Cork 5-24; Waterford 3-9
Waterford supporters travelled to Cork on Wednesday last in anticipation of a rip roaring Munster Intermediate clash with their near neighbours.
Alas, they left with their tails between their legs after an almighty hammering at the hands of the Rebel county.
After Waterford’s slick performance in the semi-final against Limerick, hopes were high of adding to the title which Waterford had famously won two years ago.
Instead, we were subjected to the kind of beating which reminded older Waterford supporters of the bad old days of the 1980s.
Waterford started well enough and with Ballyduff’s Pat Fitzgerald in inspirational form they kept pace with the youthful Cork outfit for the first 20 minutes or so.
At that stage Waterford looked more than a match for Cork as the Deise boys scored some excellent points from play from the aforementioned Fitzgerald, David Howard, Liam Lawlor and the lively Pa Kearney.
It may have been a warning of what was to come but Cork seemed to be getting their scores easier, even in these early stages.
Centre-forward Mark O’Sullivan won several puck outs and his fielding of the sliothar was a joy to behold all night.
O’Sullivan helped himself to a couple of early points as did impressive corner-forward Stephen Moylan who can be very happy with himself after taking no less a player than Brian Wall for five points.
Midfielder Leigh Desmond was also very prominent in the early stages, grabbing points from both play and frees.
The first major talking point in the game came in the 23rd minute when Desmond was coolness personified as he flicked the ball past Ian O’Regan after being put through by a smart hand pass from Luke Farrell.
Points from Farrell, Moylan and a 65′ from Desmond extended Cork’s lead to six points with half time approaching.
Any hopes Waterford had of staying in the game appeared to be dashed in the 27th minute when Mark O’Sullivan knocked in a well worked goal after being put through by Rory Dwyer.
Seconds later, Waterford raised a green flag for themselves when Pa Kearney fed Jamie Kearney in front of goal and the Ballyduff Upper man made no mistake from close range. As the teams left the field for the half-time lead, Cork enjoyed a healthy lead of 2-11 to 1-7.
Waterford were really up against it as they came out for the second half to confront a rampant Cork side as well as the stiff breeze.
The hosts added a quick point through a Leigh Desmond free but Waterford soon narrowed the gap to a manageable five points when Patrick Hurney goaled after a fine pass from Pat Fitzgerald.
For the first time of the evening, we heard the now familiar cry of “Waterford, Waterford” from the stands.
Waterford may have thought at this stage that there was light at the end of the tunnel. However, this light turned out to be the beam of a Cork conducted train as Rebel corner-forward Maurice O’Sullivan stole in to finish after a defensive calamity in the Waterford full-back line.
From then on, it was only a matter of how much Cork would win by and the answer soon became apparent that it was going to be a lot. Further goals were added through Maurice O’Sullivan and hard-working wing-forward Lorcan McLoughlan.
To compound matters for Waterford, team captain and full-back John O’Leary was sent off after 42 minutes after picking up a second yellow card.
Waterford did grab another goal for themselves through Lismore’s David Howard who was set up by Pat Fitzgerald.
This was one of the most disappointing nights in recent years for Waterford hurling supporters. To be fair to them, they travelled down in great numbers in anticipation of a big performance from their team, but they were let down by the team on the night.
Pat Fitzgerald was Waterford’s best player on the night by a country mile. As well as scoring two points and setting up two goals, he was involved in anything positive that Waterford did.
As bad as the scoreline was, it would have been far worse only for the efforts of the Ballyduff man.
Elsewhere, Liam Lawlor played well when moved back to full-back while Pa Kearney and David Howard tried hard in attack.
Waterford: I O’Regan; B Wall, J O’Leary, K Flynn; J Coffey, S Kearney, W Henley; P Fitzgerald, D Murphy; P Hurney, D Howard, J Kearney; B Hannon, L Lawlor, P Kearney.
Scorers: D Howard (1-1), B Hannon (0-4f), J Kearney and P Hurney (1-0 each), P Fitzgerald (0-2), P Kearney and L Lawlor (0-1 each).
Substitutes: R Power for J Kearney, P Molumphy for W Henley, S Hannon for P Kearney and D Hickey for D Murphy.
Cork: A Nash; B Coleman, D McSweeney, B Murphy; J Carey, R Cashman, J O’Leary; E Dillon, L Desmond; R Dwyer, Mark O’Sullivan, L McLoughlan; Maurice O’Sullivan, L Farrell, S Moylan.
Scorers: L Desmond 1-7 (0-4f 0-1 65), Maurice O’Sullivan 2-3, Mark O’Sullivan 1-3, S Moylan 0-5, L McLoughlan 1-0, L Farrell 0-3, R Dwyer 0-1, J Jordan 0-1, B Ring 0-1f.
Substitutes: J Jordan for R Cashman, E Clancy for B Murphy, A Mannix for R Dwyer and B Ring for L Farrell.
Referee: N Cosgrove (Tipperary).