The fact that victory was achieved without such established regulars as Rory Jacob, Brian Dowling, Kevin Moran, Keith Rossiter and three-goal Fitzgibbon hero Willie Ryan, emphasises the strength in depth in the Waterford college.
Cork IT were facing an uphill battle once they conceded a very soft goal in the 26th minute at a bitterly cold Ballygunner.
Things began brightly for Cork, and playing with the aid of a strong wind, they made all the running in the first quarter.
With Ballyhea clubman Maurice O’Sullivan a live wire in their attack, where full-forward Colin O’Leary also began promisingly, they eased into an unflattering three-point lead inside 12 minutes.
But with Hugh Moloney, Ger Mahon, Kevin Brady, and Alan Kirwan offering the stoutest of defence for the winners, Cork began to find scores harder to come by.
The free-taking accuracy of Noel Gleeson kept Waterford in touch, and after Conor O’Brien and the ever-dangerous Eoin Reid landed quality points from play, the game’s most defining moment came four minutes before the interval.
Gleeson’s speculative delivery didn’t look threatening, but hesitancy between goalkeeper Martin Coleman and his defenders presented a gift-wrapped opportunity for Reid.
Cork retired two points adrift at the break, 1-7 to 0-8, having enjoyed a marked territorial advantage. But it was going to be all uphill on the turnover.
With Daniel Hoctor and Conor O’Brien taking control around the middle of the field, and their speedy forwards posing all kinds of problems for a Cork defence in which even John Gardiner found difficulty in coping at times, Waterford wasted no time in putting themselves out of sight.
In a rampant spell between the 38th and 48th minutes they rifled over half a dozen magnificent points, two of them from Hoctor and another from O’Brien, to open up a near unassailable 1-14 to 0-8 lead, and O’Sullivan’s pointed free in the 52nd minute was Cork’s first of the half.
Kevin Brady responded with a huge 100-metre point from play, and Cork’s goal, fittingly finished by their scorer-in-chief O’Sullivan in the final minute, was a classic case of too little too late.
: Waterford IT: N. Gleeson 0-6 (0-5f); E. Reid 1-2; C. O’Brien, D. Hoctor 0-3 each; C. Parlon, A. Cullinane, K. Brady, G. Nolan 0-1 each. Cork IT: M. O’Sullivan 1-5, (0-3f); C. O’Leary 0-2; A. Nash, J. Gardiner, J. Griffin 0-1 each.
: P. Brennan; A. Kirwan. G. Mahon. K. Lanigan; K. Brady. L. Lawlor. H. Moloney; C. O’Brien. D. Hoctor; C. Parlon. C. Phelan. A. Cullinane; E. Reid. M. Walsh. N. Gleeson.
: J. Milne for Walsh; C. Gahan for O’Brien; G. Nolan for Reid; E. Redmond for Lanigan; P. Hartley for Hoctor.
: M. Coleman; C. Murphy. E. Dillon. E. O’Sullivan; J. Murphy. J. Gardiner., N. Teehan; J. Griffin. J. Dixon; C. Naughton. M. Fennelly. S. O’Sullivan; M. O’Sullivan. C. O’Leary. A. Nash.
: P. Buckley for Naughton (Inj).
: N. Cosgrave (Tipperary).