Embarrassment of riches for Cody as Cats cut loose

Kilkenny 4-22 Waterford 0-14

Embarrassment of riches for Cody as Cats cut loose

How they went about things also had shades of the zenith of the Brian Cody era.

Having failed to score for the first 16 minutes and hitting five wides, the 8,883 Nowlan Park crowd were treated to a bruising 3-15 second-half bonanza from the reigning league kingpins.

Leading 1-7 to 0-8 at half-time, they had the game won 13 minutes after the restart when they found the net for a third time. In the space of six minutes, they went from five ahead to 13 with a 1-5 blitz.

Waterford, with the wind, pieced together a disappointing six points after the break with Ray Barry and Brian O’Sullivan the only forwards close to upsetting Kilkenny’s dominance.

As the likes of unused substitutes Tommy Walsh and Brian Hogan puffed hard in a training session afterwards, the realisation dawned just how much quality Cody has at his disposal. If the two early defeats in last year’s league had prevented him from experimenting, the wins over Tipperary and Galway in rounds two and three this month afforded him wiggle room to run the rule over new faces.

Even after this, we might not be any closer to realising Kilkenny’s championship team but it’s more than apparent Cody will have options when he sits down to decide who starts against Offaly on June 7.

Asked if he felt happier than at this stage last year when Kilkenny also finished second to qualify for a semi-final before going onto win the Division 1 title, he agreed: “We said at the start of the league we’d try and look at a lot of players and at the same time we have stayed competitive and gotten into the quarter-finals. A lot of them have sampled action so we’d be happy there’s a good depth to the panel.”

With Michael Fennelly and Michael Rice also to come back into consideration shortly, Cody will have a good headache in naming his team but admitted the alterations will become fewer starting from next weekend’s quarter-final against Wexford. Two-goal man yesterday Mark Kelly has had his hand up for inclusion going back to the Walsh Cup, as have the likes of Joey Holden and Brian Kennedy.

Kelly’s first goal came 10 minutes before his second and he might have had a third in the 68th minute when he failed to connect before the ball went wide.

It hardly mattered, though, as Kilkenny had already torn Waterford asunder, much to the satisfaction of their manager. “We got on top and we were more direct and competitive, and we created more chances and we finished a good few of them so the second half was very decent.”

Waterford led by three points up until the 16th minute when Colin Fennelly fired over Kilkenny’s first after a barrage of wides including three from Henry Shefflin frees.

But Shefflin soon settled with a couple of scores and John Joe Farrell’s 20th minute goal put Kilkenny into a lead they never relinquished.

The goal was a scramble after Eoin Larkin managed to negotiate a foul by Tadhg de Burca and offload to Kelly whose shot was saved by Stephen O’Keeffe only for Farrell to strike the rebound home.

Pauric Mahony’s frees kept Waterford in touch as they, clearly still affected by the previous Sunday’s trouncing in Ennis, played to contain Kilkenny against the wind.

Derek McGrath had counted himself as reasonably pleased with Waterford’s first half. “I was fairly happy at half-time with the level of application and the breeze at our backs in the second-half.”

Yet only two of their first half scores came from play and Waterford came nowhere close to troubling Eoin Murphy in the Kilkenny goal.

The start of the second half did see a couple of early darts through the Kilkenny middle but each were foiled and Waterford’s goal record now stands at an awful one in five games.

The directness Cody spoke of in Kilkenny was no more apparent in the 40th minute when from a puckout after a glorious Austin Gleeson sideline cut crept over, substitute Richie Power fielded best and offloaded to Larkin for a typically good finish to the net. On either side of Shefflin and Fennelly points were ones from O’Sullivan and Barry but Waterford were put on the ropes by the subsequent barrage of blows in those six stunning minutes.

Scorers for Kilkenny: H Shefflin (0-7, 5 frees); M Kelly (2-0); E Larkin (1-2); C Fennelly (0-4); JJ Farrell (1-0); W Walsh, R Hogan (0-3 each); R Power (0-2); B Kennedy (0-1).

Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony (0-5, frees); R Barry (0-4); B O’Sullivan (0-2); J Barron, S O’Sullivan, A Gleeson (sideline) (0-1).

Subs for Kilkenny: R Power for JJ Farrell (27); K Joyce for B Kennedy (52); L Ryan for P Walsh (56); TJ Reid for R Hogan (blood, 58-ft).

Subs for Waterford: B Coughlan for J Nagle (32); R Barry for M Shanahan (inj, 34); S Prendergast for A Gleeson (49); R Donnelly for J Barron (60).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford) KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Holden; B Kennedy, J Tyrrell, C Buckley; P Walsh, R Hogan; W Walsh, C Fennelly, H Shefflin; JJ Farrell, M Kelly, E Larkin. WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; T de Burca, S Fives, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, Philip Mahony; K Moran, S O’Sullivan; J Barron, Pauric Mahony, S Molumphy; M Shanahan, B O’Sullivan, A Gleeson.

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