From a Dublin perspective all of the damage was done in an opening half when their lacklustre and pedestrian-paced performance paled in comparison to a lively Waterford display that had them decisively on top in all sectors of the field.
The winner’s midfielders Kevin Moran and a tireless Dean Twomey ruled the roost from the very outset, and with 19-year-old Gavin O’Brien tormenting the Dublin defence every time he gained possession the homesters weren’t at all flattered by their eight-point advantage, 0-12 to 0-4, at the interval.
However a crucial moment of the game came 20 minutes into the second half at a stage when Dublin were striving valiantly to get back into serious contention. Wing-back Dean Curran was yellow-carded for what looked very much an innocuous challenge, and having also been similarly sanctioned before that referee David Kirwan had no option but to send him off.
It was a decision that infuriated Dublin manager Anthony Daly and left him fuming at his post-match press briefing. “No way did Dean deserve to be sent off, and I really don’t know what we did to make the referee do as he did,” said Daly. “We were just getting into the game at that stage and his departure certainly didn’t help our cause. If he wasn’t sent off who knows how the game would have gone. But what I do know is that it certainly turned the tide.”
An early exchange of points between Maurice Shanahan and David O’Callaghan gave little indication of the Waterford mastery that would follow. Their midfield mastery was augmented by the powerhouse play of their half-back trio of Tony Browne, Michael Walsh, and Shane O’Sullivan, and a five-point flurry between the 9th and 17th minute from Paraic Mahony, Tony Browne, Gavin O’Brien, Shane Walsh, and Shanahan put them firmly in the driving seat.
Kevin Moran extended the home side’s early in the second half before Dublin finally began to impact seriously on the exchanges. Niall McMorrow landed a fine point in the 44th minute, and when substitute Ross O’Callaghan from play, and David Treacy and Johnny McCafferty from frees also found the range the deficit was down to a manageable five points.
Then came the Dean Curran dismissal, and while the Dubs got to within four points of the winners with another fine Eamon Dillon score that was good as it would get for them.
Waterford steadied the ship with quick points from John Mullane and Eoin Kelly, and from another Shanahan free and effectively this game was done and dusted.
To Dublin’s great credit they continued to battle bravely and had the consolation of the final three scores of the game from Danny Sutcliffe, Ross O’Carroll, and Ryan O’Dwyer. Nothing more than consolation however.
WATERFORD: A Power; A Kearney, L Lawlor, Philip Mahony; T Browne (0-1), M Walsh, S O’Sullivan; K Moran (0-1), D Twomey; M Shanahan (0-4, two frees), Pauric Mahony (0-3, frees), E McGrath; J Mullane (0-2), S Walsh (0-1), G O’Brien (0-4). Subs: S Daniels for Lawlor (38 mins), S Molumphy for Pauric Mahony (45 mins), M O’Neill for McGrath (62 mins), E Kelly (0-1) for Walsh (63 mins), D O’Sullivan for Twomey (70 mins).
DUBLIN: G Maguire; R Trainor, N Corcoran, O Gough; D Curran, M Quilty, J McCaffrey (0-1); D Curtin, S Lambert; D Treacy (0-3, two frees), M O’Brien, R O’Dwyer (0-1); E Dillon (0-3), D O’Callaghan (0-1, free), N McMorrow (0-1). Subs: C Clinton for Lambert (half-time), P Carton for O’Brien (half-time), R O’Carroll (0-2) for O’Callaghan (45 mins), D Plunkett for McMorrow (52 mins), D Sutcliffe (0-1) for Curtin (68 mins).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).