Dillon free levels it late for Churchill
FOR those that doubt the passion of football in the lower leagues Churchill and Firies served up an entertaining hour that saw both sides share the spoils and keep their hopes of escaping Division 4 very much alive.
Firies were quick out of the blocks with Eddie O'Rourke's fine strike on the 10th minute putting them 1-2 to 0-0 ahead. Donal Daly's experience key in the build-up as his delayed hand pass created the space needed.
It came after William Courtney hit a fine brace of points against a backdrop of Churchill pressure that saw them create many chances but they failed to produce a score. Benny Dillon got the visitors off the mark on the 13th minute as they hit a rich scoring vein to hit three points unanswered as Cillian Fitzgerald and Dillon (again) raised white flags.
Firies attacks were sporadic and William Courtney's exceptional place kicking were keeping them ahead as he added a converted '45 by the 25th minute to keep them 1-3 to 0-3 to the good. However, Churchill were looking dangerous and late efforts by Mikey Brennan and Dillon had the bare minimum in it at the break.
The second half brought a renewed vigour by both sides to the contest and some of the best football of the afternoon came to the fore. Eddie O'Rourke goaled again on the 33rd minute as he rose highest to punch in a sublime cross-field ball from Padraig De Bruin to the net but it only fuelled Churchill's desire more.
Just seven minutes later substitute Fiachra Griffin was at the end of the fine passing move by Churchill as he shot to the net from 14 yards. It was the levelling score and they took the lead shortly after when midfielder Chris Hurley's 50-yard effort split the posts to give the visitors the lead for the first time.
Instead of pushing on it was Firies that seemed to grab the initiative once more and corner back Conall Murphy ran 60 yards before levelling matters again by the 48th minute (2-4 to 1-7).
It looked as if Donal Daly would grab the headlines when he put the home side ahead again on the 52nd minute, when he made no mistake from 40 yards.
The veteran may well have lost some of his speed but his knack to be in the right place at the right time certainly proved an asset in the absence of Jack Sherwood.
Not for the first time in recent week's Churchill had to find an equaliser and it came in the shape of a converted free on full time when Benny Dillon brought his day's total to 0-4 after Cillian Fitzgerald was brought down just outside the square that saw Dan O'Connor receive his marching orders for a second yellow. It was to be the last meaningful action on the day.
Firies now sit third on seven points and Churchill may well join them there with a back game against winless Ballylongford to come.
Firies: Billy Rourke, Dan Shea, James O'Donoghue, Conall Murphy 0-1, Denis Kerrisk, John O'Mahony, Stephen Foley, Alan Looney, Dan O'Connor, Padraig De Bruin, Donal Daly 0-1, William Courtney 0-3 (0-1F, 0-1 45), Edward Kerrisk, EddieO'Rourke 2-0, Michael Daly, Subs: Ian Crowley for D Kerrisk (37), Padraig O'Sullivan for E Kerrisk (58)
Churchill: Noel Dillon, PJ Mahoney, Eoin McCarthy, Mitchell Holland, JJ Prior, Niall Finnerty, Shane Crowley, Gareth Walsh, Chris Hurley 0-1, Mark O'Connor, Daniel Doyle, Cathal Rogers, Benny Dillon 0-4 (0-2F), Cillian Fitzgerald 0-2, Mikie Brennan 0-1, Subs: Fiachra Griffin 1-0 for M Brennan (28), M Brennan for C Rogers (49), Damien McGarry for E McCarthy (57)
Referee: JD Carroll (Asdee)