Waterford 1-26; Cork Institute of Technology 1-12
The Waterford hurlers got 2010 off to a winning start when they enjoyed a facile victory over Cork IT in Kilmacthomas last Sunday. Over the past couple of seasons, Waterford have been criticised for being highly reliant on John Mullane and Eoin Kelly for getting scores. However, it was a different story here as the likes of Maurice Shanahan, Shane Walsh and Shane Casey stepped up to the plate and put the students to the sword. Indeed, Shanahan was the star of the show, finishing with a total of nine points, which included an impressive five from play.
Both sides looked evenly matched in the early stages as the students, after a rigorous warm-up, went toe-to-toe with their illustrious opponents. The home side opened the scoring when Casey set up Shanahan and the big Lismore man made no mistake.
Dunhill clubman Casey and his full-forward line colleague looked very sharp in the early stages and Waterford capitalised as Eoin Kelly and Walsh found the range.
CIT matched their opponents on the scoreboard, largely thanks to the free-taking of Cork star Patrick Horgan. However, it must be noted that one or two of the frees awarded to the students by referee John Ryan were of a charitable nature.
At the midway stage of the first half, an Eoin McGrath point put Waterford into the lead, but it was short-lived. A minute later, CIT centre-forward, Brian Corry broke through the Waterford defence before off-loading to bustling full-forward Conor Cusack. Cusack turned inside Liam Lawlor before firing past debutante goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe.
This goal seemed to spur the home side into action and they were soon back on level terms thanks to a brace of points from Shane Walsh.
Maurice Shanahan then added three points on the trot as Waterford began to assert their authority over the visitors.
CIT struggled to keep pace with Waterford and were very reliant on the free-taking of Horgan to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Impressive centre-forward Brian Corry did sneak a point before the end of the half, which coupled with a fine point from midfielder Padraig Gould, left the students two in arrears at half-time.
Waterford had a problem getting into their dressing room at the break and Davy Fitzgerald was forced to give his team talk at the side of the clubhouse. Whatever Fitzgerald said to his troops worked and the Deise men came out for the second half with fire in their bellies.
Kevin Moran opened the second-half scoring with a long range point and this was closely followed by a point from Shane Casey.
In the eighth minute of the half a clever flick from Shane Walsh set up Thomas Ryan for a goal chance. Goal-scoring seems to be something of a forte for the young Tallow man and he made no mistake with his finish.
Waterford added to the goal by adding on a further six points without reply with Maurice Shanahan, Eoin Kelly and Shane Walsh keeping the umpire busy at the dressing-room end of the ground.
It wasn’t until the 21st minute of the half that CIT opened their second-half account through a fine Craig Leahy point from distance. Centre-forward Brian Corry, who enjoyed a great battle with Michael Walsh all afternoon, added his second point of the game a minute later.
Waterford proved determined not to let the visitors back into the game and Shanahan added a free before Jamie Nagle outlined his credentials by converting two long-range frees.
In the final minutes of the game Patrick Horgan added another couple of frees for CIT while Shanahan scored another free before Kevin Moran finished the scoring with a point from play.
For Waterford, Stephen O’Keeffe had very little to do on the goal but looked assured throughout. The full-back line played very well and showed that Davy Fitzgerald has several options in this sector. Liam Lawlor played well at full-back and may be worth persisting with. Michael Walsh was his usual imperious self at centre-back while Eoin Kelly looked more at home at midfield than he did for long periods on the edge of the square last season.
In attack Shane Walsh and Maurice Shanahan were excellent and greatly troubled the CIT defence throughout while Shane Casey also looked very sharp.
For CIT, corner-back Chris Murphy was far and away their best performer on a disappointing day at the office. Elsewhere, Ross Cashman had a fine hour while Brian Corry was the pick of a disappointing forward line.
Next up for Waterford is Sunday’s clash with IT Tralee in Ballyduff Upper.
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe, Jerome Maher, Liam Lawlor, Mark O’Brien, Declan Prendergast, Michael Walsh, Jamie Nagle, Eoin Kelly, James Murray, Eoin McGrath, Kevin Moran, Maurice Shanahan, Shane Casey, Shane Walsh, Thomas Ryan.
Subs: Eoin Whelan for J Murray, Brian Phelan for E Kelly, Martin O’Neill for T Ryan.
Scorers: M Shanahan 0-9 (0-4f), E Kelly 0-5 (0-2f, 0-1 65), S Walsh 0-4, S Casey 0-3, T Ryan 1-0, K Moran 0-2, J Nagle 0-2f, E McGrath 0-1.
CIT: Ciaran Cusack, Chris Murphy, Eoin Keane, Eoin Clancy, Darren Kenneally, Ross Cashman, Craig Leahy, Stephen White, Padraig Gould, Tony Murphy, Brian Corry, Adrian Mannix, Patrick Horgan, Conor Cusack, Stephen Corcoran. Subs: Joe Maher for S Corcoran, John O’Callaghan for E Clancy, Kevin Roche for Ciaran Cusack, Tommy Quaid for Conor Cusack.
Scorers: P Horgan 0-7f, Conor Cusack 1-0, B Corry 0-2, A Mannix, 0-1, P Gould 0-1, C Leahy 0-1
Referee: John Ryan (Tipperary).