Waterford let Cats out of the bag

All Ireland Senior Hurling Semi-Final

Kilkenny 1-21 Waterford 0-24

A late Walter Walsh goal stunned Waterford and helped Kilkenny battle a 1-21 to 0-24 draw in an exhilarating All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Croke Park.

Conor Fogarty ensured the teams will have do it all over again with a monster point in the 74th minute to cancel out a late free from Pauric Mahony, which had edged Waterford in front.

Waterford were ahead for much of the game but with victory in sight, Kilkenny  managed to get the only goal of the game as Colin Fennelly burst through the Deise defence and laid the ball off for Walsh, who blasted past Stephen O’Keeffe from close range.

It was undoubtedly the game of the season so far but it will go down as an opportunity missed for Waterford, who received inspirational displays from Mahony and Austin Gleeson in particular, who combined for 19 points.

Waterford led by as many as five points as the game entered its final quarter but after enjoying success playing Kilkenny straight up for most of the game, the Deise adopted a more defensive formation with the finish line in sight and that ultimately proved costly.

Derek McGrath’s side were 0-22 to 0-17 ahead with 56 minutes on the clock but TJ Reid closed the gap to three points with three scores from frees as Waterford managed just a single point from Patrick Curran between then and Walsh’s goal in the 69th minute.

The Deise will be left to rue a serious of wides during that period with Gleeson and Kevin Moran denied scores only after referee James Owens had checked with Hawkeye.

Waterford led by 0-13 to 0-12 at half-time with Mahony contributing nine of their scores as he demonstrated pinpoint accuracy from both placed balls and open play.

Gleeson was operating at centre-forward and was outstanding throughout as Kieran Joyce struggled to nullify his threat.

 For Kilkenny, Richie Hogan was their standout performer as he scored four points from play from centre forward and won a series of frees for Reid to slot over in the second half which kept the Cats in the game.Kevin Moran had a huge impact from midfield for Waterford as he displayed his excellent fielding skills and boundless energy.

Moran had Waterford’s best goal chance early in the second half as he broke through the Kilkenny defence and appeared set to blast past Eoin Murphy but Padraig Walsh got back to make a last-gasp tackle and flicked the ball away.

Kilkenny were awarded a puck-out but replays showed Waterford should have been awarded a 65-yard free.

The replay has now been set for 6.45pm next Saturday, August 13 at Thurles.

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty (0-02), M Fennelly (0-01); W Walsh (1-01), R Hogan (0-04), TJ Reid (0-11, 0-11f); J Farrell, J Power, C Fennelly (0-01).

Subs used: E Larkin (0-01) for Farrell, L Ryan for Joyce.

Waterford: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; Philip Mahony, T de Burca, C Gleeson; K Moran (0-01), J Barron; M Walsh, A Gleeson (0-05), Pauric Mahony (0-14, 0-09f, 0-01 65); S Bennett, J Dillon (0-02), C Dunford.

Subs used: M Shanahan (0-01) for Dunford, P Curran (0-01) for Bennett, B O’Halloran for Dillon.

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).

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