Kilkenny 2-19 Waterford 1-16: Kilkenny are through to their sixth All Ireland senior hurling championship final in a row after getting past a dogged Waterford side at Croke Park yesterday afternoon.
The Cats established a five-point lead early on with efforts from Henry Shefflin and Michael Fennelly but gradually Waterford settled and came into the game with John Mullane and Seamus Prendergast both getting their names on the score sheet.
Ten minutes before half time Mullane fired in a goal before Eoin Kelly reduced the deficit further. Kilkenny though responded in devastating fashion with Richie Hogan scoring two goals as the Leinster champions led 2-10 to 1-7 at halftime.
Waterford had it all to do in the second half and their cause wasn’t helped early on when they missed a few chances to reduce the deficit. Shefflin, Michael Fennelly and Eoin Larkin all tagged on points as Kilkenny went through the gears to open up a 2-16 to 1-9 lead going into the final quarter.
Waterford were staring at a heavy defeat at this stage but to their credit they refused to throw in the towel as they fought back. The superb Mullane scored again as did Richie Foley, Maurice Shanahan and Stephen Molumphy as they cut Kilkenny’s lead in half.
Kilkenny though weren’t to be denied with substitutes Paddy Hogan and Eddie Brennan both getting their names on the score sheet on an afternoon when full forward Henry Shefflin top scored for The Cats with seven points to his name, three of which came from play.
It was a gallant performance from Waterford and in particular the lively John Mullane who weighed in with a goal and six points but on the day his efforts proved to be in vain as Kilkenny booked a final date against either Tipperary or Dublin.
Also at Croker, Galway qualified for the Minor final when they beat Clare 1-23 to 1-18.