The throb and womp from the Marquee provided the mood music, literally, on Saturday night to the end of an odd week in the hurling championship.
Waterford came to Páirc Uí Chaoimh in search of the cliche of cliches, redemption, after Limerick hammered them the previous weekend.
Cork were drumming their fingers for the last three weeks and looking to resume the upward curve after beating Limerick.
All of this with Aslan warming up beyond the City End scoreboard and keeping the 26,521 in the stadium entertained.
Speaking of diversion . . . is this the first time spectators spent more time peering at a subs’ bench than at the starting 15?
Rumours boiled and bubbled all week in Waterford about the likely team and likely absentees, but on Saturday evening the official line was that all were present and correct.
Waterford played with the breeze in the first half and were more committed than the previous weekend, low bar though that was.
However, yellow cards early on suggested players who were over-anxious to prove their credentials.
The visitors got exactly the start they didn’t want, when Patrick Horgan deflected a dropping ball back into his own path. The Glen Rovers man billowed the net which looked set to ignite the Cork procession to victory, but Waterford dug in.
Stephen Bennett was unerring from frees and Jack Prendergast supported him ably, but even against the stiff wind Cork had players finding the range from all angles - Mark Coleman hit two superb long-distance points, for instance, and Cork had that goal as a cushion through the first half.
Still, on 24 minutes a ball squirted into Stephen Bennett’s path, only for the Ballysaggart man to boot it wide - within five minutes Bill Cooper had picked out Alan Cadogan for Cork’s second goal, and it was 2-11 to 0-11 at the break.
Stephen Bennett started the second half with a smart batted goal but Cork responded with five points on the bounce - 2-17 to 1-12 by the 45th minute.
Shane Bennett forced home his side’s second goal on 50 minutes - 2-18 to 2-14 as the lights came on in the stadium.
However, Cork floored the accelerator with a string of points from Seamus Harnedy (two), Cadogan and sub Shane Kingston.
It was an eight-point game turning into the final ten minutes and Cork finished 13 points to the good, their substitutes - Kingston (three), Tim O’Mahony (two) and Conor Lehane - chipping in with six points from play.
“Waterford threatened us and when we were up seven, eight points they came back at us,” said Cork boss John Meyler afterwards.
“In the first half and in the middle of the second half they pegged us back, but what I liked when they got the goals was that we responded with points.
“Shane Kingston came in and got a couple of points, Conor Lehane, Tim O’Mahony, and that was critical. We drove it on then.
“It was pleasing Patrick (Horgan) got the first goal. Seamus (Harnedy) was blocked in the first half, if we were more clinical we could have gotten another couple of goals and it’s something to work on for next week.”
In the Waterford corner Paraic Fanning acknowledged that early Cork goal was something his side “didn’t need”.
“In fairness, he took it down well and got the one-on-one - we were disappointed to give away the goal but we fought our way back into it.
“We had a couple of really good chances ourselves, and just that final snatch of the ball and we were in . . . we posed problems and gave some of the Cork players difficulties all through the game.”
As the crowd filed out of the stadium it would have been almost cinematic if a song lyric drifting across had summed up the mood.
Too bad it wasn’t clear what Christy Dignam was belting out.
Scorers for Cork:
P. Horgan (0-9 frees)(1-10); A. Cadogan (1-2); D. Fitzgibbon, S. Harnedy, S. Kingston (0-3 each); M. Coleman, T. O’Mahony (0-2 each); C. Lehane, D. Kearney, M. Ellis, L. Meade, B. Cooper (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford:
Stephen Bennett (0-7 frees)(1-8); Shane Bennett (1-2); J. Prendergast, P. Hogan (0-2 each); C. Lyons, J. Barron, A Gleeson (sl) (0-1 each).
A. Nash, S. O’Donoghue, E. Cadogan, N. O’Leary, R. Downey, M. Ellis, M. Coleman, B. Cooper, D. Fitzgibbon, D. Kearney, S. Harnedy, L. Meade, A. Cadogan, P. Horgan, A. Walsh.
S. Kingston for Walsh (41); C. Lehane for Kearney (46); C. Joyce for Downey (55); R. O’Flynn for Meade (65); T. O’Mahony for Cooper (68).
B. Nolan, S. McNulty, C. Prunty, D. Lyons, C. Lyons, T. de Burca, C. Gleeson, J. Barron, M. Kearney, Shane Bennett, B. O’Halloran, J. Prendergast, T. Ryan, Stephen Bennett, P. Hogan.
S. Roche for Kearney (HT); A. Gleeson for Ryan (46); C. Roche for O’Halloran (53); S. Fives for D. Lyons (55); M. Walsh for Prendergast (64).
Referee: J. Keenan (Wicklow)
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