Hurling

Waterford Through To All-Ireland Final After Jaw-Dropping Second Half Display

Waterford Through To All-Ireland Final After Jaw-Dropping Second Half Display

Waterford are through to the All-Ireland hurling final, turning in a remarkable second half display to overcome Kilkenny on a scoreline of 2-27 to 2-23.

Having trailed by nine points at one stage, they put in a ridiculous shift in the second half to knock Brian Cody's men out of the championship.

Many commentators fancied Waterford to pull off a shock at Croke Park this evening, but Kilkenny were the team to burst out of the gates early on.

They raised a green flag just after the ten minute mark, with Martin Keoghan reacting quickest to the rebound from Richie Hogan's shot.

Their second goal was vintage Kilkenny.

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The long ball was delivered into the Waterford 21', with TJ Reid perfectly timing his run to gather the breaking ball. Once he was bearing down on goal, there was never any chance that he was going to miss.

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Jackie Tyrell said at halftime that on current form there aren't many defenders in the country that could cope with TJ Reid, an opinion that is difficult to argue with.

In all, Reid would end the first half with a personal tally of 1-7 as Kilkenny took a seven-point lead into the interval.

The beginning of the second half was a very different story.

Stephen Bennett would find the back of the net with a brilliantly taken strike, giving the Deise the perfect platform to mount the comeback.

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All of a sudden, it was very much game on.

Waterford had all the momentum at this stage, continually chipping away at what was once a sizeable Kilkenny lead.

When Austin Gleeson nailed a monster point from the sideline around the 50 minute mark, the two sides were level. Having been nine points down at one stage, Waterford had clawed themselves back into the game.

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They would find themselves two points up before the water break, and while that delay would halt their momentum slightly, they managed to keep their noses in front.

Some brilliant frees from TJ Reid kept Kilkenny within touching distance, but a huge moment came just before the hour mark.

Darragh Lyons was the man with the telling contribution, burying this goal chance after being played through with a brilliant piece of play from Jack Fagan.

This would prove to be the difference between the sides.

They continued to trade scores in the closing stages, but Kilkenny never got within closer than a couple of points. In the end, two stunning scores from Tadhg de Búrca and Austin Gleeson in injury time made sure of the victory.

Waterford will now play in a first All-Ireland final since 2017, with Limerick or Galway standing between them and a first Liam MacCarthy since 1959.

While they will likely enter that game as underdogs, you certainly wouldn't bet against them based on today's second half display.

SEE ALSO: GAA Mulling Over Decision To Play Club Before Inter-County In 2021

Inter-County Championship

Gary Connaughton

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