Waterford's sweet win

 

Waterford had a doubly-sweet victory in the match of the day in the Church and General National Hurling League yesterday. Not only did they beat neighbours Kilkenny at Nowlan Park, but they did so after the hosts had started the game with some stunning hurling and taken a 1-7 to 0-0 lead.

As on so many occasions in the past, Tony Browne was a talisman for Waterford, coming on as a second-half substitute and scoring two points in their 1-15 to 113 victory, one the last score of an amazing game which was fully appreciated by the 16,000 in attendance. Waterford now top Division 1B and are on course to reach the play-offs for the second time in three years.

For the first time this year, the heavens looked down kindly on the GAA and the fans took full advantage.

In Bellefield, Enniscorthy, former Wexford manager Liam Griffin looked around appreciatively: "This is the weather for hurling," he said. Tipperary and Wexford had met in the SouthEast League last month and Wexford were said to be smarting from the heavy defeat - so much was expected.

Unfortunately the match didn't live up to expectations and despite a game revival at the end, Wexford trailed for virtually the whole match. Manager Joachim Kelly took some consolation from the improvement in the scoreline since the teams' previous meeting.

"I'm happy enough. The pitch was drier and the hurlers in a better frame of mind. They hurled with a bit of spirit and considering we were short Rod Guiney, Tom Dempsey, Paul Codd, Ryan Quigley and Martin Storey, I'm not too unhappy."

Paying tribute to Tipperary, he ventured into some long-term forecasting. "They've more hurling done than we have but they were very good and I think they'll be in the Munster final come the championship."

Tipperary counterpart Nicky English was inclined to read historical rather than future significance into the result. "It's always been difficult for Tipperary teams to win here, I don't know why. So while we should have won by more, I'm happy to have got something out of it."

In Division 1A, Galway maintained their 100 per cent progress as did Limerick - but with one match fewer played - who joined Clare in second place.