All-Ireland U21 HC final: dazzling Deise surge past Tribesmen

September 10, 2016

Waterford's Shane Bennett with Brian Molloy of Galway.
©INPHO/Donall Farmer.

Waterford are All-Ireland U21 hurling champions for the second time thanks to a thumping 5-15 to 0-14 victory over Galway at Thurles.

Having stormed to the decider courtesy of an 18-point victory over Clare, a ten-point defeat of Tipperary and a 29-point drubbing of Antrim, Na Deise flicked the power switch again this evening to beat Galway by 16 points.

The wild celebrations that greeted their first success at this level since 1992 were fully justified as Sean Power's charges - minor champions three years ago - produced another swashbuckling display, decorated with amazing score-taking and out-of-this-world approach play.

This game was over as a contest by the 15th minute as Na Deise led by eleven points - 3-5 to 0-3 - with the goals coming from DJ Foran, Man of the Match Patrick Curran (1-9) and Stephen Bennett.

Foran got the winners off to a dream start when he drilled his shot down the middle of the Killinan End goal inside 40 seconds and Curran followed up with a pointed free after Galway captain Brian Molloy had posted a brace of points.

Curran and Molloy (free) traded scores again before the former pointed a couple of frees and also batted the sliothar to the net from close range in the twelfth minute. Curran sent over further frees either side of Stephen Bennett's 14th-minute major, which the No.13 had also created with a lovely reverse handpass.

Michael Kearney cancelled out a Kevin McHugo effort with a confident brace and Galway goalkeeper Cathal Tuohy executed a superb save to divert Tom Devine's goalbound shot over the bar as the Munster champions assumed a 13-point advantage with five minutes left before the break.

Waterford joint-captain's Patrick Curran and Adam Farrell lift the trophy.
©INPHO/Donall Farmer.

Molloy posted a couple of frees either side of a sensational Gleeson one from deep inside his own half and the magnificent Waterford centre back closed the first-half scoring with an inspirational point from distance as his side went in with a commanding 3-10 to 0-6 interval advantage.

Tony Ward's charges made a stirring start to the second half with five quickfire points from Sean Linnane (2), Conor Whelan, Molloy and Eanna Burke to reduce the deficit to eight. Curran steadied the winners before Molloy's goal attempt from a free bounced outside the Waterford post to the left and wide.

Burke closed the gap to eight but Waterford's fourth goal arrived in the 49th minute and it was a real thing of beauty: sliding in to meet brother Stephen's centre, Shane Bennett groundstroked a delicate first-time effort to the bottom right corner of the net - 4-11 to 0-12! Curran and Burke traded points. Three minutes from the end, Stephen Bennett notched his second goal when he whipped a sensational shot to the net from an impossible angle.

Shane Bennett arrowed over an unbelievable point in response to a Whelan score and joint-captain Curran closed the scoring with an injury-time strike. Cue the pitch invasion and the start of a throughly-merited party on the banks of the Suir!

Waterford - J Henley; W Hahessy, C Gleeson, D Lyons; M Harney, A Gleeson (0-2, 1f), C Prunty; M O'Brien, Shane Bennett (1-1); C Roche, T Devine (0-1), DJ Foran (1-0); P Curran (1-9, 0-6f), Stephen Bennett (2-0), M Kearney (0-2). Subs: A Farrell for T Devine, D Ryan for D Lyons, B O'Keeffe for M Harney, P Hogan for Shane Bennett, B Whelan for W Hahessy.

Galway - C Tuohy; C Jennings, D O'Donoghue, D Cronin; V Doyle, S Cooney, S Loftus; D Nevin, D Dolan; K McHugo (0-1), B Molloy (0-6, 3f), S Linnane (0-2); T Monaghan, C Whelan (0-2), E Burke (0-3). Subs: E Brannigan for T Monaghan, J Grealish for K McHugo, F Burke for D Nevin, C Burke for S Linnane.

Referee - S Cleere.



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