Cork will play in Division 1A of the Allianz HL next year after they held off the challenge of Waterfordin Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday afternoon.
While Waterford – down to 14 men after the sending off of sub Maurice Shanahan immediately aftercoming on – came back to two points after scores from Stephen Bennett (two) and Jake Dillon, Cork didn’t panic and pushed on again with a brace of scores from Daniel Kearney as well as a big point from corner-back Colm Spillane to ensure that they preserved their status.
Cork began very well, scoring the game’s first five points, though Waterford could have had a goal before that, Patrick Curran’s effort ruled out and the Rebels awarded a free.
Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mike Cahalane, Dean Brosnan and Bill Cooper all impressed for the Rebels in that period but Waterford were given hope when Curran was fouled by Colm Spillane for a penalty and the attacker drilled his low shot beyond Anthony Nash.
The concession didn’t rock Cork though and they continued to hold Waterford at arm’s length, with Cooper and Brosnan adding to their tallies, though Pauric Mahony’s frees were helping the Déise to avoid falling out of sight.
It took until injury tome for Cork to score from a dead ball, Patrick Horgan making it 0-10 to 1-02, but Waterford ensured they trailed by just a goal at half-time as Jamie Barron and Mikey Kearney had points.
Conor Lehane extended the advantage on the resumption but Mahony responded, with Tommy Ryan doing likewise after Dean Brosnan landed his third – just before that, Tom Devine tried to place Kieran Bennett for a goal chance but he couldn’t get to the ball.
Another from Fitzgibbon and two by Horgan helped Cork to pull clear, 0-16 to 1-08, and Waterford’s hopes took another blow when sub Maurice Shanahan was sent off immediately after coming on following a clash with Tim O’Mahony.
However, the numerical disparity didn’t noticeably hamper the visitors as they chipped away at the lead, with two from Stephen Bennett sandwiching one by sub Jake Dillon to leave two in it coming down the stretch.
They couldn’t get any closer though and Cork got the necessary scores to win.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-05 (0-03 frees), Bill Cooper 0-04, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Dean Brosnan 0-03 each, Daniel Kearney 0-02 each, Conor Lehane, Michael Cahalane, Colm Spillane, Alan Cadogan 0-01 each.
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-04 (0-02 frees), Stephen Bennett 0-03, Patrick Curran 1-0 penalty, Tommy Ryan 0-02, Tadhg de Búrca, Jamie Barron, Jake Dillon, Mikey Kearney 0-01 each.
Cork: Anthony Nash; Seán O’Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane; Christopher Joyce, Tim O’Mahony, Mark Coleman; Darragh Fitzgibbon, Bill Cooper; Séamus Harnedy, Dean Brosnan, Conor Lehane; Alan Cadogan, Patrick Horgan, Michael Cahalane.
Subs: Luke Meade for Cahalane (46), Darren Browne for O’Mahony (57-58, blood), Daniel Kearney for Brosnan (63), Robbie O’Flynn for Alan Cadogan (70).
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors; Kieran Bennett, Tadhg de Búrca, Philip Mahony; Jamie Barron, Colin Dunford; Pauric Mahony, Stephen Bennett, Mikey Kearney; Tom Devine, Patrick Curran, Tommy Ryan.
Subs: Conor Gleeson for Kieran Bennett (53), Maurice Shanahan for Kearney (55), Brian O’Halloran for Dunford (61), Jake Dillon for Curran (61), Michael Walsh for Ryan (66).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)