Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park
Wow… it wasn’t the game we expected but the game we wanted so much.
In the end, Dublin had too much for Cork in phase one of the 2019 Super 8s but by God they were pushed the whole way by a rampant Rebel bunch who can head home south proud of their performance and full of confidence that they can put it up to both Tyrone and Roscommon over the coming weeks.
Jim Gavin’s side were made to sweat but as is so often the case, it’s the goals that win games. Luke Connolly netted a penalty to spark life into Cork in the second half but they’d be left to rue Brian hurley’s missed effort in the first. Meanwhile, Dublin hammered home on five occasions through Jack McCaffrey, Michael Darragh MacAuley, Niall Scully, Ciarán Kilkenny and Brian Fenton.
It must be said that three of Dublin’s goals came in the closing stages to really put a shine on proceedings.
Here are our conclusions following a highly entertaining encounter in Croke Park.
The majority expected a Dublin walkover from start to finish, however, Ronan McCarthy’s side came out of the blocks firing with the first four scores of the game to really make a statement of intent.
Despite Dublin edging their way back into it through Jack McCaffrey’s goal, Cork never seemed to waver throughout the opening half and deservedly led the game until the 18th minute. Even when Dublin took the lead through Brian Fenton, Cork continued to cause them trouble and if it wasn’t for Michael Darragh MacAuley’s killer blow on the short whistle, they would have been in dreamland at half time.
We’ve yet to really see Dublin ignite in the Championship thus far. They started slowly against Kildare and Meath and continued that trend today giving Cork a four-point headstart.
They eventually pulled themselves out of it but throughout the opening quarter they were lethargic and turned the ball over in attack on three occasions.
The Kerrigan Factor
Paul Kerrigan, the only survivor from Cork’s last All-Ireland win, was drafted in as a late replacement shortly before throw-in and it proved an inspired move by Ronan McCarthy.
Kerrigan got on a tonne of possession in the opening half and kicked 0-3 from play. They weren’t easy scores to he kicked them from distance and under pressure and it gave Cork the impetus to mount a serious challenge.
How Do You Stop Jack McCaffrey?
Jack McCaffrey finished with a goal, which he did well to finish after first taking a tumble, but he could have tagged on a couple of extra scores and was pivotal in a couple of other Dublin points.
The Clontarf man so often was the launchpad for Dublin attacks and yet again, proved extremely difficult for the opposition to stop. He would finish the game with the man of the match award.
The Rebel men’s discipline was exceptional, they kept Dublin to just one scoreable free in the first half, which Costello missed. However, one lapse in concentration and Dublin came roaring back into the game through McCaffrey’s goal.
Cork fell asleep from a Dublin line-ball. McCaffrey ghosted in behind to take the pass drive towards goal and finish.
Hurley Goal Chance
You aren’t going to beat Dublin unless you get goals and often enough they present teams with these opportunities. Brian Hurley had a gilt-edged goal chance towards half-time and failed to score.
The game could have had a different complexion had that gone in. Compare that to Dublin who had three gilt-edged goal chances in the opening half and came away with 2-1 to show for it.
They’d finish the game with five three-pointers which says it all.
Dublin’s Forward Movement
Jaysus, it would make your eyes sore trying to track it!
Cork’s Forward Play
All six of Cork’s starting forwards, plus Ruairí Deane who lined out at midfield, scored from play which highlighted the effort put in by the Rebel men.
Had they have been playing any other team than Dublin, they probably would have won this.
MDMA’s Killer Blow
Michael Darragh MacAuley palmed to the net on the stroke of half-time to give Dublin a two-goal lead and leave Cork with huge ground to make up despite putting in an impressive performance in the first half.
But The Goal Didn’t Deter Them
Cork came out like men possessed in the second half. They didn’t let MacAuley’s killer blow deflate them. They continued to drive at the heart of the Dublin defence and were duly awarded a penalty which Luke Connolly drove into the top left-hand corner to lay down a marker for the second half.
Both teams traded scores in the opening 15 minutes of the second period and by the 50th minute, just a goal separated the two sides.
Cork made a really good fist at this one but in their attempt to go at Dublin they left themselves exposed. Dublin were able to put a shine on their performance with three quickfire goals through Scully, Kilkenny and Fenton to make the finish a lot more comfortable than anticipated heading into the final quarter.
Dublin Were In A Game… Thank God!
They were made to work for this one but their clash shone through in the end. It’s going to take some outfit to stop Jim Gavin’s side doing the five-in-a-row.
Stephen Cluxton (c); David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Philly McMahon; Jack McCaffrey, Cian O’Sullivan, John Small; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Niall Scully, Cormac Costello, Brian Howard; Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan.
Dean Rock for Cormac Costello, Paddy Small for Con O’Callaghan, Jonny Cooper for Cian O’Sullivan, Kevin McManamon for Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey for Eoin Murchan, James McCarthy for Brian Fenton.
Ciarán Kilkenny 1-2, Dean Rock 0-5, Con O’Callaghan 0-4, Brian Fenton 1-1, Jack McCaffrey 1-0, Niall Scully 1-0, Michael Darragh MacAuley 1-0, Philly McMahon 0-3, Paul Mannion 0-2, John Small 0-1
Mark White; James Loughrey, Thomas Clancy, Kevin Flahive; Liam O’Donovan, Tpmás Clancy, Mattie Taylor; Ian Maguire (c), Paul Kerrigan; Kevin O’Driscoll, Séan White, Ruairí Deane; Mark Collins, Brian Hurley, Luke Connolly.
Michael Hurley for Paul Kerrigan, Kevin O’Donovan for James Loughrey, Luke Connolly for Stephen Sherlock, Cian Kiely for John O’Rourke, Ian Maguire for John O’Rourke.
Luke Connolly 1-3, Paul Kerrigan 0-3, Brian Hurley 0-3, Michael Hurley 0-2, Ruairí Deane 0-1, Séan White 0-1, Kevin O’Driscoll 0-1, Mark Collins 0-1, Liam O’Donovan 0-1, Luke Connolly 0-1.