It was no more than the defending champions deserved. Indeed neither side deserved to lose what was truly one of the great games at this level. Trust us: head to Walsh Park on Wednesday, July 7 for the replay.
This game of 44 scores had many talking points, not least some of the inexplicable decisions of Tipperary referee Tommy Ryan, who didn’t endear himself to either side or the good crowd who were left breathless by the thrilling end to the game.
For all that, however, Waterford and Cork served up a wonderful contest that ebbed and flowed over the 80 minutes, and at the finish both managers were of the same view, that the result was a fair one.
“I’m happy to be still in the championship”, said Cork coach John Considine. “We had a great 20 minute period in the second half of normal time when we went three points clear and I felt we would win it. But we showed a lot of indiscipline in defence and conceded some silly frees which were punished every time by the Waterford free taker, and it’s an area we will have to seriously look at ahead of the replay.
“In the end a draw was a fair result and it’s still all to play for. The extra game will benefit most of our lads, but it’s going to very difficult now down in Walsh Park.”
Waterford coach Jimmy Meaney was equally relieved to get another chance, and to have the replay at home.
“The game ebbed and flowed and it could have gone either way”, he said. “We struggled a bit around the middle and couldn’t pick up breaking ball.
“The Cork forwards were very pacy and caused us a lot of problems but our defence stood up well. Some of the refereeing decisions were strange to say the least, but over the 80-odd minutes, the result was about right. Roll on the replay.”
Among the highlights of the game was the superb accuracy of Paudric O’Mahony from frees. A winner of back to back Harty Cup medals with DLS Waterford, he contributed 1-12 from placed balls and at times looked as if he would win the game single handed.
Waterford can also be thankful to defenders Stephen O’Keeffe, Luke Egan and Darragh Fives, while up front and apart from O’Mahony, the contribution of Jake Dillon was also significant.
The Cork team showed seven changes from the side that defeated Tipperary in the previous round, three of them in defence where the full back line of Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane and Diarmuid Lester acquitted themselves well.
The home side won the midfield exchanges thanks to Darren Sweetnam and the impressive Nicky Kelly while up front, Conor Lehane, Jamie Coughlan and Brian Hartnett could never quite get away from their markers but to be fair to all three, they contributed 15 points between them.
Waterford were the hungrier side in the opening half and chased and harassed Cork at every opportunity, but for all their outfield superiority, could only manage a 1-8 to 0-8 half time lead, their goal coming in the third minute from Eamon Murphy, and seven of their points coming from frees scored by O’Mahony.
Cork upped the tempo on the change over and were on level terms by the end of the third quarter thanks to excellent points by Conor Lehane and Jamie Coughlan, both of whom began to exert enormous pressure on the Waterford defence.
The dominance of Nicky Kelly and Darren Sweetnam at midfield ensured the pressure on Waterford was constant and as the tension mounted Cork appeared to have the game in safe keeping as they took a three point coming up to the end of normal time.
However, there was a dramatic end to the 60 minutes when Waterford won a 20 metre free to the right of the Cork goal and Paudric O’Mahony’s powerful shot found the corner of the net to force extra-time.
Cork shaded the first period at the end of which they led 0-23 to 2-15 and where still clinging to that two point lead until Jake Dillon and O’Mahony pointed to earn their side a deserved second bite of the cherry in 10 days time.
Scorers for Cork: B. Hartnett 0-6 (three frees); C. Lehane 0-6; J. Coughlan, N. Kelly 0-3 each; D. Lordan, K. Hallissey, S. Moore, B. Murray, D. Sweetman, R. O’Shea 0-1 each.
Waterford: P. O’Mahony 1-13 (1-12 frees); E. Murphy 1-0; M. O’Neill, J. Dillon 0-2 each; C. Chester 0-1.
CORK: W. McCarthy; D. Cahalane, C. Spillane, D. Lester; K. Buckley, F. O’Mahony, C. Joyce; D. Sweetnam, N. Kelly; S. Moore, D. Lordan, C. Lehane; K. Hallissey, J. Coughlan, B. Hartnett.
Subs: B. Murray for Hallissey (half time); S. O’Keeffe for Lordan (38); R. O’Shea for O’Mahony (55); D. O’Carroll for Spillane (60); J. Wall for Moore (60); K. Burke for Cahalane (70); S. Moore for Kelly (75); D. Stokes for Buckley (77).
WATERFORD: D. Duggan; J. Barron, D. O’Keeffe, L. Egan; M. O’Neill, D. Fives, E. Madigan; P. Prendergast, G. O’Brien; P. O’Mahony, E. Murphy, Curran; J. Dillon, C. Heffernan, S. Roche.
Subs: C. Chester for Curran (22); R. Barry for S. Roche (49); S. Roche for Murphy (65); C. Curran for Prendergast (77).
Referee: T Ryan (Tipperary).