New Waterford boss Liam Cahill admitted he was disappointed by Philip Mahony’s inter-county retirement but said the decision deserved to be respected.
He was speaking following Waterford’s 4-23 to 1-10 victory over Kerry in their ‘dead-rubber’ Co-Op Superstores Munster Senior Hurling League fixture in Tralee.
“Obviously I am disappointed but Philip would be well aware of the demands and commitment required at this level so it’s understandable, after being a stalwart of Waterford hurling for the last few years, if he wants to walk away,” said Cahill.
The Waterford boss said he was happy with the improvement his side showed in the second period, having only led by 0-11 to 1-5 at the break.
“There was a much better application of what we spoke about doing before the game during the second half,” said Cahill.
“I would give Kerry some credit, though, for the way they came at us towards the end of the first half.
“We will work with the Fitzgibbon Cup teams now to make sure the players come through that before the league starts, but so far, I am very happy with the attitude and the respect from the players.”
A Shane Conway penalty in the 33rd minute was the highlight of a Kerry revival from a deficit of 0-9 to 0-3 after 27 minutes.
Although Conway matched Waterford’s top scorer Stephen Bennett with 1-8, Jordan Conway and Michael Leane were Kerry’s only other scorers in a predominantly one-sided affair.
Callum Lyons ran through the Kerry defence in the 42nd minute for the visitors’ first goal, with Bennett netting nine minutes later to make it 2-16 to 1-8. Darragh Lyons had Waterford’s third goal two minutes later while substitute Dessie Hutchinson marked a good showing from the bench with Waterford’s fourth in the 57th minute.
The final scoreline was a little harsh on Kerry’s first-half efforts but they will hope they can learn from the experience ahead of playing sides more at their level in the league and Joe McDonagh Cup later in the year.
Scorers for Waterford: S Bennett (1-9, 5f, 3 ‘65’s), A Gleeson (0-4, 2f), C Lyons and D Hutchinson (1-1 each), D Lyons (1-0), N Montgomery (0-3), M O’Brien (0-2), K Power, S Ryan and C Dunford (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kerry: S Conway (1-8, 7f), J Conway and M Leane (0-1 each)
KERRY: M Stackpoole; S Weir, B Murphy, E Leen; C O’Keeffe, M Boyle, E Murphy; S Sheehan, S Nolan; M Leane, F Mackessy, Colum Harty; J Conway, S Conway, M Slattery.
Subs: D Hunt for Leen (35 +1), D O’Donoghue for Nolan (54), D Shanahan for E Murphy (62), B Barrett for Harty and P Boyle for Slattery (both 66)
WATERFORD: S O’Brien; S Fives, C Prunty, S McNulty; C Lyons, K Power, J Henley; M O’Brien, A Gleeson; T Barron, D Lyons, N Montgomery; S Ryan, S Bennett, C Dunford.
Subs: D Hutchinson for Ryan (H/T), C Gleeson for Henley and P Hogan for Dunford (both 48), M Kearney for Barron (56) and S Roche for Montgomery (65).
Referee: R McGann (Clare)