2017 All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-final: Waterford’s dramatic win over Cork

In the latest edition of our classic games series, we look back on Waterford’s 2017 All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork – avenging their loss earlier that summer.

The background

2015 and 2016 had not gone according to plan for Cork hurling. The lack of underage success coupled with a regression at senior level led many pundits to suggest that the Lee-siders would be facing into a fallow period.

However, in the first round of the Munster Championship the Rebels stunned reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary in their own back yard, and sealed an unlikely provincial title with subsequent wins over Waterford and Clare in Thurles.

What was most impressive about the team’s run under Kieran Kingston was the successful injection of young talent – something many thought wasn’t available in the county. Shane Kingston, Luke Meade, Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon were among those to take the Munster Championship by storm, and they had built up real momentum ahead of their trip to Croker.

Meanwhile, that Munster semi-final defeat wasn’t part of the script for Derek McGrath’s Waterford side. Nonetheless, they regrouped through the backdoor with a comfortable win over Offaly. They then sealed their first championship victory against Kilkenny since 1959 – a win that was secured after extra-time in Semple Stadium.

They saw off Wexford in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh; a win that came at a cost as Tadhg de Búrca was shown a red card and thus suspended for the next game.

The match: Waterford 4-19 Cork 0-20

Derek McGrath’s charges got off to a dream start, with Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh rattling the net. From there however, it remained tight as the sides traded scores, with Waterford leading 1-7 to 0-9 at the break.

Cork were reduced to 14 men in the 52nd minute when Damien Cahalane was shown a second yellow. However, the Barrs man’s dismissal didn’t seem to affect the Rebels, as they scored three points in succession including a fine long-range effort from Patrick Horgan.

But the momentum then shifted dramatically. Austin Gleeson’s cross-field ball found Jamie Barron who dispatched it past Anthony Nash. Gleeson then got in on the scoring act himself, running in from the 45 to score a stunning individual goal and put the Déise in command.

There were further red cards as Horgan and Conor Gleeson were given their marching orders.

A second goal from Barron sealed an 11-point win – a scoreline that wasn’t a true reflection of just how close the contest was.

What they said…

“I think were very aggressive in our approach. All the flatness we exuded [against Wexford] was replaced by adrenalin,” Derek McGrath said to Sky Sports at full-time. “We’re delighted.”

“We’re gutted,” said Kingston.

“We knew coming up here that playing the same team four times in eight months was going to be extremely difficult.

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