By John Fogarty
Kilkenny 1-21 Waterford 0-18
This was an all-too-familiar result for both Kilkenny and Waterford, but an improvement on the fare that has been offered up thus far in this All-Ireland championship.
There was a sense of inevitability in this semi-final from a long way out in the second half. The 41,112 crowd were treated to an absorbing first half but a more expansive Kilkenny eventually broke Waterford's hold to string together a succession of scores which put paid to their neighbours' challenge.
TJ Reid celebrates his score. Pictures: Sportsfile
After TJ Reid and Richie Hogan led the way scoring way in the first half, their colleagues chipped in with Ger Aylward shooting four points.
Colin Dunford also scored four after the break and helped cut the gap to three points in the 52nd minute and then again in the 55th, but four Kilkenny points on the trot saw them pull away.
In truth, Waterford ran out of steam and ideas at the end, ultimately hitting almost a dozen balls short.
Kilkenny may have wanted to start like a train but they weren't allowed. Admittedly, all that stood between Eoin Larkin and a third minute goal was Shane Fives' calf but Waterford had weathered the early storm so well that they led on three separate occasions in the opening 15 minutes.
Both defences were impressive in swarming the other team's attack although Kilkenny did find the net in the 17th minute when Reid ghosted behind Tadhg de Burca and Barry Coughlan, the Waterford pair colliding as they went to secure the high ball.
Waterford responded with a Maurice Shanahan free, the Lismore man helping himself to seven points in the opening period, and there was never more than three points between the sides for the remainder of the half.
Derek McGrath, Waterford manager.
Kilkenny's forwards were making life so difficult for the Waterford backs in contrast to the other end where the Cats' defence were outnumbering the opposition at least in the full-back line.
Kilkenny boss Brian Cody picted pitch-side today.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (1-9, 0-6 frees); R Hogan (0-5); G Aylward (0-4); C Buckley, E Larkin, M Fennelly (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan (0-9, 6 frees, 1 65); C Dunford (0-4); A Gleeson (1 sideline) (0-3); Shane Bennett, K Moran (0-1 each).
Sub for Kilkenny: J Power for W Walsh (67).
Subs for Waterford: P Curran for J Dillon (53); Stephen Bennett for Shane Bennett (57);
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; M Fennelly, C Fogarty; C Fennelly, R Hogan, W Walsh; G Aylward, TJ Reid, E Larkin.
WATERFORD: S O'Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; P Mahony, T de Burca, A Gleeson; J Barron, K Moran; M Walsh, C Dunford, D Fives; Shane Bennett, M Shanahan, J Barron.
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)