Dublin remain on course for a second All-Ireland under 21 football title in three seasons following a well-deserved victory in Portlaoise yesterday.
Cork had by far the better of the opening exchanges, defending vigorously and providing their forwards with a very good quality supply. Brian Hurley, in particular, was looking very dangerous and four of the attacking sextet were on the board by the tenth minute.
John O'Rourke got them off the mark and though Philip Ryan equalised, Cork were on the front foot, scoring four points in succession. Hurley (free), Mark Sugrue and Donal Óg Hodnett all on target.
Dublin began to find that little bit more space as the game progressed and within eight minutes, they had turned a four-point deficit into two-point lead. Gary Sweeney and Daniel Byrne pointed for Jim Gavin's side before Philip Ryan converted a penalty after Paul Hudson had been fouled when about to tap the ball to an empty net. Ciarán Kilkenny did provide the finishing touch but referee Martin Higgins had already whistled.
The full-forward struck for another six minutes from the end of the half after Dublin created a three-on-one situation against Cork full-back Damien Cahalane.
The Leinster champions led by 2-5 to 0-7 at the break and they struck a significant blow with less than two minutes of the second half under way, when Jack McCaffrey pounced for a goal. Cork kept battling away, Luke Connolly, John O'Rourke and Hurley kicking fine points but Dublin kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The Rebels did manage to hit back with three pointed frees, but Ryan -- who had been very quiet in the second half -- lofted over a fine score and that was the final act.
Scorers -- Dublin: P Ryan 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1 '45); J McCaffrey 1-0; E Ó Conghaile, P Hudson 0-2 each; D Byrne, G Sweeney, C Kilkenny, P Maguire 0-1 each. Cork: B Hurley 0-6 (5f); J O'Rourke, L Connolly (1 45) 0-2 each; D Óg Hodnett, M Sugrue, K Hallissey (f), D McEoin (f) 0-1 each
Dublin: JB Carthy; M Concar, K O'Brien, S George; L Fletcher, J Kelly, J McCaffrey; E Ó Conghaile, D Byrne; C Reddin, G Sweeney, M Schutte; C Kilkenny, P Ryan, P Hudson. Subs: P Maguire for Byrne (38); G Seaver for Schutte (45); P O'Higgins for Reddin (46); H Dawson for Hudson (55); E Keogh for Sweeney (57)
Cork: S Mellet; D O'Donovan, D Cahalane, A Cronin; J Cronin, T Clancy, J Wall; R Deane, E Healy; K Hallissey, M Sugrue, J O'Rourke; L Connolly, B Hurley, D Óg Hodnett. Subs: D McEoin for Hallissey (ht); C O'Sullivan for Wall (40); B O'Driscoll for Healy (51); A Cadogan for Sugrue (55)
Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh)
Roscommon came through a scrappy semi-final at Pearse Park in Longford to qualify for their first decider since 1982.
Cavan failed to fire, but a late goal brought them to within a point, before Colin Compton sealed it with a stoppage time strike. In front of a crowd of 7,936, it was Roscommon who made the early running.
But they were rocked by a Breffni goal in the eighth minute, finished superbly to the net by full-forward Kevin Tierney following an incisive build-up and a wonderful final pass from Chris Conroy.
Joe Dillon fired over a Cavan point to push them further in front, but despite having the wind in their backs, they failed to score again in the first half.
The sides were level by the 16th minute, Roscommon playing their way back into the game with a Conor Daly goal. The Rossies' half-back line closed up shop, with Paddy Brogan and Ronan Stack outstanding, while Cathal Duignan snuffed out the threat of Tierney. Leading by 1-3 to 1-1 at the interval, Roscommon, now with the wind in their backs, stepped up the tempo on the restart, with Niall Kilroy stretching their lead straight from the throw-in, before the outstanding Donie Smith hit a gem.
Cavan's flagging spirits were lifted when Chris Conroy ended a 25-minute scoreless spell with a point, but they failed to kick on. Even when Raymond Lynch broke through for what looked like a certain goal, he was denied by a stunning save by Tadhg Lowe. Roscommon then weathered a prolonged strorm, and having gone 17 minutes without a score, swept upfield for substitute Ciaran Murtagh to hit a breakaway point.
In the closing stages, it was a blanket defence, with almost everyone committed to the cause, but somehow Tierney managed to plunder a goal a minute from the end to narrow the gap to a single point. But their hopes were dashed in stoppage time when a goalkeeping error gifted Compton the clinching goal.
Scorers -- Roscommon: C Compton 1-1, C Daly 1-0, S Smith 0-4 (1f), N Kilroy, C Murtagh 0-1 each. Cavan: K Tierney 2-0, J Dillon, C Conway 0-1 each.
Cavan: C Gilsenan; N O'Donnell, K Clarke, J McLoughlin; D Sexton, C Moynagh, M Brady; P Leddy, K Brady;J Dillon, J Brady, C Conroy; F Flanagan, K Tierney, R Lynch.
Subs: P King for McLoughlin, PP O'Hara for O'Donnell, S Reilly for O'Hara, D McDeety for Dillon
Roscommon: T Lowe; C Cafferkey, C Duignan, D Murray; C Daly, P Brogan, R Stack; C Shine, N Daly;S Oates, N Kilroy, D Keane; C Connolly, C Compton, D Smith. Subs: J McManus for Oates, C Murtagh for Connolly, F Cregg for Keane, D Clabby for Kilroy.
Referee: C Reilly (Meath)