Tipperary legend Jimmy Doyle was on the side that defeated the North Mon over half a century ago and hopes are high that the famine will end today.
Thurles came through the Round Robin series unbeaten but it was the two incredible quarter-finals against sister school Our Lady’s, Templemore, which created the headlines and will be ranked amongst the greatest matches in the competition’s history.
In the drawn game, after a thrilling hour’s hurling, the never say die attitude of Thurles forced a replay. The replay at the Ragg had everything — a 10 minute snow blizzard, some wonderful point scoring by David Butler and two injury time points to seal a CBS victory.
Thurles are back-boned by many of the county side chasing a hat-trick of All-Ireland MHC titles this year.
John O’Neill, Kevin O’Gorman, James Barry, Ciaran Shelley and Bill McCormack have county experience which has proven vital in this run. Notably in their semi-final win they survived a late Árd Scoil Rís rally with O’Gorman at full back and Barry at centre leading by example.
They are more than capable of dealing with anything that the defending champions have to offer.
DLS Waterford played a game less to make the final, amassing a staggering 22-82 points — an average of 4-17 a game.
In the semi-final they crushed West Waterford College by 20 points though the losers were without goalkeeper David Moore and chief goal scorer Maurice Shanahan. But one wonders if such ease of passage could count against them.
Their team includes seven of last year’s winning combination which gives them a very solid and experienced look.
They possess one of the best half back lines in the competition in Noel Connors, Philip Mahony and Stephen Daniels and their battle with the Thurles attack is going to one of the many highlights of this mouthwatering final.
Waterford have some superb forwards: Shane O’Sullivan bagged three goals in the semi-final while Stephen Power and Daniel Purcell chipped in with a goal each.
The champions have met nothing like this Thurles side en route to the final. There is no question, they have the players and the ability to put back to back titles together, but they must contain the pacy and skilful Thurles forwards to do so. I’m not so sure then can and for that reason I fancy Thurles to dethrone the champions at the end of an epic contest.
DLS Waterford 7-12 West Waterford Colleges 1-6
DLS Waterford 2-14 Cashel CS 0-10
DLS Waterford 5-28 North Mon 0-3
DLS Waterford 3-17 St. Caimin’s 0-6
DLS Waterford 5-11 West Waterford Colleges 0-6
Thurles CBS 2-11 Árd Scoil Rís 1-11
Thurles CBS 4-21 Charleville CBS 1-3
Thurles CBS 1-18 Midleton CBS 0-15
Thurles CBS 2-6 Our Lady's 0-12
Thurles CBS 0-13 Our Lady's 1-8 (Replay)
Thurles CBS 1-14 Árd Scoil Rís 1-10.