Our Junior(A) footballers pulled off the heist of the century on Sunday morning last in Ballinlough when they came from four points down in stoppage time to beat Nemo Rangers by a point to advance to the 1/4 finals of the City Division Football Championship on a scoreline of Brian Dillons 3-13 to Nemo Rangers 3-12. In what was a cracking game of free flowing football for the neutral, neither side will be overly happy with some aspects of the play especially conceding so much when putting up a big score. Dillons go away the happier side while the Nemo lads will ponder over a long summer just how they lost this one when it seemed so secure.
Nemo opened the scoring in this game after only ten seconds but it was Dillons who took over on the scoring front for the first ten minutes, Cillian Brosnan through on goal after six minutes was pulled down cynically and rightfully had a penalty awarded which he dispatched to the bottom left corner of the Nemo net. At this point it seemed like Dillons would build a lead over Nemo, but like all Nemo sides they know when to strike important blows and in the 11th minute did just that after poor Dillons defending the ball ended up in the net. Dillons responded well to this, rattling off the next three points with some fantastic inter play in the forward line and looked to have steadied the ship, Nemo had other ideas and when a scrappy ball broke a Nemo forward swung his leg at it on the half volley and found the bottom corner of the Dillons net in what was a fantastic looking goal to put them out in front again. This wasn't to be the end of Nemos ascendancy, three minutes later the ball was in the back of the net again with the Dillons defence on the ropes Nemo were pouring through with runners off the shoulder from a move that started in their own back line. Like many occasions throughout the season and not for the last time in this game the Dillons lads didn't stay on the ground for long and fought their way back into this game to ensure they went in level at half time at 1-10 to 3-04.
Dillons supporters had every reason to be worried going into the second period as their lads had played with a strong breeze at their back in the first and Nemo made sure to heighten those worries in the first few moments as they got stuck back in where they left off. However in this period when they could have landed the knockout blows they squandered a number of chances and instead traded scores with Dillons to leave only 2 points between the sides after 15 minutes. Old heads will tell you that surviving a teams good period and to still be in touching distance is key and Dillons did just that, going into the final moments of the game they gave themselves a chance. Even though they hadn't looked like threatening the Nemo goals it was goals they needed when trailing by 4 with minutes to go. Tomas Lawrence duly obliged, picking the ball up around midfield he drove through the heart of the Nemo defence and struck an unstoppable shot to the top corner of the net putting Dillons firmly back into this contest. Nemo responded well and put themselves two points clear, what in their minds, one can only imagine they thought a winning position. The Dillons lads though, dragged themselves up again and like an old boxer who doesn't know when he is beat went looking for the knock out blow. This they found after great inter play, Dave Cremin hand passed across the box where Barry Triggs waited to punch the ball Maradona style into the Nemo net and to the amazement of the Nemo faithful put Dillons 1 point up with seconds remaining. Nemo went looking for the equalizer but it was Dillons who playing in the Nemo style of old shut the game down and ran the clock down to record an impressive fight back victory.
On what was an extremely warm and humid day credit must be given to all 6 of Dillons rearguard as they certainly were made cover every blade of grass on the pitch by a lively Nemo forward line. At midfield Tomas Lawrence and Cillian Brosnan, when moved out, turned in fantastic performances to drive this game home, all 6 forwards got on the score sheet which is not surprising considering the quick inter changing of play that was evident in their style from the outset. Overall Dillons can be happy to be progressing to the next round of the football championship, they will however not look back on this game too fondly in terms of the score conceded. At the moment Dillons are shipping too many goals and if they want to progress further in this championship this needs to stop, from front to back they will need to identify how they are going to ensure this problem is resolved before lining out against St.Finbarrs in the quarters. But for now they will enjoy their victory and for the management team they know they have a unit of players that can resolve this issue.
Scorers: T Lawrence, 1-2; C Brosnan, 1-1; J Horgan, 0-3; M Buckley 0-3; B Triggs, 1-0; D Cremin, 0-2; D Rodgers and D O'Leary 0-1 each.
Team: 1. J Kirby; 2. E Hussey; 3. C Daly; 4. M Noonan; 5. P O'Brien; 6. C McCarthy; 7. S Maher; 8. D McGrath; 9. T Lawrence; 10. D Cremin; 11. D Rodgers; 12. D O'Leary; 13. M Buckley; 14. C Brosnan; 15. J Horgan.
Subs: N Fahy for D O'Leary; B Triggs for M Buckley
Referee: Brian Coniry
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