STRICTLY speaking, this doesn’t fit into the category of ‘classic’ finals as only one team performed! But, whatever about Kilkenny’s right to be rated the greatest team in the history of the game, their superb first-half display was arguably the closest to hurling perfection witnessed in modern times.
They blew a feeble challenge from Waterford asunder with skill, terrific team play and a confidence which reflected huge credit on inspirational manager Brian Cody.
It meant that by half-time – when they led 2-16 to 0-5 – the champions were as good as guaranteed the county’s first three-in-a-row success since 1913 and outright leadership in the championship’s Roll of Honour.
And, by full-time they had the added satisfaction of winning by the biggest margin in 80 years and equalling the cumulative total of 39 points which Cork secured with a 6-21 score in the 1970 final against Wexford.
And, just as Con Murphy presented the Liam MacCarthy to a Cork captain when the last treble was achieved 30 years earlier, a Kilkenny president – Nickey Brennan, All-Ireland medal-winner and a former manager – was similarly privileged.
Scorers for Kilkenny: E Brennan, 2-4; H Shefflin, 0-8 (5f, 1’65); E Larkin, 1-4; TJ Reid, 0-4; A Fogarty & D Lyng, 0-3 each; J Fitzpatrick & R Power, 0-2 each.
Scorers for Waterford: E Kelly, 1-9 (9f); J Mullane, 0-3; D Bennett, 0-1.
KILKENNY: PJ Ryan; M Kavanagh, N Nickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney; J Fitzpatrick (capt), D Lyng; H Shefflin, M Comerford, E Larkin; E Brennan, R Power, A Fogarty.
Subs: TJ Reid for Comerford (injured, 43); J McGarry for Ryan (60).
WATERFORD: C Hennessy; A Kearney, D Prendergast, E Murphy; T Browne, K McGrath, K Moran; M Walsh (capt), J Nagle; D Shanahan, S Molumphy, S Prendergast; E McGrath, J Mullane, E Kelly.
Subs: J Kennedy for S Prendergast & S O’Sullivan for Nagle (ht); P Flynn for E McGrath (52); T Feeney for D Prendergast & D Bennett for Shanahan (63).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).