Cork punish wasteful Waterford in Munster U20 Championship opener

The Rebels secured a four point victory over the Déise with Ben Cunningham leading the way with seven points.
Cork punish wasteful Waterford in Munster U20 Championship opener

TOP SCORER: Ben Cunningham, Cork bursting past Aaron O'Neill, Waterford in the Munster U20 Hurling Championship match at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture Dan Linehan

Cork 1-17 Waterford 1-13

Cork profited from Waterford’s extreme wastefulness to secure victory in their opening game of the Munster U20 championship.

Trailing by 1-10 to 1-9 at the break, Cork outgunned their opponents 0-6 to 0-2 in the 24 minutes after half-time to move into the box seat and command a three-point 1-15 to 1-12 lead coming down the stretch.

Waterford had two opportunities thereafter to find an equalising goal. They failed to take either, though. Missed chances was the story of their second half.

A deluge of rain made those second half conditions most challenging, but even so, the visitors will have many regrets about the many, many scoring chances they left behind during the second half an hour.

Waterford registered eight second half wides and, as mentioned, also failed to take two goal chances that presented themselves late on.

Half-time Déise sub Francis Roche opened their second half account on 35 minutes to tie matters at 1-11 apiece. There followed a three-in-a-row of wides as they began to develop an unhelpful pattern of sending the sliotar everywhere bar between the posts.

Colin Walsh, Adam O’Sullivan, and subs Brian Keating and Eoin O’Leary kept the Cork tally ticking upwards and Cork noses in front.

Given it was their first outing of the campaign, against a Waterford side who already had a championship match in the locker, Cork manager Ben O’Connor will have been delighted to begin on a winning note.

Indeed, the first half made obvious that this was Cork’s opening bow in the Munster round-robin. Their decision-making and their first touch, at times, were a smidgen off championship sharpness.

Against this backdrop, and the fact that on 22 minutes they trailed by six, the hosts would have been relatively content to head back down the tunnel at half-time only one in arrears at 1-10 to 1-9.

Three from the stick of Waterford dangerman Patrick Fitzgerald inside seven minutes and three more from Michael Mullaney, Josh Fitzgerald, and Charlie Treen had the visitors 0-6 to 0-2 in front on 11 minutes.

The Déise youngsters were simply crisper and smarter in their hurling.

Waterford senior Fitzgerald, anytime he lurked close to goal, was picked up by Cork senior Eoin Downey, although he spent most of the half drifting - and to good effect.

Josh Fitzgerald moved their lead out to five - 1-7 to 0-5 - when he beat two red shirts and stuck the sliotar in the Cork net for the game’s opening goal on 19 minutes.

Cork, who were largely reliant on Ben Cunningham’s accuracy for white flags throughout the opening period, were back in the mix when Kanturk’s Colin Walsh produced a stunning solo goal on 26 minutes. It was a green flag that narrowed the gap to two, 1-10 to 1-8.

Cork could have had a second major minutes later, Waterford ‘keeper Cian Troy saving Micheál Mullins’ shot. Cunningham converted the resulting ‘65 to leave the minimum between them turning around for part two.

Cork are at home again next Wednesday, Tipperary the visitors on that occasion. Waterford’s next outing is a home fixture against Clare in two weeks’ time. The Déise are now two defeats from two outings.

Scorers for Cork: B Cunningham (0-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65); C Walsh (1-3); A O’Sullivan (0-3); M Finn, R O’Sullivan, B Keating, E O’Leary (0-1 each).

Scorers for Waterford: P Fitzgerald (0-8, 0-4 frees); J Fitzgerald (1-1); C Treen (0-2); M Mullaney, F Roche (0-1 each).

CORK: B Saunderson (Midleton); S Daly (Randal Óg), E Downey (Glen Rovers), D O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig); J Dwyer (Ballincollig), S Kingston (Ballinora), M Mullins (Whitechurch); T O’Connell (Ballincollig), M Finn (Midleton); A O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig), B Cunningham (St Finbarr’s), D Healy (Lisgoold); J Leahy (Dungourney), R O’Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh), C Walsh (Kanturk).

Subs: B Keating (Ballincollig) for Finn (38); W Buckley (St Finbarr’s) for Healy (41); T Wilk (Cobh) for O’Connell (46); D Cremin (Midleton) for A O’Sullivan (54); E O’Leary (Glen Rovers) for Leahy (59).

WATERFORD: C Troy (Ballygunner); A O’Neill (Ballygunner), C Cantwell (Ballygunner), J Power (Modeligo); O Walsh (Fourmilewater), M Fitzgerald (Passage), M Mullaney (Stradbally); J Fitzgerald (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg), W Beresford (Abbeyside); J Booth (Colligan), C Treen (Abbeyside), C Keane (De La Salle); T O’Connell (Brickey Rangers), P Fitzgerald (Ballygunner), J Twomey (De La Salle).

Subs: F Roche (Clonea) for Twomey (HT); K Cullinane (Passage) for Beresford (40); R Walsh (Abbeyside) for Keane (47); E Foley (St Mollerans) for O’Connor (55); R Dobbyn (Ballyduff Lower) for Booth (59).

Referee: M Kennedy (Tipperary).

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