A 74th minute strike from Shane Bennett decided a game of two halves in stormy weather at Walsh Park this afternoon.
The Déise rallied from ten points down at the break. The Bennett brothers tallied 1-11 between them with Jamie Barron, Kevin Moran and Pauric Mahony also prominent as the game turned in favour of the home team with a stiff wind at their backs.
There was sun, rain, hail, sleet and snow during a first half of many seasons. 3,371 fans braved the wintry conditions.
1-6 without reply during a thunder and lightning second quarter left a wind assisted Galway ten points clear at the break. Four Stephen Bennett points gave Waterford a 5-3 lead after seven minutes. Joe Canning narrowed the margin with his third point of the day. In the tenth minute, Jason Flynn snuck in behind Shane McNulty and blasted past Stephen O’Keeffe (1-4 to 0-5). Davy Glennon shot across goal a minute later. Niall Burke put the Tribesmen a goal up with his second white flag.
The busy Jamie Barron and Bennett narrowed the deficit to one. The away side struck five points in succession, including two each from Canning and Conor Whelan, before their second green flag. As the hail lashed down and the thunder rolled overhead, Canning weaved around four Déise defenders and passed the ball to Brian Concannon who whacked it into the top corner. A goal of the year contender. A Canning free, his sixth point of the half, sent them 2-11 to 0-7 ahead at the change of ends.
Waterford shot eight points without reply during a dominant third quarter. Stephen Bennett and Pauric Mahony and Jamie Barron all got two apiece with Michael Kearney and Shane Bennett also on target.
It took Galway 21 minutes to register their first second half score via a Canning free. Stephen Bennett reduced the gap to three before Niall Burke responded for the visitors on the hour mark (2-13 to 0-16). It was Galway’s last score. Two Stephen Bennett frees pared it down to one before Shane forced home that last gasp goal after Peter Hogan supplied him with the pass.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-10 (8fs), Shane Bennett 1-1, Jamie Barron 0-3, Michael Kearney, Pauric Mahony 0-2 each.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-7 (6fs), Jason Flynn 1-1 (1f), Brian Concannon 1-0, Niall Burke 0-3, Conor Whelan 0-2.
Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Darragh Lyons, Shane McNulty, Noel Connors; Callum Lyons, Philip Mahony, Kevin Moran; Jamie Barron, Colin Dunford; Michael Walsh, Michael Kearney, Pauric Mahony; Peter Hogan, Stephen Bennett, Shane Bennett.
Subs: Jordan Henley for Darragh Lyons (46) Austin Gleeson for Walsh (51), Stephen Roche for Dunford (52), Colm Roche for Connors (65), Jack Prendergast for Callum Lyons (66)
Galway: Fergal Flannery; Aidan Harte, Ronan Burke, Jack Grealish; Kevin Hussey, Padraig Mannion, Gearoid McInerney; Cathal Mannion, Sean Loftus; Joe Canning, Conor Whelan, Niall Burke; Davy Glennon, Jason Flynn, Brian Concannon.
Subs: Sean Bleahene for Flynn (53), Sean Linnane for Cathal Mannion (55), Paul Killeen for Grealish (62), Sean Kilduff for Linnane (69), John Hanbury for Ronan Burke (74).
Referee: David Hughes (Carlow)