On a freezing day in west Waterford, the 297 spectators were warmed by the Veale-Curry combination up front for the home side, but new Cork manager Ronan McCarthy was happy with his team’s brisk, positive beginning and eventual winning margin of 17 points.
“It was a good workout for us, and it was good to have a competitive match,” said McCarthy.
“We’re back a few weeks and have a good bit of training under our belts. We have some challenge games under our belt, but nothing really compares to competitive games, obviously.
“In fairness, the wind was very strong. That said, we took advantage of it and had 10 points on the board within 15 minutes, which doesn’t always happen, so that was good, a good start.
“We made the most of the elements and that was what gave us the cushion to finish things out eventually.”
Cork hit 10 points in 14 minutes to no score and were in charge all over the field. A slanting crossfield breeze heaped the pressure on Waterford, who struggled to get their kickout game going, as Cork pushed up aggressively on their restarts. Stephen Sherlock’s accuracy from play caught the eye, as did Ruairi Deane’s appetite for work.
At the end of the first quarter, the impressive Sean Powter scythed through the Waterford defence for the goal that put Cork 1-9 to no score ahead, and there was still time for the Leesiders to add another three points from play, before Waterford finally opened their account with a Michael Curry point.
At the half, it was 1-13 to 0-1 but Waterford, backed by that wind, were better on the resumption.
Realistically, a 15-point deficit was never going to be reeled in, but with Thomas O’Gorman and Michael Curry carrying the fight, the home side were able to match Cork for scores at least, and they came close twice to scoring the goal that would have made the game truly competitive in the closing stages.
On the other side, McCarthy brought on six second-half substitutes to change Cork considerably, but they were still able to strike for a goal in the last minute. Deane and Powter combining through the centre to set up substitute Padraig Clancy for a clever flicked finish.
Waterford boss Tom McGlinchey was philosophical at the final whistle.
“The first half and, in particular, the first quarter, Cork were very good: They hit 10 out of 10 with their first 10 shots, in fairness.
“Obviously, they’re probably back training since October while Tuesday night was our first night back together.
“If you took the last 45 minutes, the score was around 1-6 to 0-7, which was a better reflection for us. Nearly everything they hit in the first half went over, while on our side, our match sharpness was off. We were five yards off our man, all that. I’m pleased with how we went overall, but the focus remains on Wicklow and the league for us. That’s our worry and our focus.”
J. Curry (0-2 frees, 0-3); M. Curry (0-2); G. Crotty, JJ Hutchinson (0-1 each).
S. Sherlock (0-2 frees, 0-7); S. Powter (1-2); J. O’Rourke (0-4); P. Clancy (1-0); C. Vaughan, C. Dorgan (0-2 each); M. Collins (0-1).
D. Whitty, B. Looby, T. O’Gorman, T. Prendergast, J. McGrath, S. Ryan, D. Guiry, M. Curry, C. Maguire, G. Crotty, J. Veale (c), M. O’Halloran, C. Murray, P. Whyte, J. Curry.
M. Scurry and JJ Hutchinson for Maguire and Guiry (45); G. Cullinan for J. Curry (black card, 69).
R. Price, E. Lavers, C. Dorman, M. McSweeney, K. Flahive, S. White, D. Quinn, I. Maguire, M. Collins, R. Deane, S. Powter, C. Dorgan, J. O’Rourke, S. Sherlock, C. Vaughan.
C. Kiely and M. Hurley for White and Vaughan (47); S. Wilson and P. Clancy for McSweeney and Quinn (56); M. Taylor and D. O’Callaghan for Dorman and Maguire (68).
S. Lonergan (Tipperary).