Brophy’s injury time free swings it for dogged DLS in thriller

A POINTED free a minute into injury time by substitute Adam Brophy gave DLS Waterford a dramatic victory over Thurles CBS in a gripping Credit Union Dr Harty Cup semi-final at New Inn yesterday.

This was another magnificent contest, played at a furious pace in front of a huge crowd.

Thurles looked to be heading for a heavy defeat after favourites DLS took a five point lead early in the first half while playing into the strong wind.

However, CBS displayed great character to claw their way back into the game and lead by one point at the break.

They then threw down the gauntlet to Waterford by going four points in front early in the second half, before a physically stronger DLS eventually wore their opponents down.

Goals win matches and DLS scored three, which ultimately won them their place in next month’s final.

The first came in the third minute when Michael Grace’s shot was dropped over the goal line by the Thurles ‘keeper. However, the ball should never have been in their half as the Tipp side were earlier denied a clear sideline ball.

Their second goal was a rasping shot by Craig Moloney but the third goal 15 minutes into the second half was the crucial score. A long ball by William Walsh was allowed to hop in the small square before ending up in the net to tie the game for the second time.

And while Thurles rallied again to tie the match twice, Brophy’s point from a 45-metre free out on the touch -line was worthy of winning this thrilling contest.

Given the strength of the wind, Thurles needed a good half-time lead and it was not looking good when DLS scorched into a 1-1 to nil lead after just three minutes, the impressive Grace claiming all that early tally.

Teak-tough in defence where Noel Connors was a commanding figure at corner back and David O’Sullivan equally good at centre back, the Waterford side were full value for their 2-2 to 0-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, Thurles’ ability to win possession from the air began to tell. Coupled with the introduction of Denis Maher to midfield, where they had been well beaten by the DLS pair of Thomas Connors and Grace, they began to hurl majestically throughout the field.

In a glorious second quarter they hit over six points in a row, including two superb efforts by Colm Ryan and a long-range point by James Barry which helped them to a half-time lead of 0-9 to 2-2, and it might have been greater but for a superb save by DLS ‘keeper Stephen O’Keeffe from John O’Neill.

It got worse for DLS as the Thurles forwards, despite playing into the wind, tacked on three further points on the changeover to stretch their advantage to four.

However, the DLS mentors showed commendable courage by taking off ace free-taker Stephen Power and bringing on Adam Brophy, who took over those duties. Urged on by their huge following, Craig Moloney landed a DLS point — their first score for 23 minutes — before Brophy showed excellent composure in pointing a free from a very difficult angle.

You could cut the tension with a knife as the sides exchanged points to go level three more times, and with the excitement at fever pitch supporters would have settled for another day out. However, Brophy became the hero for DLS after Craig Moloney had won the all-important free.

Scorers: DLS: M Grace, C Moloney 1-2 each; W Walsh 1-0; A Brophy 0-2 (frees); S Power 0-1 (free). Thurles CBS: D Butler 0-5 (0-4 frees); C Ryan 0-3; J Barry (frees), L Dwan (frees) D Maher 0-2 each; J O’Neill 0-1.

DLS WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; P Kennedy, A O’Neill, N Connors; P Mahony, D O’Sullivan, K Gahan; T Connors, M Grace; F McGrath, N., Kelly, W Walsh; S Power, C Moloney, P McCarthy.

Subs: E Morrissey for McGrath; S Daniels for Gaham; A Brophy for Power.

THURLES CBS: B McCormack; S Harty, S Dorney, K O’Gorman; M Doyle, J Barry, J McGuire; L Dwan, R Ryan; K Morris, J Fogarty, C Ryan; D Butler, M McGrath, J O’Neill.

Subs: D Maher for R Ryan; A McCormack for McGrath.

Referee: J Sexton (Cork).

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