By MIKE FINNERTY
Lauren McGregor added two goals to her growing personal tally as Waterford secured their first victory of the Lidl NFL at the expense of Mayo in Dungarvan.
Mayo, who are still chasing their opening win of the campaign, had fallen seven points behind early in the second half after McGregor punched in her fourth goal in three games.
But the visitors came roaring back and despite failing to hit the net for the third game in a row, they shot six points without reply to set up a grandstand finish.
The outstanding Lisa Cafferky finished with five points from play and she got the ball rolling with Shauna Howley, Sinead Walsh and Sinead Cafferky also on target.
Waterford failed to score for 20 minutes and looked set to be denied a win at the death but they held their nerve and a late free from Kellyann Hogan sealed victory.
A superb goal from McGregor two minutes into added time at the end of the first half had sent Waterford in leading at the interval by 1-6 to 0-4.
The home side had also hit the ground running and early scores from Hogan and the aforementioned McGregor eased Waterford ahead.
Mayo finally opened their account on eleven minutes through Maria Cannon, but the Connacht outfit only managed one further point in the following 20 minutes, a free from Shauna Howley.
Down at the other end, Hogan (three frees) and Caragh McCarthy hit the target to leave the Déise ahead by 0-6 to 0-2 after 28 minutes.
Mayo did mount a mini-revival late in the half with scores from Shauna Howley (free) and Lisa Cafferky to cut the gap in half but McGregor’s goal sent Waterford in with a spring in their step.
And they withstood Mayo’s late rally to hold out for a deserved victory that sets them up nicely for their trip to Donegal in a fortnight’s time. Mayo will face reigning TG4 All-Ireland Senior champions Meath next time out.
Scorers – Waterford: L McGregor 2-2, KA Hogan 0-6 (6fs), C McCarthy 0-1. Mayo: S Howley 0-5 (4fs), L Cafferky 0-5, S Walsh 0-1, S Cafferky 0-1, M Cannon 0-1.
Waterford: E O’Brien; C Murray, M Dunford, A Murray; E Power, E Murray, H Power; KA Hogan, A Waring; A O’Neill, B McMaugh, C McCarthy; A Fitzgerald, L McGregor, Karen McGrath.
Subs: Kate McGrath for C Murray (41), C Hynes for McMaugh (47), S McGuckian for McCarthy (53), O Kennedy for Fitzgerald (58).
Mayo: L Brennan; E Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; C Needham, S Tierney, K Sullivan; C McManamon, S Cafferky; F McHale, S Howley, M Cannon; L Cafferky, R Kearns, S Walsh.
Subs: S Delaney for Kearns (ht); L Wallace for C Needham (ht), H Reape for McHale (43), E Brennan for Walsh (48), T Needham for Sullivan (48), E Murray for Cannon (48), C Durkan for Tierney (58).
Referee: K Phelan (Laois).