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Superb Second Half Performance Propels Junior (A) Hurlers into County League Semi-final.

posted 17 Oct 2014, 18:21 by Willie Horgan
                                  The Brian Dillons Junior (A) Hurlers served notice that they have no intention of relinquishing their County Junior (A) Hurling League title, when they recorded a convincing, 4-13 to 1-10, victory over County Championship finalists, Ballinhassig, in this years quarter-final stage, which was played in Pairc Diolunaigh on Friday evening, 17th October, 2014.  On a horrible night of torrential rain and gale-force winds, Brian Dillons displayed tremendous spirit in achieving this victory especially ,as they had to line out minus six players that started against Nemo Rangers in the traumatic Championship semi-final exit, played on 9th September, 2014, which was the last Hurling game that they played.. Showing no signs of their six week lay off, Brian Dillons took the game to Ballinhassig, who will contest the County Junior (A) Hurling Championship final on Sunday, 26th October, 2014, and the opening half produced some splendid hurling ,in spite of the horrendous conditions.  Brian Dillons, playing with the gale force winds to their backs in the opening half, were first to score when regular full-back, Danny Murphy, who lined out at centre half forward in this game, , struck over a fine point, in the first minute.  As per usual, a number of bad wides followed for Brian Dillons before John Horgan pointed  to push his side two points up ,after six minutes play.. Following another few bad wides for Brian Dillons, they had a total of eleven in the first half, Ballinhassig began to play ,with two points followed by a goal, which pushed them into the lead, 1-2 to 0-2, after twelve minutes play. The response from Brian Dillons was fast and positive. Firstly, Martin Corbett, who had a distinguished outing, slotted over a fine point which was followed by  stirring goal by Kevin Varian, who received a great pass from John Horgan after an, equally, great assist from James Murphy, who began the initial movement....Dillons ahead, 1-3 to 1-2 after fifteen minutes play. Ballinhassig were level ,one minute later, but, Danny Murphy restored Brian Dillons one point advantage, with his second point, after twenty minutes. The first score from a placed ball came after twenty two minutes when Ballinhassig scored a point from a close in free, to which Martin Corbett tapped over his second point to push Brian Dillons one point ahead again. However, two Ballinhassig points in the closing five minutes of the first half, had them leading, 1-6 to 1-5, at the interval, which left Brian Dillons to rue their total of eleven wides, in the opening half, particularly, as they had to face the elements on the turnover.  However, we were to witness one of the greatest second half performances from a Brian Dillons team, that this writer has ever witnessed.
                            The second half began brightly for Brian Dillons with three points in a row from Danny Murphy, Tomas Lawrence and Darragh Brosnan, which had them ahead, 1-8 to 1-6, after five minutes and the weather conditions worsening. Ballinhassig , even though playing with the strengthening breeze, were struggling to get scores against a  superb Brian Dillons defence and had to rely on two pointed frees which had them on level terms, 1-8 each, after ten minutes of the second half. Brian Dillons continued to battle defiantly against the elements and in the twelfth minute ,of the second half, they were rewarded for their efforts when the excellent, Danny Murphy, crashed home a great goal after good assists from Mark Buckley and James Murphy.. Two splendid points followed from John Horgan and ,suddenly, Brian Dillons were leading by 2-10 to 1-8, with fifteen minutes remaining in the game.   Ballinhassig were determined to show  that they were worthy County Championship finalists and with two points, from play ,they had reduced the deficit to just three points, 2-10 to 1-10, with ten minutes left in the game.. However, the final ten minutes belonged to Brian Dillons with their magnificent defence, superbly marshalled by Darragh Rodgers, at centre-half back,  denying the Ballinhassig forwards any further scores, while the Brian Dillons forwards went on a scoring spree. Firstly, that man again, Danny Murphy, pointed, which was followed by a superb goal from John Horgan, after great assists from Mark Buckley and Kevin Varian.... 3-11 to 1-10. Less than a minute later, the game was done and dusted when Martin Corbett, completed a really impressive performance, when he billowed the net for a fourth Brian Dillons goal.  Two further Brian Dillons points followed in the final two minutes of the game from the industrious ,Tomas Lawrence and John Horgan , from a free, which gave them a very impressive, 4-13 to 1-10, victory.
                      This win was more than welcome for the Brian Dillons team,  who had suffered a traumatic blow when they were cruelly eliminated from the Championship by a goal, five minutes into injury time, by Nemo Rangers. Now, they can look forward to making a bold bid to retain the County and City League titles ,which they won last year. As already mentioned, the Brian Dillons defence was superb in the win over Ballinhassig. Andrew Murphy was his usual cool, safe, custodian, between the posts while the full-back line of Niall Fahy, solid, Darren McGrath, powerful, and Michael Noonan, his usual energetic self, were always in control. Darragh Rodgers, as previously mentioned, was a colossus ,at centre half back, while his flankers, Philip O"Brien who seems to have a new lease of life in his new position, and Darragh Brosnan, who continues to produce outstanding performances, were ,absolutely superb.  Kevin Coughlan produced his best performance of the year, at midfield, while, his partner, Tomas Lawrence, was his usual outstanding self, pilfering two points,as well.  Danny Murphy was the star of the forward line, Lining out at centre half forward, after spending the last few seasons manning the full-back position in brilliant fashion, he was a ball of fire in the attack, as well as nailing 1-4 from play. The experienced, John Horgan, was as dangerous as ever ,at right half forward, also, scoring 1-4, (0-1 free) while on the other wing, Martin Corbett, playing his first Junior (A) game this year, contributed 1-2, which meant that the half-forward line amassed 3-10 of the 4-13 final tally.  Kevin Varian showed his potential with a cracking goal ,in the first half, while ,also, assisting in John Horgans second half goal while James Murphy, at full -forward, although not figuring on the scoresheet, was a constant nuisance to the Ballinhassig defence, as well as assisting in numerous scores for his fellow forwards.. John Noonan opened promisingly , in the other corner forward position, but, had to retire due, to his recent ,recurring injury problem. His second half replacement, Mark Buckley, produced a really outstanding performance, winning every ball that came his way and setting up numerous score for his teammates.  Scorers for Brian Dillons were; Danny Murphy, 1-4; John Horgan, 1-4 (0-1 free ); Martin Corbett, 1-2; Kevin Varian, 1-0; Tomas lawrence, 0-2; and Darragh Brosnan,0-1.  The Brian Dillons team lined out as follows; Andrew Murphy; Niall Fahy; Darren McGrath; Michael Noonan; Philip O"Brien; Darragh Rodgers; Darragh Brosnan; Tomas Lawrence; Kevin Coughlan; John Horgan; Danny Murphy; Martin Corbett; Kevin Varian; James Murphy; and John Noonan;  Sub; Mark Buckley for John Noonan (injured) (30 mins.) .