Cork denied at Fraher Field

Prendergast saves the day for Waterford

Cork players dry their hands and hurls before defending a free. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Cork players dry their hands and hurls before defending a free. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho


Séamus Prendergast’s last-minute point ensured a 1-12 to 0-15 division of the spoils at a rain-soaked Fraher Field yesterday, leaving both sides eyeing a berth in the knock-out stages of the league.

Cork had come within a whisker of a second successive League win thanks to a stirring recovery, having trailed by eight points at half-time.

With the strong wind blowing in their favour after the break, Stephen Moylan’s 41st minute goal provided the impetus behind the visitors’ recovery. But Waterford, denied a goal of their own in the dying seconds of a pulsating contest by a stunning double save by Cork netminder Anthony Nash, dug deep to ensure they didn’t leave Dungarvan empty-handed.

In unrelenting rain and on the heaviest of surfaces, Waterford started well, with a Pauric Mahony free followed by Brian O’Halloran excellent point 60 seconds later. Cian McCarthy opened Cork’s account before Prendergast bisected the uprights with ease.

The Deise men were four points clear by the first quarter, after scores from O’Halloran and O’ Mahony’s second free.

Patrick Horgan’s 13-metre free after Liam Lawlor had impeded his threatening run into the heart of the Waterford defence, was Cork’s last score of the half.

Waterford, who were making the most of the gale to their backs, had further scores from Shane O’Sullivan and Brian O’Sullivan from an acute angle on the right flank, with Prendergast, Mahony and goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe (via a free) completing the first-half scoring.

Cork required a strong start to the second half, and they got that six minutes in thanks to Moylan’s goal; he provided a smart finish to Paudie O’Sullivan’s cross-field sweep of the sliotar into the Douglas man’s path.

Mahony and Horgan traded further points in the 42nd and 43rd minutes, as Cork, marshalled from midfield by Patrick Cronin, began to crank things up a few notches.

Moylan replicated Brian O’Sullivan’s first-half point from almost exactly the same position after 45 minutes, but a Mahony free and another O’Sullivan point kept the scoreboard ticking for Waterford.

But Cork caught fire, registering three points inside three minutes through a brace of Horgan frees and a fine score by substitute Conor Lehane, who profited from a poor defensive handpass from the home side.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side had reduced their arrears to the minimum, and by then the momentum was exclusively with the men in red jerseys.

And when Pauric Mahony, incredibly, sent a 21-metre free wide with just eight minutes remaining, one sensed Cork would be returning across the Blackwater with another victory.

The ever-reliable Horgan ensured parity for the first time in the match thanks to a 65 struck in the 65th minute and from the next passage of play, the impressive Lehane struck again.

When Peter O’Brien sent the white flag waving with just three minutes remaining, the win was within Cork’s grasp. But Waterford didn’t buckle, and threw the kitchen sink at the Cork defence in the dying minutes of a gripping contest.

And thanks to points from Brian O’Sullivan and the ageless Prendergast, a deserved point had been well and truly earned.

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, S Daniels; J Nagle, M Walsh, K Moran; S O'Sullivan (0-1), D Fives; B O'Halloran (0-3), S Prendergast (0-3), J Dillon; B O’Sullivan (0-2), S Walsh, P Mahony (0-6, frees). Subs: P Prendergast for D Fives (25 mins); J Barron for S Walsh (43), M Shanahan for B O’Halloran (62), R Barry for B O'Sullivan (68).
CORK: A Nash; S O’Neill, S McDonnell, C O’Sullivan; S White, L MacLochlann, C Joyce; P Cronin, D Kearney; C McCarthy (0-1), P O’Sullivan; S Harnedy; S Moylan (1-1), P O’Brien (0-1), P Horgan (0-8, five frees, 65). Subs: C Lehane (0-1) for Harnedy (49 mins), W Egan for S McDonnell (55), T Kenny for Mac Lochlann (62), M Walsh for D Kearney (65), L O’Farrell for P O’Sullivan (66).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)