A thrilling 12 minute scoring blast that netted 2-6 in the early stages of the second half shot champions, Kilkenny into the Allianz National Hurling League Division 1A quarter-finals.
Waterford were left for dead at Nowlan Park yesterday when Brian Cody’s storm troopers blew them asunder at the start of the second period to claim a quarter-final berth against Wexford in Wexford Park on Sunday.
Defeat consigned Waterford to a high pressure relegation shoot-out against Dublin, with the losers dropping back to Division 1B.
The wind backed Noresiders couldn’t find their range early on. They registered five wides before Colin Fennelly eventually opened their account with a point in the 15th minute. By that stage the visitors were 0-3 ahead courtesy of points from free taker Pauric Mahony (2) and Jamie Barron.
Things changed slightly for Kilkenny after Jonjo Farrell scored a goal from close range in the 20th minute. They drove on to lead by 1-7 to 0-8 at the break, without ever setting the scene alight.
Things changed dramatically after the change of ends. Within four minutes Richie Power ripped open the visitors defence to place Eoin Larkin for a goal at the city end. Their second goal of the half was blasted home from the edge of the square by Mark Kelly, after Larkin and Colin Fennelly combined to lay bare the Waterford defence.
With the addition of points from wing-back Brian Kennedy, Henry Shefflin (2), Colin Fennelly, Walter Walsh and Richie Power the prowling Cats more or less had the ticket into the quarters in the bag by the 47th minute when they led was 3-13 to 0-11.
Kilkenny’s second half hurling was top class, with the forwards very inventive and daring as they bagged a hugely impressive tally of 3-15.
The draws for the League semi-finals on April 20 have also been made. They are - Wexford or Kilkenny v Galway or Limerick; Clare or Laois v Tipperary or Cork.
Scorers: Kilkenny - Henry Shefflin (0-7, five frees); Mark Kelly (2-0); Eoin Larkin (1-2); Colin Fennelly (0-4); Walter Walsh, Richie Hogan (0-3 each); Jonjo Farrell (1-0); Richie Power (0-2); Brian Kennedy (0-1). Waterford - Pauric Mahony (0-5, frees); Ray Barry (0-4); Brian O’Sullivan (0-2); Shane O’Sullivan, Jamie Barron, Austin Gleeson (0-1 each).
Referee - James Owens (Wexford).