Waterford 2-8; Kilkenny 2-6
For the second time in four years, Waterford emerged from the Tony Forristal Festival of Hurling as worthy champions.
After a weekend of fantastic, open hurling, bereft of defensive tactics, the large attendance were given a final that was truly deserving of the weekend as Waterford and Kilkenny went toe to toe for 40 minutes.
Waterford’s senior players have, over the past decade, encountered a black and amber roadblock at Championship level, but on Sunday last, the stars of tomorrow showed that our illustrious neighbours can be beaten.
Waterford got off to the best possible start when, after a centre by Dessie Hutchinson, big full-forward Adam Crawford gained possession, rounded his marker before planting the sliothar in the back of the Kilkenny net.
Playing with a strong breeze, Waterford were anxious to put up a big score and set a target for the Cats to chase in the second half.
After four minutes of play Waterford led by 1-3 to 0-0 after captain Patrick Curran scored two points in a minute which was followed by a point from Crawford, whose size and mobility was causing havoc in the Kilkenny defence.
Such was the influence that Crawford was having in the early stages, that Kilkenny were forced to re-jig their defensive formation.
Team captain Liam Blanchfield was moved from centre-back to full-back in an effort to keep tabs on Crawford and slowly but surely, Kilkenny began to find their feet in the final.
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