Gaelic GamesMatch report

Cork falter near the line but get home to record first win at Waterford’s expense

The Rebels were 10 points clear at one stage before Déise staged daring comeback that just fell short

NHL Division 1A: Cork 1-21 Waterford 1-19

Cork’s inconsistency almost came back to bite them before they held off a Waterford fightback to gain a crucial first Allianz Hurling League victory.

It was all going well as Jack O’Connor nabbed 1-3 for the Rebels to construct a 10-point advantage in front of 10,622 fans at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

But from the 58th minute onwards, the visitors reeled off 10 of the final 12 points as they made Cork sweat down the home straight.

Both teams now lie on two points after three games.


As Pat Ryan sought a response from their loss to Kilkenny, he handed league debuts to All-Ireland U20-winning goalkeeper Brion Saunderson and corner back Cathal McCarthy among 11 changes. Some wise heads returned, too, with Damien Cahalane and Séamus Harnedy in for their first involvements of 2024.

Davy Fitzgerald made four changes for Waterford, with returns for Calum and Darragh Lyons, Kevin Mahony, and goalkeeper-turned-outfielder Billy Nolan.

There was a niggle in this game from the off. O’Connor had earned a booking within five seconds of the throw-in and five more yellow cards would follow before half-time, four for off-the-ball scuffles.

Cork had given Clare and Kilkenny six- and nine-point head starts in their opening losses but they were the faster out of the blocks here.

Cork struck four in a row to take a 0-6 to 0-2 lead, with fine off-the-hurley points from blood sub Rob Downey and Brian Hayes, both created by O’Connor.

Long-range points from Patrick Curran and Calum Lyons kept the Déise in touch and they were level in the 26th minute when Seán Walsh added his third goal in three games. After good work by Jack Prendergast and Neil Montgomery, Walsh whipped the ball to the net to level up the scores (0-8 to 1-5).

A Prendergast free gave them their only lead in the 34th minute but Conor Lehane won two frees for Patrick Horgan to send Cork in ahead, 0-11 to 1-7.

They added another four in a row on the restart via Horgan, O’Connor, Harnedy, and Hayes. It could’ve been more but O’Connor was half-hooked by Conor Ryan when in on goal and Shaun O’Brien saved.

They kept coming for that goal. Horgan had a shot bravely blocked by Nolan after Hayes was cynically wrapped up by PJ Fanning.

They returned a minute later. Mark Coleman, in his first start since 2022, won the puck-out and fed O’Connor. He was on his own 65 but his lightning pace parted the Déise defence and his early shot from outside the 21 bounced into the bottom corner.

When Eoin Downey added a point from inside his own half, Cork had outscored their opponents by 1-7 to 0-1 since half-time to take their lead to 10.

Waterford were plagued by wides but belatedly found their radar to thread seven points in a row.

Calum Lyons hit three, including two long-range frees, while their subs accounted for three more via Conor Sheahan, Jamie Barron and Mikey Kiely, who had Saunderson at full stretch for a shot that whistled over the bar.

That brought it back to a one-score game, 1-19 to 1-16, but Cork found the impetus from their half-back line. Ciarán Joyce won a free for Alan Connolly to convert and Ger Mellerick surged forward to point.

Waterford came again with three points in the three added minutes from Nolan, Paddy Leavey with his third and Sheahan but it wasn’t enough.

CORK: B Saunderson; C McCarthy, D Cahalane, S O’Donoghue; G Mellerick (0-1), C Joyce (0-1), M Coleman; E Twomey, T O’Connell (0-1); S Barrett, C Lehane, S Harnedy (0-2); B Hayes (0-3), P Horgan (0-7, 0-6f), J O’Connor (1-3).

Subs: B Roche for Twomey (9 mins, inj), R Downey (0-1) for Joyce (10-18, blood), E Downey (0-1) for O’Donoghue (29), S Kingston for Lehane (50), A Connolly (0-1, f) for Horgan (58), L Meade for Harnedy (69).

WATERFORD: S O’Brien; C Ryan, M Fitzgerald, PJ Fanning; B Nolan (0-1), T Barron (0-1), D Lyons; P Leavey (0-3), P Curran (0-1); C Lyons (0-4, 0-2f), J Prendergast (0-5, 0-4f), N Montgomery; K Mahony, S Walsh (1-0), Pádraig Fitzgerald.

Subs: P Hogan for Walsh (35-35+1, blood), Hogan for P Fitzgerald (46), J Barron (0-1) for Curran (46), M Kiely (0-1) for Mahony (57), C Sheahan (0-2) for Montgomery (61), M Power for D Lyons (61).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).