SH Qualifier: Cats outstay Waterford in Semple scorcher

July 13, 2013

Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly and Kevin Moran of Waterford
©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
Kilkenny 1-22
Waterford 2-16
(after extra-time)

Kilkenny booked their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals following an epic battle with Waterford at Semple Stadium tonight.

A replay looked to be on the cards when Waterford substitute Ray Barry scored an equalising goal with two minutes of extra-time remaining but, in the blink of an eye, Colin Fennelly, Matthew Ruth and Aidan Fogarty reeled off late points to break Deise hearts and keep Brian Cody's men on course to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Played before a 17,235 attendance in sweltering conditions, this game had everything a hurling supporter could ask for. Waterford, who were bidding to record a first championship victory over their illustrious neighbours since 1959, made a massive contribution to what will go down as one of the greatest games seen in recent times, but ultimately, they were forced to bow to the Cats' legendary survival instincts and never-say-die attitude.

Michael Ryan's men showed massive character to score the last five points of normal time to force extra-time on a 0-15 to 1-12 scoreline. Wexford referee James Owens enraged Kilkenny fans at the end of the 70 minutes when he blew his final whistle as Matthew Ruth was in the act of scoring the winning point.

But the All-Ireland champions regrouped and rattled off the first five points of extra-time to take a firm grip on proceedings. Waterford, however, refused to lie down as goals from Jake Dillon and Barry brought them back from the dead.

But Kilkenny had the final say and can now look forward to a quarter-final joust against either Galway or the losers of tomorrow's Munster final between Limerick and Cork.

Delayed by half an hour due to extra-time in the curtain-raiser between Clare and Wexford, the game witnessed an excellent start from the underdogs who threw down the gauntlet with points from Richie Foley, Brian O'Sullivan and wing back Darragh Fives inside the first nine minutes.

Kilkenny had to wait until the 12th minute for their opening score from Colin Fennelly. Richie Hogan left the minimum in it before points from Jamie Barron - who had missed a goal chance earlier - and Fives restored Waterford's three-point cushion after 18 minutes.

Richie Power hit two points in quick succession before Colin Fennelly brought the Cats level for the first time when his shot was deflected over by Stephen O'Keeffe in the 26th minute. Three minutes later, Eoin Larkin's free gave Kilkenny the lead, 0-6 to 0-5, for the first time.

Jake Dillon replied with the Deise's first score in 15 minutes before they were dealt a hammerblow in the second minute of injury-time when Richie Power goaled from a penalty after Aidan Fogarty had been fouled. It looked as though Stephen O'Keeffe had saved Power's rasping shot, but TV replays confirmed that James Owens and his umpires had got the decision spot on as the ball had actually hit the stanchion and rebounded into play.

That goal left Kilkenny 1-6 to 0-6 ahead at half-time, and their supporters were given further cause for optimism when Henry Shefflin replaced Walter Walsh four minutes after the restart. Power and Kevin Moran traded scores before the Cats opened up a 1-9 to 0-8 lead thanks to points from Fogarty and Power (free).

Further scores from Power (free) and Larkin had them 1-11 to 0-9 ahead entering the final 13 minutes. Ray Barry and Larkin (free) exchanged points as the Cats continued to hold a five-point advantage, 1-12 to 0-10.

Then came the late Waterford comeback which was started by a Seamus Prendergast free. Barry shot two points either side of 40-year-old Tony Browne's introduction. Kevin Moran scored a brilliant long-range point in the 69th minute to leave the minimum between the sides.

Amid unbearable tension, the superb Moran angled over another point from close to the right sideline to tie up the scoring which sent a pulsating game to extra-time.

Undoubtedly irked by the controversial finish to normal time, Kilkenny came flying out of the traps at the start of extra-time. Walter Walsh came back on for the ineffective Shefflin before Hogan, substitute Michael Fennelly, Colin Fennelly, Larkin (free) and Hogan shot points in that order.

The Deise needed a goal to stay alive, and they got it a minute before the change around when Jake Dillon finished to the net after Eoin Murphy had saved Seamus Prendergast's initial effort. There was a suspicion of 'square ball', but the goal stood.

The outstanding Hogan notched the first two points of the second period before Jamie Nagle converted a free. In the 88th minute and the floodlights on, Waterford, incredibly, regained parity when super-sub Barry reacted quickest to the ball as it broke from Maurice Shanahan's 20-metre free to bat home the equalising goal.

But, typical of Kilkenny, they immediately regained the lead through Colin Fennelly. Ruth and Fogarty tagged on two more points within a minute to finally break Waterford's brave resistance.

Kilkenny - E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; M Rice, E Larkin (0-4, 3f); W Walsh, R Power (1-5, 1-0 pen, 3f), M Ruth (0-1); A Fogarty (0-2), C Fennelly (0-4), R Hogan (0-5). Subs: H Shefflin for W Walsh, M Fennelly (0-1) for Rice, W Walsh for Shefflin, L Ryan for A Fogarty, A Fogarty for W Walsh.

Waterford - S O'Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle (0-1f), M Walsh, D Fives (0-3); K Moran (0-3), R Foley (0-1); J Dillon (1-2, 1f), S Prendergast (0-1), S O'Sullivan; B O'Sullivan (0-1), M Shanahan, J Barron (0-1). Subs: R Barry (1-3) for B O'Sullivan, M O'Neill for Shanahan, S Walsh for O'Neill, P Prendergast for Foley, T Browne for D Fives, E Barrett for Barron, D Fives for Prendergast, M Shanahan for Moran.

Referee - J Owens.

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