By Mark Jones
Kilkenny may have kept their unbeaten record in Div. 1B of the National Hurling League with a 2-14 to 0-8 win over Waterford at Walsh Park last Sunday, but the real story of the game was Waterford’s extraordinary capitulation.
Twisted and turned by the brilliance of D.J. Carey, who started at midfield and scored 1-3 from play, the losers were outclassed.
"It was the worst performance since I arrived and it came out of the blue, which makes it more puzzling," admitted manager Gerald McCarthy. "The players were very, very disappointed because they were really up for this one."
If they were, it certainly didn’t show. Within a quarter of an hour, Carey and Henry Shefflin had struck for goals and Kilkenny were comfortably in front by 2-7 to 0-3 at the interval. Only Tony Browne and corner back, Brian Flannery, offered any meaningful resistance for Waterford, who now badly need a win in their next outing against Wexford.
Tipperary 1-16, Wexford 1-12
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Tipperary were made to struggle to secure a victory over Wexford at Semple Stadium and they now join Kilkenny at the top of the table. Despite dominating for long periods, a Mitch Jordan point midway through the second half left Tipp trailing. However, the home team finished with a strong burst.
Eugene O’Neill and Liam Cahill soothed some frayed nerves before 20-year-old Larry Corbett, who had earlier fired in an excellent goal, clipped over a fine point on the run. There were further late scores from Cahill and sub John O’Brien as Tipp made sure of the result.
Cork 4-18, Laois 0-7
Cork’s opening game of the campaign turned out to be a stroll in O’Moore Park, where they hammered Laois. Joe Deane with two, Kevin Murray and Seanie McGrath banged in the goals as the Munster champions capitalized on 10 Laois wides during the first half.
Galway 2-14, Dublin 2-4
In Div. 1A, Dublin’s chances of staying up in the top flight appear to be receding as they suffered a second successive defeat, this time at the hands and hurls of Galway at Parnell Park. A much more powerful Galway outfit could afford to ease through the second half after they found themselves leading by 12 points within minutes of the restart.
David Tierney and Alan Kerins scored goals for the winners, whose captain, Gregory Kennedy, was sent off for a dangerous challenge 10 minutes from time.
Limerick 2-15, Offaly 1-11
Limerick moved to the top of the division on scoring average when they saw off the challenge of Offaly in Birr. Without players from both the Birr and Seir Kieran clubs, who are preparing for a county final, Offaly had to field an understrength team and Limerick took full advantage as Barry Foley top scored with 2-2.
Clare 1-18, Antrim 3-8
Clare conceded three goals to Antrim at Ennis, but still managed to come through and register a win, which puts them on four points, along with Limerick and Galway.
London pulled off a first win of the season with a 1-11 to 0-13 verdict over Roscommon at Oxley Park, while leaders Wicklow could only draw 0-16 to 1-13 with Westmeath at Arklow. Kerry hammered Louth by 5-16 to 0-12, and Down crushed Armagh by 2-28 to 0-3.
Wexford drew 2-8 to 2-8 with Monaghan in a National League Div. 2B game at Gorey, and Westmeath qualified to play Meath in the final of the O’Byrne Cup when they defeated Wicklow by 3-12 to 0-5 in the semifinal at Cusack Park, Mullingar.