Waterford’s National Hurling League campaign came to a disappointing conclusion when they lost by five points to Kilkenny in Nowlan Park last Sunday. To be honest, most of the damage was done during a completely one-sided first half, after which, Waterford trailed by 11 points having failed completely to get out of the blocks. That they pulled back most of the deficit in the second half is a testament to the never say die spirit that has been instilled in the players and also to the changes that were made at half-time.
Things looked very ominous for Waterford by the time Michael Grace scored Kilkenny’s goal in the 12th minute. A line ball by JJ Delaney was allowed to travel all the way through to Grace who had enough time to pick his spot before firing past Adrian Power in the Waterford goal. Grace’s goal put Kilkenny 1-4 to 0-1 in front after a lightening start in which, Grace, TJ Reid and newcomer Eoin Guinan with two points blitzed the Waterford defence.
During the first half, Waterford found it difficult to cope with the intensity of Kilkenny’s play and looked a little off the pace. This may have something to do with the gruelling training schedule endured in Spain last week, when thirteen training sessions took place over four days.
Waterford eventually got off the mark in the 14th minute when John Mullane, collected a long delivery from Liam Lawlor and fired over. However, this did not signal a resurgence in Waterford’s fortunes and Kilkenny responded with another five points on the trot, courtesy of Cha Fitzpatrick, two from TJ Reid and one apiece from Richie Hogan and Eoin Larkin.