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Waterford beat Kilkenny to eliminate Cats from Championship

Jamie Barron
Jamie Barron

A first championship win for Waterford over their great nemesis since 1959 required a dramatic period of extra-time as Kilkenny endured their earliest exit in Brian Cody's time as manager at Semple Stadium.

For the first time since he took charge for the 1999 season Cody will not have brought a team to at least All-Ireland quarter-finals after Waterford dug deep to avoid the stigma of losing an eight-point lead in normal time.

The energy they showed in extra-time eventually ground down Kilkenny with goals from the outstanding Jamie Barron and Maurice Shanahan proving crucial.

Waterford got a real impact off their bench with Brian O'Halloran, Shanahan and Tommy Ryan especially making a difference.

The sides were level, 2-15 each, at the end of normal time with Waterford failing to score for the last 15 minutes, including added time.

It threatened to break them but with Barron lifting his game they got impetus and his goal on 80 minutes to make it 3-19 to 2-18 was game-breaking.

Shanahan added a fourth in the second period of extra-time to secure the win.

Waterford dominated the first half, restricting Kilkenny to just one point from play courtesy of Richie Hogan's opener.

Pauric Mahony was seamless from placed balls, knocking over six from six as they built up a steady advantage.  

With Daragh Fives dropping back as an extra defender Waterford restricted the space effectively that Colin Fennelly and TJ Reid like to exploit.

But there was respite for Kilkenny when Hogan was brought to the ground in the 32nd minute after a penetrating Colin Fennelly run, earning a penalty which Reid converted.

That gave Kilkenny a lifeline but when Austin Gleeson zipped up the right sideline to land his second point on the run the pumped up reaction from his manager Derek McGrath said everything.

It was quickly followed by a goal from Michael "Brick" Walsh, his first in championship for 11 years, composing himself after Shane Bennett had gathered Tadhg De Burca's clearance and drawn a foul from Paul Murphy for which advantage was given. 

That gave Waterford a healthy 1-10 to 1-5 advantage and with Kilkenny struggling to find any from it really was Waterford's to lose.

When Shane Bennett snapped a great goal after a Walsh lay off in the 53rd minute to make it 2-13 to 1-9, a seven-point cushion looked enough in such a low-scoring game to see them home for a first championship win in 58 years.

Gleeson's fifth point of the night on 59 minutes to push them eight clear looked to have sewn it up but bizarrely they stopped playing and invited Kilkenny on with TJ Reid and substitutes Lester Ryan and Richie Leahy, fresh from his Leinster U-21 success, making an impact.

They were six behind when Colin Fennelly barged his way into the Waterford goalmouth to create an opening for a Reid goal. It should surely have been a free out but the score stood and Waterford could once again feel that familiar black and amber chill on their necks.

Kilkenny kept pressing, spurred on by their vocal supporters in the 33,181 crowd who were now alive to such a spirited comeback.

Colin Fennelly levelled two-and-a-half minutes into added time but there was still time for Waterford to snatch a win but when Stephen Bennett was fouled Pauric Mahony was just off the field and Maurice Shanahan's effort in his place was quite tame.  

Scorers - Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-6 (5fs, 1 65), J Barron, M Shanahan (0-3fs) 1-3 each, A Gleeson 0-5, Shane Bennett, M Walsh 1-0 each, T Ryan, K Moran 0-2 each, J Dillon, P Curran 0-1 each. 

Kilkenny: TJ Reid 2-12 (1-0 pen, 0-10fs, 0-1 65), L Ryan 0-3, R Leahy 0-2, K Kelly, E Murphy (f), G Aylward, R Hogan, C Fennelly all 0-1 each. 

Waterford: S O'Keeffe; N Connors, B Coughlan, C Gleeson; S Fives, T De Burca, Philip; J Barron, K Moran; M Walsh, A Gleeson, Pauric Mahony; Shane Bennett, J Dillon, D Fives. Subs: S McNulty for Connor (44-49 blood), P Curran for Dillon (48), Stephen Bennett for Shane Bennett (61), M Shanahan for Walsh (69),  B O'Halloran for Pauric Mahony (74), T Ryan for Stephen Bennett (79), C Dunford for Curran (85), McNulty for Connors (86)

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, P Walsh, J Lyng; C Fogarty, R Lennon, C Buckley; M Fennelly, P Deegan; TJ Reid, W Walsh, C Fennelly; R Hogan, JJ Farrell, K Kelly. Subs: G Aylward for Farrell (h-t), L Ryan for Deegan (h-t), C Bolger for Kelly (48), R Leahy for Hogan (63), L Blanchfield for M Fennelly (73), R Hogan for Aylward (85).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford)