The ball towards goal

Amidst the turmoil, Tony Browne departed to be replaced by Richie Foley. I managed to get arsey that the Cork fans didn’t afford him the standing ovation that the Tipperary fans had done in the Munster final but I quickly realised this showed the game was probably still on. In previous years I’ve scoffed at any suggestions that he might be about to pack it in and I’ve been proven right. Now I think this might be it. To play into your forties just doesn’t seem possible, even for him. Ó hAilpín struck a blow for old men with a point and after Horgan and Shanahan swapped points from frees we needed a goal.

Casey had a chance to pull the trigger but inexplicably opted the ball towards goal and it went harmlessly wide. There was a half-chance for McGrath which bobbled out for a 65 although everyone had eyes for the sight of Mullane in heap with a Cork back. Had he been fouled? We had no way of knowing and the 65 was still to come so there wasn’t time to get bitter over it. Foley took it and it was clearly too high but hit the post and bounced into the one part of the small square where there wasn’t a Waterford forward loitering with intent. The clearance was whipped out for a sideline ball and the ref, perhaps hedging his bets over the Mullane incident, allowed the sideline to be taken but it was blocked and that was that, Prøv det nu.

Being the world’s greatest fatalist, it says much about Waterford’s performance that I was convinced we’d close it out when we so purposefully hit the front midway through the second half. It seemed to me that barring a calamitous fluke, Cork were not going to get the goal they needed. We had looked so good, but I hadn’t banked on Cork being able to bring on a number of players who were almost as good as what was on the pitch – perhaps even better, some of them are bound to start against Galway. And it’s worrying for the future that we can’t match that ability to blitz teams with fresh legs. Still, we’re still a good team and even if we can’t match the likes of Cork from 1 to 15 we have talented hurlers. Stay competitive, and maybe we’ll have our Chelsea moment after all.

Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe, Noel Connors, LiamLawlor, Stephen Daniels, Tony Browne (0-1f; Richie Foley), Michael Walsh, Kevin Moran, Stephen Molumphy (0-1), Philip Mahony, Maurice Shanahan (0-9, 0-6f, 0-1 65), Seamus Prendergast (0-1), Pauric Mahony (0-3), John Mullane (0-2), Shane Walsh (0-2; Shane Casey), Thomas Ryan (Eoin McGrath)
Cork: Anthony Nash, Shane O’Neill, Stephen McDonnell, Brian Murphy, Tom Kenny, Eoin Cadogan (John Gardiner), Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (0-1), Daniel Kearney (Darren Sweetnam), Pa Cronin (0-2), Niall McCarthy (Cathal Naughton, 0-2), Cian McCarthy (0-3; Lorcan McLoughlin), Jamie Coughlan (1-1; Stephen Moylan), Paudie O’Sullivan (0-2), Luke O’ Farrell (0-1), Patrick Horgan (0-7, 0-4f)
HT: Waterford 0-11 (11) Cork 1-9 (12)
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)Share this:PausePlayPlayPrev|NextShare this:

When the GAA decided to allow five substitutions in a match it was always likely to benefit the bigger teams more than the minnows, possessing as they do greater strength in depth. And we saw that in spades today as Cork threw on a number of soccer players in a desperate attempt to save this match, and it worked as all that Cork did well in the last fifteen minutes came courtesy of a player with a 2 on his back. Another season over, and you wonder if the photo above is that last time we will see Tony Browne in action for Waterford.

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