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Junior (A) Hurlers Through to County League Final After Titanic Struggle with Freemount.

posted 9 Nov 2013, 18:24 by Willie Horgan   [ updated 10 Nov 2013, 16:48 ]
                The Brian Dillons Junior (A) Hurlers qualified for the final of the County Junior (A) Hurling League , when they defeated Freemount, 1-14 to 2-10, in the semi-final, which was played in Mourneabbey, on Saturday night, 9th November, 2013. It was too close for comfort in the end ,especially when you consider that Brian Dillons had built up a lead of 1-8 to 0-3 after twenty three minutes of the opening half. However, as the conditions deteriorated, after the earlier torrential rain, with the pitch becoming a quagmire, the remainder of the hour turned into a real slog.  However, great credit is due to Brian Dillons for surviving this stern test of their character when they snatched the winning point in the final minute of the game, after Freemount had staged a remarkable second half fightback to get on level terms with one minute left.
            The opening quarter of the game saw Brian Dillons in control and in the first three minutes Cillian Brosnan lofted over two long range points, one from a "65 and the other from a free in the middle of the park.. However, we were to learn at half time that the Referee, for some unknown reason, did not allow the latter score, even though the white flag was waved by the umpire.  Brian Dillons were three points up, after seven minutes, when Tomas Lawrence pointed after receiving a clever short pass from a Cillian Brosnan free. Freemount had their opening score, after fifteen minutes, with a pointed free but ,then followed a sustained Brian Dillons dominance for the next ten minutes. Tomas Lawrence put over his second point which was followed by another Cillian Brosnan point after he received a peach of a pass from the hard working midfielder, Keith McCormick...0-5 to 0-2 after seventeen minutes. One minute later, Cillian Brosnan added another pointed free which was followed by a goal and two points by centre half forward, Cian McCarthy, to which Freemount replied with their first point from play to leave the score , 1-8 to 0-3, in Brian Dillons favour, with twenty three minutes of the first half gone. Quality hurling was proving extremely difficult, at this stage, as the soft pitch began to churn up and exchanges became tough and hard. Freemount clawed back the deficit with two points, one from a free, and the first half scoring concluded with two Brian Dillon points from Brian Barrett and  Cillian Brosnan ,from a free, to leave the half time score reading, Brian Dillons, 1-10; Freemount, 0-5...or so we thought. After checking the score with the Referee, at the interval, we were astonished to discover that he had only credited 1-9 to Brian Dillons, even though many observers, who had been noting the scores, as they arrived, including the Press Reporter, John Tarrant, all had Brian Dillons tally as 1-10.  Bizaare !
        The second half began promisingly for Brian Dillons with Tomas Lawrence pointing in their very first attack. However, three minutes later the game took a decisive twist in Freemounts favour when a high delivery ,from the midfield area , ended up in back of the Brian Dillons net after goalkeeper,Andrew Murphy, seemed to lose the sight of the ball.,after being blinded by the glare from the lights.. Encouraged by this lucky goal, Freemount laid down the gauntlet to Brian Dillons and added three further points, one from a free, which left them only two points behind, 1-10 to 1-8, with seventeen minutes remaining in the game. The scoring threat from Brian Dillons seemed to have dried up at this stage of the game, but,it was then that the Brian Dillons mentors made a master move, They decided to introduce ace sharpshooter, John Horgan, who is carrying a groin injury, into the game and, immediately the pendulum swung back in Brian Dillons favour. Horgan stamped his authority on the game with two pointed frees and when Kevin Coughlan added another , Brian Dillons were ahead by five, 1-13 to 1-8, with eight minutes left in the game.. Freemount clawed one back with a  pointed free, two minutes later and with two minutes remaining they were back in the game when they finished the ball to the net after a hectic goalmouth scramble.... 1-13 to 2-9.. The game seemed destined to go to extra-time when Freemount had the levelling point with just one minute left.. It was fitting that Brian Dillons snatched the winning point in the dying seconds, when John Horgan, showing all the coolness and experience which he has gained in his lengthy career, lofted over a magnificent point, which gave his team their ticket to the County League final.
                     A good win for Brian Dillons, therefore, considering the difficult ground conditions which militated against their usual fluent hurling. Their defence ,once again played solidly and they could not be blamed for the two goals conceded. Tomas Lawrence and Keith McCormick formed a skilful midfield partnership but their stylish play suffered as the pitch cut up. The Brian Dillons forwards sparkled in the opening half with Cillian Brosnan, Cian McCarthy and Brian Barrett performing particularly well.  However, they appeared to struggle in the second half as conditions worsened but, the introduction of John Horgan proved to be a master move. Scorers for Brian Dillons were;Cian McCarthy, 1-2; Cillian Brosnan, 0-4, not including his point which was cancelled by the Referee, (0-2 frees, 0-1 "65 );Tomas Lawrence, 0-3; John Horgan ,0-3 (frees); Brian Barrett, 0-1; and Kevin Coughlan ,0-1; The Brian Dillons team lined out as follows; Andrew Murphy; James Murphy; Danny Murphy; Dylan O"Donoghue; Daniel McCormick; Mark White, capt.:Darragh Brosnan; Tomas Lawrence; Keith McCormick; Cillian Brosnan; Cian McCarthy; Brian Barrett; John Noonan; Kevin Coughlan and Philip O"Brien;  Subs; (all second half), John Horgan for Philip O"Brien; Mark Buckley for Kevin Coughlan ; Dave Coughlan for John Noonan.