Looking at the scoreline and factoring in the high quality of underage hurling this season, it would be easy to deduce this as the latest youth classic.
It wasn’t. Ahead by 16 at the break, Dublin were in cruise control and went another five ahead with dual player Cormac Costello bagging four goals for himself.
But they weren’t going to keep that standard up for the full 60 minutes. They couldn’t be expected to.
Still, they never looked uncomfortable with another dual player Ciaran Kilkenny tagging on late points before Waterford were handed a freak own goal to ensure they finished second best by single, not double digits.
“In a game of hurling 20 points might sound like an awful lot but if you can score in the first-half you can score in the second half,” said Dublin manager Shay Boland who rued that his team believe in scorelines.
“I wasn’t getting at all complacent but, look, they’re young lads. They’re not used to being here and it was a new experience for us all. We really have to learn how it all happens.
“Like, (Galway manager) Mattie Murphy is doing this since our God’s time. He’s a dab hand at it. I don’t know, we just have to learn.”
Fair dues to Waterford for refusing to believe they were chasing after a lost cause. Aodhan Clabby’s score five minutes into the second half had put Dublin an incredible 21 points ahead.
By the time Stephen Bennett drove home his 55th minute penalty, that margin had been whittled down to nine.
Costello’s third goal just before that Clabby score was one to forget for goalkeeper Cooke who assumed a Dublin shot was going wide and had bent down to change his hurley for the puck-out only for the ball to hit the post and drop to the grateful Costello to score.
It couldn’t have got any worse for Waterford and they rallied, three points preceding substitute Cormac Heffernan’s goal.
But there was nothing fortunate about Costello’s fourth goal, an exquisite finish from an acute angle to push Dublin’s lead back up to 18.
Waterford responded once more, though, with a couple of points before another replacement Adam O’Sullivan beat Dublin goalkeeper Cormac Ryan.
Gary O’Brien matched Costello’s effort with a wonder goal himself in the 51st minute to cut Dublin’s lead to 10 and Bennett then fired home a penalty with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Alas for Waterford, the die was well and truly cast by the break with Dublin streaking ahead by 17 points. The tone was set in the fifth minute when Kilkenny soloed through before striking to the net to make it 1-1 to 0-0.
Waterford returned fire with four unanswered points from their forward line to level matters but that’s as good as it got for them.
From there on in, it was all Dublin. Their second goal came in the 12th minute after Emmet Ó Conghaile put the ball on a plate for Costello to find the net from point-blank range.
Such was Dublin’s dominance, their forwards were virtually queuing up to find the net. After five Dublin points coming from different scorers in contrast to two from Waterford, Paul Winters made no mistake, following up on Ó Conghaile’s saved attempt.
He added a free seconds later to make it 3-9 to 0-6 but Dublin’s thirst for goals wasn’t quenched, particularly Costello, who met a long delivery to beat Cooke from close quarters.
An Ó Conghaile point rounded off the half for Dublin who, leading 4-11 to 0-7 at the break, were home and hosed.
Even if they took the foot off the gas in the latter stages.
Scorers for Dublin: C Costello 4-2, C Kilkenny (f) 1-5, P Winters (2fs) 1-3, E Ó Conghaile, A Clabby 0-2 each, J Desmond, G Whelan, C Cronin, M McCaffrey, B McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford: J Dillon 1-3 (f), G O’Brien 1-2 (65), S Bennett 1-1 (1-0 pen), D Breathnach 0-3, C Heffernan, A O’Sullivan 1-0 each, P O’Keeffe, C Curran, J Barron, C Chester 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: C Ryan; E Lowndes, C O’Callaghan, S McClelland; C Crummy, J Desmond, M McCaffrey; G Whelan, C Cronin; C McHugh, C Kilkenny, A Clabby; C Costello, E Ó Conghaile, P Winters.
Subs: O O’Rorke for Winters (45), C Boland for Cronin (53), D Gormley for McCaffrey (59), R Tierney for Lowndes (61).
WATERFORD: P Cooke; J Barron, D Ahern, C Walsh; I Kenny, D Foley, J Power; S McNulty, R Barry; G O’Brien, J Dillon, P O’Keeffe; D Breathnach, C Curran, S Bennett.
Subs: S O’Neill for Ahern (23), C Heffernan for Foley (26), D O’Brien for O’Keeffe (ht), C Chester for Curran, A O’Sullivan for Breathnach (both 38).
Referee: Garrett Duffy (Antrim).