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Under-21 Hurlers Lose Classic Championship Semi-final.

posted 22 Sept 2013, 09:21 by Willie Horgan   [ updated 23 Sept 2013, 17:18 ]
                   After eighty plus minutes of exciting Hurling, the Brian Dillons under-21 Hurlers were just edged out by Mayfield, 3-21 to 3-17, in the semi-final of the City Division Under-21 Hurling Championship, which was played in Na Piarsaighs Ground,under lights ,on Saturday evening, 21st September, 2013. In a game which produced an excellent standard of Hurling, the physical strength of the Mayfield players was crucial as the lighter Brian Dillons side lost out on the many close quarter tussles throughout the game. However, the Brian Dillons side put up a brave performance and with a little more accuracy in their shooting, they accumulated no less than twenty wide balls, they could have well won this game.  The loss, through injury, of reliable corner-back, Michael Noonan, who was outstanding against Blackrock in the previous round on last Wednesday night, was a huge blow to Brian Dillons after just fifteen minutes play.
              The game got off to great start, for Brian Dillons, when a high pull on midfielder, Shane Maher, directly from the throw-in, was penalised and Darragh Brosnan made no mistake when he pointed from the resultant free. Mayfield, who were playing with the advantage of a stiff breeze in the opening half, went ahead, after three minutes with two points, one from a free. Five minutes later, Kevin Coughlan pointed to bring Brian Dillons on level terms and two minutes later they went ahead again when Kevin Varian pointed a free. Keith McCormick, one of five Brian Dillons players which were playing their third game in three days, slotted over a fine point to put his side, 0-4 to 0-2, ahead after eleven minutes play.    Mayfield reduced the arrears with a pointed free ,two minutes later. Another Kevin Varian point from a placed ball restored Brian Dillons two point advantage and things were going smoothly , particularly as they were playing against the breeze. However, Brian Dillons were dealt a body blow, midway through the first half, when stalwart defender, Michael Noonan, was forced to leave the field with a suspected fractured elbow which will also rule him out of next weekends City Division Junior (A) Football Championship final. His departure seemed to upset the Brian Dillons team and Mayfield got the upper hand in the closing quarter of the first half, when they added another 1-5 ,to which Brian Dillons replied with point , from a free., to leave the half-time score reading, Mayfield,1-8; Brian Dillons, 0-6.
        Brian Dillons got the second half off to a perfect start, when Keith McCormick billowed the back of the net for a great goal ,in their very first attack after less than one minutes play.. However, many chances were wasted through faulty shooting in the next few minutes and Mayfield increased their lead with two points, 1-10 to 1-6,after ten minutes of the second half had elapsed. Darragh Brosnan pointed a long range free to bring Brian Dillons closer but, Mayfield, who were winning many of the midfield battles at this stage,put over two further points,..1-12 to 1-7, after fifteen minutes of the second half had elapsed. Brian Dillons had the gap down to three points, two minutes later, when Kevin Varian and Darragh Brosnan both pointed from placed balls...1-12 to 1-9. Mayfield responded with two points of their own which restored their five point cushion, 1-14 to 1-9, with ten minutes of normal time left.. One minute later, Brian Dillons displayed their fighting qualities when midfielder, Tomas Lawrence, dropped a probing ball into the Mayfield square and, with backs and forwards tussling for possession, it ended up in the net, 1-14 to 2-9. Two pointed frees pushed Mayfield further ahead, 1-16 to 2-9, with five minutes remaining.. In the closing five minutes of normal time, Brian Dillons made a great effort to win the game and with points from Andrew Murphy, Keith McCormick and Kevin Varian, they trailed by a solitary point, 1-16 to 2-12, with just one minute remaining. With excitement at fever pitch, Brian Dillons went in search of the winning scores and with the Mayfield defence under severe pressure, one of their defenders handled the ball on the ground, inside the square, and Kevin Varian pointed the resultant 21 metre free to level the scores, 1-16 to 2-13, and send the game into twenty minutes of extra time.
        Brian Dillons, who had played a gruelling game against Blackrock on the previous Wednesday night and Mark Kelly, Darren McGrath, Keith McCormick,Eric O"Donoghue and Andrew Whyte had played a Minor Hurling League Play-off ,the previous night, showed signs of tiredness in the opening stages of extra-time and Mayfield added two points in the opening two minutes. Brian Dillons took the lead for the first time since midway through the first half of normal time, when Kevin Coughlan scored a super goal, 3-13 to 1-18, after four minutes of extra-time..From the puckout, Mayfield exposed the visibly tiring Brian Dillons defence, when they raced through to put the ball in the net, which gave them back the lead, 2-18 to 3-13.   Darragh Brosnan put over another long range free as Brian Dillons refused to throw in the towel, to which Mayfield replied with a similar score, from a free, which put them ahead, 2-19 to 3-14, with two minutes remaining in the first half of extra time. Kevin Varian closed this first half scoring with a point from a free to leave Brian Dillons trailing by the minimum, 2-19 to 3-15. Mayfield increased their lead with a point in the first minute of the second half of extra time and the next few minutes saw Brian Dillons waste chance after chance with some very poor shooting. Then, came the decisive score of the game, when Mayfield scored their third goal, which had more than a hint of "square ball" about it, which put them ahead,3-20 to 3-15, with eight minutes of the second half of extra time played. Points from Kevin Varian and Dylan O"Donoghue edged Brian Dillons to within three points , 3-20 to 3-17, with time running out, but, however, Mayfield had the last say when they put over the insurance point, one minute into additional time of extra time, 3-21 to 3-17, after a titanic struggle, which was a credit to both clubs.    Scorers for Brian Dillons were;  Kevin Varian, 0-8 (all frees); Keith McCormick, 1-2; Kevin Coughlan,1-1; Darragh Brosnan, 0-4 (frees); Tomas Lawrence,1-0; Andrew Murphy, 0-1 and Dylan O"Donoghue, 0-1 ("65); Team; (1) Mark Kelly; (2) Stephen Kearney;(3) Darren McGrath; (4) Michael Noonan; (5) Dylan O"Donoghue; (6) Darragh Brosnan; (7) James O"Shea; (8) Tomas Lawrence; (9) Shane Maher; (10) Kevin Varian; (11)     Andrew Murphy; (12) Kevin Coughlan;(13) Eric O"Donoghue; (14) Keith McCormick;(15) Eoin Hennessy; Subs; Andrew Whyte for Michael Noonan (15 mins.); Ryan Burns for Stephen Kearney (90 mins.)