Greater firepower should give DLS the edge on Thurles

THE two recent Harty Cup games between Thurles CBS and Our Lady’s, Templemore, produced classic games and followers will be hoping for more of the same this weekend with the semi-finals down for decision.

Today: Thurles CBS v DLS

Waterford: New Inn, 2.30 pm.

Thurles will have benefited enormously from the two games against Our Lady’s and will make a determined bid to reach their second final in three years.. From early in the competition, DLS were shaping as possible winners and, having won all four of their Round Robin games in style, plus their quarter-final against Charleville CBS, there is an air of confidence in the Waterford camp.

Two years ago Thurles failed to St. Flannan’s in the final, while last year the succumbed to the same opposition at the semi-final stage. They too have every reason to believe that they are due a title, having last annexed the cup 41 years ago.

Certainly their form in the two games against Our Lady’s suggests they are more than capable of bridging the gap. In a well balanced side Kevin O’Gorman, Kevin Doyle, James Barry and Joe McGuire form a rock solid defence and DLS will earn their scores off this quartet.

County minor Liam Dwan and Rory Ryan should ensure Thurles get an even break around midfield, while John O’Neill, David Butler and Jack Fogarty provide the fire power up front.

DLS are in the happy position of having quite a number of their players on the age limit, which can be a huge advantage at schools level. Defensively they too are very strong with David O’Sullivan, Philip Mahony and Kevin Gahan likely to form a very solid half back line.

Their midfield combination of Michael Grace and Thomas Connors will test the mettle of the Thurles pair, but its in attack where DLS appear top be strongest and if they can get a good supply of ball in, Stephen Power (an excellent free-taker) and Craig Moloney should get sufficient scores to see their side home.

Verdict: A DLS win.

Tomorrrow: St. Flannan’s. Ennis v Waterford Colleges: Bansha, 12.30 pm.

It would be a marvellous occasion should both Waterford teams make it to the final.

But St. Flannan’s are likely to spoil that party given their tremendous record of 21 titles won to date.

Without being overly impressive in their earlier rounds, Flannan’s have done only enough to reach this stage of the championship, but there is bound to be at least one big game in them.

In contrast, Waterford Colleges cruised through all their games, inflicting a three goal defeat on Carrigaline along the way and the Cork school had held Flannan’s to a draw in the Round Robin series.

There was never a bad team came out of Flannan’s and this side is rich in talent, similar to those gone before it.

They have excellent defenders in Noel Casey, Brian Glynn, Niall White and Sylvie Óg Linnane, while, in attack, Cork minor Donagh Stack, Darragh Moloney and John Condon will score, given half a chance.

The Waterford side has a very solid look about it.

Defensively, they too are very strong with Jerome Maher and Kevin Geary as good as what’s around. But, it’s at midfield where they are likely to have the advantage as Mark Landers and Mark Shalloe are two exceptional players.

A grip around the middle of the field and Waterford Colleges could make it very difficult for their opponents, particularly with Cormac Curran and Liam Ryan in excellent scoring form.

Verdict: A St. Flannan’s win.

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