Allianz HL D1B: Waterford defeat Galway
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
WATERFORD 1-18 GALWAY 2-13
By Dermot Keyes at Walsh Park
Shane Bennett’s stoppage time goal sealed a morale-boosting win for Waterford in appalling conditions at Walsh Park, as the hosts outgunned Galway by 1-11 to 0-2 in the second half to overturn a 10-point interval deficit.
In driving wind, Bennett scooped the ball over the Town End goal line following a sweeping move instigated by Austin Gleeson, as the outstanding Peter Hogan sent Bennett through to nudge the sliotar beyond Galway custodian Fergal Flannery.
Paraic Fanning’s charges struck eight unanswered second half points before Galway ground out a reply via a 55th minute Joe Canning free to set up a grandstand finish, something which most of the 3,371-strong crowd couldn’t have reckoned on at half-time.
Playing with the benefit of a strong gale, Galway dominated the second quarter of the opening half to lead by 2-11 to 0-7 at the break, with five of their starting six forwards scoring from play.
Waterford, who didn’t score between the 17th minute and the half-time interval, initially adapted well to the elements to lead by 0-5 to 0-3 after just seven minutes, with Stephen Bennett landing three early points.
In a first half splashed by sunlight but dominated by hail, both of Galway’s goals were finely executed.
After 11 minutes, Jason Flynn gave Déise full-back Shane McNulty the slip down the left flank to slide the ball hard and low to Stephen O’Keeffe’s left.
As sheets of hail gusted in from the Keane’s Road end, Brian Concannon’s 33rd minute shot, following a move instigated by Joe Canning, zipped past O’Keeffe almost as quickly as the falling hail, rounding off the afternoon’s finest passage of play.
Despite Galway’s sizeable lead, only the foolhardiest of tipsters would have plumped for a victor come the half-time break, and this sentiment was borne out over the course of a dramatic second half.
Waterford re-emerged a rejuvenated force and gamely worked their way back into the contest, with Pauric Mahony, Shane Bennett, Mikey Kearney and Jamie Barron, via a short Shane Bennett sideline cut, all pointing within seven minutes of the restart.
Barron, producing the form that landed him a 2017 All-Star, pointed well in the 41st minute after Fergal Flannery’s puck-out drifted backward in the gale, with further points from Pauric Mahony and Stephen Bennett (a free) leaving just a point between the sides.
Canning, who led the Tribesmen’s scoring chart with seven points, finally ended Galway’s wait for a second half point 15 minutes from the end of normal time, only for Stephen Bennett (another free) to muster a near immediate reply.
Niall Burke turned over what felt like a vital Galway point on the hour but that was to prove the visitors’ final score of a wind-dominated fixture.
Stephen Bennett converted two further frees for Waterford in the 62nd and 64th minutes before brother Shane delivered the match winning goal in the fourth additional minute played by referee David Hughes.
The venue for Waterford and Clare’s Quarter-Final will be determined via a coin toss while Galway will host Wexford on Sunday next.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-10 (8fs), Shane Bennett 1-1, Jamie Barron 0-3, Pauric Mahony, Mikey Kearney 0-2 each.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-7 (6fs), Jason Flynn 1-1 (1f), Brian Concannon 1-0, Niall Burke 0-3, Conor Whelan 0-2.
WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe; Darragh Lyons, Shane McNulty, Noel Connors; Callum Lyons, Philip Mahony, Michael Walsh; Jamie Barron, Kevin Moran; Colin Dunford, Mikey Kearney, Pauric Mahony; Peter Hogan, Stephen Bennett, Shane Bennett.
Subs: Jordan Henley for Darragh Lyons (46), Austin Gleeson for Walsh (51), Stephen Roche for Dunford (52), Colm Roche for Connors (63),Jack Prendergast for Callum Lyons (66).
GALWAY: Fergal Flannery; Jack Grealish, Ronan Burke, Aidan Harte; Kevin Hussey, Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney; Cathal Mannion, Sean Loftus; Niall Burke, Joe Canning, Brian Concannon; Cathal Whelan, Jason Flynn, Davey Glennon.
Subs: Sean Lehane for Flynn (52), Sean Linnane for Mannion (55), Paul Killeen for J Grealish (63, injured),Sean Kilduff for S Linnane (68), John Hanbury for R Burke (70+).
Referee: David Hughes (Carlow)