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Junior (A) Hurlers Surrender Championship Title at Semi-final Stage.

posted 25 Aug 2013, 16:52 by Willie Horgan   [ updated 25 Aug 2013, 16:56 ]
               The Brian Dillons Junior (A) Hurlers, City Division Champions of 2012, surrendered their title at the semi-final stage ,when they went under to Nemo Rangers, 1-18 to 1-11, at Ballinlough on Saturday evening, 24th August,2013.   Forced to play forty two minutes of the game with fourteen players, when corner-back, Niall Fahy, was sent off after receiving a second yellow card after eighteen minutes of the opening half, Brian Dillons put up a brave performance by being in the game with a chance up to the closing minutes of the game. However, like what had happened in several Inter-County games, this season, the extra man made a huge difference and Nemo made maximum use of their advantage.
               Brian Dillons began the game brightly with Cian McCarthy pointing smartly when finishing a passing movement which involved several players ,after less than a minutes play. Two minutes later Brian Dillons looked certain to goal when Cian McCarthy, in possession of the ball, rounded the Nemo "keeper only to see his tap into an empty net rebound of the bottom of the crossbar. Desperately unlucky and a goal ,at this stage, could have made a huge difference. After this let-off, Nemo settled and scored their opening two points to put them one ahead  after six minutes. John Horgan levelled matters for Brian Dillons with a pointed free in the eight minute, but Nemo were hurling well at this point and four points on the trot, two from placed balls, pushed them ahead, 0-6 to 0-2, after fifteen minutes. Another John Horgan pointed free brought Brian Dillons closer,after eighteen minutes, but ,a minutes later came the most decisive moment of the game.  With the Nemo Rangers corner-forward soloing in along the endline, he was met by a heavy shoulder charge from the Brian Dillons corner-back Niall Fahy. As the referee deemed the shoulder charge to be frontal, a yellow card was issued to the Brian Dillons player, and, as this was his second yellow, it was followed by a red card which left Brian Dillons a man short for the remainder of the game. Nemo pointed the resultant free and things were not looking good for Brian Dillons, behind by 0-7 to 0-3, and playing with fourteen players. However, full credit to the Brian Dillons players for refusing to throw in the towel and for making the game competitive for the remainder of the hour. Cian McCarthy had his second point in the twentieth minute, to which Nemo replied with a similar score ,a minute later. John Horgan pointed another free, after twenty two minutes but, Nemos four point cushion was restored one minute later. However, Brian Dillons were hurling well at this stage and the extra man was not making a huge difference for Nemo. Cillian Brosnan scored a magnificent point for Brian Dillons, after twenty four minutes play...0-9 to 0-6.   Untypically, John Horgan missed two long range frees but, atoned with two splendid points in the closing minutes of the first half to leave the fourteen man Brian Dillons side behind by the minimum, 0-9 to 0-8, at the interval.
         Nemo Rangers opened the second half scoring with a pointed free in the first minute, but two minutes later Tomas Lawrence got Brian Dillons off the mark with a fine point from play. John Horgan opted to go for a goal from a twenty five metre free, which was saved by the line of Nemo defenders, and in retrospect, maybe a simple tap over for a point would have sufficed at this stage. From this let-off, Nemo stretched their lead to two points with another pointed free, six minutes into the second half, to which John Horgan replied with a similar score at the other end....0-11 to 0-10. The extra defender for Nemo began to tell at this stage of the game as he repeatedly mopped up the loose ball  that dropped into the Brian Dillons forwards. The scoring threat from Brian Dillons was lessening, while the Nemo forwards, receiving a plentiful supply of the ball from the extra defender, added a further three points between the tenth and eighteenth minute of the second half. With nine minutes left for play, Brian Dillons were back in the game when John Horgan billowed the back of the Nemo net for a great goal...0-14 to 1-10.
Nemo replied with a point, two minutes later but, almost immediately, it was back to one point lead when Cian McCarthy pointed with five minutes remaining...0-15 to 1-11. Sadly, this was to be the Brian Dillons side last score of the game. With the extra pair of legs, Nemo ceased the iniative in the closing minutes and two further points, one from a "65 which was awarded after the Brian Dillons "keeper,Andrew Murphy
 had made one of his many outstanding saves, pushed them, 0-17 to 1-11, ahead as the full -time whistle drew agonisingly nearer. Tempers began to boil over at this stage which resulted in Daniel McCormick of Brian Dillons and a Nemo Rangers forward being issued with straight red cards.. In the final minute of the game, the Nemo forwards eventually beat the brilliant Brian Dillons goalkeeper, Andrew Murphy, with a kicked effort which slid into the corner of the net.. In injury time, Brian Dillons were dealt another body blow, when in sheer frustration, full -back, Danny Murphy was dismissed for a foul on a Nemo forward, and the scoring closed with Nemo pointing the resultant free..1-18 to 1-11.
           So, Brian Dillons bid to retain the title and to reach their fourth consecutive final failed. However, the players have given the Brian Dillons supporters many moments of enjoyment during the past two years and as the nucleus of the side are under 23 years of the age, they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in next years Championship.  Losing a man so early in the game against Nemo was crucial. It may not have mattered against lesser teams but, against a good side like Nemo, it was fatal. Still, the performance of the Brian Dillons side was brave. Andrew Murphy became of age as a fine goalkeeper with Michael Noonan and Darragh Brosnan  also, giving noteworthy defensive displays.  Brian Barrett gave a wholehearted performance, all through, in the half forward line while Cillian Brosnan Cian McCarthy and the slightly subdued, John Horgan, were others to do well, in adversity, in the attack.    Scorers for Brian Dillons were; John Horgan, 1-6 (0-6 frees);Cian McCarthy, 0-3; Cillian Brosnan and Tomas Lawrence,0-1 each; Team; (1) Andrew Murphy;(2) Niall Fahy; (3) Danny Murphy; (4) Michael Noonan; (5) Daniel McCormick; (6) Mark White, (Captain); (7) Darragh Brosnan; (8) Tomas Lawrence; (9) Keith McCormick; (10) Cillian Brosnan; (11) Cian McCarthy;(12) Brian Barrett; (13) John Noonan; (14) Niall O"Sullivan; (15) John Horgan;  Subs;James Horgan for Niall O"Sullivan; Philip O"Brien for John Noonan (both 45 mins,);  Maurice Carey for Mark White (54 mins.),