Free-scoring Cats condemn Waterford to relegation play-off

Kilkenny 4-22 Waterford 0-14

Free-scoring Cats condemn Waterford to relegation play-off

Kilkenny 4-22 Waterford 0-14

Kilkenny stormed to victory with a smashing display of scoring in the second half as they crushed Waterford by 20 points at Nowlan Park.

The Cats finished second in Division 1A - booking a quarter-final date with Wexford next Sunday - as they took their goal-scoring tally for the campaign to 14 in five games.

Mark Kelly found the net in the 48th and 54th minutes with his colleagues in the full-forward line, Jonjo Farrell and Eoin Larkin, scoring the hosts' other goals this afternoon.

Waterford, who now face a Division 1A relegation play-off against Dublin, were only 1-7 to 0-8 behind at the break with Shane O'Sullivan and substitute Ray Barry both pointing late on.

The Déise were the more accurate side in the early exchanges as Pauric Mahony, with two frees, and Jamie Barron opened up a 0-3 to 0-0 lead.

The visitors handed Austin Gleeson his first competitive start at this level, but a player at the opposite end of the scale, Kilkenny's Henry Shefflin, fluffed his lines by missing his first three shots at the posts.

The Cats had to wait until the 16th minute for their first point scored by Colin Fennelly and Shefflin added their second a minute later. The Ballyhale ace levelled the game with his first pointed free after Larkin was caught by a high tackle from Michael Walsh.

Kilkenny pushed 1-3 to 0-3 ahead when a grounded Larkin managed to get a pass away to Kelly whose goal-bound shot was saved by Stephen O'Keeffe before Farrell netted on the rebound.

Points from Walter Walsh and Fennelly sandwiched two Mahony frees and the Cats remained two to the good as a Shane O'Sullivan score was cancelled out by Fennelly's third white flag, and accurate shots from Barry and Richie Hogan closed out the opening half.

Brian Cody's men were in a different class in the second period, accumulating 3-15 with Shefflin recovering from a lacklustre start to register seven points.

In a further boost for Kilkenny, Richie Power came off the bench and picked off two points as well as playing in Kelly for his second goal of the game.

Power was also involved in the Cats' first goal of the second half as he passed for Larkin to fire into the roof of the net, replying to an excellent Gleeson point from a sideline cut.

While Brian O'Sullivan and Barry kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Déise, Kilkenny found an extra gear as Shefflin, Fennelly, Walsh and Power all found their range.

Kelly's first goal and two more white flags from Power and Hogan extended Kilkenny's lead to 13 points and there was no way back for Derek McGrath's side.

Shefflin continued to increase his influence from placed balls and Power provided the assist for Kelly to finish past O'Keeffe again and make it 4-16 to 0-12.

Walter Walsh, Larkin and Hogan strung together further Kilkenny scores and Shefflin left Waterford 21 points in arrears, as the contest petered out.

Barry emerged with some credit for Waterford, finishing with 0-4 off the bench, and he could force his way into the starting side for next Sunday's play-off against the Dubs - the venue for which will be announced on Monday.

KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Holden; B Kennedy (0-1), J Tyrrell, C Buckley; P Walsh, R Hogan (0-3); W Walsh (0-3), C Fennelly (0-4), H Shefflin (0-7, 0-5f); J Farrell (1-0), M Kelly (2-0), E Larkin (1-2).

Subs used: R Power (0-2) for Farrell, TJ Reid for Hogan, R Donnelly for Barron.

WATERFORD: S O'Keeffe; T de Burca, S Fives, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, Philip Mahony; K Moran, S O'Sullivan (0-1); J Barron (0-1), Pauric Mahony (0-5, 0-5f), S Molumphy; M Shanahan, B O'Sullivan (0-2), A Gleeson (0-1).

Subs used: B Coughlan for Nagle, R Barry (0-4) for Shanahan, S Prendergast for Gleeson.

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

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