Waterford moved clear at the top of the Division 1A table with a 0-20 to 1-14 victory over Cork in a tetchy contest at Pairc Ui Rinn tonight.
The holders were always on top but a fizzing injury-time Patrick Horgan goal from a close-range free set up a grandstand finale and Stephen O'Keeffe had to be alert at the death to deny substitute Paudie O'Sullivan and ensure that Derek McGrath's men emerged victorious. The denouement was as bad-tempered as it was dramatic with Waterford's Maurice Shanahan and Cork substitute Alan Cadogan both collecting straight red cards.
Na Deise dominated the opening period to assume a 0-11 to 0-7 lead at the short whistle. Cork didn't do much before the interval and could consider themselves fortunate to be still in touch.
Captain Kevin Moran, Shanahan (free), Darragh Fives and Austin Gleeson hit the first four Waterford points, with Cork's replies coming from a brace of Horgan frees, 0-4 to 0-2.
Shanahan (free) and Daniel Kearney swapped points and Brian Lawton briefly made it a one-point match before Jamie Barron and Shanahan (2) made it double scores, 0-8 to 0-4. The sides then shared six points before the break, with the busy Patrick Curran lofting over two fine finishes for the visitors.
Shanahan (free) and Colin Dunford had the margin at six just two minutes after the restart. Horgan (free) replied with his fifth but the respite was brief as Gleeson and Shane Bennett notched quickfire Waterford points to make it 0-15 to 0-8 after 42 minutes.
Following a flurry of scores at either end from Barron, Horgan and Curran, Shanahan made it 0-18 to 0-10. Aidan Walsh (sideline) and Cadogan closed the gap to six and Conor Lehane fired over a Leesiders brace, with Dunford having pointed for the winners. Gleeson (free) closed Waterford's account after Shanahan had been dismissed and Horgan's last-gasp goal ensured a tense finish after Cadogan had also been sent to the line.
In the end, Cork left it too late and it was the same outcome as last year's league final as Waterford recorded their second successive win of the campaign and Kieran Kingston's charges fell to a second consecutive defeat.
Waterford - S O'Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; K Moran (0-1), D Fives (0-1), P Mahony; J Barron (0-2), C Dunford (0-2); A Gleeson (0-3, 1f), J Dillon (0-1), Shane Bennett (0-1); M Walsh, M Shanahan (0-6, 5f, 1'65), P Curran (0-3). Subs: B O'Halloran for Shane Bennett, T Devine for P Curran, M Kearney for C Dunford.
Cork - A Nash; S O'Neill, C Joyce, S McDonnell; D Cahalane, W Egan, C Spillane; D Kearney (0-1), A Walsh (0-1sl); B Cooper, P Horgan (1-6, 0-4f, 1-0f), L McLoughlin; C Lehane (0-3), W Leahy, B Lawton (0-2). Subs: A Cadogan (0-1) for W Leahy, S Moylan for D Kearney, M Ellis for W Egan, C Murphy for C Spillane, P O'Sullivan for L McLoughlin.
Referee - J Owens.Tweet