Friday 30 September 2016

Rebels survive to fight another day

Cork 1-26 - Dublin1-23

John Brennen

Published 03/07/2016 | 02:30

Dublin’s Paul Ryan gets away from Cork’s Killian Burke during yesterday evening’s clash, which Dublin lost after being reduced to 14 men after Chris Crummey was sent off late in the first half. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Dublin’s Paul Ryan gets away from Cork’s Killian Burke during yesterday evening’s clash, which Dublin lost after being reduced to 14 men after Chris Crummey was sent off late in the first half. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork won this hurling battle of the big cities but on this evidence they won't be winning any wars this year. Dublin might well have won this match had Chris Crummey not been sent off late in the first half after picking up a second yellow.

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Dublin battled to stay in the championship and were level with four minutes to go. But Bill Cooper, Conor Lehane and the superb Alan Cadogan popped up with vital points to seal the day.

Eamonn Dillon of Dublin in action against Mark Ellis of Cork. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Eamonn Dillon of Dublin in action against Mark Ellis of Cork. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

At least Cork can say they used the extra man well, bringing in Conor O'Sullivan and playing him as a sweeper behind the full-back line and it worked a treat.

However, for far too long in this match, the Rebels were far too reliant on Cadogan and Pat Horgan for scoring inspiration.

Between them they bagged 1-17 of the winners' total. And if Dublin could have stopped fouling to allow Horgan the frees he converted, they might have done better too.

Even though Dublin showed great spirit in the circumstances, manager Ger Cunningham will come under severe pressure over this loss.

Eamon Dillon of Dublin in action against Aidan Walsh of Cork. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Eamon Dillon of Dublin in action against Aidan Walsh of Cork. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Too many of Dublin's best hurlers are not on the county panel right now and you have to ask why? David 'Dotsy' O'Callaghan was the latest player not to be in action last night.

Read more: Wexford progress after a fine response to 'no-goal' decision

You can't keep losing players like that and hope to win big games. Dublin made two late changes, bringing James Madden into the full-back line and Chris Bennett, a very promising young hurler, in at midfield.

Bennett had a super game and is clearly one for the future. He scored freely and set up the Dublin goal. He'll be a building block of a new Dublin side that may emerge in the next couple of years.

Bill Cooper of Cork in action against Ryan O'Dwyer of Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Bill Cooper of Cork in action against Ryan O'Dwyer of Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork had no late switches, just the four flagged during the week as they sought to recover from the mauling inflicted by Tipperary at the end of May.

The home team won the toss and chose to play with the breeze in the first half. But they hit too many wides early on and Dublin were delighted to ease into a two-point lead.

Every second of the half that passed by was a bonus for the travelling Dubs, as the wind was clearly strong, allowing Cork to go for points from a long way out.

But Cork's only scoring threat from play was Alan Cadogan, who was in great form.

Read more: Laois get numbers right to repel Armagh's second-half rally

Fittingly, he got the 25th-minute goal that put the Rebels ahead, finishing superbly after Shane Barrett had failed to control a simple ball.

The same thing cost Dublin a point a minute later when the usually reliable Liam Rushe drilled the sliotar straight to Pat Horgan for a point.

But worse was to follow for Dublin when powerful wing-back Crummey was sent off for two yellow cards.

Each was for the same offence, a thundering shoulder that wasn't into the opponents' shoulders. After the first offence, Crummey should have known better.

Now his team was really up against it. Dublin would have to play with a man short for 40 minutes.

Yet they got to half-time just two points adrift of Cork and with a breeze to come at their backs.

And it might have been better had not Mark Schutte missed two simple chances for points from play and David Treacy equalled not spurned two straightforward placed balls, one a free, the other a '65.

Paul Ryan was put on the frees after Treacy's second miss. But Treacy responded to his demotion with a lovely piece of work, a high catch in open play that set up a Dublin point.

Read more: Dowling shoots Limerick to victory

If Ger Cunningham was trying to reorganise the Dublin side to play a man light, it surely wasn't all happiness in the Cork dressing-room either.

All their scoring up to half-time was done by the full-forward line, with the other players shooting often wildly and without confidence.

Now any long-range pots for points would have to be done into the breeze.

On the resumption, Dublin had a great chance for the goal you felt they would need to win the game.

But Schutte's effort was well saved by Anthony Nash in the Cork goal.

Another chance went abegging for Bennett, but Dublin were hanging around on the scoreboard, staying those annoying couple of points behind Cork, who simply could not shake off their guests.

And the guests invaded the Cork parlour when Eamonn Dillon got a goal in the 52nd minute.

Horgan was still able to reply with points and keep Cork clear.

But this was not a good Cork display and the problems so evident against Tipperary clearly hadn't been solved in the long wait between that game and this one.

Scorers - Cork: P Horgan 0-12, A Cadogan 1-5, C Lehane 0-3, D Kearney 0-2, W Egan, B Cooper, L O'Farrell, B Lawton 0-1 each. Dublin: D Treacy 0-9, C Bennett, P Ryan 0-4 each, E Dillon 1-0, N McMorrow 0-2, C Crummey, J McCaffrey, D O'Connell, S Barrett 0-1 each.

Cork: A Nash; M Ellis, D Cahalane, K Burke; C Murphy, C Joyce, W Egan; A Walsh, B Cooper; S Harnedy, J Cronin, C Lehane; A Cadogan, P Horgan, L O'Farrell. Subs: C O'Sullivan for Murphy (h-t), D Kearney for Cronin (46), B Lawton for Egan (49).

Dublin: G Maguire; E O'Donnell, C O'Callaghan, J Madden; S Barrett, L Rushe, C Crummey; C Bennett, J McCaffrey; R O'Dwyer, N McMorrow, D Treacy; P Ryan, E Dillon, M Schutte. Subs: N Corcoran for Madden (h-t), S Treacy for Ryan (44), D O'Connell for McCaffrey (46).

Referee: P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

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