Waterford's Shane Walsh and Noel Hickey of Kilkenny INPHO/James Crombie

As it happened: Waterford v Kilkenny

Kilkenny and Waterford went head-to-head at HQ for a place in next month’s All-Ireland SHC final. Here’s how it went down.

Kilkenny and Waterford went head-to-head at HQ for a place in next month’s All-Ireland SHC final. Here’s how it went down.

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Dia mhaith, a chairde. We’ve just sat through an intriguing All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final at Croker, with the customary commentary as Gaeilge.

Galway have booked their place in the decider with an 1-23 to -18 extra-time victory over an impressive Clare side. They’ll now face either Dublin or Waterford in the finale.

There was some – typical – confusion after normal time when the teams took to the dressing rooms, unaware that they’d have to play on. The officials on the pitch eventually decided that an extra period would be needed and the Tribesemen ultimately pushed on.

What does that mean for the main feature this afternoon? Well, throw-in has been delayed 15 minutes – we’re up and running at 3.45pm.

So how are we all feeling out there? Despite the terms of my parole hearing, I’ve just has a look at the match odds. It’s hardly worth your while is it if you’re backing the Cats?

Kilkenny are 1-9 while the Déise are priced at 13-2. Anyone fancy that? We’re due a draw, right? 18-1.

Michael Walsh is, indeed, starting for Waterford despite the Chinese whispers that seemed to trickle through the crowds in Drumcondra earlier. We’ll soon find out if there’s anything in the talk of an injury.

The teams are in the parade and it’s almost go-time.

We’re talking a crowd of 30,000 at Croker – that’s disappointing. One man who is amongst them though is The Man ‘Dan’ Shanahan.

The three wise men in the gantry have given Kilkenny a Britain’s Got Talent-type full house of thumbs-up. Sheedy, Cyril and Mulcahy reckon, despite Waterford’s efforts, the Cats will book their place in the final next month.

Kilkenny 1-01 Waterford 0-00 Brilliant goal from Richie Hogan got away with a few extra steps to open up the Waterford defence and then lashing past Clinton Hennessey into the roof of the net.

As I write Michael Fennelly taps over a point, this is intense from the Cats.

Kilkenny 1-03  Waterford 0-02 Henry Shefflin tacks on a point for Brian Cody’s men from a free. While down the other end Barry Kelly gives Waterford the chance to get on the scoreboard from a free.

John Mullane then adds another with a typically clever attempt.

Waterford 1-03 Kilkenny 0-04 That free was Shefflin’s 400th point in championship, according to the excellent HurlingStats.

TJ Reid has been booked, in the meantime, for a challenge on Mullane; Mahony converts the free. Waterford are competing here.

Kilkenny 1-04 Waterford 0-05 Brian Hogan entered into nose-bleed territory with Mullane in pursuit, but he tapped over what is his third ever* score in championship hurling.

Immediately afterwards, Mullane goes up the other end, wins a free and gives it a few fist pumps. He’s well up for this. Mahony puts over his second point.

*thanks to Ger Canning.

Kilkenny 1-06 Waterford 0-05 Noel Connors is doubled up in the foetal position after what’s described as a ‘stray hurl’ from Richie Hogan in the crotch.Welcome to senior hurling.

Canning says: ‘Let’s hope he’s not playing soprano after that, Michael.’ Michael keeps his counsel.

Fennelly scores a great point after a Shefflin assist.

Kilkenny 1-08 Waterford 0-05 Eoin Larkin sweeps up a loose ball and arrows it over to stretch the Cats’ lead. TJ Reid then prompts a Davy Fitzgerald sideline-meltdown with another – his first of the day I believe.

The Déise need to respond quickly.

Kilkenny 1-08 Waterford 1-05 GOAL! Seamus Prendegast feeds Mullane and the Waterford talisman dispatches crisply to the net to make it a one-score game once again.

Kilkenny 1-09 Waterford 1-07 Colin Fennelly goes down the other end and adds a Kilkenny point – as is invariably the way, it seems, after a conceded goal.

Moments later John Mullane finds himself in the ref’s notebook with a body check on goalkeeper David Herity. The De La Salle man is flying though and he sends over another point. Eoin Kelly adds another a minute later.

We’ve just over five minutes to go til the break now.

Mullane is possessed. He drew wither an excellent save from Herity there or battered the goalkeeper’s crossbar.

Kilkenny 2-09 1-07 GOAL!  From that ‘miss’ by Mullane, Kilkenny went down the other end when Fennelly squared for Richie Hogan, he took a touch, before knocking it past Clinton Hennessey. We’re in garbage time in the first half now.

