Final scoreline doesn't do Cork justice, but Dublin are savages
Dublin 5-18 Cork 1-17
For a little while at least, there was a bit of craic in Croke Park.
Cork took off like scalded cats.
Kevin O'Driscoll drilled over an absolute peach off the outside of the boot to settle the rest of the Rebels down. Sean White, Paul Kerrigan and then Ruairí Deane kept it going with three more. Cork were running hard, they were running straight and they had already, after just five minutes of the game, managed as many points as Meath had against the Dubs in a full game.
Small winnings? Bragging rights? They'd take every one of them.
As despite those early struggles - and there were plenty of them with the home defence being ran all over and with Cormac Costello missing frees - Dublin were soon about to settle in like the champions they are and like they always do.
Jack McCaffrey and Con O'Callaghan were the driving forces in their revival. That Clontarf greyhound kept on probing and his trademark runs eventually began to yield their dues. That was mainly down to O'Callaghan. He was showing hard at every opportunity and he was rolling up the sleeves to win hard ball.
The Cuala man kicked their first point before McCaffrey kept plugging away for an extremely hard earned goal. The Cork defenders, after doing well initially, will have been disappointed to concede but credit must go to the marauding half back. He never stops.
When you're too f*cked to chase back after a burst forward
Half backs everywhere will relate 😂 pic.twitter.com/5DkM89HCW5
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 13, 2019
Neither do Cork though. Paul Kerrigan - the Nemo Rangers stalwart - he may be pushing on in years at this stage but he still has the class. He gave Cian O'Sullivan loads of it in the first half, kicking three points in 35 lively minutes and Jim Gavin couldn't keep looking at it.
By the second half, Davy Byrne was moved onto him. In between though, some crucial happenings would take place. Despite Cork edging back to within a point after 25, Dublin kept on tipping away. Paul Mannion curled over a lovely one before Michael Darragh MacAuley dunked home one basketball style right on the stroke of half-time.
Six points down after a trojan effort. It would have broken a lesser team but these Cork lads deserve huge credit.
Ronan McCarthy's side came out all guns blazing in the second half. Luke Connolly thundered into the game and his blend of languid skill and guile was causing real problems for Dublin's last line. Paul Kerrigan was still running around the place and Ian Maguire never stopped.
Cork's two wing backs, O'Donovan and Taylor were both brilliant and Cian O'Sullivan's rushed, panicky and uncharacteristic shove on Maguire to concede a penalty showed how rattled the Dubs were. Connolly buried it, before silencing the hill and that reduced the deficit to two and had the Rebels roaring again.
It's all about Luke Connolly telling the Hill to shut up afterwards 🤣pic.twitter.com/8E8BUk5Nsy
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 13, 2019
There was a degree of inevitability about it all though. While Cork were pouring everything into their attacks, Dublin would take off upon an interception and that was the pattern that would finish this game.
After missing a few between them, Niall Scully settled Dublin jitters with a coolly slotted goal and that settled the rest of them. Mark White had a blooper with a kickout after having a great game but Ciaran Kilkenny wasn't in the mood for pleasantries. He rammed home one. Fenton drilled another after a brilliant McCaffrey pass.
A scoreline that doesn't do Cork justice, they deserve credit for their ambition and attitude, but Dublin are savages.