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0-16 from Bennett brothers as Waterford rally to claim impressive win over Cork

4,235 were in attendance at Walsh Park.

Updated Jan 26th 2020, 5:00 PM

Waterford 1-24
Cork 3-17

AS RECOVERY OPERATIONS go this was impressive stuff from the Waterford hurlers today.

They endured as nightmare a start imaginable, shipping two goals in three minutes after the throw-in yet bounced back in style. By the finish they had held off a late Cork fightback to take the league points on offer.

stephen-bennett-and-jack-fagan-with-niall-oleary-tim-omahony-and-damien-cahalane Stephen Bennett in action against the Cork defence. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

If Liam Cahill wanted a gentle introduction to ease him into his first league game at the helm, Cork quickly killed that hope for the new Waterford boss as they rattled the net twice before the game had settled into any pattern. A Waterford rearguard operating this season without the experienced Noel Connors, was under pressure early on as they failed to cope with high deliveries raining down on them.

The first saw Shane Kingston find Conor Lehane all alone and the Midleton man’s finish for a goal was straightforward. Then Kingston whipped home himself with a powerful strike after Patrick Horgan did the spade work to funnel possession through. Trailing by two goals was far from ideal but Waterford held their nerve and their comeback from that setback was admirable.

The Bennett brothers lead the scoring charge with Stephen contributing 0-11 and Kieran shooting over 0-5. Patrick Curran’s return of 1-3 was also invaluable while their defence settled after that shaky start. Captain for the day Conor Prunty anchored their challenge, Darragh Fives further strengthened the spine at the back and newcomer Iarlaith Daly showed up well on the wing.

They outscored Cork by eight points for the remainder of the half to forge ahead 1-13 to 2-8 at the break. Curran did really well to fire in a 12th minute goal from a tight angle after Callum Lyons had initially bounded forward from defence.

Kieran Bennett, shifted to midfield due to the unavailability of the injured Austin Gleeson, picked off three points from play in that time frame and cut over a lovely sideline. His family chipped in elsewhere as well, younger brother Stephen shooting over six frees although accuracy eluded him from open play in that period.

The Ballysaggart attacker remained prominent in the second half. He amassed a remarkable 20 shots over the game from play and frees, with a few from distance dropping short, but the second-half scores he did chip in with were crucial.

robert-downey-and-patrick-curran Cork's Robert Downey and Waterford's Patrick Curran. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cork never really pushed on after that early blast of goals. Kingston nearly nudged home a goal before the break, he was the most potent Rebel offensive threat and did smash a shot to the net in injury-time after displaying a fine turn of pace.

Damien Cahalane clipped over his third point of the game moments later from his wing-back berth and suddenly Cork were within one. Waterford, having bossed the second half, began to look a little nervous and Cork had a couple of long-range efforts to grab an unlikely draw. Substitute Sean Twomey and Kingston saw their efforts drift wide.

Waterford deserved the spoils though. They were pegged back to parity, 2-14 to 1-17, at the three-quarter juncture after Mark Coleman arrowed over a shot from midfield. That was as good as it got for Cork, Waterford’s control returning and their fresh legs off the bench making a difference.

The points flowed easier for the home side, the statistic of striking 17 wides is one Cork will mull over. Tipperary beckon next Saturday night for them in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, while Waterford will meet Westmeath on Sunday.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-11 (0-7f, 0-1 ’65), Patrick Curran 1-3, Kieran Bennett 0-5 (0-1 sideline), Jack Fagan 0-2 (0-1 sideline), Iarlatih Daly, Jack Prendergast, Mikey Kearney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Shane Kingston 2-2, Patrick Horgan 0-6 (0-6f), Conor Lehane 1-0, Damian Cahalane 0-3, Seamus Harnedy, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mark Coleman 0-2 each.

Waterford

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)

2. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)
3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside – captain)
4. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)

7. Iarlaith Daly (Lismore)
6. Darragh Fives (Tourin)
5. Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)

12. Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart)
9. Jake Dillon (De La Salle)

11. Jack Fagan (De La Salle)
21. Jack Prendergast (Lismore)
10. Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside)

13. Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
15. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)

Subs

17. Shane Fives (Tourin) for Gleeson (30)
22. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper) for Dillon (49)
24. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner) for Hutchinson (54)
19. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan) for Montgomery (57)
23. Tom Barron (Fourmilewater) for Fagan (62)

Cork

1. Anthony Nash (Kanturk)

2. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons)
3. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers)
4. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)

5. Chris O’Leary (Valley Rovers)
6. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum)
7. Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s)

8. Bill Cooper (Youghal)
9. Mark Coleman (Blarney)

10. Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s)
11. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)
12. Aidan Walsh (Kanturk)

13. Conor Lehane (Midleton)
14. Shane Kingston (Douglas)
15. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers – captain)

Subs

20. Luke Meade (Newcestown) for Walsh (49)
17. Sean O’Leary-Hayes (Midleton) for Niall O’Leary (54)
22. Sean Twomey (Courcey Rovers) for Lehane (60)
21. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own) for Harnedy (69)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the ever-greying Saracens saga and pick his personal Ireland XV to face Scotland


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Walsh Park

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