The Cork-Waterford hurling rivalry has sprung up encounters that have been the highlight of many All-Ireland Championships since the turn of the 21st Century.
Great battles have taken place down the years, with the likes of Joe Deane, Ben O’Connor and Diarmaid O’Sullivan going toe to toe with Dan Shanahan, John Mullane and Tony Browne.
Ahead of tomorrow’s crucial All-Ireland semi-final between the sides, we take a look back at three times the Deise came out on top in these pulsating encounters.
2002 – Munster SHC semi-final – Waterford 1-16 Cork 1-15
This victory set Waterford on the path to their first Munster title in 39 years – and can largely be attributed to the efforts of Paul Flynn. Tony Browne’s freak
Tony Browne’s freak 60-yard goal coupled with plenty of scores from Flynn put the Déise well on their way – but like any past encounter, Cork refused to go down without a fight, levelling the game with little time left on the clock. Up stepped Ken McGrath to split the posts and guide Waterford to victory – one which would re-ignite years of success in the county.
June 2004 – Munster SH final Waterford 3-16 Cork 1-21
Regarded by many as the greatest game of hurling ever seen – 14-man Waterford won the Munster title by a point in one of the most exciting games in recent history. Many saw the possibility of victory for the Deise as impossible following the dismissal of John Mullane – but a wonder goal from Paul Flynn coupled with the valiant efforts of his team-mates saw the Déise over the line for their first Munster final victory over Cork in 45 years – prompting the infamous ‘I love me county’ speech from Mullane.
June 2007 – Munster SHC semi-final – Waterford 5-15 Cork 3-18
Another thrilling Munster meeting between the sides saw the net rattled eight times, as Waterford came out as three-point winners. The opening half produced some sensational hurling – as Waterford led 4-8 to 2-9 at half-time, courtesy of a double from Dan Shanahan and goals from John Mullane and Paul Flynn. Eoin Kelly’s second half goal proved to be the difference as the Deise would go on to become Munster champions with Dan Shanahan picking up the Hurler of the Year award – however Liam MacCarthy still remained elusive.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena
Make sure to check out our big-game preview on The 16th Man podcast (starting at 31:50):