By Michael Moynihan
Waterford 1-10 Cork 0-17
An impressive Cork side overcame a disastrous start to ease to victory over Waterford in this Munster MHC clash in Walsh Park, Waterford.
The 2,707 in attendance saw Waterford begin with the strong wind and enjoy the perfect start, Eoin McGrath charging through the middle and goaling from the throw-in.
With Cathal Curran and Michael Mahony chipping in as well, Cork were 1-2 to no score behind on five minutes, and they needed Matthew Bradley's two points to settle.
As the game wore on, both sides deployed a spare player behind their half-back lines to sweep, which cut down the supply to the full-forward lines and reduced chances to a minimum in the first quarter.
Josh Beausang hit a Cork free on eleven minutes, though, and added a good score from play two minutes later to make it 1-2 to 0-4.
Evan Sheehan tied it up on fifteen minutes and then hit a superb point from the sideline for the lead.
Pitch looks well in Waterford, but the wind is ferocious. pic.twitter.com/nvEjaeVDxG— Éamonn Murphy (@EamonnMurphy19) April 6, 2016
Cork's half-backs were now on top, with Eoghan Clifford getting on a lot of ball. When Robbie Bourke and Bradley added to Cork's lead it meant the visitors had hit eight points in a row.
Waterford needed 'keeper Billy Nolan, out to point a free from his own half, to stop the rot - their first point in sixteen minutes, and playing with the breeze at that.
Still, with Neil Montgomery and Eoghan Murray (free) finding the range, the home side were level on 26 minutes, and then Murray converted another free to give them the lead. Waterford were better, with Murray more involved in general play, but when referee Philip Kelly blew for half-time they were only one point in front, 1-6 to 0-8.
Cork levelled within a minute of the resumption, a good Sheehan score, and added three more quickly, one a long-range beauty from Liam Healy, to put some daylight between the sides. By now Cork's defence looked well on top, with John Cooper and Paul Lyons prominent. When Beausang hit a free it was Cork's fifth without reply and Waterford were struggling to carve out an opening.
Jack Prendergast eventually ended Waterford's scoring drought with a good point on 42 minutes, the first Déise score after the break. Both sides began to hit wides as fatigue took a toll, but Sheehan and Montgomery swapped points to maintain the margin as the game went into the final ten minutes.
A superb Sheehan sideline and a Beausang free pushed Cork's lead to five, however. Nolan came upfield to hit over another Waterford free, but the home side needed a goal. The game ended in a series of Waterford frees near the Cork goal, but Nolan couldn't find the goal that would have given his team a lifeline.
Scorers for Waterford: E. McGrath 1-0, B. Nolan (frees) 0-3; E. Murray (frees), N. Montgomery 0-2 each; J. Prendergast, C. Curran, M. Mahony 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: J. Beausang (0-4 frees), E. Sheehan (0-1 sideline) 0-5 each; M. Bradley 0-4; L. Healy, R. Bourke, C. O'Mahony 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: B. Nolan (Roanmore), C. Giles Doran (De La Salle), J. Flavin (Ardmore), D. McGrath (Abbeyside), D. Power (Passage), E. Murray (Ballyduff Upper), M. O'Brien (Geraldines), E. McGrath (Butlerstown), H. Ruddle Redmond (Ballygunner), J. Prendergast (Lismore), D. Guiry (Fourmilewater), C. Curran (Brickey Rangers), M. Mahony (Ballygunner)( c), N. Montgomery (Abbeyside), T. Douglas (De La Salle).
Subs: C. Dalton (Clonea) for M. O'Brien, 35; T. Barron (Fourmilewater) for D. McGrath, 41; C. Kirwan (Fenor) for T. Douglas, 53; G. Waters (Dungarvan) for E. McGrath, 57; J. Reade (St Mollerans) for D. Guiry, 59.
CORK: G. Collins (Ballinhassig), P. Lyons (Mallow), N. O'Leary (Castlelyons)( c), S. O'Leary Hayes (Midleton), J. Cooper (Eire Og), R. Walsh (Cuchulainns), E. Clifford (Cloughduv), C. O'Mahony (Ballinhassig), R. Bourke (Ballincollig), J. O'Sullivan (Blackrock), M. Bradley (Aghabullogue), S. Condon (Harbour Rovers), E. Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh), J. Beausang (St. Colman's), L. Healy (Sarsfields).
Subs: B. Buckley (Shandrum) for O'Sullivan, 40; J. Saich (Kilworth) for R. Walsh, 49; D. Gunning (Na Piarsaigh) for S. Condon, 53; R. Howell (Douglas) for N. O'Leary (inj), 60; J. Geary (Shandrum) for E. Sheehan, 62.
Referee: P. Kelly (Tipperary).