Brian Cody's Kilkenny have secured their first points in Division 1A of the Allianz National Hurling League.
The reigning League and All-Ireland champions defeated Waterford 2-15 to 0-16. Ger Aylward and sub Matthew Ruth scored the goals for the Cats in front of 6887 spectators.
Waterford led by 0-11 to 1-6 at half-time but the Déise fell to their first defeat of the League campaign.
In the 30th minute, Stephen O’Keeffe’s short puckout was intercepted by Ger Aylward 40 metres from goal and the Kilkenny corner forward burst through to blast a rasping drive past goalkeeper O’Keeffe.
That score tied the game at 1-4 to 0-7 but Waterford’s response was good, as Jake Dillon and Shane Walsh shot points from play.
Eoin Larkin (free) and Colin Fennelly hauled Kilkenny level again but scores from Dillon and Kevin Moran before half-time handed Waterford that two-point interval lead.
Having played with the breeze in the opening half, Waterford needed every score but they failed to create a goal chance in the game.
Kilkenny were back in front with three unanswered points to start the second half but Waterford hit back with four-in-a-row from Pauric Mahony to lead by 0-15 to 1-9.
But Kilkenny were looking the more threatening in front of goal as Aylward and Colin Fennelly spurned good opportunities.
And the Cats then opened up with a devastating scoring blitz, registering 1-5 without reply to move 2-14 to 0-15 in front.
The goal was another avoidable one from a Waterford perspective as O’Keeffe failed to deal with Paddy Hogan’s long delivery, allowing sub Matthew Ruth to pounce from close range in the 64th minute.
That score settled the tie as Waterford sub Maurice Shanahan and Larkin traded points before full-time.
Waterford suffered their first defeat of the League season and Cody will hope that this win will kickstart Kilkenny’s season.
But the hosts were far from impressive as they registered 13 wides and the absence of key players is being keenly felt.
WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe (0-01); S Fives, L Lawlor, S Daniels; J Nagle, M Walsh, K Moran (0-01); S O’Sullivan (0-02), P Prendergast; B O’Halloran (0-01), S Prendergast, J Dillon (0-03); B O’Sullivan, S Walsh (0-01), P Mahony (0-06, 5f).
Subs: J Barron for B O’Sullivan (46), M Shanahan (0-01) for S Walsh (55), B Barry for Moran (65).
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; L Ryan (0-01), P Hogan; R Hogan (0-02), M Bergin, E Larkin (0-06, 5f); G Aylward (1-01), C Fennelly (0-01), A Fogarty (0-03).
Subs: P Walsh for Tyrrell (24), M Ruth (1-01) for Bergin (h.t.), W Phelan for Murphy (46).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).