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Junior (A) Footballers Beat Whites Cross to Reach Championship Final.

posted 16 Sept 2013, 09:34 by Willie Horgan   [ updated 8 Oct 2013, 14:50 ]
                            After losing out in the 2011 and 2012 semi-finals, the Brian Dillons Junior (A) Footballers made it third time lucky when they qualified for this years City Division Junior (A) Football Championship final with a 1-12 to 1-7 victory over Whites Cross in the semi-final, which was played in Ballinlough on Sunday morning, 15th September, 2013.   Playing impressively all through the game and even when playing against a strong, blustery breeze, in the second half, Brian Dillons still managed to outscore their opponents and emerge as comfortable five point winners.
                         Whites Cross opened the scoring after three minutes play with a pointed free and ,at that stage,looked like they had the measure of Brian Dillons, winning plenty of possession and applying lots of pressure, even though playing into the teeth of the strong breeze. It was due to the tenacity of the Brian Dillons defence that prevented the Whites Cross forwards from increasing their lead with centre half back, Cian McCarthy, in commanding form. Brian Dillons had a goal, after five minues, when the ever dangerous Dave O"Leary got his fist to a probing ball from the outstanding, Mark Buckley, which pushed them ahead and they never fell behind for the remainder of the game. John Horgan, who looked to have the measure of the Whites Cross full-back, stretched the Brian Dillons lead with a fine point after eleven minutes,
to which Whites Cross replied with a similar score, three minutes later. Once again, John Horgan, being fed some ideal ball, evaded the Whites Cross full-back to score his second point which had Brian Dillons ahead, 1-2 to 0-2, after seventeen minutes. Whites Cross got a great boost, a minute later, when they scored the equalising goal, against the run of play, after the Brian Dillons "keeper,Paul McCarthy, saved brilliantly only to have the inrushing forward tap the rebound to the net. At this juncture, Brian Dillons were having problems around mid field, when Chris Daly, who carried an injury into the game, was called ashore, after picking up a yellow card and he was replaced by Minor star,Darren McGrath. For the remainder of the first half, Brian Dillons took control of the game with Darren McGrath winning an amount of the ball in the centre of the park, the forwards, receiving plentiful possession, chalked up another four points, courtesy of Cillian Brosnan, two from placed balls and one each from the "terrible twins", Mark Buckley and Dave O"Leary. Whites Cross only reply was a point in the twenty sixth minute which left the half-time score reading; Brian Dillons,1-6; Whites Cross, 1-3;
                 The second half had Whites Cross playing with the advantage of the strengthing breeze and within five minutes of the restart, they had wiped out the Brian Dillons lead with three consecutive points, one from a free, and seemed set up to push on to victory. However, Brian Dillons refused to panic and playing a brand of refreshing football, they regained the lead ,two minutes later, when "will o the wisp" Dave O"Leary pointed and this was followed by another point from Mark Buckley, four minutes later. John Horgan slotted over his third point after twelve minutes of the second half and Whites Cross had their final score of the game , four minutes later, with a point from a free. Brian Dillons completely dominated the closing ten minutes, with their defence on top in all departments and gaining the upper hand at midfield, their forwards tormented the Whites Cross defence which was forced to concede many frees, which were punished by three further points, two from John Horgan and one from Cillian Brosnan , which left the final score reading, Brian Dillons, 1-12; Whites Cross, 1-7;  Thus, Brian Dillons qualified for the final of the City Division Junior (A) Football Championship, in which their opponents will be St.Finbarrs, for the first time since 1999.  Brian Dillons last won this Championship, the previous year, in 1998.
               The performance of the Brian Dillons team was most encouraging and it proves that, on their day , they can be a match for anyone. Paul McCarthy continues to impress as a first class goalkeeper and has proved to be an adequate replacement for the regular netminder for the last few seasons, James Kirby, who,sadly, has emigrated. The full-back line of Dylan O"Donoghue, Edmund Hussey and Michael Noonan, in particular, were always on top while Cian McCarthy ,at centre half back, was outstanding from start to finish. On the wings, in the half back line, Niall Fahy and Tomas Lawrence, posed many problems for the Whites Cross defence with their many forward runs when in possession.
 The Brosnan brothers, Cillian and Darragh, after a shaky opening quarter, were completely on top for the remainder of the game ,at midfield, with Cillians accuracy from forty five metre kicks as well as long range frees proving invaluable. In the half forward division John Noonan worked tirelessly and set up his colleagues for many scoring opportunites with Dave O"Leary, on the other wing, being a constant thorn in the Whites Cross defence and scoring 1-2 to boot. Centre -half forward, Dave O"Donoghue, who was the "Man-of the-Match" in the previous round against Bishopstown, was unable to make an impact on this occasion but, undoubtedly, will bounce back again. Chris Daly, who played as a third midfielder, in the opening quarter, was clearly hampered by the hamstring injury which he brought into the game with him, and the selectors had no option but to replace him after fifteen minutes. The two remaining players in the full-forward line , John Horgan and Mark Buckley, had most rewarding games with the former notching 0-5,(0-2 from frees) and  Buckley adding 0-2 as well as setting up the goal for Dave O"Leary.. Substitutes, Darren McGrath and Philip O"Brien, both played significant parts in this victory. Scorers for Brian Dillons were; Dave O"Leary, 1-2; John Horgan, 0-5 (0-2 frees); Cillian Brosnan, 0-3 (0-2 "45s, 0-1 free.) and Mark Buckley,0-2; Team; (1) Paul McCarthy;(2) Dylan O"Donoghue;(3) Edmund Hussey;(4) Michael Noonan;(5) Niall Fahy;(6) Cian McCarthy;(7) Tomas Lawrence; (8) Cillian Brosnan; (9) Darragh Brosnan; (10) John Noonan; (11) Dave O"Donoghue; (12) Dave O"Leary; (13) Mark Buckley;(14) John Horgan;(15) Chris Daly; Subs. Darren McGrath for Chris Daly (15 mins.); Philip O"Brien for Dave O"Donoghue (34 mins.) ;.