Waterford 2-17 (23) Cork 2-14 (20)

Fógra: As a result of a cock-up with a travel agent (email me if you want the gory details), I was unable to attend the match. This report will be a collage of what I heard on the radio, what I saw on the telly and what people who were fortunate enough to be there told me. It will also be liberally peppered with references to Liverpool’s victory over Newcastle United the previous day.

Tony Browne, Cork 2000

Cork have given us a bloody nose or two in the recent past – I’ve attended four competitive matches in a row which we have lost to them – so when Paul Flynn stood over the ball about ninety metres out in injury time he had a lot of history to overcome if we were going to win this game. The challenge was too much for him, but at least he had the good sense to keep his shot straight. In the ensuing rumpus in the Cork penalty area, substitute Barry Walsh managed to squirm the ball over the line. I was listening to this on the radio, and Micheál O’Muircheartaigh didn’t seem too sure if the ball was in the net, so to speak. But the cheers of my fellow Déisigh at the final whistle said all I needed to know.

With Jamie Redknapp doing the biz at Anfield on Saturday, this was the second time in 24 hours that my team had snatched a win with a last minute goal. And like the Reds, Waterford did it the hard way, contriving to make heavy weather of a game they had for the taking. Waterford started with Fergal Hartley on the bench, while Paul Flynn moved out to the wing, Míceal White slotting in to the corner. Cork had the wind in the first half but failed to make good use of it, struggling to overcome a resolute home defence. The Waterford attack were being well served by Browne and Brenner (best of buddies) in the midfield clocking up some nice scores. Seemingly Paul Flynn scored a point with a beautiful first time ground stroke (not that I’d know; it wasn’t on the highlights programme that evening on RTÉ) while Dave Bennett’s alert reaction when Donal Óg Cusack saved Mícael White’s goal effort in the tenth minute meant Waterford actually had the lead at half-time.

Waterford tried to commit hara-kari early in the second half, firing four scoring chances wide and causing most of the ground to indulge in some extensive hair-tearing before Míceal White finally relieved the tension with a score. Cork kept in touch, but Waterford edged slowly further ahead, Ken McGrath taking most of the plaudits, making life hell for Brian Corcoran. As the game entered the final quarter Waterford looked in charge, but they didn’t reckon on Sean McGrath, who pounced on a half-chance to flash the ball along the ground past Brendan Landers.

Waterford had to start again, which they did with admirable courage. The point Ken McGrath scored to restore the four point gap was a classic, flicking the ball from ground to hurley to score without taking it in his hands. Cork threw all the big guns on now in order to save the game, and they looked to have done it when Neil Ronan ghosted unmarked into the box and deftly slotted home Cork’s second.

This was the cue for all hell to break loose. Brendan Coleman put Cork level, then should won the game for Cork when he rounded Brendan Landers but his shot from an acute angle was wide. With the crowd barely recovering from the hysterics that incident induced, Míceal White was hauled down for a penalty. Under instructions, Paul Flynn took the point, but it looked like he would regret it when Alan Browne pointed from a highly dubious free. Dickie Murphy made up for that by awarding the free which allowed Barry Walsh to take centre stage and win the game for Waterford. A great win and very satisfying, even over the airwaves. With a 16,000 plus crowd at the game, one wonders how early you will need to be at Walsh Park for the game against Tipperary in three weeks.

Waterford: Brendan Landers, Tom Feeney, James O’Connor, Sean Cullinane (Fergal Hartley), Stephen Frampton, Peter Queally, Brian Flannery, Tony Browne (0-1), Johnny Brenner, Dan Shanahan (0-1), Ken McGrath (0-5), Paul Flynn (capt., 0-6, 0-4 frees), Míceal White (0-2), Anthony Kirwan (0-1), Dave Bennett (1-1; Barry Walsh, 1-0)

Cork: Donal Óg Cusack, Fergal Ryan, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, John Browne, J. Sheehan (Wayne Sherlock), Brian Corcoran, Derek Barrett, Timmy McCarthy, Mark Landers (Pat Ryan), Brendan Coleman (0-1), Fergal McCormack (Michael O’Connell, 0-1), Alan Browne (0-5 frees), Sean McGrath (1-2), Kevin Murray (0-1; Joe Deane), Ben O’Connor (0-3; Neil Ronan, 1-0)

HT: Waterford 1-8 Cork 0-9

Referee: Dickie Murphy (Wexford)

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