HOLDERS Brian Dillon’s retained their Sports Turf Solutions Seandún Junior A Hurling Championship title, as they defeated Passage in a thrilling final at Ballinlough.
For Passage, this was heartbreak as they failed to win this title for the first time and it would have been a great double having won the football decider last week. This was their sixth final defeat since they started playing in the City division back in 1959.
Great credit to Brian Dillon's who upped their game in the final minutes as Passage tried to save the game in the dying minutes.
A bit of controversy about the score as those in the media box were convinced that the Harbour town had scored a point early in the second half that could have proved crucial to the final outcome.
Dillon's selector John O’Leary was thrilled with the win. “Nobody could underestimate the Passage bandwagon this year. Look we have been on the road quite a long time and maybe that showed in the end.
This team is ten years on the go now and there is still a lot still in the tank and we will be hopeful to do ourselves justice next week in the County Championship.
It was a solid defence that kept Dillons in the game with netminder Declan Hourihane pulling off two wonderful saves at crucial stages in the second half.
Cian McCarthy kept Passage in the game contributing 1-9 of his side's tally. He had Passage ahead inside the opening minute but John Horgan Dillon’s ace scorer drew level minutes later.
Another Cian McCarthy free and points by Niall McCarthy and Tom O’Neill had Passage 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after eight minutes.
Dillons settled into the game and hit four unanswered points with Horgan getting three, one from a placed ball and Ross Murphy also pointed a long-range free.
Following the first water break, the sides exchanged points before Dillons hit 2-4 to 0-2 in the final 10 minutes of the half.
Both their goals came from corner-forward Andrew Murphy. The first came when a ball came back off the upright and Murphy lobbed keeper Luke Hanlon.
Three minutes later Keith McCormick sends a ball across the goalmouth and Murphy was on hand to strike the ball to the net.
Points in the closing minutes of the half from Tomas Lawrence, Horgan and Dillon's Cian McCarthy had the holders 2-11 to 0-9 ahead at half time.
Passage were on top on the resumption but a solid Dillons defence where John Noonan, Darragh Brosnan, Dylan O’Donoghue and Mark White were outstanding as they held Passage to four points with three frees and a 65 from Cian McCarthy.
A Horgan free in the third quarter was Dillon's only addition to the scoreboard.
Darragh Rodgers who won the man of the match award with a superb performance over the hour added two points before Passage closed the gap with a goal and a pointed free from Cian McCarthy.
Graham Carroll played McCarthy in for the goal.
A point from Sean Harrington and two pointed frees by Cian McCarthy was not enough to save the game for Passage as the experience of Rodgers and Horgan saw Dillons over the line.
J Horgan 0-7 (0-2 f), A Murphy 2-0, D Rodgers 0-4, C McCarthy 0-2, R Murphy 0-1f, D McCormick, T Lawrence 0-1 each.
C McCarthy 1-9 (0-8 f, 0-1 65), T O’Neill 0-3, G Carroll, N McCarthy, A Kidney, R Harrington, S Harrington 0-1 each.
D Hourihane; J Noonan, D Brosnan, D O’Donoghue; D Cremin, M White, K McCormick; R Murphy, D McCormick; T Lawrence, D Rodgers, C McCarthy; J Horgan, J Murphy, A Murphy.
C Brosnan for McCarthy (44), C McCarthy for J Murphy (58), K Mills for K McCormick (60).
L Hanlon; R Cooney, K O’Flynn, A Kidney; Cathal McCarthy, R Carroll, S Harrington; R Harrington, G Carroll; S Howard, N McCarthy, S Coughlan; T O’Neill, Cian McCarthy, C Coughlan.
Subs: T Harrington for Howard (30 inj), E Murphy for O’Flynn (33), M Guinane for S Coughlan (35), T Millen for C Coughlan (66).
Paddy O’Sullivan (Bishopstown).