The Brian Dillons Junior A Footballers completed a club double when they too booked their place in their championship Semi-Final defeating the reigning champions St.Finbarrs in Ballinlough on Tuesday evening last. In a game that was played in perfect conditions the Tank Field outfit pulled out another great performance to beat the Barrs in thrilling fashion on a scoreline of Dillons 2-12, the Barrs 1-14, with the Barrs leading by three points entering extra time it seemed the Dillons lads fate was sealed but yet again they produced a great escape to edge the game by a point.
This thrilling finish was preceded by 60 minutes of breathtaking football with both sides serving up a high quality contest for those in attendance. The game was only 30 seconds old when Horgan caught a great ball swiveled and buried the ball in the Barrs net, from here Dillons didn't look back and continued to play some great football going forward and kept the score board ticking over. With their defence ensuring that the Barrs were having to work hard for every score it gave the midfield and forwards a great platform to put the Barrs rearguard under a lot of pressure. With the game level after 20 minutes Dillons were dealt a blow as the referee blew for a penalty when a Barrs forward went down under pressure in the box in what a lot of people felt was a soft decision. With the Barrs converting the penalty and going into the lead for the first time in the game it lifted their performance and only for one of many super saves produced by Dillons net minder Kirby, which saw him make a point blank save from a one on one situation down low only to get back up and tip over the bar when the rebound was punched towards the empty net, they could have opened up a bigger gap. This save however galvanized the lads and they again began controlling the game for the final minutes of the half and trailed the Barrs by only 2 points at the break on a scoreline of 1-06 to 1-08.
The second half picked up where the first had left off as the lads controlled much of the possession but they were making hard work of turning this into scores and it was the Barrs who picked off the first two scores stretching their lead to four points, this didn't faze our lads however as they closed the gap and continued to pressurize the Barrs outfit all over the pitch and turned over ball after ball to ensure they kept themselves in the game. With the game getting close to its completion Dillons scored a great point to close the game to within a point when Cillian Brosnan tapped the ball down into Lawrences hands from the kick out and he in turn fed Rodgers who kicked a big point from distance, it seemed at this stage that the Dillons lads might get something from this game. This was when, showing the form of reigning champions the Barrs burst into life and added further points to put themselves 3 points up nearing added time and this could have been 6 points when with minutes left of normal time Kirby again made a fantastic double save which kept his side in it.
The comeback started with a point by Horgan in the first minute of added time to make it a two point game, from the resultant kick out the Dillons pressure on the Barrs which even at this stage didn't relent as they again turned over the ball. A long delivery saw Brosnan field the ball at the corner of the square and as he moved across the goal to attempt a shot he was hauled to the deck whilst surrounded by five defenders in the Barrs box, in what looked an entirely unnecessary foul at that stage. Brosnan dusted himself off and with the crowd awaiting in suspense he buried the ball in the bottom corner of the Barrs net to put Dillons one point up with time almost up. The Barrs however did get one more opportunity and when receiving a free kick inside the Dillons half, the ref then called it to be brought forward into what would have been a very kickable position they chose to go for a quick free, credit to the lads they reacted to this and put enough pressure on the player in possession to ensure that the shot that was eventually kicked sailed wide of the mark. Upon the kick out the referee blew for full time and put Dillons through to the Semi Finals of the Championship where they face St.Michaels.
There were great performances all over the park in what was a solid team performance, in goal Kirby mad vital saves at key stages and his kick outs were important to the dominance at midfield. The full back line saw two changes to the last round with McCarthy slotting into a role at full back he hadn't filled before, but this didn't stop them delivering a great example of how to play the man from the front and laid the foundation for many attacks. O'Brien, Lawrence and the two Brosnans covered vast yardage as they supported the attack and defence from half back and midfield respectively in what was a key battle area. In the forwards the half forward line of Triggs, Rodgers and Cremin ran themselves to a stand still and ensured the backline was given plenty of support whilst giving the Barrs half back line a torrid time as Rodgers and Cremin got themselves on the score sheet with a brace of lovely points for both. Corner forwards Buckley and Horgan worked tirelessly as they put the full back line under constant pressure with their intelligent running with and without the ball, while McGrath put himself about breaking ball for the other forwards to feed off.
Similar to the previous round the additional strength off the bench made a telling contribution with O'Leary kicking two high quality points, Crowley winning ball around the middle, while Mahers strength and pace caused headaches with his direct running. All in, it was a satisfying performance from the lads, however it was only a quarter final and nothing is won yet. They will put there heads down now and work hard to bring a similar performance when they meet St.Michaels in the Semi Finals.
Team: 1. J Kirby; 2. A Murphy; 3. C McCarthy 4. M Noonan; 5. P O'Brien; 6. N Fahy; 7. D Brosnan; 8. T Lawrence; 9. C Brosnan; 10. D Cremin; 11. D Rodgers; 12. B Triggs; 13. M Buckley; 14. D McGrath; 15. J Horgan;
Subs: S Maher for D McGrath, D O'Leary for M Buckley, S Crowley for B Triggs.
Scorers: J Horgan, 1-4 (0-3f); C Brosnan, 1-1 (1-0p); D Cremin, D O'Leary and D Rodgers, 0-2 each; T Lawrence, 0-1;
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