By Mike Fitzpatrick
Waterford 3-19, Offaly 1-8
Who foresaw Waterford hammering 22 scores past their rivals? Entering this season, nobody held out much hope for Waterford. The Decies had had their panel seriously depleted, with as many as 10 of their hurlers leaving for newer pastures over the winter break. How things change. The naysayers at Gaelic Park were forced to eat their words after this fabulous performance over their championship rivals, Sean Guinan¹s Offaly.
Offaly had opened their season on something of a higher note, coming close to clinching a victory over mighty Limerick, with only a late point from the greens.
This senior hurling clash was always going to be a tough one to predict, but who foresaw Waterford hammering 22 scores past their rivals?
Weekend sanction Sean Daly had a magnificent game for Waterford, hitting a number of fine scores which separated the sides before going into the half-time break. Along with Fintan O¹Shea and Ken Geary, Daly pulverized the Offaly backline, leaving Offaly diehard manager Sean Guinan with some headaches going into his side’s next game.
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Leading at half time, Waterford never looked in serious danger of throwing away the tie.
Daly¹s prowess in front of the sticks proved vital, and along with stellar performances from the likes of Rory Hussey, Fintan O¹Shea and Donncha Crotty, they Œll surely go a long way in deciding the outcome of this years senior hurling title.
Tomas Maher in defense was another who shone for the Decies, and when one considers that the Waterford management have exciting players of the calibre of Cormac Murray on the bench, another player capable of changing a tie in an instant, things are looking good for the white and blues.
Offaly will have gone home thoroughly dejected, having opened their season on such a good note, and you can be sure that Sean Guinan will have his thinking cap on coming up to the next series of games.
Waterford: Noel Kelly, Paudie Coffey, Garret Burke, Tom Bermingham, Tomas Maher (0-1), Dave Ryan (0-1), Kevin Martin, Rory Hussey (0-1), Fintan O¹Shea (0-3), Mike Molumphy (0-1), Ken Geary (0-2), Sean Daly (3-8), Donncha Crotty (0-1). Sub: Mike O¹Shea, Cormac Murray (0-1),
Offaly: Paddy Donohue, Mark Scanlon, Sean Nolan (0-1), Pat Leahy, Enda Condron, Brendan Delaney, Nigel Kearney, Dave Reynolds, Sean O¹Donoghue (0-1), Colm Scanlon, Richie Fitzsimons, Dave Beatty (0-4), Pat Treacy (1-0), Subs Ollie Murphy, Mike Dolan, Johnny Hanlon (0-1), Dessie O¹Connor, Gus Murray (0-1)
Man of the match: Sean Ryan (Waterford)