Waterford edge Kilkenny and Wexford continue winning ways
Donegal register first win of 2017, while London vanquish hot favourites Carlow
Waterford’s Pauric Mahony keeps one step ahead of Kilkenny challengers. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Derek McGrath: “That is the pleasing thing about it: it was a proper competitive game, proper contest.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
When there’s this sort of bite in the breeze, you know it’s the time of year for dogging out a mucky one rather than strolling to anything handy. Waterford ended a run of 13 years without a win in Kilkenny, escaping Nowlan Park with the bare minimum to spare over Brian Cody’s side, 1-15 to 0-17. Make no mistake, the short hop home would have felt as good as if they’d put a tonking on them.
They won’t even mind the fact that they were hanging on in the end. Kilkenny trailed by six points in the 41st minute but did a familiar reeling-in job on Waterford in the closing half-hour. When Kieran Joyce cut the gap to a single point in injury-time, it looked for all the world that Cody’s side would dig out at least a draw. Even Derek McGrath agreed that, on all known form, that appeared the most likely outcome.
“Yeah it did,” he said. “And I was delighted to eke it out, in the face of a Kilkenny onslaught. It was very, very rewarding and it will be an important two points before the end of the year. That is the pleasing thing about it: it was a proper competitive game, proper contest and I think we on the line felt an element of freedom in it because it was just a contest.
“To be honest, we were a small bit worried in the run-up to it, trying to combine the fellas that have played Fitzgibbon with those that have not and the possibility that some guys would be undercooked as well. That was the absolute worry of the management going into it, so to see fellas put their bodies on the line when not quite at it yet was great.”
In Division 1B, Davy Fitzgerald’s fine start to life as Wexford manager continued with a 1-14 to 0-14 win over Limerick. In all likelihood, their meeting with Galway next weekend will decide who finishes top of 1B come the league’s end. There was another good win for the Kerry hurlers, who continued their reign over Laois with a 3-15 to 0-19 victory in Tralee.
Meanwhile, the Donegal footballers registered their first points of the 2017 league with a 0-16 to 2-9 over Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park. Eoin McHugh popped the winning point in injury-time for Rory Gallagher’s side after Roscommon had come close to snagging a goal through Ronan Stack down the other end. In the other Division One game, Monaghan and Cavan played out a drab 0-7 to 0-7 draw in Castleblayney.
In Division Two, Kildare made it two wins from two with a convincing 1-14 to 1-8 win over Cork in Newbridge. There were wins also for Clare over Down, Meath over Derry and Galway over Fermanagh.
Game of the day in Division Three ended with a last-minute winner for Laois over Armagh. Finally, a word for London who beat 1/16 favourites Carlow in Division Four by 2-15 to 0-16.