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Junior (A) Hurlers Have Lucky Escape in Championship Quarter-final win over St.Vincents.

posted 17 Aug 2013, 16:35 by Willie Horgan   [ updated 25 Oct 2013, 08:38 ]
                       The Brian Dillons Junior (A) Hurlers are through to the semi-final of the City Division Junior (A) Hurling Championship for the fourth consecutive year, as a result of their thrilling, 2-17 to 0-22, victory over a spirited St.Vincents side at Ballinlough on Friday evening, 16th August, 2013.
                     If the Brian Dillons side, who were hurling impressively this season, ever needed a wake up call, they certainly got one on this occasion as they were most fortunate to survive this tremendous test from St.Vincents.  Hurling with passion and abandon, St.Vincents, tore into Brian Dillons from the start which had the champions struggling in many areas of the field for most of the game. By not allowing St.Vincents take the lead in the closing quarter of the game when they had the momentum going, was probably the main reason why Brian Dillons progressed to the semi-final. Great credit is due to the Brian Dillons defence , in which goalkeeper, Andrew Murphy was soundness personified, for preventing St.Vincents from taking the lead in those vital closing ten minutes.
             St. Vincents signalled their intentions from the throw in, when they scored the opening point in less than thirty seconds. Brian Dillons, who had the advantage of a stiffish breeze in the opening half, were level after two minutes when sharpshooter, John Horgan , pointed from a free . Critically, St. Vincents were never to lead again ,although they managed to get on level terms on one occasion. In the seventh minute, with Brian Dillons leading by 0-3 to 0-2, they forced a "65, which John Horgan dropped into the St.Vincents goalmouth and ended in the net for a most fortuitous goal. This score seemed to be just what Brian Dillons needed to push on and three points from John Horgan  added to one from Cian McCarthy had them leading by 1-7 to 0-4, at the end of the first quarter. St.Vincents kept in touch with two pointed frees in the next four minutes to which Brian Dillons responded with a John Noonan point....1-8 to 0-6 after eighteen minutes.. Another point from St.Vincents reduced the deficit, one minute later , but , Brian Dillons restored their five point advantage when John Horgan, again, put over another free.after twenty -three minutes. St.Vincents rallied again and added two points, one from a free, to leave three between the sides as the game entered injury time of the first-half. Points from John Horgan (free) and Cian McCarthy in the first two minutes of added time pushed Brian Dillons five ahead again and St.Vincents closed the first-half scoring when they pointed a "65, in the fourth minute of injury time to leave the half-time score reading, Brian Dillons, 1-11; St.Vincents,0-10. An interesting statistic in this first half was that St.Vincents did not have one single wide ball while Brian Dillons only recorded two.
             The second half began  with St.Vincents, now with wind advantage, adding three points , two from frees,in the opening four minutes, to leave the minimum between the teams..Brian Dillons got a great boost three minutes later, when a John Horgan free was plucked out of the sky  by Brian Barrett who duly smashed the ball to the back of the St.Vincents net for a great goal...2-11 to 0-13. St.Vincents recovered quickly from this setback with another pointed free, one minute later, However, two further points from John Horgan, one from a free, had Brian Dillons five points ahead again after twelve minutes of the second-half. It was at this stage of the game that St.Vincents laid down the gauntlet to Brian Dillons and made a tremendous push for victory. Three unanswered points , in a four minute spell, left them trailing by just two points, 2-13 to 0-17, with thirteen minutes remaining in the game. The margin between the sides was back to four points when Cian McCarthy, now playing at full-forward, and John Horgan (free) added points for Brian Dillons with ten minutes remaining. St.Vincents were contesting every ball as if their lives depended on it at this stage  and added two points to leave the score reading, 2-15 to 0-19. in Brian Dillons favour with eight minutes remaining.. Another John Horgan pointed free gave Brian Dillons a little breathing space but, St.Vincents, now firing on all cylinders, added three further points in a two minute spell to bring the teams level. 2-16 to 0-22, with three minutes left in the game. Excitement was at fever pitch at this stage as it looked like that St.Vincents were about to create the shock of the season. However, Brian Dillons were not about to surrender their title, yet, and when they won a sideline cut out around the middle of the park, with two minutes of normal time left, Cillian Brosnan hit a short ball to John Horgan who quickly hand passed the ball back to Cillian who, in turn, lofted over a magnificent point which was to prove the match winning score. Two minutes of tension filled injury time was added and there was one final twist to the tale. Darragh Brosnan was very harshly penalised when he batted a St.Vincents puckout clear and a free was awarded to St.Vincents, about forty five metres out from the Brian Dillons  goalmouth and dead centre in front of it.. The St. Vincents free taker who had put over eleven points from placed balls from all angles and distances previously in the game, looked a certainty to score and bring the game to a replay. However, Lady Luck was on Brian Dillons side when the free was sent narrowly wide. Brian Dillons were winners by 2-17 to 0-22.
           This was certainly too close for comfort for Brian Dillons and a huge improvement will be required if they hope to beat Nemo Rangers in next Saturday nights semi-final. The defence, despite being under enormous pressure all through, performed well with Andrew Murphy,in goal, Michael Noonan,Darragh Brosnan and passionate sub, Maurice Carey giving outstanding performances. At midfield, Brian Dillons were always struggling with several different pairings while the usually outstanding Tomas Lawrence came in for some special attention and was given no space ,whatsoever, to go on his usual penetrating runs.Cian McCarthy played his best hurling when moved in nearer goal, scoring three valuable points. John Horgans marksmanship ,once again , showed how valuable to the team he is, securing a massive 1-11 return for his efforts. Cillian Brosnan was prepared to battle hard for every ball and scored two massive points, one from an eighty metre free and the other from a difficult angle out around midfield, which was to be the match winning score. Brian Barretts ability to win the high ball was invaluable while his second half goal was top class.  Scorers for Brian Dillons were; John Horgan,1-11 (0-8 frees, 1-0 "65 ); Cian McCarthy, 0-3; Brian Barrett,1-0; Cillian Brosnan, 0-2 (0-1 free); and John Noonan, 0-1;      Team; (1) Andrew Murphy; (2) Niall Fahy; (3) Danny Murphy; (4) Michael Noonan; (5) Keith McCormick; (6),Mark White;(7), Darragh Brosnan;(8), Tomas Lawrence; (9), Cian McCarthy; (10),Kevin Coughlan; (11), Cillian Brosnan; (12),Brian Barrett; (13), John Noonan; (14) John Horgan; (15), Dave Coughlan;  Subs; Maurice Carey for Kevin Coughlan (34 mins.); Mark Buckley for Dave Coughlan (43 mins.) .