Three-time All Star Beth Carton drove Waterford to Division 1B camogie glory on a wet and windy Easter Sunday at FBD Semple Stadium.
The De La Salle sharpshooter finished with eight points in a Player of the Match display as the Déise dispatched Wexford 1-22 to 1-6. A first piece of silverware in eight years.
Lively corner forward Annie Fitzgerald fired five points from play for Sean Power's side. Abby Flynn raised a white flag in the first half while 2020 All Star Niamh Rockett struck three points. Nine different players got on the scoresheet.
Waterford netminder Brianna O'Regan made a big save early on while Vikki Falconer and Clodagh Carroll also caught the eye in defence. Midfield pair Lorraine Bray and Clara Griffin covered every blade of grass.
Wexford were dealt a blow before throw in as top scorer Ciara O'Connor was ruled out through injury. In the third minute, Déise shot stopper O'Regan made a diving save from Kate Kirwan. Chloe Cashe converted the subsequent 45 for the purple and gold.
Beth Carton hit back with three points in a row from play. Annie Fitzgerald and Lorraine Bray also split the posts as Power's side opened up a 6-1 advantage. On the quarter hour, Fitzgerald and Carton set up Abby Flynn for a well worked goal. Her fourth green flag of the Division 1B campaign.
Wexford replied straight away as full forward Chloe Foxe goaled at the other end. The next four points belonged to Waterford with Anne Corcoran, Flynn, Fitzgerald and Niamh Rockett all on target. Their heads-up camogie caused the Model defence all sorts of problems.
Laura Brennan denied Fitzgerald late in the half but Carton popped over the 45 that followed. A Carton free, her sixth point of the afternoon, gave the Déise a 1-12 to 1-3 advantage at the break.
Anais Curran sent over a free at the start of the second half for Wexford but eight points was as close as Colin Sunderland's charges got. It was one way traffic into the Town End. Fitzgerald was on fire and added three more to her tally. Rockett tagged on two further singles. Nine points on the spin put this South East decider to bed.
Power had the luxury of using all eight subs. Roisin Kirwan and Mairead O'Brien got in on the act before the final whistle. Ailis Neville and Linda Bolger managed consolation points for the purple and gold.
There was no stopping Waterford however who were singing in the rain at the end as Lorraine Bray climbed the steps and lifted the cup in the New Stand. The Déise are back in the top flight for 2024.
Scorers for Waterford: B Carton 0-8 (4fs, 1 45), A Fitzgerald 0-5, A Flynn 1-1, N Rockett 0-3, M O'Brien, R Kirwan, C Griffin, A Corcoran, L Bray 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: C Foxe 1-0, A Curran 0-3 (2fs), L Bolger, A Neville, C Cashe (45) 0-1 each.
Waterford: B O'Regan; V Falconer, I Heffernan, K Lynch; M Power, C Carroll, O Hickey; L Bray, C Griffin; A Corcoran, R Walsh, B Carton; A Fitzgerald, A Flynn, N Rockett.
Subs: M O'Brien for Corcoran (41), A Landers for Lynch (49), R Kirwan for Walsh (51), K Corbett Barry for M Power (52), T Power for Griffin (52), N Curran for Falconer (56), O Whelan for Rockett (56), M O'Regan for Flynn.
Subs: M Byrne for Walsh (HT), M Sinnott for Cooney (41), E Tomkins for Leacy (47), A Neville for Cashe (48), E O'Connor for Curran (64).
Referee: J Dermody (Westmeath)