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14-man Waterford stage second-half comeback to defeat Galway in league semi-final

They’ll face Limerick in next Sunday’s final.

Waterford 1-18
Galway 0-19

Fintan O’Toole reports from Nowlan Park

A ROUSING SECOND-half showing saw Waterford enjoy an afternoon to savour in Kilkenny as they overhauled Galway to book a place in next Sunday’s Division 1 hurling league decider.

Fergal Flannery saves a shot from Shane Barrett Galway's Fergal Flannery saves a shot from Waterford's Shane Bennett. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Despite being reduced to 14 men with the 51st minute dismissal of Mikey Kearney at a juncture when they trailed by a point, Waterford took charge of this game. Stephen Bennett and Peter Hogan points preceded that red card before a Bennett free drew Waterford level.

An inspirational point by defender Calum Lyons in the 61st minute nudged Waterford in front and it was an advantage that they would not subsequently relinquish. The free-taking of Bennett and the sparkling play of Pauric Mahony would embellish that Waterford advantage further to send them four clear in the 76th minute.

The clock rolled on until the 78th minute mark in this one, largely due to a hold up when Joe Canning was treated after a withering hit from Kevin Moran stopped him in his tracks. Canning struck 0-7 but was stretchered off after Moran had perfectly timed his shoulder challenge when the Portumna sharpshooter was advancing on the Waterford goalmouth.

Galway’s scoring drought ensued from the 49th minute until they dragged two points out of themselves in the dying embers of the match. That only succeeded in trimming the deficit they faced to two and Waterford clung on for a victory rooted in resilience.

Paul Killeen with Pauric Mahony Waterford's Pauric Mahony and Galway's Paul Killeen.

It was difficult for Galway to fathom how they lost this one. They set the tone early on as they race in front by 0-5 to 0-1 inside four minutes. After the first quarter they were 0-8 to 0-3 clear and motoring well with Canning, Davy Glennon and Cathal Mannion all offering notice of scoring threats.

Waterford clung on with Mahony firing a neat point and brilliantly setting Mikey Kearney up for another one. Kearney and Calum Lyons were among their impressive newcomers while Jamie Barron dictated matters with a supreme showing at midfield.

The game swung on a couple of goalmouth incidents. Stephen Bennett saw his free from distance evade everyone in the 33rd minute and settle in the net as a final destination. That goal came when Waterford trailed 0-11 to 0-6 and they had been grateful for a couple of sublime interventions by their netminder Stephen O’Keeffe to repel Kevin Hussey and Canning.

0-12 to 1-7 in arrears at the break, Waterford grew in confidence as the second half progressed.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 1-7 (1-6f), Pauric Mahony 0-3, Jamie Barron 0-2, Calum Lyons, Austin Gleeson, Mikey Kearney, Thomas Ryan, Peter Hogan, Jack Prendergast 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-7 (0-5f), Cathal Mannion 0-4, Davy Glennon 0-3, Jason Flynn (0-1f), Kevin Hussey, Johnny Coen, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon 0-1 each.

Waterford

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)

2. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)
3. Callum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)
4. Noel Connors (Passage) (captain)

5. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
17. Tadhg De Búrca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg)
6. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)

8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
10. Colin Dunford (Colligan)

7. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
11. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper)
12. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)

13. Thomas Ryan (Tallow)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
15. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)

Subs

25. Jack Prendergast (Lismore) for Dunford (half-time)
23. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner) for Ryan (50)
9. Colm Roche (Shamrocks) for De Búrca (63)
22. DJ Foran (Portlaw) for Gleeson (68)

Galway

1. Fergal Flannery (Padraig Pearses)

3. Ronan Burke (Turloughmore)
7. Géaróid McInerney (Oranmore-Maree)
4. Darren Morrissey (Sarsfields)

2. Paul Killeen (Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry)
6. Padraic Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh) (captain)
5. Aidan Harte (Gort)

8. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh)
9. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)

19. Kevin Hussey (Turloughmore)
13. Conor Whelan (Kinvara)
11. Joe Canning (Portumna)

15. Davy Glennon (Mullagh)
14. Brian Concannon (Kilimordaly)
10. Niall Burke (Oranmore-Maree)

Subs

17. Sean Loftus (Turloughmore) for Morrissey (inj) (45)
22. Jason Flynn (Tommie Larkins) for Burke (55)
12. Tadhg Haran (Liam Mellowes) for Coen (69)
25. Jarlath Mannion (Capptaggle) for Canning (inj) (73)
18. John Hanbury (Rahoon-Newcastle) for Killeen (77)

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

Murray Kinsella and Andy Dunne dissect Ireland’s disappointing Six Nations campaign, and discuss the pros and cons of rugby’s new law proposals in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:


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Fintan O'Toole

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