Cork had their first outing of the new league campaign, when they travelled to Walsh Park in Waterford to take on the home side in what could well be a dress rehearsal when the sides meet in championship later in the year.
Both sides are now under new management with Kieran Kingston back for a second time with Cork while Tipperary U21 All- Ireland winning manager is now at the helm for the Deise with Pauric Mahony named as the new captain. With three spots up for grabs in the knockout stages, victory in the opening game could prove crucial.
It turned out to be a cracking affair with Cork bagging two goals inside the opening three minutes as Conor Lehane and Shane Kingston finding the net as the rebels were off to a flyer. Waterford got off the mark as newcomer Jack Fagan hit over a side-line cut before Stephen Bennett converted a free. While Patrick Horgan had a free for Cork two magnificent Kieran Bennett points from play were followed by a goal from Patrick Curran as this new look Deise side were up and running. Shane Bennett then levelled matters and at the end of the opening quarter Waterford were in front as Fagan from play and a Bennett free saw the Deise in front by 1-7 to 2-3 as Daragh Fitzgibbon and Seamus Harnedy had their first points for Cork.
By half-time Waterford held a two-point advantage with two more wonderful Kieran Bennett points from play, three free’s from Stephen Bennett and a lovely point from Patrick Curran. Cork remained in touch with Patrick Horgan converting two free’s, Harnedy, Kingston and Damien Calahane also on target as Cork trailed by 2-8 to 1-13 at the break, with Liam Cahill much the happier manager at the interval.
Waterford struck the opening two points on the resumption to go four clear as the Bennett brothers hit five while Horgan, Calahane, Kingston and Mark Coleman kept Cork in touch. Waterford subs Peter Hogan, Michael Kearney, Daragh Lyons and Tom Barron kept the tempo going as Waterford began to stretch clear once more. Another newcomer Iarlaith Daly also impressed as Waterford led by 1-24 to 2-16 going into time added on. A second goal from Shane Kingston and a third point from Damien Calahane left just one in it at the finish as time ran out for cork who were unable to build on their good start. Cork will now meet Tipperary next Saturday night in Pairc Uí Chaoimh, while Waterford will hope to build on their victory with a win over Westmeath in Cusack Park Mullingar on Sunday.
Cork will certainly not be happy with their shooting as they hit 16 wides in total, while team captain Patrick Horgan was among a number of forwards that failed to score from play. Waterford will be delighted to have gotten the win especially after such a poor start with newcomers Iarlaith Daly, Jack Fagan and Kieran Bennett all impressing as the Deise are showing signs of some green shoots under Liam Cahill, with Jamie Barron, Austin Gleeson and Tadgh De Burca all absent but will be ready for the championship action.
Cork: S Kingston 2-2, P Horgan 0-6f, C Lehane 1-0, D Calahane 0-3, S Harnedy 0-2, M Coleman 0-2, D Fitzgibbon 0-2.
Waterford: S Bennett 0-11, K Bennett 0-5, P Curran 1-3, J Fagan 0-2, P Hogan, I Daly and M Kearney 0-1 each.
Cork: Anthony Nash, Niall O’ Leary, Robert Downey, Sean O’ Donoghue, Chris O’ Leary, Tim O’ Mahony, Damien Calahane, Bill Cooper, Mark Coleman, Seamus Harnedy, Daragh Fitzgibbon, Aidan Walsh, Conor Lehane, Shane Kingston and Patrick Horgan Capt. Subs used Luke Meade for A Walsh, Sean O’ Leary -Hayes for N O’ Leary, Sean Twomey for C Lehane and Robbie O’ Flynn for S Harnedy.
Waterford: Stephen O’ Keeffe, Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty, Callum Lyons, Daragh Fives, Iarlaith Daly, Jack Prendergast, Jake Dillon, Neil Montgomery, Jack Fagan, Kieran Bennett, Patrick Curran, Stephen Bennett and Dessie Hutchinson. Subs used Kieran Power for C Lyons B/S, Shane Fives for C Gleeson, Michael Kearney for Jake Dillon, Peter Hogan for D Hutchinson, Daragh Lyons for N Montgomery and tom Barron for J Fagan.
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)
In the other games in Roinn A holders Limerick turned in a big second half display to get the better of Tipperary by 2-14 to 0-18 with goals from Aaron Gillane and Gearoid Hegarty bringing them back into contention after trailing by 0-13 to 0-4 at half time.
Galway however encountered little difficulty beating Westmeath by 1-24 to 0-10 in the other game in this division. Galway will face Limerick next time out.