The Junior A hurlers had a most deserving victory in the semi final of the city division championship yesterday in Ballinlough. They came out on the right side of a hard fought local derby, defeating Mayfield on a scoreline of Brian Dillons 0-20; Mayfield 0-17. This game was right in the mix into the closing stages but a powerful closing few minutes saw the Dillons lads push on and see the victory through.
The game started feverishly with both sides wanting to get on the scoreboard early to settle there nerves, it was Dillons through Horgan though who raised the first and second flags of the game to set up an early lead which Dillons wouldn't let go of. Large portions of this first half saw Dillons dominate throughout the park as they won most of the individual battles, this dominance aided by a string of wides by Mayfield allowed Dillons to open up a gap on the score board. During this period we were treated to some fantastic points, McCarthy got the ball rolling landing some great scores from tough angles on both wings, Ross Murphy who had been working tirelessly touched up a great ball to himself before sending the ball into the inside forward where another deft touch by Lynch and turn left the supporters witnessing a beautifully worked score. Mayfield were not dead just yet and managed to dust themselves down and knock over a few scores but again it was Dillons who pushed on through fantastic long distance scores from Lawrence, Coughlan and Horgan, the latter showing his defensive skills blocking down the corner backs clearance before slotting it over the bar. Mayfield with a late surge before half time snuck on 2 scores to keep them in it, the scores at half time were Dillons 0-11; Mayfield 0-7.
As was to be expected at the start of the second half Mayfield came tearing out of the traps and tacked over the first 2 points of the half to reduce the deficit to 2, the Dillons lads responded well again through McCarthy, Horgan and Lawrence to open up a 6 point advantage. At this point Dillons were in a commanding position and the tireless work in the backline, midfield and up front was putting all kinds of pressure on Mayfield, however poor decision making in front of goals was to cost them as they racked up a few wides. Mayfield buoyed by these misses hit a string of scores to claw themselves back into the game and only for a fantastic save at this stage by Triggs in goal, who charged the Mayfield attacker, Dillons could have been behind. Coming into the closing period of the game and trailing by 1 point it was Mayfield in the ascendancy and when they picked off the equalizing score from distance with 4 minutes to go it appeared as if Mayfield might pull off an astonishing comeback.
The Dillons lads mustered well and responded to this challenge by tightening up at the back even further, up front Horgan slotted over another free to put Dillons a point ahead. Controversy was always going to show its face in this local derby and we received what was deemed a controversial decision by some when running at the Dillons defense looking to generate something the Mayfield attacker was blown for over-carrying the sliothar by referee Colm Lyons a mere second or two before he flicked the ball to the Dillons net. This lead to much jeering from the crowd as they felt certain it should have been a goal, but the distance travelled with ball in hand made the journey taken in lord of the rings look short and was consistent work by the ref who had pinged a few people for over-carrying throughout the game. Dillons didn't let this unsettle them and Rodgers with a huge effort from his own half and Horgan from distance also, sealed this superb performance by the Tank Field outfit. A great contest from start to finish which the Dillons lads will be glad to see the back of as they go onto more pressing matters, with their rub of the green, they will look to bring the same level of performance to the Final.
They now face Nemo Rangers in the Final next Sunday the 6th of September at 12.15pm in Ballinlough, where they will look to avenge their semi final exit at the hands of the same opposition last year. As always the Dillons lads were aware after the game that even though they had won, there are still areas of of their game they can improve on and no doubt they will look to right these during their preparations this week. A fantastic performance throughout the game from 1 to 15, and it is onwards and upwards as we all in the club look forward to the privilege of contending another City Division Final.
Team: 1. T Triggs; 2. P O'Brien; 3. D Brosnan; 4. M Noonan; 5. C Brosnan; 6. D Rodgers; 7. M White; 8. D Cremin; 9. T Lawrence; 10. A Murphy; 11. R Murphy; 12. C McCarthy; 13. K Coughlan; 14. C Lynch; 15. J Horgan.
Subs: M Carey for A Murphy(52 min), J Murphy for K Coughlan(57 min)
Scorers: J Horgan, 0-10 (0-5f, 0-2 65); C McCarthy, 0-5; T Lawrence, 0-2; K Coughlan, D Rodgers and C Lynch 0-1 each.
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