Kilkenny progressed to yet another All-Ireland final after an impressive 2-19 to 1-16 victory over a battling Waterford side. Two goals from Richie Hogan helped the Cats make it six finals in succession, while Henry Shefflin was at his accurate best.
Waterford battled well throughout and could have challenged Kilkenny if their forwards, apart from the impressive John Mullane, had not missed several second half chances.
Kilkenny showed their class and lead throughout, always seemingly able to hit timely scores when the Deise threatened to close the gap.
Kilkenny made a blistering start to the match and raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after seven minutes.
Richie Hogan opened the scoring in the third minute with a quality goal. The Kilkenny forward ran through the Waterford defence and smashed the sliotar past Clinton Hennessey.
Michael Fennelly and Henry Shefflin quickly added points to leave Waterford facing a daunting early deficit. The Deise responded well to the task, however.
Eoin Kelly got Waterford on the scoreboard in the eighth minute from a free, before Michael Rice responded immediately for Kilkenny. Waterford then added three points through John Mullane, Pauric Mahony and Seamus Prendergast.
Brian Hogan scored a good point to regain some momentum for Kilkenny, while Pauric Mahony scored from a free for Waterford. Henry Shefflin, Michael Fennelly and Eoin Larkin then scored for Kilkenny, before TJ Reid scored after some brilliant interplay between the Kilkenny forwards.
A goal from John Mullane helped Waterford regain a foothold in the game in the 25th minute. The Waterford forward was in great form and finished with 1-6 for the Deise.
Colin Fennelly scored an important point for Kilkenny, but Mullane responded with a quality point from a difficult angle. Eoin Kelly’s subsequent point helped Waterford to reduce the deficit to two points.
Just before half-time, however, a Richie Hogan goal swung momentum back towards Kilkenny. The forward provided a deft finish to give Kilkenny a five points lead. A late Henry Shefflin free then gave Kilkenny a six point lead at the interval, despite a good performance from the Deise.
Kilkenny relaxed slightly in the second half, while Waterford hit numerous wides. Henry Shefflin quickly added two points just after half-time, while Eoin Kelly hit two wides from ambitious angles.
John Mullane scored for Waterford, but points from Michael Fennelly, Shefflin and Eoin Larkin gave Kilkenny a 10 point lead.
Eoin Kelly scored from a free shortly before being substituted, but more quality interplay lead to a good point for Colin Fennelly.
Waterford captain Stepehen Molumphy and Maurice Shanahan scored for Waterford before Shefflin again gave Kilkenny a nine point lead.
Waterford then staged a mini-comeback. John Mullane scored two for the Deise, while Richie Foley and Maurice Shanahan also scored. Paddy Hogan scored a great point for Kilkenny in the 65th minute, however, to give the Cats a six point lead and halt the Waterford revival.
Kilkenny started to control the match in the closing stages and Eddie Brennan scored for the Cats. John Mullane scored another point with two minutes to play but Kilkenny held on to claim a 2-19 to 1-16 victory.
Kilkenny will now face Tipperary or Dublin in the All-Ireland final.
Kilkenny: D Herity; P Murphy, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan (0-1), JJ Delaney; M Fennelly (0-3), M Rice (0-1); TJ Reid (0-1), R Power, E Larkin (0-2); C Fennelly (0-2), H Shefflin (0-7), R Hogan (2-0). Subs: P Hogan (0-1) for Reid, E Brennan (0-1) for Rice.
Waterford: C Hennessy; D Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; T Browne, M Walsh, D Prendergast; K Moran, S O’Sullivan; S Prendergast (0-1), S Molumphy (0-1), P Mahony (0-2); J Mullane (1-6), S Walsh, E Kelly (0-3). Subs: J Nagle for D Prendergast, M Shanahan (0-2) for Mahony, T Ryan for Kelly, R Foley (0-1) for S Walsh.
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.