Waterford and Offaly may well occupy the same division in the National Hurling League but on the evidence of this encounter the chasm between the sides is enormous.

The 2017 All-Ireland finalists inflicted a 27 point drubbing on their Leinster opponents at Semple Stadium.

New manager Pauric Fanning will be pleased to get two points on the board and, with games against Laois and Carlow to come in succession, Waterford should be in a good position before they face both Dublin and Galway in their final two games

Waterford looked far sharper in the opening minutes and despite playing into a strong breeze led 0-07 to nil by the end of the first quarter. Kevin Connolly eventually opened the scoring for the Faithful county after 17 minutes.

Stephen Bennett was scorer in chief for the Déise in the opening period with seven points from eight shots with D.J. Foran and Mikey Kearney both also nabbing a pair of white flags.

Thomas Ryan and the returning Shane Bennett spurned a couple of gilt-edged goal opportunities for Waterford and Offaly were flattered by the 0-12 to 0-07 scoreline at the break. 

However, the signs were ominous for Kevin Martin’s charges.

The official attendance of 2,395 hadn’t too long to wait for the opening goal with D.J. Foran shooting powerfully to the net after 36 minutes.

The traffic flowed all in one direction with Waterford extending their lead to 16 points (1-20 to 0-06) before veteran Michael Brick' Walsh (in his 17th season) received warm applause on a bitterly cold afternoon when withdrawn in the 52nd minute.

Substitutes Colin Dunford and Jack Prendergast combined for goal number two in the 66th minute with WIT student Prendergast left with the simplest of chances to convert. Stephen Bennett was the star player on show with a remarkable 0-16 to his name including six points from play over the 70 minutes.

D.J. Foran enhanced his reputation with newcomer Conor Prunty also catching the eye on an afternoon that was all too easy for Waterford.

Offaly didn’t help their cause with eleven wides but their manager Kevin Martin must be concerned following this listless performance.

Waterford: Billy Nolan, Shane McNulty, Shane Fives, Noel Connors, Conor Prunty, Tadhg de Burca (0-01), Kevin Moran (0-01), Mark O’Brien (0-01), Michael Walsh, D.J. Foran (1-03), Mikey Kearney (0-03), Brian O’Halloran, Stephen Bennett (0-16,0-10f), Shane Bennett (0-01) ,Thomas Ryan (0-02)

Subs used: Jordan Henley for Shane Fives (33), Patrick Curran for Shane Bennett and Jack Prendergast (1-00) for Brian O’Halloran (both 45), Colin Dunford for Michel Walsh (52), Stephen Roche for Mikey Kearney (54).

Offaly: Eoghan Cahill (0-2f), Tom Spain, Niall Houlihan, Paddy Rigney, Craig Taylor, Pat Camon. Aidan Treacy (0-02, 0-01f, 0-01’65), Liam Langton, Kevin Dunne, Eoghan Callaghan, Sean Dolan, Shane Kinsella, Kevin Connolly (0-02), Colm Gath, David Nally

Subs used: Enda Grogan for Paddy Rigney, Paddy Murphy for David Nally and Damien Egan (0-01) for Eoghan Callaghan (all ht), Joey Keenaghan for Sean Dolan and Dylan Murray for Shane Kinsella (both 66m).

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).