Short two key players because of injury, the champions often struggled to cope with an opposition that played brilliantly in the opening half, built up a seven point interval lead, and then showed commendable zeal and determination to hang on in the face of a marvellous last quarter Midleton rally.
Cormac Curran’s first-half performance for the winners when he shot a total of 1-5, including a seventh minute goal, the quality of which may not be bettered for the remainder of this competition.
In Gerome Maher and Karl Duggan, midfielders Mark Landers and Mark Shalloe, and Shane Fives and Maurice Shanahan, brother of Waterford senior star Dan, in attack, the winners had others who were hugely influential.
Midleton can thank the heroics of Paudie O’Sullivan at centre back that they weren’t further adrift than the 1-8 to 0-4 half-time scoreline, while midfielder Brian Lawton also put in a huge effort.
The champions badly needed early scores on the restart but all they had instead was a succession of bad wides both from play and frees. And when Shane Kearney goaled at the other end in the 38th minute Midleton looked to be in for a drubbing.
However, true champions die-hard and Midleton staged tremendous fight back in the closing 20 minutes. The revival began with Robert White’s great goal after a superb five man move, and when Daniel Moynihan rattled the net within another 60 seconds to narrow the deficit to just three points, it was well and truly game on.
Lawton pointed a 65 to keep the momentum going and the winners had Shanahan to be thankful for as he rifled over two quality points in the space of five minutes.
By now, Midleton had switched O’Sullivan to the attack in a last gasp throw of the dice and the talented Cloyne youngster threw his side a lifeline with a marvellous 56th minute goal that again left just two points between the sides.
They had further chances but an exchange of points between Fives and Moynihan wasn’t enough, leaving the champions in a “must win” situation for their final group game against Templemore CBS.
Waterford Colleges: C. Curran 1-6 (0-2f), S. Kearney 1-0, M. Shanahan 0-3, S. Fives 0-2 (0-1f), S. O’Keeffe 0-1. Midleton CBS; R. White1-2 (0-1f), P. O’Sullivan 1-1 (0-1f), D. Moynihan 1-1, B. Lawton 0-2 (0-1 65), L. O’Farrell 0-1.
S. Enright, S. Leahy, D. Barry, S. O’Rourke, K. Geary, J. Maher, K. Duggan, M. Landers, M. Shalloe, P. Bennett, S. Fives, S. O’Keeffe, M. Shanahan, C. Curran, S. Kearney, subs. J. O’Mahoney for O’Keeffe, F. Murray for Geary, P. O’Donovan for Kearney.
P. Colbert, S. Donnelly, A. Kennedy, P. O’Brien, J. O’Donnell, P. O’Sullivan, C. Rice, B. Lawton, J. O’Mahoney, B. O’Tuama, R. White, E. Healy, D. Moynihan, L. O’Farrell, F. Day, sub. T. Lawton for O’Mahoney.
B. White (Tipperary).