More skilful around the field, Thurles were never going to lose this game after Kevin Slattery slipped home their only goal in the 12th minute and while DLS threatened to make a match of it in the second half, through the excellent free taking of Darragh Flynn, they were always playing catch up.
In near perfect conditions, a large crowd packed into the compact ground expecting a cracking contest. But it never materialised as the 2009 champions led from the throw in and were never headed.
A whistle-happy referee didn’t help a match riddled with frees, with the result 18 of the 31 points scored came from placed balls and players on both sides frustrated to break tackles only to be called back.
DLS, with the wind, needed a sizeable half-time lead if they were to win. But a contribution of poor finishing and a weak attack saw them make little headway up front against a Thurles defence in which Aaron Quirke and David Corbett were outstanding.
On the other hand, Thurles were far more economical in possession and in Aidan McCormack and Michael O’Brien had the two best forwards on view. Both are playing in their third Harty Cup campaign and that kind of experience is invaluable.
There was little to choose between the sides in the opening 10 minutes during which Thurles led 0-3 to 0-2. But the game turned dramatically in their favour two minutes later when McCormack’s poorly struck free was dropped by the DLS keeper and Kevin Slattery was on hand to drive the loose ball to the net.
That goal knocked the heart out of the DLS challenge for the remainder of the half and Thurles were full value for their 1-8 to 0-4 half-time lead.
A stern talking to at half-time, coupled with a few substitutions, had the desired effect on the Waterford side in the second half and three points in a row by Darragh Flynn threatened a revival.
However, Thurles had the facility to step up a gear when danger threatened and with McCormack punishing the DLS backs for indiscipline, they stretched their lead to 1-16 to 0-12 with five minutes left.
DLS kept plugging away, and were rewarded when they scored a goal through Chris Kervick.
But it came too late to make any real difference to the final scoreline at Thurles held firm.
Scorers for Thurles: A. McCormack 0-11 (0-6f); M. O’Brien, S. Kennedy (0-1f) 0-3 each; K. Slattery 1-0; P. Ralph (1f), C. Hammersley 0-1 each.
DLS: D., Flynn 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 65); C. Kervick 1-1; J. Hayes 0-2 (0-1f); C. Morris, D. Foley 0-1 each.
THURLES CBS: J. Maher; J. Bourke, J. Ryan, M. Cussen; A. Quirke, J. Meagher, D. Corbett; P. Ralph, S. Kennedy; S. Maher, A. McCormack, M. Lanigan; M. O’Brien, K. Slattery, C. Hammersley.
Subs: D. Burke for Lanigan (45); E. Moriarty for Hammersley (50); S. Cahill for S. Maher (50); C. Egan for Corbett (60).
DLS WATERFORD: P. Cooke; A. Kearnes, J. O’Donoghue, K. Walsh; J. Hayes, A. O’Sullivan, D. Kearnes; C. Morris, A. Dempsey; C. Kervick, B. O’Sullivan, J. Sage; J. Kehoe, R. Daniels, D. Flynn.
Sub: D. Foley for Kehoe (40).
Referee:S. McMahon (Clare).