By Frank Brady
Connecticut, the relative new boys on the Senior Hurling block, are certainly making the Gaelic Park patrons sit up and take notice as they ran out comprehensive winners over Waterford Sunday at Gaelic Park. Is it possible that there is a change in the balance of power or a new ordering in the making? The remainder of the season will answer that.
There was still a relatively small crowd on hand as this contest got under way. John O’Mahoney opened Connecticut’s scoring account with a point and quickly followed with another after being well placed by Keith Hennessy. Indeed, O’Mahoney continued with great regularity to build up the account and one would be forgiven for thinking that this was the John O’Mahoney show.
Thomas Maher, another industrious player, put Waterford on the scoreboard with a good point from a 65. Waterford had a let off as a rasper from Fergus Flynn came back off the crossbar. The first quarter was relatively even with Victor Cusack, Ollie O’Neill and Adrian Sweeney exchanging points. Then Cusack put Waterford ahead but Connecticut’s Connor O’Keane quickly reined them back. O’Mahoney stepped on the pedal to push the Connecticut boys out in front. Diarmuid O’Halloran increased the lead to two points, but Maher narrowed the gap again.
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Connecticut then began to assert themselves and a brace of points from Flynn and O’Mahoney had them finally in the driver’s seat as they led by 1-9 to 0-5 at the break.
In the second half, the tempo picked up considerably with a flurry of action from both sides. Connor O’Keane extended Connecticut’s lead, but a spirited revival saw a brace of points from Maher, followed by good efforts from Roy Henley and Martin Hickey to leave the score 1-11 to 0-9 with 15 minutes left to play. Flynn notched a fine score but it was matched by an equally fine score from Cian O’Connor.
Then, one of Waterford’s best moves, involving Sweeney and Maher, ended with the latter being fouled. The resultant penalty was weakly struck by Niall Duggan and easily saved. This was a golden opportunity to get back in contention but they threw their lifeline away. Indeed, they spluttered to the finish line while the victors tacked on another goal and two points. The last goal was rather fortuitous as it seemed to deceive the keeper and trickle across the line.
Man of the Match: John O’Mahoney.
Connecticut: Donal Leahy, Aidan Kiely, Phil Wickham, Declan Ryan, Mark Comerford, Tom Foy, Ollie O’Neill (0-1), Fintan O’Shea (0-1), Diarmuid O’Halloran (0-1), Conor O’Keane (0-3), Keith Hennessy, John O’Mahoney (2-6), Fergus Flynn (0-3).
Waterford: Ian Duggan, Stewart Barry, Ronan O’Connor, Thomas Maher (0-4), Barry Magee, Thomas Bermingham, Francie Duggan, Colin Ruth, Ray Duggan, Victor Cusack (0-2), Cian O’Connor (0-1), Aidan Sweeney (0-1), RoryHussey. Subs: Roy Henley (0-1), Martin Hickey (0-1).