Waterford impressively recovered from a dreadful start to this Allianz League opener to see off an insipid Cork in Walsh Park.
A 4,235 crowd watched on as Stephen Bennett struck 11 points and his brother Kieran five in a promising debut for manager Liam Cahill.
Cork were so wasteful, hitting 17 wides, but then Stephen Bennett struck six himself and hit three short in an entertaining if loose affair where the visitors looked a series of individual battles.
Waterford opened up a four-point lead in the 65th minute via Mikey Kearney and when Patrick Curran added another two minutes later the contest seemed over. However, Shane Kingston, the best of the Cork attack, then scored his second goal and when Damien Cahalane added his third point the margin was one. However, Cork couldn’t find a leveller, Kingston’s late shot tailing wide.
Cork couldn’t have dreamed of a better start, breaching Stephen O’Keeffe’s goal-line twice in the opening three minutes. Waterford’s full-back line was in tatters as Conor Lehane first found the net in the opening minute after being teed up Kingston and it was Kingston who scored the second after being set up by Patrick Horgan.
When Kingston shaved the post with another chance later in the half, Conor Gleeson was the fall guy on the half-hour mark and was replaced by Shane Fives. However, Waterford’s recovery was strong. Curran raised a green flag when he shot well from an acute angle after a great Calum Lyons’ run in the 12th minute and they levelled up the game two minutes later, going ahead a minute later when Stephen Bennett sent over one of six first-half frees.
His brother Kieran was excelling as was De La Salle man Jack Fagan as Cork’s half-back line was coming under pressure. There was more urgency in the Waterford half-back line too where Darragh Fives looked more assured as the half wore on.
A Damien Cahalane point from close to the sideline returned Cork into the lead in the 32nd minute but the home side finished out the half with a flurry of points, two Bennett frees followed by a delightful Curran point, to go into the break 1-13 to 2-8 ahead.
Scorers for Waterford: S. Bennett (0-11, 7 frees, 1 65); P. Curran (1-3); K. Bennett (0-5, 1 sideline); J. Fagan (0-2, 1 sideline); J. Prendergast, I. Daly, M. Kearney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: S. Kingston (2-2); P. Horgan (0-6, frees); C. Lehane (1-0); D. Cahalane (0-3); S. Harnedy, M. Coleman, D. Fitzgibbon (0-2 each).
WATERFORD: S. O’Keeffe; C. Gleeson, C. Prunty (c), S. McNulty; I. Daly, D. Fives, C. Lyons; K. Bennett, J. Dillon; J. Fagan, J. Prendergast, N. Montgomery; D. Hutchinson, S. Bennett, P. Curran.
Subs for Waterford: K. Power for C. Lyons (blood, 19-22); S. Fives for C. Gleeson (30); M. Kearney for J. Dillon (50); P. Hogan for D. Hutchinson (54); D. Lyons for N. Montgomery (59); T. Barron for J. Fagan (62).
CORK: A. Nash; R. Downey, N. O’Leary, S. O’Donoghue; C. O’Leary, T. O’Mahony, D. Cahalane; B. Cooper, M. Coleman; A. Walsh, D. Fitzgibbon, S. Harnedy; C. Lehane, S. Kingston, P. Horgan (c).
Subs for Cork: L. Meade for A. Walsh (50); S. O’Leary-Hayes for N. O’Leary (55); S. Twomey for C. Lehane (60); R. O’Flynn for S. Harnedy (69).
Referee: J. Keenan (Wicklow).