Waterford have recorded their maiden victory of the 2018 hurling league, defeating 14-man Cork by 1-20 to 1-15 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
With 10,445 looking on, Derek McGrath's charges knew they had to prevail to keep alive their slim chances of avoiding a top-flight relegation play-off and they were up against it when Patrick Horgan tapped the sliothar past Stephen O'Keeffe on the run in the 20th minute to give the Rebels a 1-6 to 0-6 advantage.
However, Mikey Kearney had the ball in the net at the other end three minutes later and the game swung decisively in Waterford's favour when home captain Seamus Harnedy was shown a straight red card, the visitors building a three-point interval cushion, 1-12 to 1-9, despite the best efforts of Horgan, who fired seven first-half points.
The Leesiders also lost Conor Lehane to injury at the break but - after Tim O'Mahony and Mark Ellis pointed - Horgan had them back on terms with their neighbours by the 48th minute, 1-13 apiece.
However, three Pauric Mahony frees pushed Na Deise into a lead they would not relinquish and they won comfortably in the end, with subs Stephen Bennett and Stephen Roche hitting late scores. It was a bad day at the office all around for the Rebel County, who lost for the third time running, while their footballers were also beaten by Cavan in the curtain-raiser.
Although there are still a lot of possible permutations, these two teams now share bottom spot with one round left and they could very well cross swords again in the 1A / 1B relegation shoot-out on March 11th.
Cork are due to travel to Thurles to face Tipperary next weekend, while Waterford host Clare in two intriguing all-Munster clashes.
Waterford - S O'Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; T De Burca, Philip Mahony, C Gleeson; A Gleeson (0-4, 1f), J Barron (0-1); K Moran, M Shanahan, M Kearney (1-1); Pauric Mahony (0-10, 8f), T Devine, C Dunford (0-1). Subs: S Roche (0-1) for M Shanahan, B O'Halloran for C Dunford, S Bennett (0-2) for T Devine, J Dillon for M Kearney.
Cork - A Nash; C O'Sullivan, E Cadogan, C Spillane (0-1); C Joyce, T O'Mahony (0-1), D Browne; M Ellis (0-1), M Coleman; B Cooper, D Brosnan, C Lehane (0-2); A Cadogan, S Harnedy, P Horgan (1-10, 0-9f). Subs: R O'Flynn for C Lehane, L McLoughlin for C Joyce, L Meade for D Brosnan, M Cahalane for C O'Sullivan, S Kingston for B Cooper.
Referee - S Cleere.