Brian Dillons 0-22 Blackrock 3-6
THE final scoreline flattered Brian Dillons as they just about saw off Blackrock's third team in the first round of the Sportsturf Solutions Junior A hurling championship at Ballinlough.
This game wasn’t for the faint-hearted as the Rockies posed the champions defence all sorts of problems and this will need sorting for Dillons if they are to realise their dream of reaching the Holy Grail.
The opening exchanges were lively as the Rockies came thundering at the champions with high-intensity hurling as Dave O’Callaghan struck over a point in the opening minute.
Brian Dillons looked shocked at what their opponents were throwing at them, but consecutive John Horgan white flags settled the Tank Field outfit into their stride.
Dillons defence looked under pressure and they were punished in the fifth minute when David Cashman showed all his experience to billow the back of the net.
Credit to Dillons they continued to battle hard and a classy Keith McCormack point tied the game in the 16th minute.
The Rockies were relentless going forward and they were rewarded with a goal five minutes later that would have graced any pitch in this country.
Joe Logue gathered the ball 25 yards before flicking towards Cashman who swerved and doubled on the ball that hit the back of the net with ferocious power.
The biggest problem for the Rockies was their tendency to give away soft frees as they were duly punished by John Horgan (six times) as Dillons went in at the break commanding 0-13 to 2-4 lead.
On the restart, Dillons only took 15 seconds to open their account following a Tomás Lawrence point.
Indeed Dillons looked to be cruising after taking a six-point lead in the 49th minute but a minute later their shaky defence was punished with a third goal.
Following a good move, the ball fell into the path of James Walsh who drilled a low shot past the bewildered Dillons keeper.
There is little doubt Dillons were on the ropes but they found a way to win as Cian McCarthy (2) and John Horgan (3) executed the crucial scores.
In the end, the Rockies who were fielding their third adult team had to succumb to Dillon's experience but it will certainly give Nemo Rangers confidence for their quarter-final clash.
On the other side of the coin, Darren Mannix and his fellow Dillons coaching staff will identify the negative defending that almost saw them exit the championship.
Scorers for Brian Dillons: J Horgan 0-11 (0-8 f, 65), C McCarthy, R Murphy 0-3 each, K McCormack, D Rodgers, A Murphy, T Lawrence 0-1 each.
Blackrock: D Cashman 2-3 (0-2 f, 65), J Walsh 1-1, A Nolan 0-2.
BRIAN DILLON'S: D Hourihane; A Murphy, K Brosnan, J Noonan; D O’Donoghue, D Brosnan, D Cremin; R Murphy, D McCormack; K McCormack, D Rodgers, T Lawrence; C McCarthy, J Murphy, J Horgan.
Subs: M White for A Murphy, P O’Brien for D Rodgers.
BLACKROCK: P O’Brien; K Buckley, B Aherne, J O’Keeffe, K Green, R Buckley, F Cronin; D Tyner, R Burke; J Walsh, P Bennett, P Lynch; J Logue, D O’Callaghan, A Nolan.
Subs: B Lane for P Lynch, N Cashman for J O’Keeffe, D O’Neill for J Walsh (inj).
Referee: Brian Coniry (Crosshaven).