Waterford goalkeeper Shaun O’Brien struck home a second minute penalty and Déise under 20 forward Reuben Halloran hit 1-11 as De La Salle secured their senior survival at Ballysaggart’s expense on Saturday night.
Cormac McCann, Reuben Halloran and Paidi Nevin also found the net for Brian Phelan’s side while centre back Shane McNulty was on song.
All-Star attacker Stephen Bennett scored 1-8 for Saggart as the blue and navy return to the intermediate grade for 2022 after two years in the top flight.
There was a frantic start as Cormac McCann was brought down by Sam Ryan for a De La Salle penalty in the first minute. Goalkeeper O’Brien buried it past his opposite number Michael Ryan. In the fifth minute, Eddie Meaney found McCann and he struck low to the bottom corner. Salle were seven points up after seven minutes as Reuben Halloran raised two white flags (2-2 to 0-1). Kevin Moran came off with a blood injury as the Eastern side led 2-6 to 0-4 at the first water break.
Saggart got a lifeline when 44-year-old Eugene O’Brien finished one-handed to the net after Stephen Bennett saw his close-range free blocked. Halloran completed the first half with eight points for Salle as they went in six ahead (2-11 to 1-8). Bennett shot six for Saggart.
Four minutes into the second period, Bennett played a short free to Steven Mangan, got the return ball and blasted to the net (2-11 to 2-8). Salle responded with the next eight points from Thomas Douglas, Shane McNulty, Eddie Barrett, Eddie Meaney, Halloran, Jack Fagan and Cormac McCann.
Shane Bennett scrambled home a goal for Saggart on 49 minutes. Halloran and Paidi Nevin netted at the other end to clinch Salle's senior status for next year.
R Halloran (1-11, 6fs), C McCann (1-2), E Meaney (0-4), S O'Brien, P Nevin (1-0 each), S McNulty (0-2, 1f), S Ryan, E Barrett, J Fagan, T Douglas (0-1 each).
Stephen Bennett (1-8, 5fs), Eugene O'Brien, Shane Bennett (1-0 each), R Bennett, Chris O'Gorman, S Mangan (0-1 each).
S O’Brien; C Giles-Doran, T Moran, A Farrell; S Ryan, S McNulty, K Moran; E Barrett, E Meaney; S Carton, J Fagan, J Dillon; R Halloran, C McCann, T Douglas.
L Wall for K Moran (Blood 15-20), P Nevin for Carton (47), S Flynn for McCann (52), A Gannon for Douglas (55), R Duke for Barrett (58), L Wall for T Moran (58).
M Ryan; J Roche, D Meagher, S Ryan; Cailean O’Gorman, Shane Bennett, S Mangan; Chris O’Gorman, Kieran Bennett; R Walsh, Stephen Bennett, R Bennett; E O’Brien, K Cashel, Kyle Bennett.
C Murphy for R Walsh (45), K Fennessy for Cashel (50), L O'Gorman for Mangan (54).