Kilkenny 2-10 Waterford 1-07 HALF TIME Phew! That was breathless. Kilkenny are six points ahead despite some great battling stuff from the underdogs.

Davy will have plenty to say no doubt but they’re very much in this surely? The Cats will obviously expect to go on and win handily from this position of strength.

What’s your view on the first period of action at Croker?

Kilkenny 2-11 1-07 Guess who scored the first point of the second half? That’s right: Henry Shefflin.

Meanwhile, on the sideline, we’re registering a 6.2 on the Fitzy Scale. Davy is in full voice.

I’ve quoted the excellent HurlingStats already today but this one’s a doozy: “The crowd is 30,328 down on the equivalent KK v WD semi-final in 2009.”

Kilkenny 2-13 Waterford 1-08 Shefflin taps over another free before Mullane scores one of his trademark points: pulling the handbrake, turning around and darting it over.Michael Fennelly makes it an eight-point game again however.

Eoin Kelly was earlier booked for a bit of a kick on Herity by the way.

Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin with Michael Walsh and Declan Prendergast of Waterford (Inpho)

Kilkenny 2-15 Waterford 1-09 Second point for Eoin Larkin after a great catch from Richie Power. There’s 50 minutes on the clock and there’s a 10-point difference. What are we going to do for the next 20 minutes?

As I write Eoin Kelly – on a yellow – first points and then is replaced by Tommy Ryan. Much to Kelly’s chagrin, as they say in Passage.

Kilkenny 2-16 Waterford 1-11 Déise skipper Stephen Molumphy halts the Cats’ run of points with a score of his own but he might have fed Maurice Shanahan inside.

Moments later, the young Lismore man charges through but is taken down and taps over the subsequent free.

Kilkenny 2-17 Waterford 1-13 Shefflin has been booked for a tap on the hand, moments after he added to his tally. Eddie Brennan is on in the meantime, not a bad sub to have. John Mullane arrows another two over.

There’s less than 10 minutes left now and there’s six points in it. The Déise could do with a goal now.

Kilkenny 2-17 Waterford 1-15 Jaysus, Ted. Maurice Shanahan just pointed another. There’s five in it and the volumne has suddenly been cranked up at Croker.

This is usually when Eddie Brennan scores a game-ending goal…

HAWKEYE KLAXON! Eddie Brennan is furious that his effort on goal was waved wide. He’s shouting in the field at the umpire to put it up. There’s six points in it and less than five minutes to go.

Kilkenny 2-19 Waterford 1-16 Brennan and Mullane exchange points. That’s the Waterford man’s sixth – all from play. He’d like a goal though, to state the obvious.

Normal time is very much up, Canning and Duignan are penning the great Tony Browne’s career obituary.

As I write, the ref blows it up. That’s the end of the road for Waterford again this year, while Kilkenny cruise into another All-Ireland hurling final.

Brian Cody: “The object was to win the game so I’m happy that we won the match. We obviously got a good match today. We got a good start but they came back strongly and were always in it.

“You’re never relaxed, a goal can change a game of hurling, but I was reasonably happy that we had a fair lead throughout the game.

“Tipp are entitled to be favourites, they are champions and proven themselves to be the best. I see any game as 50/50 and I’m just happy we’re into the final. the All-Ireland final is always a great day and please God it’ll be the same again this year.”

Two-goal man, Richie Hogan: “It’s great, it’s our sixth final in a row and any time you get to play in Croke Park is special”

“All year the goals have been coming and they’ve been falling to different players – today they fell to me and hopefully the next day they’ll fall to someone else. As six forwards, we just try to create goals and whoever is on the end of it is generally able to finish it.”

A gutted-looking Davy Fitzgerald speaking to RTÉ’s Clare McNamarra: “I suppose there was a lot of people thought we’d get massacred today which we didn’t.

“A few things went against us – the early goal, the second was a real killer. And if you look back at hte build-up, we had the chance of a goal or point and there was actually a shove and it was let off and I have to say Barry Kelly had a good game and we can have no complaints. But instead of going in in three points down we went in six.

“I just have total admiration for the lads . they didnt leave anything out there. We were very slow starting the second half and when we did get going we put a few scores so we did.”

“[Calling it a] roller-coaster is mild, the way we felt after the Munster final I wouldn’t wish on anyone. They’re good guys, the stick only drives you on a bit more. And they’ve showed tremendous courage, the Gawlay game and today.

The future? “I don’t think they worry too much [about me] to tell you the truth. Davy doesn’t know himself. I’m just shattereed. I cant get over the way the lads reacted and it’s meant a lot to me. I’m just going to take a breather myself.”

So that’s all she wrote. Kilkenny march on, Waterford call it a summer despite a battling display. Keep the comments coming and thanks for the company all afternoon.

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