Power’s charges were deserving winners over a Kilkenny side that as expected, wouldn’t go away, and secured qualification to the All-Ireland minor hurling final for the first time since 1992.
“These things they’re very difficult to get to,” said Power.
“My thoughts are all over the place. We’re very happy with the performance. It was a fighting display. It was a hard match, hard-fought, and we’re delighted to come out on the right side of it. It means a lot.”
Austin Gleeson was a heroic figure for the Munster finalists in the half-back line, while Mark O’Brien and Stephen Bennett were hugely influential up front.
Adam Farrell and DJ Foran scored first half goals that gave them a two-point interval lead despite not being at their best.
“Thankfully we get in good positions and we take the opportunities when they come. Goals win games and they’ve got us through a couple of games this year,” stated the manager.
Both sides finished with 14 men, as Waterford’s Shane Bennett received a second yellow card in the 50th minute.
Crucially, Power’s crew managed to hold firm in the ensuing minutes before Eoin Kenny suffered a similar fate to the Ballysaggart defender.
Waterford started nervously and Kilkenny capitalised with two early points from Kevin Kenny and an Alan Murphy free.
Patrick Curran, who was to finish with seven points, settled his side with a score from a placed ball before Adam Farrell gave the Déise the boost of an eighth minute goal. Farrell doubled to the net from close range after Stephen Bennett had done brilliantly to first win possession just to the left of the square and then hand-passing across the square.
Some indiscipline in defence made it too easy for Kilkenny to wipe that major out and it was a factor in keeping the Cats in contention throughout, as all Murphy’s 10 points came from frees.
“It’s something we have to work on” Power agreed. “I can’t criticise any of the lads because it’s a hot cauldron out there. Sometimes a free can go against you and it’s not necessarily you’re fault but it’s something we will have to work on. There were a lot of scores conceded from frees so we’ll have a look at that.”
Still, a brilliant goal by DJ Foran in the 15th minute – his thunderous shot from 18 metre flew into the top corner – ensured that Waterford held the lead at half time, 2-5 to 0-9.
And though they squandered numerous opportunities to kill off the Noresiders in the second half, they retained the upper hand throughout the latter period.
A magnificent point by Gleeson was the start of a three-point flurry that stretched the margin to four by the end of the third quarter but Murphy landed two frees to half the deficit.
That was as close as Kilkenny got though, despite that five-minute numerical advantage.
Scorers for Waterford: P Curran (0-7, (5fs, 1 65); DJ Foran (1-1); A Farrell (1-0); M Harney, M O’Brien, Stephen Bennett, M Kearney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilkenny: A Murphy (0-10 (fs); L Blanchfield, J Walsh (0-2 each); K Kenny, N Mullins (0-1 each).
WATERFORD: G Power, C Leamy, K Daly, W Hahessy, M Harney, A Gleeson, Shane Bennett, M O’Brien, T Devine, Stephen Bennett, C Roche, DJ Foran; P Curran, A Farrell, M Kearney.
Subs: C Gleeson for Foran (10-12), MJ Sutton for Shane Bennett (25-26), C Curran for Roche (41), C Gleeson for Farrell (52); S Hogan for Foran (60+1).
KILKENNY: D Brennan, C Wallace, E Cody, D Joyce, J Stanley, J Maher, C Delaney, N Mullins, C Ryan, L Blanchfield, E Kenny, V Teehan, A Murphy, K Kenny, J Walsh.
Subs: M Kenny for Blanchfield (8-12), M Kenny for Mullins (36), L Scanlon for Ryan (45).
Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick).