Maurice is the man as Deise advance

Maurice Shanahan celebrates after slamming in Waterford's first goal at Semple Stadium

Maurice Shanahan celebrates after slamming in Waterford's first goal at Semple Stadium

Brian Flannery reports

JUST five weeks after claiming a third
League title, Waterford confirmed
their superiority over Cork in Thurles
last Sunday thanks to a deserved fourpoint
victory which secured a place in
the Munster Hurling final.
In the run up to last Sunday’s
Munster semi-final played in front of
an attendance of 21,047 most of the
national pundits had plumped for a
Cork victory, tradition over form if
you will.
Not for the first time, Derek
McGrath’s splendid side confounded
the so-called experts and a Championship
victory adds considerable substance
to last month’s League success.
The oldest cliché in hurling is that
goals win games. Certainly opening
half goals from Maurice Shanahan
and Jake Dillon were instrumental in
helping the winners gain the upper
hand while Tom Devine’s injury time
major finally extinguished the Cork
challenge.
It was a nervous opening from
Waterford with early place ball misses
from Maurice Shanahan and Austin
Gleeson reminding us of the absence
of the injured Pauric Mahony.
But Deise supporters need not have
worried though as Maurice Shanahan
went on to produce a man of the match
performance, hitting 1-9 in total with
eight points from placed balls.
Cork made the better start and led
by 0-6 to 0-2 after 21 minutes. Jimmy
Barry Murphy’s side were doing well
in the opening exchanges, retaining
possession and attacking down
the wings. However, inaccuracy and
poor shot selection restricted their
advantage.
Indeed, Patrick Horgan too failed
to convert a good goal chance in the
ninth minute when he seized upon a
misplaced Jamie Barron hand pass but
Stephen O’Keeffe saved comfortably.
Waterford never panicked, stuck to
their game plan and sure enough the
breaks arrived.
In the 27th minute a long clearance
from Austin Gleeson was fetched by
Maurice Shanahan over Cahalane and
the Lismore man rifled his shot from
20 metres into to the top left-hand
corner of Anthony Nash’s net to bring
the sides level.
A minute later, a fantastic long range
point from Tadhg De Búrca put Waterford
into the lead and they were never
to trail thereafter.
The Deisemen’s second goal came in
the 30th minute when veteran Michael
Walsh, Messi-like played a beautiful
pass to the on-running Jake Dillon
who ghosted behind Cormac Murphy
and rifled the ball high to Nash’s left
and into the Town End net. Waterford
now led by 2-5 to 0-8.
By then the white and blue tide was
rising rapidly, and the complexion of
the match had been changed utterly.
Moments after Dillon’s goal, Waterford
captain Kevin Moran almost
added a third goal; however Maurice
Shanahan converted the resulting 65
to swell his side’s advantage to four
points.
However, points from Cork’s
Patrick Cronin, Aidan Walsh and Alan
Cadogan reduced Port Láirge’s advantage
to the minimum come the halftime
break (2-6 to 0-11).
After the break. three points on the
bounce from Maurice Shanahan (two)
and Colin Dunford pushed Waterford’s
lead out to four points by the 40th
minute.
For most of the second half, the
League champions dovetailed between
a four and five-point advantage with
only the accuracy of Patrick Horgan
from frees and Pa Cronin from play
keeping the reigning Munster champions
in touch.
A teak tough full-back line of Noel
Connors, Barry Coughlan and Shane
Fives were never under huge pressure
as the outstanding Tadhg De Búrca
provided the perfect sweeping cover
for the winners’ rear guard.
And youngsters Stephen Bennett
(two), brother Shane (in the middle
of his Leaving Certificate) and fellow
Championship debutant Patrick
Curran all raised vital white flags for
Port Láirge during a second half in
which the eventual winners always
looked comfortable.
By full-time, Waterford had 10 different
scorers; what a riposte to those
who feared they’d struggle without the
sidelined Pauric Mahony.
The sending off of Cork full-forward
Luke O’Farrell for an off the ball
incident in the 64th minute, after Barry
Kelly acted on his umpires’ advice, did
little to help Cork’s cause.
A much needed goal finally arrived
for Cork on the stroke of full-time as
Patrick Horgan converted a penalty
after Conor Lehane was felled close to
goal. The margin was now down to two
points (2-19 to 1-20) with four minutes
of injury time already signalled.
But just as it was in the League
decider, it fell to Deise substitute Tom
Devine to apply the coup de grace as
the Modeligo youngster goaled at the
second attempt after another Michael
Walsh assist, a ‘Brick Flick’ as it was
dubbed on Twitter that evening.
There was still time for another
Horgan free but Stephen O’Keeffe
saved his effort well from 20 metres.
Cork sub Darren McCarthy pointed
the resulting 65 but there was no
miracle comeback in the offi ng as
referee Barry Kelly blew for the end
of game.
These are halcyon days for
Waterford supporters and after this
latest victory you get the sense that this
team is just getting warmed up. Limerick
or Tipperary await in the Munster
Final on Sunday, July 12th and this
fantastic group of players shall not
be devoting any thoughts beyond that
great occasion.
WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeff e; Noel Connors,
Barry Coughlan, Shane Fives; Austin Gleeson,
Tadhg De Búrca, Philip Mahony; Jamie Barron,
Colin Dunford; Michael Walsh, Kevin Moran, Jake
Dillon; Stephen Bennett, Maurice Shanahan, Brian
O’Halloran.
SUBSTITUTES: Shane Bennett for Brian
O’Halloran (45mins), Tom Devine for Stephen
Bennett (59), Eddie Barrett for Colin Dunford (62)
and Patrick Curran for Jake Dillon (67).
SCORERS: Maurice Shanahan (1-9; 0-7f, 0-1
65’), Jake Dillon and Tom Devine (1-0 each), Shane
Bennett, Stephen Bennett and Kevin Moran (0-2
each), Austin Gleeson (0-1f ), Tadhg De Búrca,
Colin Dunford and Patrick Curran (0-1 each).
CORK: Anthony Nash; Shane O’Neill, Stephen
McDonnell, Brian Murphy; Damien Cahalane, Mark
Ellis, Cormac Murphy; Daniel Kearney, Bill Cooper;
Conor Lehane, Pa Cronin, Aidan Walsh; Alan
Cadogan, Luke O’Farrell, Patrick Horgan.
SUBSTITUTES: Rob O’Shea for Cormac Murphy
(46 mins), Darren McCarthy for Daniel Kearney
(50) and Paudie O’Sullivan for Aidan Walsh (56).
SCORERS: Patrick Horgan (1-7; 0-6f, 1-0
pen), Pa Cronin (0-5), Alan Cadogan (0-2), Darren
McCarthy (0-1’65), Mark Ellis, Aidan Walsh, Daniel
Kearney, Conor Lehane, Bill Cooper and Luke
O’Farrell (0-1 each).
REFEREE: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).

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