Waterford 3-12 UCC 1-9
Waterford lifted the McGrath Cup for the first time in 34 years at Fraher Field on Saturday, overcoming a UCC selection whose manager Billy Morgan had one eye trained on Tuesday's Sigerson Cup opener against Cork IT.
Waterford netted the first of their three goals after 80 seconds as corner-forward Joey Veale fired home from point blank range, after fine approach work by Liam Lawlor and Patrick Hurney.
UCC, despite nine changes from the listed team and 12 positional switches, soon found their rhythm, with David Harrington, Adrian Spillane Conor Cox and Kevin Davis scoring points to edge them ahead after 12 minutes.
Shane Aherne's 14th minute free restored parity, and Waterford eased ahead 90 seconds later thanks to a Michael Curry point, with Lawlor again prominent in the build-up.
An end-to-end affair provided fine entertainment for the 907-strong attendance and UCC went back in front after 17 minutes when Conor Horgan slipped the ball into the net after Stephen Enright had brilliantly denied the lively Tom Hickey.
Points by Patrick Hurney and Liam Lawlor put Waterford level by the 22nd minute, only for the energetic Harrington to find his range again two minutes later.
The ding-dong nature of this final was maintained when Deise centre-back Maurice O’Gorman toe-poked the ball into the UCC net after 26 minutes to register only the second goal of his intercounty career. The hosts would retain their lead thereafter.
By the break, Waterford led by 2-6 to 1-7, and a raft of early second half changes disrupted UCC’s pattern and handed the initiative to the hosts who outscored the students by 1-6 to 0-3 during the second period.
The third Waterford goal was registered by full-forward Gavin Nugent in the 49th minute. He finished off a move initiated by centre-forward Michael O'Halloran and by full-time eight of Tom McGlinchey's side had contributed scores.
Wicklow visit Fraher Field for next Saturday night's National Football League opener, with the energised hosts seeking a fifth successive competitive victory.
WATERFORD: S Enright; D Crowley, N Walsh, T O'Gorman; T Ó hUallacháin, M O'Gorman (1-0), R Ó Ceallaigh; S Aherne (0-4; three frees), T Prendergast; M Curry (0-1), M O'Halloran, P Hurney (0-2); L Lawlor (0-2), G Nugent (1-1), J Veale (1-0). Subs: C Phelan (0-1) for N Walsh (21 mins), D Grey (0-1) for J Veale (51 mins), J Curry for P Hurney (61 mins), B Power for D Crowley (65 mins), O Keevers for T Prendergast (67 mins) and M Ferncombe for M Curry (70 mins).
UCC: P McCarthy; J Davis, J McGuire, K Histon; K O'Sullivan, S White, E Dennehy; A O'Donovan, A Spillane (0-1); F O'Connor, K Davis (0-1), S Keane; T Hickey (0-2; one free), D Harrington (0-3), C Horgan (1-2; two frees). Subs: F Courtney for T Hickey (half-time), K Hayes-Curtin for J Davis , C Hyde for S White (both 42 mins) P Scanlon for A O'Donovan (43 mins), S Power for E O'Conchuir (61 mins).
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry)