Worry for Cats as star duo injured

ALL the ingredients won’t make a cake rise.

This Kilkenny-Waterford league game in Nowlan Park took place on a beautiful spring day with 7,646 spectators present but it won’t live long in the memory, marred as it was by some poor striking and uncharacteristic wides.

The Cats ended six points ahead thanks to a last-second goal from Colin Fennelly but manager Brian Cody will be concerned by injuries which forced off stars Tommy Walsh and JJ Delaney.

He said: “Yeah, the worry is that we lost Tommy (AC shoulder joint) and JJ (hamstring), neither is a great injury to be getting now.

“Today’s match is crucial, winning today was always going to keep us very much in the hunt so I think we’re level with Galway now and next Saturday’s game with Dublin is a crucial one.”

Down the corridor, Waterford selector Pádraic Fanning wasn’t mincing his words. “I’d like to see the tape of the two goals, I thought they were in the square,” he said. “I know our goalkeeper was told by the umpire that one of them was but that he wasn’t in a position to call it to the referee, which I find very strange.

“If he knows it’s in the square and he tells our goalkeeper that he can’t tell the referee it’s a squareball, that to me is stupid. I can’t make any sense of that at all.”

That was the end game; the beginning saw Kilkenny quickly into their stride, with TJ Reid snapping over two early points to go with a Richie Hogan free.

Waterford replied through Stephen Molumphy but the first-half template was set — Kilkenny had a variety of players able to take points from distance, while Waterford were heavily reliant on Richie Foley’s accuracy from placed balls.

Waterford cut the gap to the minimum on 20 minutes with another Foley free, five points to four, but then came a fusillade of Kilkenny points through Eddie Brennan, Aidan Fogarty (two) and Eoin Larkin, giving the home side a cushion in therun-up to half-time.Inevitably, Foley responded forWaterford with a free but a late Hogan free left Kilkenny 10 points to six ahead at the break, and the crowd spent half-time discussing the departure of Walsh following a heavy knock.

Kilkenny kept Waterford at bay for the majority of the second half, the sides swapping points, but the game lurched into life at the three-quarter mark. A Foley free came off the post and Shane Walsh gathered smartly to goal from a tight angle. An Eoin McGrath point just afterwards put Waterford two ahead.

Kilkenny’s reaction was the one which annoyed Fanning — Colin Fennelly spooned in a high ball and Reid nudged it home for a goal. Hogan’s accuracy put Kilkenny three ahead going into the closing stages.

Waterford had one late chance — John Mullane was grounded going through and the Waterford management claimed a penalty but ref John Sexton gave a 21-metre free. Eoin Kelly went for goal but Kilkenny kept it out, and Foley’s effort from the rebound wasn’t a patch on Robbie Keane’s the previous night in the Aviva.

Kilkenny then added that late injury-time goal from Fennelly.

“It was a tough game, an intense game,” said Cody. “We won by six points in the end which was the object of the exercise.

“Was it flowing stuff? No, but that’s not a problem either, the object of the exercise is to keep going and keep at it and we were ahead for most of the game.”

Fanning was focusing on the positives for Waterford: “I thought we bossed the game for a lot of stages, I’m not saying we bossed it completely, we didn’t, Kilkenny were very dangerous at times.

“Even when we were behind in the first half I thought we were winning a lot of the battles around the field.

“The goal was a big fillip, we went ahead, and we could have had a penalty, maybe, but Kilkenny will feel they could have gotten a few frees too.”

* Before the game a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Eamonn Hennessy, former Kilkenny County Board officer, and Andy Fleming, All-Ireland senior hurling medallist with Waterford in 1948.

Subs for Kilkenny: PJ Delaney for Walsh (34), M Ruth for Mulhall (46), P Murphy for Hartley (50), C Fogarty for JJ Delaney 60.

Subs for Waterford: E McGrath for Molumphy (h-t); E Kelly for Mahony (46).

Scorers for Kilkenny: R Hogan 0-7 (5f, 1 ‘65); TJ Reid, C Fennelly 1-2 each, A Fogarty 0-3, E Brennan, E Larkin 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: R Foley 0-7 (0-5f, 2 ‘65), S Walsh 1-0, D O’Sullivan, K Moran, E McGrath, T Ryan, J Mullane, S Molumphy 0-1 each.

Referee: J Sexton (Cork).

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