Waterford seize first minor title in 65 years

Waterford swept to a first All-Ireland MHC triumph for 65 years in a wave of emotion at Croke Park.

Waterford seize first minor title in 65 years


Waterford 1-21

Galway 0-16

Waterford swept to a first All-Ireland MHC triumph for 65 years in a wave of emotion at Croke Park.

A talented Decies side brushed aside the challenge of Galway in a high quality decider, with full forward Patrick Curran delivering a match-winning 1-7 tally.

Decades of pain were wiped away by a group of gifted teenagers who represent the future of Waterford hurling, and they fully deserved to be crowned minor champions for the first time since 1948.

Pic: Sportsfile

The sides were level going into the final quarter, but the Munster lads turned on the power in the closing stages, with Curran driving home the only goal of the game to finally beat heroic goalkeeper Cathal Tuohy, who had pulled off three excellent saves.

Curran settled Waterford nerves by steering two frees between the posts in the early stages, one of them a massive 85 metre effort.

Stephen Bennett and Galway’s Brian Molloy traded points, before the Tribesmen moved ahead in the 12th minute when Adrian Morrissey sent a sideline cut sailing between the uprights.

Pic: Sportsfile

But the Galway attack was struggling to break down a solid Decies defence in which Micheal Harney and Austin Gleeson were excellent.

Waterford enjoyed a highly productive period between the 16th and 23rd minutes, when they shot six points on the spin.

Curran continued to strike accurately from placed balls and Colm Roche landed a huge effort from distance.

Galway goalkeeper Cathal Tuohy pulled off a superb save from Michael Kearney, with Curran converting the resultant ’65, and when he steered over his sixth, the Munster lads led by 0-9 to 0-4.

Pic: Sportsfile

Tuohy had to come to the rescue again to keep out a Stephen Bennett shot, but Galway managed to turn the game around late in the half.

Ronan O’Meara moved to full forward and clipped over three points, while skipper Darragh Dolan also found the target as the deficit was narrowed back to two.

DJ Foran’s angled score in stoppage time sent the Decies in with a 0-12 to 0-9 lead at the end of a high quality first half, and Curran stretched the lead out to five.

But once again Galway dug deep, with Brian Molloy converting a couple of frees, before O’Meara slotted over his fourth to make it a two point game.

Molloy added two more to his tally, one from play, to bring Galway level in the 46th minute, but Waterford centre back Austin Gleeson stepped up his game to push his side on in a resounding finish.

They outscored Galway by 1-6 to 0-1 in a dominant final 10 minutes, displaying enormous character and supreme fitness as they tore their opponents’ defence to shreds.

Curran punished a defensive error with the only goal of the game on 56 minutes, while Bennett and Kearney both brought their personal tallies to four, with Colm Roche finishing with three points.

Waterford: G Power, W Hahessy, K Daly, C Leamy, M Harney, A Gleeson (0-1, f), Shane Bennett, M O'Brien, T Devine (0-1), Stephen Bennett (0-4), DJ Foran (0-1), M Kearney (0-4), A Farrell, P Curran (1-7, 0-4f, 0-1 ’65), C Roche (0-3).

Subs: C Curran for Foran, C Gleeson for Farrell, P O’Connor for Roche, Sam O’Neill for Hahessy.

Galway: C Tuohy, M Ó Conghaile, D O'Donoghue, M Conneely, S Linnane, S Cooney (0-1, f), R Doyle, E Burke, J Hastings, C Whelan (0-1), R O'Meara (0-4), A Morrissey (0-1, s/l), B Molloy (0-5, 4f), D Dolan (0-3), C Shaughnessy.

Subs: V Doyle for R Doyle, E Brannigan for Linnane, B Burke (0-1) for Whelan, R Bellew for Hastings, S Burke for E Burke.

Referee: C McAllister (Cork)

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