Lethal Dublin put on masterclass to hammer sorry Cork
Dublin 4-21 Cork 2-17
Questions, so many questions to be answered by the hurlers of Dublin and Cork as they faced up to last night’s Allianz League Division 1A contest at Croke Park.
Could Dublin earn their first victory over Cork in their third encounter with the Rebel County since Ger Cunningham took over management of the team?
Which Dublin would turn up? The Dubs who were second best in all departments to Tipperary in their first outing, or the bright sparks who turned the lights out on Galway at Parnell Park last time out?
Could new Cork manager Kieran Kingston guide his team to a badly needed first League win after successive defeats to Galway and Waterford?
Cunningham and Kingston, team mates on the Cork side which won the 1986 All-Ireland title, were primed for the challenge, but could only set out their stall and let the players at it for the 70 minutes.
There was only one certainty – Dublin could not countenance a repeat of the 0-34 to 1-20 drubbing inflicted by Cork under then manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy in the corresponding League game last year.
Cork started well and were 0-4 to 0-2 up after six minutes.
But once Dublin tightened up in the marking and raised their level of intensity, it was virtually one-way traffic for the rest of the half.
A Liam Rushe point slammed over from almost 80 metres in the 15th minute was the pick of the white flags raised by the home side.
The goals, however, did the big damage. Eamonn Dillon got inside his marker Stephen McDonnell to power home the first one after 20 minutes.
David Treacy gave Cork keeper Anthony Nash no chance with another fierce drive to the net three minutes later.
The porous Rebel defence was breached again for Sean McGrath's goal in the 25th minute, putting the scores at 3-8 to 0-4 for Dublin.
Cork had not garnered a point for 20 minutes up to Patrick Horgan's score from a free in the 26th minute.
He notched up three more points and Conor Lehane got one, courtesy of Hawkeye from then to the interval, but Cork were 12 points down at half-time on 3-12 to 0-9.
That deficit stretched to 13 when Mark Schutte was first off the mark with a Dublin point within two minutes of the re-start.
A brace of Horgan frees opened Cork's second half account but they still had a mountain to climb.
Five wides in the opening ten minutes did not inspire confidence that the Rebels stage a comeback.
And it got worse for them when Eamonn Dillon registered the fourth goal for a rampant Dublin in the 51st minute.
The men in blue never looked like being threatened in any serious way from then to the finish.
But Cork had a late sting in the tail in time added on for injuries.
Paudie O'Sullivan blasted the sliotair in low seeking a goal and while the Dubs beat off the first attempt, Seamus Harnedy followed to get a goal for Cork.
And just before the final whistle, Harnedy again snatched a goal but it was too little, too late.
E Dillon 2-3; D Treacy 1-7 (5f); S McGrath 1-0; S Barrett, M Schutte 0-2, N McMorrow 0-2 each; L Rushe, D Plunkett, D O'Callaghan, D Plunkett, J McCaffrey 0-1 each.
Cork: P Horgan 0-7 (6f, 165); S Harney 2-0; C Lehane 0-4; P Haughney 0-2 (1f); L O'Farrell 0-2; B Lawton, B Cooper 0-1 each.
Dublin: C Dooley; E O'Donnell, C O'Callaghan, O Gough; S Barrett, L Rushe, J McCaffrey; D O'Connell, D Plunkett; S McGrath, N McMorrow, E Dillon; D O'Callaghan, D Treacy, M Schutte.
Subs: C Cronin for S McGrath (h.t); J Boland for J McCaffrey (58); S Treacy for D O'Callaghan (64); F McGibb for D Treacy (64) ; J Madden for C O'Callaghan (68)
Cork: A Nash; K Burke, C Joyce, S McDonnell; D Cahalane, M Ellis, C Murphy; D Kearney, B Lawton; B Cooper, S Harnedy, P Cronin; C Lehane, L O'Farrell, P Horgan.
Subs: L McLoughlin for C Murphy (27); P Haughney for D Kearney (32); S Murphy for S McDonnell (h.t); P O'Sullivan for P Cronin (44); W Leahy for P Horgan (62)
Referee: A Kelly (Galway)