Brian Dillons Junior (A) hurlers emerged victorious from their City Division Quarter Final clash with reigning champions St. Finbarrs last night in Ballinlough. After a hard fought game in very windy conditions, which saw the teams level at half time on a score of 2-06 to 1-09, the Dillons lads closed the game out winning on a score of Brian Dillons, 3-16; St.Finbarrs, 1-12.
Great credit for this win has to go to the work ethic of the team as a whole, which saw no one individual shine throughout the game but rather the unit showing its strength. The game started as it was going to go on with high intensity and plenty of pressure on the player in possession, Dillons opened the scoring through two Cian McCarthy points from distance. This great start was somewhat setback firstly with the early loss of Dillons half forward John Noonan who had picked up an injury in the warm up that he couldn't shake off, and then after opening their scoring with a point the Barrs found their way through for an early goal to put them into a lead for the first time.
The Dillons lads however didn't let this affect them as they refocused and got stuck back into the challenge at hand. The Dillons half back line was performing exceptionally well at this stage under the high ball dropping in on top of them as the Barrs tried to benefit from the strong breeze behind them and the decision to bring a sweeper into the Dillons defence closed up the space the Barrs had been exploiting. Up front a few scoring opportunities were squandered when shooting under pressure but overall we were treated to some great scores and after 15 minutes Horgan struck for a goal after a long clearance from the defence, which was contested by Lynch and Buckley, allowed the breaking ball fall to Horgan who through one on one made no mistake and rattled the net. Additional points were added by Horgan, Lynch and Murphy, Horgans coming after a neat little dink up to himself and Murphys after turning his man inside out before striking over put Dillons within three points of the Barrs with minutes left in the half. This three point deficit was wiped out in a great move that saw a great interchange of passes between a number of Dillons players before Tomas Lawrence finished to the back of the net while under a lot of pressure. This left us with a level game at half time, Brian Dillons 2-06; St Finbarrs 1-09; which showed the impressive work rate of the team as they played against a strong breeze.
The second half started with a fiery tension as the Barrs attempted to replicate the Dillons players massive effort of the first half and although they struck over an early score it was Dillons who began to dominate around the middle third, it was this domination which showed how well the puck outs for Dillons had worked in the first half as the Barrs struggled to get any go forward ball from their own puck outs. McCarthy again put over a few points aided by Lynch, Horgan and Murphy but it was the ball he played into Horgan after 12 minutes of the second half which was the decisive play in this game, a long ball in, Horgan gathered but was fouled when attempting to shoot at goal and a penalty was duly given which Lynch finished to the back of the net to open up a 5 point gap between the teams. The Dillons lads grew from here and some marauding runs by Lawrence, McCarthy and Cillian Brosnan all yielded scores which put the final seal on this game, the Barrs as expected came looking for goals in the final few minutes but after many attempts all they could come away with was a point. At the final whistle it was Dillons 3-16 to St.Finbarrs 1-12 after an enthralling contest throughout, the concession of only 3 points in the second half shows the commitment of the team unit in the second period to see this game out against such a strong opposition.
As highlighted previously no individual had a fantastic game throughout rather each player stepped up when it mattered and gave it there all, up front the scoring of McCarthy, Murphy, Horgan and Lynch at times were a treat to watch and added to that the work rate of all the forward players as a unit throughout and not giving the Barrs defenders a moments rest was a keystone in this victory. The engine room of Keith McCormick and Lawrence got through their fair share of work and never stopped running which left the Barrs struggling in the second half to win primary possession. At the back all 6 defenders stood up and were accounted for, the full back line started shaky due to the movement deployed by the Barrs forward line but they grew into the game with Noonan and Cremin giving top quality performances in the second half and the captain O'Brien being solid throughout whilst carrying an injury, the half back line of Rodgers, White and Brosnan was the rock upon which many a Barrs attack crashed as they plucked, batted and knocked ball out of the sky to ensure the Barrs forwards were living on scraps. While the importance of Triggs puck outs were highlighted in the second period when the Barrs struggled to gain primary possession from their own. Replacements Darragh Brosnan and Shane Maher brought great energy and physical presence to the Dillons forward line in the closing 15 minutes of the second half after replacing Carey and Buckley,both of whom had caused plenty of pain to the Barrs defence.
Overall a solid performance by the Brian Dillons players and they will be happy with the fact that their summer continues into August and a championship Semi-Final. They will however look at the areas they can improve at, during the game at times they were guilty of some sloppy play and taking the wrong option when a better option was on and this group of players will look to rectify those areas and they have the opportunity to do this now knowing they are still involved in championship action as they await their opponents in the next round.
Team: 1. T Triggs; 2. P O'Brien (C); 3. M Noonan; 4. D Cremin; 5. D Rodgers; 6. C Brosnan; 7. M White; 8. T Lawrence; 9. K McCormick; 10. J Noonan; 11. C McCarthy; 12. A Murphy; 13. J Horgan; 14. C Lynch; 15. M Buckley;
Subs: M Carey for J Noonan (5 mins, inj); D Brosnan for M Carey (40 mins); S Maher for M Buckley (45 mins); N Fahy for M White (51 mins, inj); E Hennessy for P O'Brien (57 mins)
Scorers for Brian Dillons were; J Horgan, 1-5; C Lynch, 1-4; C McCarthy, 0-5; T Lawrence, 1-0; A Murphy, 0-2;
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