Hayes and Flanagan get the road as Curran dazzles with his brilliance
Waterford 1-22 Limerick 0-21
Patrick Curran will wake up in the morning with a big red bas-mark across his chest. It will come in the shape of Kyle Hayes' hurl, but whatever Curran will be feeling, it certainly won't be pain.
He who laughs last, laughs longest and having scored three stunning points, full of poise, balance and skill, in his capacity as Waterford super-sub, it was Curran's impact that won this game for the Déise and left Limerick in the unfamiliar position of having lost two games in two weeks.
Prior to Curran's introduction, it looked like 14-man Limerick might just hold out to win. But then along came Dungarvan man with a fire in the belly and he wasn't in the mood to be stopped.
Despite losing Seamus Flanagan to a first half red card, the typically industrious Cian Lynch and the impressive Tom Morrissey kept them ahead in this cagey Walsh Park affair but with Gleeson, Fagan, Barron, Lyons and then Curran hurling up a south-east-storm, Liam Cahill's team had their way.
With Gleeson scoring from the other side of town, with Barron's pulsating runs giving the whole thing life and with Curran back to his best, this felt like an important win for Waterford, who having lost on three separate occasions to Limerick last year, will be delighted to know that they have what it takes.
The whole thing ended in chaos as with the game lost, Limerick's frustrations boiled over with Hayes pulling across Curran's chest. Referee Paud O'Dwyer looked to have no option but to give the Kildimo-Pallaskenry player the road although Waterford centre back Iarlaith Daly can count himself a lucky man, having retaliated with a knee into Hayes' back.
So...... Kyle Hayes ends up getting sent off here. Anyone care to explain how? Very strange call to end the game. pic.twitter.com/FtlbiMYX0t
— Donn O'Sullivan (@DonnOSullivan) May 23, 2021
Familiarity, as they say, breeds contempt and that wasn't the first flash-point in this game with Flanagan flicking Conor Gleeson off the ball earlier on in the game. It didn't seem to be too malicious but a strike is a strike is a strike. If you give the referee a decision to make then it's out of your hands so Flanagan only has himself to blame really.
#WATvLIM Leath Ama
Port Láirge 0-08
ANAILÍS! Go leor seans ar chúl & cárta dearg 😱😱
Mark Foley with first half analysis below 👇👇@AllianzIreland @GAA_BEO #AlianzLeagues #GAA #GAABEO
BEO/LIVE AR @TG4TV pic.twitter.com/Nm3r13jg4d
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) May 23, 2021
The towering presence of Conor Prunty is a solid foundation for Waterford and with Gleeson seemingly back to his best, Barron marauding from deep and with Fagan going up so high up into the sky you'd think he was in Meath to catch high balls, they will have a say yet.
See the full-time highlights here with Curran's statement, Fagan's goal and Lyons' point the pick of the bunch.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 23, 2021