Galway U21 hurlers headed to Semple Stadium in Thurles on Saturday afternoon for the All-Ireland final, knowing they would need to produce a really stunning performance to keep a star-studded Waterford team at bay.
The Deisé management team had several battle-hardened senior stars at their disposal, such as Austin Gleeson, Tom Devine, Patrick Curran, and Shane and Stephen Bennett, in their bid to win the county's first U21 title in 24 years. Boiling hot favourites to beat Tony Ward's young Galway team before the throw-in, they did so with ease, cruising home by 5-15 to 0-14.
Stephen Bennett (2 ), Shane Bennett, Patrick Curran and DJ Foran all rattled the Galway net during the hour, but the writing was on the wall after the opening quarter with Galway having leaked three goals.
Waterford were just too good for the Tribesmen. They produced yet another impressive performance in front of their loyal supporters who provided the vast majority of the 14,410 in attendance.
Galway really needed to get off to a flyer, but after 40 seconds DJ Foran careered through the maroon defence before lashing a shot past a hapless Cathal Tuohy.
Galway team captain Brian Molloy did knock over a few points, but it was only provided a brief respite.
Patrick Curran and Stephen Bennett blasted in two more Waterford goals before 15 minutes had elapsed and thereafter the reality was a case of damage limitation. The game was practically over at half time with the Deisé leading 3-10 to 0-6.
To give Tony Ward's charges credit, they came out after the small whistle and hurled with terrific spirit to made a small dent in Waterford's lead in the third quarter. They did not lie down, but notched five points without reply with Sean Linnane, Conor Whelan, Molloy and Eanna Burke all doing their best to take the fight to their opponents in attack.
They reduced the deficit to 3-11 to 0-12, but they always needed a few goals if they were going to make a real game of it.
Instead it was Waterford who finished the game with a flurry of scores, including two well-taken goals to leave them 16 points to the good and worthy All-Ireland U21 champions for 2016.
Scorers for Galway: Brian Molloy 0-6 (0-3f ), Eanna Burke 0-3, Sean Linnane, Conor Whelan 0-2 each, Kevin McHugo 0-1.
Galway: C Tuohy (Tommie Larkins ), C Jennings (Loughrea ), D O’Donoghue (Kilnadeema Leitrim ), D Cronin (Cappataggle ), V Doyle (Turloughmore ), S Cooney (St Thomas ), S Loftus (Turloughmore ), D Dolan (Cappataggle ), D Nevin (Cappataggle ), K McHugo (Tommie Larkins ), B Molloy (cpt ) (Kilnadeema/Leitrim ), S Linnane (Turloughmore ), T Monaghan (Killimordaly ), C Whelan (Kinvara ), E Burke (St Thomas ). Subs, E Brannigan (Rahoon-Newcastle ), J Grealish (Gort ) F Burke (St Thomas ), C Burke (Athenry ), Adrian Morrissey (Liam Mellowes )