Waterford maintain promotion push as forward combine to swamp Antrim
Waterford led comfortably by 1-10 to 0-5 as Antrim mustered a solitary score from play
Maurice Shanahan proved Waterford’s plundered in chief, scoring 2-5 in a 28-minute cameo against Antrim at at Walsh Park. Photograph: Inpho
Waterford’s push for an immediate return to Division One B of the Allianz Hurling League was maintained at Walsh Park, as Derek McGrath’s youthful side ensured a long trip home for struggling Antrim.
The hosts, who in previous campaigns have struggled to open up opposition back lines, appear to have unearthed a fine attacking blend with Jake Dillon, Stephen Bennett and substitute Maurice Shanahan starring alongside the talismanic Pauric Mahony.
Antrim started brightly in a combative opening 10 minutes, with Paul Shiels converting a brace of frees, while Pauric Mahony replied in kind in the second and eighth minutes respectively.
Waterford full-forward Stephen Bennett ought to have the found the net in the seventh minute when he broke through the Antrim inside line, only to be brilliantly denied by goalkeeper Chris O’Connell.
And as the half wore on, Waterford’s superiority became readily evident, and the match was effectively over as a contest by the 25th minute. Colin Dunford’s incisive 18th minute pass picked out Bennett, who made no mistake at the second time of asking.
By half-time, Waterford led comfortably by 1-10 to 0-5 as Antrim mustered a solitary score from play off the stick of substitute Conor Johnston, while Shiels converted their remaining scores. Pauric Mahony once more led by example for Waterford in the opening half, striking seven points, three of those from play.
After the break, it was a case of “more of the same” from Waterford, as they outgunned their overwhelmed visitors by 3-20 to 0-5, with Maurice Shanahan proving their plundered in chief, scoring 2-5 in a 28-minute cameo.
Fellow substitute Tom Devine netted Waterford’s third goal in the 65th minute, while Antrim, managed by Waterford native Kevin Ryan, added only five points to their total via Shiels, and braces from Conor and Ciaran Johnson.
Victory assures Waterford of a quarter-final place, but they’ll want much more than that ahead of the trip to their south east neighbours.
WATERFORD: I O’Regan; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; T de Búrca, K Moran (0-1), Philip Mahony; J Barron, M O’Neill ( 0-1); C Dunford (0-1), Pauric Mahony (0-11; six frees); Stephen Bennett (1-4); B O’Halloran, M Walsh (0-3), J Dillon (0-2). Subs: M Shanahan 2-5) for O’Halloran, T Devine (1-0) for Bennett (both 42 mins) S O’Sullivan for O’Neill 46 mins), S McNulty for Connors (60 mins), P Prendergast (0-2) for P Mahony (60 mins),
ANTRIM: C O’Donnell; R McCambridge, N McAuley, A Graffin; S McCrory, C McKinley, M Bradley; N McManus, Ciaran Johnson (0-1, free); N McKenna, T McCann, P Shiels (0-5, frees), PJ O’Connell, S McNaughton, C Clarke (Conor Johnston, 0-2, 23). Subs: E Campbell for McCann, Conor McCann for Mcmanus (both h-t), Conor Johnston (0-2) for Clarke, M Donnelly (0-2, one free) for McKenna (both 23 mins), T O’Ciarain for McNaughton (46 mins). Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)