In Pictures: Kilkenny and Waterford will have to do it all again

The two sides couldn't be separated as an amazing game of hurling unfolded at Croke Park on Sunday

Kilkkenny, Waterford All-Ireland,

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Breathtaking, incredible, scintillating; there was a shortage of adjectives available for the spectacle of hurling that fans at Croke Park were treated to on Sunday as Waterford and Kilkenny finished on level terms. 

The game started with an intensity that it appeared could simply not be maintained for the duration, but both sides dug deep and made sure that their opponents weren't given an inch that they hadn't shed blood, sweat and tears for.

Twice in the opening half, Waterford pulled three points clear, but Kilkenny refused to let them get too far away from them. Austin Gleeson's performance was exceptional, but his team was only able to head in at the break by the slimmest of margins - a single point.

For long periods of the second half, it appeared as though the Deise might defy the odds and have it in them to topple the Cats, but even when they were able to stretch their lead, Kilkenny pulled something brilliant out of the bag. 

Maurice Shanahan came in for the second period, and delivered along with Gleeson, while Pauric Mahony's huge scores and frees saw him gather a personal tally of 0-14 for the day.

It was a goal from Walter Walsh that broke Waterford hearts and pulled Kilkenny level once again when it looked as though they were moments away from the win. The Deise managed to sneak ahead again afterwards, as they kept both the clock and the scoreboard ticking over, but there were more twists left in this tale.

When it looked as though they might be inching close to a seismic win, a monster score from Conor Fogarty made sure Kilkenny were once again back on level terms. That inability to pull clear, even when you're producing moments of magic of your own, is part of what makes it so hard to beat Kilkenny.

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Things could have been so different for them also if not for Hawkeye's decisions, as they had a score ruled out in the dying stages that would have given them the winning berth they needed. However, it wasn't to be, and there may well be a few fans in Waterford who avoid Specasavers and walk around with blurry vision out of sheer stubbornness ahead of the replay next weekend. 

Of course Cody and Kilkenny will have a chance to sort out the issues that saw them under pressure from a relentless Waterford side, but so much will need to go right again for McGrath's charges that it looks to be a huge ask for them to push the Cats close again next weekend. 

Gleeson was on song, displaying the type of form that is so rare on such a stage; demanding more of himself and his team-mates at every turn. Equally, Mahony's huge tally of points will need to be repeated or even improved if they want to match Cody's side in attack. 

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Image:©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Either way, if we see something even half as entertaining as Sunday's game next weekend, then the fans at Croke Park and those watching at home can consider themselves lucky to have seen two spectacular displays of hurling in recent memory.