By Mike Fitzpatrick
Waterford 7-13, Kilkenny 4-4
Kilkenny’s season ended as it had begun: in defeat.
Forced to start this senior hurling championship game two men short, due to injuries and perhaps more than a little hopelessness in the hearts of the absentee players, the Cats performed as well as they could have given the circumstances.
Waterford threatened to compile a massive score in the first half, opening with points from Mike Curtin. Michael Coleman, Ray Duggan, Jason Barry and a couple of goals from Fintan O’Shea and Curtin.
Kilkenny replied with a goal and a point from Kevin Corbett, leaving the Cats trailing by nine points.
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Kilkenny, to their credit refused to just roll over, and as Waterford attempted to take advantage of their two man advantage, Aiden Ryan hit a brace of goals to whittle the lead to four points.
This was merely a temporary setback, however. Waterford surged forward in droves and O’Shea, Tom Maher, Jamesie Duggan and David Ryan all added to their goals, tally giving Waterford a virtually unassailable lead.
Points accumulated thanks to Coleman, Jason Barry, three in a row from Richie Purcell and an effort from Curtin, and Waterford were through to the final four. Kilkenny’s last score of the season was a fine goal scored from the hurl of veteran James Joyce, who must hope his team returns next year to put a stop to the rot which has ravaged Kilkenny hurling.
Waterford: Kevin Martin, Tom Bermingham, Owen O’Connor, Jo Jo Sullivan, Michael Coleman (0-2), David Ryan (1-0), Tom Maher (2-0), Richie Purcell (0-2), Ray Duggan (0-2), Jason Barry (0-2), Jamesie Duggan (1-1), Michael Curtin (1-3), Fintan O’Shea (2-1).
Kilkenny: Richie Hogan, Dave Brennan, Mark Kennedy, Vinnie Norton (0-1), Peter Green (0-1), Jerome Edge, Kevin Corbett (1-1), Dan Ryan (0-1), James Joyce (1-0), Aiden Ryan (2-0), Pat Rohan.