Cork’s dominance on the night was summed up by the Déise’s inability to raise a flag of any description until the 49th minute, when Jason Curry slotted over from close range. The Waterford half-forward added a second three minutes from home, but little respectability did it add to the final scoreline.
For the visitors, the primary objective of returning to the provincial decider was achieved, but it will surely concern management they now head to Tralee on April 7 without having been remotely tested in either of their championship outings — in stark contrast to final opponents Kerry who have come through stiff examinations from Tipperary and Limerick.
“What benefit do you get out of this?” questioned Cork manager Sean Hayes afterwards. “That is not Waterford’s fault and it is not our fault. We just had to come down and do the best we could.
“The first-half was competitive. Our shot selection was good, but the end result wasn’t great. We had nine wides in the first-half. We spoke about it at half-time and we were a lot more clinical in the second-half. We, as a group, are in our third Munster final in a row after coming through two away games. We have played what was put in front of us and we have won well.”
This semi-final as a contest was done and dusted by the break, the visitors enjoying an 0-8 to 0-0 lead. And, in truth, the gap should have been far, far greater; Hayes’ charges kicking nine first-half wides, as well as failing to put away a single one of their four gilt-edged goal chances.
Peter Kelleher was involved in Cork’s first three sightings of goal, his low drive seven minutes in kept out by a superb Kevin Dwane save. The crossbar denied him on 16 minutes, while Dwane advanced smartly off his line in the subsequent action to move possession away from the Cork full-forward. Waterford full-back Stephen Dalton threw his body in the way of Don O’Driscoll’s shot on 25 minutes and while the home outfit were successful in preventing a Cork goal, no such luck did they enjoy at the other end.
Aside from a couple of wayward shots, Ger Power’s side made zero impact in the opposition half. For Cork, Don O’Driscoll, Ryan Harkin and Michael Hurley had the favourites three to the good inside six minutes and although still very early in the contest, there was an inevitability to the final outcome as Cork poured forward with consummate ease.
Brian Coakley and Hurley brought their tally to five and three more approaching the break from Sean O’Donoghue and Coakley (0-2) had Cork with one foot in the decider by the break. Both feet were firmly planted in the Munster final come the 38th minute; Kelleher teeing up Coakley for the Rebels’ second goal, Michael Hurley having kicked their first just after the resumption. Coakley notched his second free thereafter and the winners had a third major when Sean White put through Don O’Driscoll on 45 minutes.
Management again took advantage of the one-sided nature of proceedings to empty the bench and subs Cian Dorgan (0-1), Stephen Sherlock (0-3) and Mick Dineen (0-1) all staked their claim for starting berths with late scores.
B Coakley (1-4, 0-2 frees); M Hurley (1-3); D O’Driscoll (1-2); S Sherlock (0-3, 0-1 free); S O’Donoghue (0-2); M Dineen, C Dorgan, R Harkin, P Kelleher (0-1 each).
J Curry (0-2, 0-1 free).
A Casey (Kiskeam); K Histon (Cobh), J Mullins (Éire Óg), M McSweeney (Newcestown); K Flahive (Douglas), S Cronin (Nemo Rangers), E Lavers (Boherbue); S White (Clonakilty), R O’Toole (Éire Óg); D O’Driscoll (Clann na nGael), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), R Harkin (Mallow); B Coakley (Carrigaline), P Kelleher (Kilmichael), M Hurley (Castlehaven).
M Dineen (Naomh Aban) for Kelleher (38), S O Leary (Bantry Blues) for O’Toole (40, inj), S O’Donovan (Ilen Rovers) for Harkin (44), C Dorgan (Ballincollig) for Kelleher (44), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s) for Coakley (47), R Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for Casey (49)
K Dwane (Ballinacourty); C O’Neill (Brickey Rangers), S Dalton (De La Salle), D Ryan (The Nire); J Mullaney (Stradbally), A Dwyer (Geraldines), W Hahessy (Rathgormack); D Gartland (Ardmore), C Prunty (Ballinacourty); L Mulligan (Rathgormack), E O’Brien (Stradbally), J Curry (Rathgormack); C Murray (Rathgormack), T Devine (Modeligo), F Ó Cuirrín (An Rinn).
C Gleeson (The Nire) for O’Brien (HT), M Sweeney (Stradbally) for Mulligan (HT), J Fenton (Bunmahon) for Gartland (38 mins), P O’Connor (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for Devine (44), E O’Halloran (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for Mullaney (55), P Whyte (Kilrossanty) for Hahessy (59).
S Mulvihill (Kerry).