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Junior (A) Hurlers End Season in Style with McCurtain Cup Final Win over Mayfield.

posted 7 Dec 2014, 09:34 by Willie Horgan
                        Recently crowned County Junior (A) Hurling League Champions, Brian Dillons, added the McCurtain Cup to their 2014 trophy haul, when they recorded a convincing, 1-14 to 1-7, victory over Mayfield, in the final ,which was played out in Ballinlough on Sunday morning, 7th December, 2014. The game was played in extremely difficult  underfoot conditions, on a heavily sanded pitch, which made quality hurling, almost, impossible. Brian Dillons suffered a major blow to their chances when they lost two of their more influential performers, in the opening quarter of the game, with the forced withdrawal of full-back, Darragh Rodgers, and centre-half -forward, Cian McCarthy, when both players were injured. However, with the sides deadlocked, at 0-3 each, at the interval, after Mayfield had played with the hefty breeze, Brian Dillons proceeded to produce a scintillating second half performance , which saw them cruise to a seven point victory.
                   The opening half of the game was contested in a competitive manner on the heavy sod with wind assisted Mayfield, applying plenty of pressure on the Brian Dillons defence, but were finding it difficult to score due to the tenacity of the tackling by the Dillons backline.  The opening score came after four minutes play, when Mayfield converted a free puck and six minutes later , Brian Dillons lost their full-back when Darragh Rodgers had to retire injured  Wing back, Darragh Brosnan,took over the full-back duties while Mark White came on in the half-back line for Brian Dillons to maintain their defensive superiority. A magnificent sideline cut, from Cian McCarthy,which sailed over the bar ,had Brian Dillons on level terms ,after 15 minutes, but, shortly after, the same player had to leave the field after twisting his ankle, which was another body blow for Brian Dillons. Still, a powerfully struck long range free, into the wind,, from John Horgan, saw Brian Dillons go ahead after 21 minutes. The lead was shortlived, however, as a Mayfield point, a minute later, had the sides level again. Another pointed free pushed Mayfield into the lead ,with two minutes left in the opening half, but, parity was restored when John Horgan nailed another long range free ,which saw the sides go in level at half-timel, at 0-3 each, after a low scoring first period.
                 Brian Dillons began the second half in whirlwind fashion, adding 1-5 in the opening ten minutes, before Mayfield had their first score, a point, of the second period.  The Brian Dillons goal arrived in the opening minute when out standing centre half back, Danny Murphy floated a long ball into the Mayfield square, which was finished to the net by the evergreen Maurice Carey. John Horgan followed with a pointed free and two points ,in a row, from mid-fielder, Tomas Lawrence, who was dominating around the middle of the park at this stage,saw Brian Dillons leading by 1-6 to 0-3, after six minutes of the second half had elapsed. John Horgan pushed his side further ahead ,with another pointed free, after eight second half minutes which was followed by a Maurice Carey point after receiving a great pass from Kevin Coughlan who had worked tenaciously to win the ball ,out on the wing...Dillons ahead, 1-8 to 0-3 after ten minutes of the second half.  Mayfield had their first score of the second half ,when  they pointed ,after 11 minutes but, Brian Dillons eight point cushion was restored when John Horgan had his fith point , from a placed ball, after 12 minutes of the second period. Mayfield got one back, two minutes later, but Tomas Lawrence, who was playing brilliantly now, stormed through to register his third point....1-10 to 0-5 for Dillons, with 13 minutes left.. The Mayfield goal came, two minutes later, when, from a "65 which dropped into the square, saw Darragh Brosnan ,in attempting to gather possession,being dispossessed by the Mayfield full-forward flicking the ball over the line. Less than a minute later, John Horgan steadied Brian Dillons with a fine point from play and the same player added another point from a placed ball...1-12 to 1-5 to Dillons with eight minutes remaining. Mayfield reduced the arrears with two consecutive points, one from a free and the second from a "65, but, it was left to top scorer, John Horgan, to close the scoring with two points , one from a free, in the closing two minutes, which saw Brian Dillons emerging deserving winners on 1-14 to 1-7 scoreline. A great end to the season ,.therefore, for Brian Dillons who had become County Junior(A) Hurling League Champions, the previous week and were regaining the McCurtain Cup title which they last won in 2012. Goalkeeper, Andrew Murphy was , once again, faultless between the posts with the entire defence of Philip O"Brien, Darragh Rodgers, until his injury, Michael Noonan, Keith McCormick, Danny Murphy, awesome, and Darragh Brosnan, at wing back and full back, all performing splendidly. Mark White, who replaced the injured Darragh Rodgers, grew in stature as the game progressed and was a commanding figure in the second half. Tomas Lawrence was, once again ,brilliant at midfield with his partner, Daniel McCormick, being equally effective. Cian McCarthy, at centre half forward, looked ominously dangerous in the opening quarter, with his point, direct from a sideline cut being the score of the game, while Cillian Brosnan, on the wing and later on the forty,after Cian McCarthy had went off injured, was a constant thorn to the Mayfield defence.. Shane Maher tried tremendously hard ,at left half forward, with the heavy conditions not suiting his style of play.  Mark Buckley was once again a ball of fire at corner forward and when he moved out to the half forward line, in the second half, and although not figuring on the scoresheet, his workrate and bravery was top class.. Full -forward, Maurice Carey, once again showed how valuable he is to the team, plundering a goal and a point, while John Horgan"s accuracy was instrumental in this win, finishing with nine points , two from play, to his credit. The five subs. used all contributed handsomely to this victory. As already mentioned, Mark White, was outstanding, while Kevin Coughlan, who replaced the injured Cian McCarthy, got through a lot of good work, also. Kevin Varian ran himself to a standstill ,when he came on, and replacement defenders, Niall Fahy and Eoin Hennessy, proceeded to give creditable defensive deisplays in the closing minutes of the game.   Finally, a word of praise to Manager, Billy Cashman, and his backroom team of Jamesy Corcoran, John O"Leary and Brad O"Donoghue and to Coach, Martin McSweeney, for his early season work with the team.
 Scorers for Brian Dillons were; John Horgan, 0-9 (0-7 frees); Maurice Carey, 1-1; Tomas Lawrence,0-3 ; Cian McCarthy, 0-1 (Line ball); Team ; Andrew Murphy; Philip O"Brien; Darragh Rodgers; Michael Noonan; Keith McCormick; Danny Murphy; Darragh Brosnan; Tomas Lawrence; Daniel McCormick; Cillian Brosnan; Cian McCarthy; Shane Maher; Mark Buckley; Maurice Carey; and John Horgan;  Subs; Mark White for Darragh Rodgers (10 mins. Injured); Kevin Coughlan for Cian McCarthy (20 mins. Injured ) Kevin Varian for Shane Maher (40 mins.); Niall Fahy for Keith McCormick (53 mins.) and Eoin Hennessy for Michael Noonan (55 mins.)