’s men came into this encounter very much the underdogs, having lost to both Dublin and Kilkenny in their two previous games.
However, the Rebels turned in an impressive performance against a listless home side. Cork’s much greater appetite for the ball and superior workrate helped Cork dominate possession and was instrumental in securing the two valuable league points on offer.
Waterford won the toss and opted to play into the strong breeze in the opening half, and when Shane Bennett netted in the fifth minute to put his side 1-01 to 0-01 up, the home side looked to be mastering the difficult underfoot conditions best.
Damien Cahalane and Mark Ellis were outstanding in the Cork defence, while Dean Brosnan and Lorcan McLoughlin dominated at centre-field.
Waterford lost the influential Jamie Barron to injury after just 14 minutes while Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson, captain Kevin Moran and the wizened Michael Walsh all failed to fire.
For Cork, Bill Cooper knocked over three points and Conor Lehane contributed six points in the first half as the visitors led by 0-15 to 1-04 at half-time.
The big question was whether an eight-point point advantage was sufficient, given the strength of the breeze.
It became an awful lot more comfortable when Luke Meade raced through the middle of the Waterford defence to goal in the 49th minute despite a flailing hurley from Tadhg de Búrca to leave Cork leading 1-17 to 1-10. De Búrca received a yellow card and a stern warning from Barry Kelly for this indiscretion.
It got even worse for the Derek McGrath-managed side when former All-Star Maurice Shanahan received a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident involving Dean Brosnan in the 59th minute.
Cork were completely dominant at this stage, with no fewer than 12 different scorers over the 70 minutes.
Seamus Harnedy, who gave Barry Coughlin an uncomfortable afternoon, was also sent for an early shower when he was dismissed by referee Barry Kelly for a second personal foul in the 68th minute.
Cork scorers: Conor Lehane (0-8, 0-6f), Luke Meade (1-2), Bill Cooper (0-3), Anthony Nash (0-1f), Lorcan McLoughlin, Seamus Harnedy, Mark Coleman, Shane Kingston, Michael Cahalane, Dean Brosnan, Christopher Joyce and Patrick Horgan (0-1 each).
Waterford scorers: Pauric Mahony (0-8f)), Shane Bennett (1-0), Patrick Curran (0-2), Stephen Bennett, Austin Gleeson and Maurice Shanahan (0-1 each).
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe, Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors, Darragh Lyons, Tadhg de Búrca, Kevin Moran, Jamie Barron, Shane Bennett, Colin Dunford, Austin Gleeson, Pauric Mahony, Stephen Bennett, Michael Walsh, Maurice Shanahan.
Subs: Conor Gleeson for Jamie Barron (14mins), Tom Devine for Colin Dunford (47mins), Patrick Curran for Shane Bennett (52mins), Brian O’Halloran for Austin Gleeson and Tommy Ryan for Michael Walsh (both 62mins)
Cork: Anthony Nash, Stephen McDonnell, Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane, Christopher Joyce, Mark Ellis, Mark Coleman, Lorcan McLoughlin, Dean Brosnan, Bill Cooper, Conor Lehane, Luke Meade, Alan Codogan, Seamus Harnedy, Shane Kingston.
Subs: Michael Cahalane for Alan Codogan (31mins), Patrick Horgan for Shane Kingston and Killian Burke for Stephen McDonnell (both 62mins), Chris O’Leary for Lorcan McLoughlin (68mins).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)