A rousing finish from Cork secured them a spot in the Munster hurling final.
Derek McGrath’s Waterford had nothing but pride to play for this afternoon and yet it was they who took the game to their neighbours, holding the lead from the fourth to the 66th minute.
Tommy Ryan’s 55th-minute goal shoved the Déise 1-16 to 0-16 ahead, but from there to the finish, they were outscored by 1-7 to 0-4.
The Cork goal arrived on 66 minutes, the referee playing advantage after Patrick Horgan had been fouled. The Glen Rovers man offloaded to Seamus Harnedy and despite taking a questionable number of steps, he drilled a low shot into the bottom right corner of Ian Kenny’s goal.
A Pauric Mahony free had Waterford back on level terms before the same player edged them in front, 1-20 to 1-19, following a foul on Tommy Ryan.
They wouldn’t score again, however. At the other end, Shane Kingston, Horgan, Christopher Joyce and Seamus Harnedy all split the posts during the seven minutes of second-half stoppages to make sure of Cork’s place in the Munster final.
The result may have gone with them, but the performance was by no means up to scratch. The Rebels finished with 17 wides, indicative of how wasteful they were at times.
The lack of pressure on Waterford was none more so apparent in the first-half as they attempted to find Anthony Nash’s posts from all angles and distances. And more often than not, they found the target - Austin Gleeson, Jamie Barron and Brian O’Halloran stringing over a series of long-range efforts.
The sides were evenly matched over the opening 13 minutes, clipping four points apiece. In the subsequent five minutes, however, the Déise outscored their opponents by 0-4 to 0-1 to establish a gap that further widened as the half wore on - the scoreboard read 0-15 to 0-11 in Waterford’s favour at the break.
Cork were shooting themselves in the foot such were the number of defensive errors they made. The tendency of the Cork defence to over-complicate matters when attempting to work possession away from their own goal led directly to five Waterford points.
Even more frustrating from a Cork perspective was that Patrick Horgan and Shane Kingston, at the other end of the field, had the beating of their men. And yet, they were so poorly supplied.
All bar Luke Meade of the starting six Cork forwards found the mark in the opening half but their shooting wasn’t exactly razor sharp, the Rebels finishing the half with eight wides.
They just about got their in the end.
Scorers for Cork: S Harnedy (1-3); P Horgan (0-5, 0-2 frees, 0-2 ‘65s); B Cooper, S Kingston, C Lehane (0-3 each); M Coleman (0-1 sc), D Kearney (0-2 each); C Joyce, D Fitzgibbon (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford: P Mahony (0-8, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); T Ryan (1-3); B O’Halloran, J Dillon (0-2 each); A Gleeson, J Barron, T Devine, M Shanahan, DJ Foran (0-1 each).
Cork: A Nash; S O’Donoghue, D Cahalane, C Spillane; E Cadogan, C Joyce, M Coleman; D Fitzgibbon, B Cooper; L Meade, S Harnedy, D Kearney; C Lehane, P Horgan, S Kingston.
Subs: C O’Sullivan for Cadogan (45); M Cahalane for Meade (62); J O’Connor for Fitzgibbon (74).
Waterford: I O’Regan; I Kenny, N Connors, C Gleeson; M Walsh, A Gleeson, Philip Mahony; K Moran, J Barron; T Devine, Pauric Mahony, J Dillon; C Dunford, T Ryan, B O’Halloran
Subs: S Keating for Connors (25 mins, inj); DJ Foran for Dillon (40); S Roche for O’Halloran (46, inj); Bennett for Walsh (55); M Shanahan for Bennett (60, inj);
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).