Waterford 5-15 Limerick 0-7
A dreadfully one-sided affair preceded Sunday’s SHC draw between the same two counties, the Deise’s margin of victory identical to that which Kilkenny inflicted on Waterford in last year’s senior All-Ireland.
Remarkably, just like the Cats last September, Waterford registered only two wides over the hour.
By full-time, it was astonishing to recall that only last summer, Limerick, with the legendary Ciarán Carey among their ranks, had reached the All-Ireland decider at this grade.
Not that any of this will have concerned Waterford, who went about their business in a ruthlessly impressive manner to win a place in another Munster decider.
From the ice-cool Ian O’Regan between the sticks all the way through to the rampant Pa Kearney who netted a hat-trick of goals, Liam Óg Daniels could be justly pleased with Waterford’s display.
Leading by 2-7 to 0-4 at half-time, Waterford did what all superior teams ought to do when facing less talented opponents: they crushed them, adding 3-8 to their tally during another one-sided half.
Tommy Quaid (son of the late, legendary Limerick goalkeeper of the same name) put Limerick ahead thanks to two points registered inside the fifth minute in response to Pat Fitzgerald’s opening point. Alas, that was as to prove as good as it got from the defending champions’ perspective.
After eight minutes, Patrick Hurney punished a scuffed Limerick clearance when slamming the ball home and by the quarter hour, they led by six points. By the 20th minute, Waterford had the onion sack bulging again after Pa Kearney finished off a move instigated by the impressive Liam Lawlor.
Twelve points ahead at the resumption, Waterford didn’t take the foot off the gas, Hurney adding another goal within minutes of the restart. The fourth goal was inevitable, as Fitzgerald and midfield partner Daniel Murphy shored up possession at will.
Superb play from the deceptively quick Hurney paved the way for another Kearney goal to stretch Waterford’s advantage to 18 points by the game’s three-quarter mark.
The goal rout was completed by Jamie Kearney on 51 minutes, who despatched the sliothar into the top right hand corner of the net despite the best efforts of diving Limerick keeper Barry Hennessy.
Brendan Hannon underlined his status as one of the best free takers in the county with six conversions, while Daniel Murphy, Liam Lawlor, Patrick Hurney and ‘hat-trick’ Kearney also caught the eye.
This was relentless, cohesive stuff from Waterford, who will face the winners of the Cork/Clare semi-final on July 22nd, with Cork favourites to advance thanks to their 1-24 to 2-6 dismissal of Tipperary on May 31st.
Waterford: Ian O’Regan; Brian Wall, John O’Leary, Kevin Flynn; John Coffey, Sean Kearney, William Henley; Pat Fitzgerald, Daniel Murphy; Patrick Hurney, David Howard, Jamie Kearney; Brendan Hannon, Liam Lawlor, Pa Kearney. Substitutes: David Hickey for D Howard (50 mins), Patrick Molumphy for B Wall (54), Seamus Hannon for P Fitzgerald (56), Martin Whelan for P Hurney (58), Richie Hennessy for W Henley (59).
Scorers: P Kearney (3-1), B Hannon (0-6f), P Hurney (1-2), J Kearney (1-1), D Murphy 0-3, P Fitzgerald and L Lawlor (0-1 each).
Limerick: Barry Hennessy; Aidan Hennessy, Brian Kelliher, Gearóid O’Leary; David Moloney, Shane O’Neill, Paudie O’Brien; Nicky Quaid, Andrew Brennan; Peter Harty, Peter O’Reilly, Tommy O’Brien; Tiernan Ryan, David O’Neill, Tommy Quaid. Substitutes: Lorcan O’Dwyer for P O’Brien, Mark Keane for Ryan, Eoin O’Leary for P O’Reilly (all HT), Patrick Cremin for D Moloney (36) and John Quane for T Quaid (54).
Scorers: T O’Brien (0-4; 0-2f, 0-1 ‘65), N Quaid and M Keane (0-1) and T Quaid (0-1f).
Referee: Seanie McMahon (Clare).