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Junior (A) Hurlers Advance in Championship with Good Victory over St.Finbarrs.

posted 29 Jun 2014, 10:05 by Willie Horgan
                             The Brian Dillons Junior (A) Hurlers successfully overcame the first hurdle in the 2014 City Division Junior (A) Hurling Championship with a, 3-17 to 1-17,victory over St.Finbarrs , out in Ballinlough ,on Saturday, 28th June, 2014. In a tough, physical game, the strong finish by Brian Dillons was crucial in this victory. As anticipated, St.Finbarrs provided a torrid test for Brian Dillons and in a game of hard, quality hurling, victory was not assured , until the final five minutes for Dillons, when they scored their second and third goals.
                            On an ideal night for Hurling, the "Barrs took the lead for the only time in the game when they pointed , from a free, in the second minute. The sides were level, one minute later, when the Brian Dillons outstanding half-back, Darragh Brosnan, scored a wonderful long range point. His brother, Cillian, who gave a Man-of -the-Match performance at right half forward, pushed Dillons into the lead, with a fine point ,after four minutes play.. Two minutes later, the "Barrs were back on level terms with another pointed free but four consecutive points from  John Horgan (three) and Darragh Brosnan, all from placed balls, gave Brian Dillons a lead of 0-6 to 0-2, at the end of the opening quarter. St.Finbarrs reduced the arrears with their first point from play, after sixteen minutes, but, Brian Dillons were hurling well at this stage and they went further ahead when John Horgan, unerring from placed balls, slotted over another point and Shane Maher"s first time effort, in front of goal, went over the bar and could , quite easily , have ended in the net....Dillons ahead, 0-8 to 0-3, after seventeen minutes play. A fourth St.Finbarrs point was followed by two for Brian Dillons from Cillian Brosnan and Cian McCarthy, who was now settling into the game...0-10 to 0-4 after twenty minutes. Two pointed frees brought St.Finbarrs closer but, Dillons were five up again, thanks to a fine point from midfielder, Tomas Lawrence.. Almost immediately, the "Barrs scored their third consecutive pointed free, which left them trailing, 0-7 to 0-11 ,after twenty five minutes. Cian McCarthy pushed Brian Dillons five ahead again, after twenty eight minutes, but, it was back to four when the "Barrs pointed, one minute later. The gap was down to three when the "Barrs had another point in the final minute of normal time and in the first minute of injury time, John Horgan closed the first half scoring with another pointed free to leave Brian Dillons leading, 0-13 to 0-9 ,at the interval.
                      St.Finbarrs began the second half in determined fashion and with four consecutive points, one from a free. they were back on level terms, 0-13 each, after five minutes. In the eight minute of the second half, John Horgan pushed Brian Dillons ahead again with another pointed free and ,it was at this stage that the Brian Dillons mentors made some shrewd switches ,which swung the pendulum back in their teams favour. Cian McCarthy was switched to midfield, where he proceeded to give his team a decisive advantage, A tiring Tomas Lawrence moved into full-forward, where he was to cause many problems for the "Barrs defence, while John Horgan moved out to the half forward line, where his clever distribution of the ball was vital in the closing stages of the game. From one of his passes, Cillian Brosnan scored a magnificent point ,from out around midfield near the sideline, to leave Brian Dillons leading, 0-15 to 0-13, after ten minutes of the second half. Tomas Lawrence, who was now looking very dangerous, at full-forward, was brought down in the "Barrs parallelogram, when he looked certain to goal, and John Horgan made no mistake with the penalty.. 1-15 to 0-13 ,after thirteen minutes of the second half. The "Barrs responded to this setback with a point ,four minutes later, but, Cian McCarthy, who was hurling splendidly at midfield, careered through the "Barrs defence to score one of his trademark points...1-16 to 0-14..With ten minutes of normal time left in the game, St.Finbarrs reduced the arrears to four points but, it was back to five again when John Horgan, once again slotted over from a placed ball, with just eight minutes left. St.Finbarrs got dangerously close , in the next two minutes, when they converted two frees, which left trailing by only three points, 0-17 to 1-17. In the final minutes of the game, Brian Dillons, moved into safe pastures with two consecutive goals. The first came when Tomas Lawrence, who was creating havoc in the "Barrs defence, parted inside to Philip O"Brien ,who ,duly, billowed the back of the net...2-17 to 0-17. Then, one minute later, Tomas Lawrence soloed through the "Barrs defence, once again, and planted the ball in the back of the net...3-17 to 0-17, at the end of normal time. In the fourth minute of added time, the "Barrs got a goal back, when from a 21 metre free they gave a short pass which was finished to the net. From the puckout the final whistle sounded and Brian Dillons were victors on a 3-17 to 1-17 scoreline.
                    Although comfortable winners in the end, this was a stern test for Brian Dillons from a particularly strong St.Finbarrs side. Andrew Murphy had a excellent game between the posts, making a number of fine saves in the second half. Andrew was fronted by a solid full-back lline in which Dave Cremin, Danny Murphy and Michael Noonan were absolutely outstasnding. Wing backs, Darragh Rodgers and Darragh Brosnan were "flying" while ,in the centre, Mark White, despite having his hands full with the physically strong "Barrs centre forward, still managed to get some clever deliveries into his forwards.
 At midfield, Tomas Lawrence, was getting plenty of attention from his opponents, and played his best hurling when he was moved into the full-forward line ,in the second half, while his midfield partner, Keith McCormick, who was playing only his second game of the year, due to Exams, produced some stylish play ,at times. Shane Maher, playing in his first Junior (A) Hurling Championship game at left half forward, won some vital frees ,in the opening half, and was unlucky not to goal when his first time ball, from close range, went over the bar. Cian McCarthy ,after a slow start, thundered into the game ,in the second half when moved to midfield while Cillian Brosnan was absolutely brilliant  at right half forward, where his high fielding and general workrate were the features of his display. John Horgan, proved, once again, how important his free-taking prowess is to the team, while his ball distribution, when moved outfield to the half forward line, was also, excellent. In the corner forward positions, John Noonan and Philip O"Brien, who took his goal well, worked their socks off from start to finish. Scorers for Brian Dillons were; John Horgan, 1-7 (0-7 frees, 1-0 penalty); Tomas Lawrence,1-1; Cian McCarthy,0-3; Cillian Brosnan,0-3; Philip O"Brien,1-0; Darragh Brosnan,0-2 (0-1 free) and Shane Maher,0-1; The Brian Dillons team lined out as follows; Andrew Murphy; Dave Cremin; Danny Murphy; Michael Noonan; Darragh Rodgers (Capt.) Mark White; Darragh Brosnan; Tomas Lawrence; Keith McCormick; Cillian Brosnan; Cian McCarthy; Shane Maher; John Noonan; John Horgan; Philip O"Brien; Subs; Kevin Coughlan for Shane Maher (48 mins.); Maurice Carey for Mark White (Injured, 50 mins.).