A second half Shane Walsh goal proved enough for Waterford to pip Galway at Pearse Stadium.
The return of four-time All-Star John Mullane proved pivotal as the Déise corner-forward wreaked havoc all afternoon. Although only scoring two points of his own, he was involved in all of his sides creative play, culminating with a number of assists.
Each side saw a man sent off in the first half as the visitors Shane O’Sullivan saw red for a second yellow card on 26 minutes; while Galway corner-back Declan Connolly was sent to the line two minutes later.
Waterford dominated early on and led 0-05 to 0-01 after 20 minutes; Pauric Mahony scoring four points from frees (and finishing with 0-09); but Mullane was causing most of the trouble for the Galway defence.
Joseph Cooney came on after 20 minutes and his introduction really upped the tempo from the home side. Cooney scored a point and was involved in two more – as well as being fouled for Sullivan’s second yellow card as Galway bridged the gap to three (0-08 to 0-05) at the interval.
Walsh’s goal six minutes into the second-half sealed the game as he flicked the ball to the net first time after a hand pass from the inspirational Mullane.
Galway rallied late on and two points from Barry Daly, together with a super effort from Flaherty saw them get within one, but they ran out of time and Waterford had their first points of their league campaign at the fourth attempt.
Galway: J Skehill (Ryan 43); G O’Halloran, D Collins, D Connolly; J Coen, F Moore, N Donoghue (Flaherty 51); D Burke (0-03), A Smith (0-02); C Cooney, N Burke (0-05, 3frees), C Donnellan (Glennon 49); D Hayes, B Daly (0-02), B Burke (Cooney 20).
Waterford: S O’Keeffe; P Mahony, L Lawlor, A Kearney; D Fives, M Walsh, S O’Sullivan; D Twomey (Nagle 47), K Moran; M Shanahan (0-01) (Shanahan 62 (0-01)), P Mahony (0-09 frees), E McGrath (Prendergast 56); J Mullane (0-02), S Walsh (1-02), G O’Brien.