After a 21-year absence, Waterford will contest the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final following Sunday’s victory over Kilkenny at Headquarters. Now that’s a sentence I’ve longed to commit to print for quite some time!
Sean Power’s side, who’ve played seven times to reach the September 8th decider, produced the better standard of hurling against a Kilkenny side who remained in contention thanks to the expert free-taking of Glenmore’s Alan Murphy.
And that level of indiscipline shall, one suspects, fall under sharp scrutiny within the Deise camp between now and the Final, in which they’ll face either Munster champions Limerick or Galway.
At the break, Waterford led by 2-5 to 0-9, after a first half in which, despite their two-point lead, they’d laboured somewhat in terms of both territory and possession. But thanks to their lethal offensive edge, producing goals from Adam Gleeson and DJ Foran, the men in white earned a lead that ultimately they would not relinquish.
Dicksboro’s Kevin Kenny put the Cats ahead after two minutes, a lead doubled by Alan Murphy come the fourth minute. Patrick Curran’s free eased Deise nerves 60 seconds later, and things got a whole lot better come the seventh minute.
Latching onto the first penetrative ball rifled into the Kilkenny full-back line, the ever-dangerous Stephen Bennett brilliantly retained possession, drawing two Black and Amber shirts in his direction. The Ballysaggart man batted the ball cross-goal into the path of the waiting Adam Farrell, who netted from point-blank range.
Murphy added three successive frees in the 11th, 12th and 14th minutes before Waterford goaled again on the quarter-hour through a stunning individual strike by DJ Foran, who soloed from the Kilkenny 65 before unleashing a stunning strike high to yhe right of Cats cul baire Darren Brennan.