Kilkenny beat Waterford to reach 2015 All-Ireland final
KILKENNY 1-21 WATERFORD 0-18
Kilkenny reached their 13th All-Ireland hurling final of the 21st century by sweeping aside the challenge of Waterford at Croke Park on Sunday.
It also means the brilliant boss Brian Cody will send his side out in the season's showpiece on September 6th for the ninth time in ten years.
Derek McGrath’s Waterford did their best and were still in this contest at the break but, when push came to shove, Cody’s young colts had too much quality as they earned a final clash with either Tipperary or Galway, thanks in no small way to the 1-9 personal tally from TJ Reid.
At the end of an evenly-contested first half, the Leinster champions led by 1-9 to 0-10, with Maurice Shanahan notching seven of the Deise's first-half scores.
A dejected Maurice Shanahan after the game
But the key moment came in the 17th minute when Reid exploited a mix-up in the Waterford defence when he latched onto Michael Fennelly’s long, high delivery and advanced in a one-on-one with Stephen O’Keeffe to drill a shot into the bottom left corner of the net for the only goal of the game.
In the second half, Ger Aylward pointed in between converted Reid and Shanahan frees. Kevin Moran closed the gap to two but a couple of points inside 30 seconds from Reid and wing back Cillian Buckley as the winners shook off the dust had the Cats four clear. Aylward’s second point had the holders 1-14 to 0-12 ahead after 44 minutes.
Colin Dunford and Eoin Larkin swapped points and the former then fired a brace to close the arrears to a manageable three. Then the Cats pulled away again with scores from Hogan and Fennelly, before Waterford hung in through Gleeson and Dunford.
However, three points inside 90 seconds from Aylward and Hogan (2) gave the winners a six-point cushion on the hour. Aylward and Shanahan traded late scores as the Cats won pulling up.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley (0-01); M Fennelly (0-01), C Fogarty; W Walsh, R Hogan (0-05), C Fennelly; G Aylward (0-04), TJ Reid (1-09, 0-07f), E Larkin (0-01). Subs: J Power for W Walsh.
Waterford: S O'Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; D Fives, T de Burca, P Mahony; K Moran (0-01), J Barron; S Bennett (0-01), M Walsh, A Gleeson (0-03, 0-01 s/l); C Dunford (0-04), M Shanahan (0-09, 0-06f, 0-01 65), J Dillon. Subs: P Curran for Dillon, Stephen Bennett for Shane Bennett.
Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly)