Heartbreak defeat for Déise Under 21 hurlers

Cork 2-17;
Waterford 1-19.
Waterford relinquished their Munster under 21 hurling title to Cork in Walsh Park last Thursday evening in the most dramatic of circumstances. Ahead by 0-2 in the fifth and final minute of added time, the outstanding throughout Darragh Lyons was judged to have fouled cork sub Jack O’Connor in front of goal and man of the match Declan Dalton blasted the sliotar past Billy Nolan to keep the leesiders hopes of a clean sweep of Provincial titles this year very much alive.
However, the reason for our defeat didn’t go down to this one incident. Throughout the hour, we didn’t have the quality in numbers to win this game and we were over reliant on the core players in the team to carry the fight to the winners. Cork hurling is on a high of course at the moment but we were within seconds of completing a second half comeback that would have registered a deserving win over our county neighbours. Such is the game of hurling though and in this grade the winners take all which ends our under 21 season and sends Cork into the Munster final on July 26th against Limerick.
There was a significant wind at the city venue, a pitch, in our own opinion, that is too narrow for such games, and Cork had the benefit of the elements in the first half. With the game televised by TG4 the expected attendance did not materialise but those who stayed away missed a thrilling finish with the issue in doubt to the final puck of the ball.
The main man from the outset here was Fr. O’Neill’s player Declan Dalton who in fact was the sub goalie on the Cork team in 2016. Dalton possesses a ferocious puck of the ball as his free taking demonstrated while at the same time he showed rare skill, pointing a brace of sideline cuts. The equivalent to him in a Waterford jersey was Colm Roche who scored five points from play from his midfield position and here is a player who has shown rapid further improvement this year.
Twenty five minutes into the game Waterford were satisfied to be on equal terms at 0-7 each while we were just two scores in arrears at the interval at 0-10 to 0-8. Up to the time of Dalton’s penalty goal in added time we were leading this moiety by 1-11 to 1-7 and nobody could have argued with a home victory.
The game was just 13 seconds old when Cormac Curran of the Brickeys opened the scoring from play while scores of either variety by Declan Dalton gave Cork the initiative inside five minutes. Patrick Curran, who finished the game with 0-7 to his credit levelled matters before the Corkonians raced into a lead that they held until Shane Bennett’s goal in the 52nd minute.
Cork enjoyed the upper hand from the 8th to the 20th minute with scores being produced by Declan Dalton, free, sideline and play, Michael O’Halloran and P. Leopold. Waterford’s responses in this period came from the sticks of Shane Bennett and Colm Roche (2) who was revelling in this championship encounter 0-7 to 0-5 for Cork.
Patrick Curran’s pinoint placed ball striking brought the teams level for the fourth occasion in the 25th minute before Dalton struck again with a sideline cut and Darragh Fitzgibbon following up with his first of his three match points. Colm Roche further demonstrated his influence by raising his third white flag before Declan Dalton (f) finished the half in the first minute of added time.
The home side were left waiting out on the field for the restart but it didn’t do them any harm as a brace of Patrick Curran pointed frees brought the sides level by the 32nd minute. Dalton and Fitzgibbon again raised Cork’s hopes, relied to by Cormac Curran’s second score before Cork sub O’Mahony placed Robbie Flynn for a crucial goal in the 37th minute, 1-12 to 0-11.
Darragh Fitzgibon added another before seasoned under 21 campaigners Colm Roche and Patrick Curran replied from play to leave just that O’Flynn green flag the difference between the teams.
Sean Power’s charges commendably won the final quarter of normal time by 1-6 to 0-3, an outstanding feat in such a hard fought championship game, the key score being Shane Bennett’s goal from sub Andrew Casey’s pass which regained an early game lead for the Déise on a score of 1-15 to 1-14.
A 54th minute Dalton free levelled matters for the eventual winners but Waterford really bolted for the finish line and infringements by John Myler’s charges supplied three pointed frees to Patrick Curran, a fine contribution at this stage with the game on an edge,
1-18 to1-15.
We were off target with a few point efforts before Declan Dalton scored a contender for score of the match in the 60th minute. Jack Prendergast and Dalton (f) traded scores to leave a precious 0-2 the difference as the five minutes of added time ran its course during which Darragh Fitzgibbon received a straight red for a tackle on Billy Nolan and as they say the rest is history.
From a Waterford point of view it was defeat snatched from the jaws of victory and the opposite for the Rebels, who must be commended for fighting the cause to the very end.
Cork’s Top Three: Declan Dalton, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Robbie O’Flynn.
Waterford’s Top Three: Colm Roche, Shane Bennett, Patrick Curran.
Observer’s Man of the Match: Declan Dalton.
Number of Scorers: Cork 5. Waterford 5.
Scores From Play: Cork 1-7. Waterford 1-12
Frees For: Cork 11. Waterford 12.
Wide: Cork 9. Waterford 10.
Score of the Match: Declan Dalton’s 65th minute penalty goal for Cork to win the game.
Scorers – Cork: D. Dalton 1-12 (8fs, 1-0 pen, 2 s-ls), R. O’Flynn 1-0, D. Fitzgibbon 0-3, P. Leopold, M. O’Halloran 0-1 each.
Waterford: P. Curran 0-10 (7fs, 1 65’), C. Roche 0-5, S. Bennett 1-1, C. Curran 0-2, J. Prendergast 0-1.
Cork: P. Collins; S. O’Donoghue, E. Murphy, D. Griffin; B. Hennessy, D. Browne, M. Coleman; P. Leopold (0-1), D. Fitzgibbon (0-3); C. O’Leary, D. Dalton (1-12; 0-8f, 0-2Sl), A. Myers; R. O’Flynn (1-0), S. Kingston, M. O’Halloran (0-1).
Subs used: T. O’Mahony for Myers (30), E. Healy for O’Donoghue (32), J. O’Connor for Kingston (50), D. Lowney for O’Leary (55).
Waterford: B. Nolan; D. Prendergast, C. Gleeson, D. Lyons; J. Henley, C. Prunty, C. Lyons; A. Molumby, C. Roche (0-5); J. Prendergast (0-1), C. Curran (0-2), S. Ryan; Patrick Curran (0-7f, 0-6 65), S. Bennett (1-1), P. Hogan.
Subs used: E. O’Halloran for Molumby and D. Lynch for C. Lyons (both 42), A. Casey for C. Curran (49), J. P. Lucey for Ryan (58).
Referee: Fearghal Horgan (Tipperary).

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