Video: Cork's gutsy comeback even has Jimmy Barry-Murphy losing his cool
Published 20/04/2015 | 02:30
Just as he was as a player so is Jimmy Barry-Murphy as a manager.
Yet even the coolest man in hurling had sweat still glistening on his brow when he emerged from the Cork dressing room after this piece of hurling grand larceny.
His side had led just twice in this league semi-final - in the first and last minute.
They were 12 points down after 20 minutes and still eight behind in the third quarter, yet Seamus Harnedy's injury-time winner thieved a ticket to the final right out of Dublin's back pocket.
JBM was understandably thrilled at his side's gutsy comeback but "I don't like doing it too often," he confessed of their late, late comeback, as Patrick Horgan jogged past, the latest bit of crystal tucked under his oxter after a sensational 17-point haul.
"I mean we didn't do it against Tipperary at Croke Park last year," JBM stressed after this thrilling Allianz NHL semi-final. "You can't be giving yourselves big leads to peg back like that."
Incredible comeback win from Cork. Look at that reaction from JBM! #GreatestSportInTheWorldPosted by Pundit Arena GAA on Sunday, April 19, 2015
But peg it back the Rebels did and the immediate talking point was just how badly Dublin's pre-championship morale might be affected by letting such a big lead slip.
They might have suffered an 11-point trimming from the Rebels in their earlier league meeting but this time it was the Dubs who racked up 21 points by half-time and had Cork at their mercy, so this loss surely could have repercussions?
Dublin boss Ger Cunningham immediately denied that when one reporter diplomatically suggested this one-point loss might leave a greater 'psychological residue?'
"No, not at all!" he exclaimed. "How many times have we seen a situation where people lose big leads? You get a goal and the impact of that?
"The wind today was a factor," he added. "They had momentum with a couple of points here and there, the goal (Paudie O'Sullivan's, with 10 minutes to go) was probably the turning point of the game.
"It brought them right back into it, we came back and got a point but a couple of things at the end, maybe our decision-making wasn't the best. I'd have no worries," he retorted.
A lot of people felt the turning point came even later, deep in injury-time, after Conor Lehane had got the equaliser and Dublin's puck-out had found in-form Mark Schutte, who appeared to be hauled down in midfield but got no free.
When asked about the incident Cunningham gulped repeatedly before choosing his words like a man tiptoeing through a minefield.
"I've got to be careful because, with the new rules, you can't say much because there's obviously a danger of repercussions," he said, taking another pause. "I better say nothing."
But was it a free, did you think?
"It was a definite free," he replied. "But there was other frees."
Yesterday was the first major outing for hurling's new 'advantage rule' and its impact was another big talking point.
"Obviously it was the first time really we had a chance to look at it today," Cunningham said.
"A player doesn't know that he has advantage if the referee is behind him with his hand up and that kind of stuff.
"There were a couple of opportunities certainly," he said. "Unless you stop now, or just take the ball down and get the advantage, you don't know that you have the free."
Cunningham accepted that his side had taken some bad options in the second half, from squandering goal chances to failing to clear the ball out of the danger zone and shooting nine of their 15 wide.
But he remained insistent that they won't be psychologically scarred by this dramatic late fade-out ahead of their Leinster quarter-final against Galway on May 31.
"We will take an awful lot of positives out of the league," he stressed. "We got two very good games in the last three weeks, we will regroup, the lads will go back to their clubs and play a few championship games and then we will focus on the championship."
They certainly lost a key man in the warm-up when Danny Sutcliffe pulled a hamstring, but Paul Ryan proved more than an ample replacement. But Cork were also hit by the loss of centre-back Mark Ellis, expected back after injury but unable to start due to a virus which affected several of the squad last week.
That forced them to shift Aidan Walsh from midfield to number six where he was marginalised for a long time, as his manager noted.
"It took a while for Aidan to settle into it, he wasn't happy at centre-back I'd say, but I thought he thundered into the game in the second half when we really wanted him," Barry-Murphy noted.
"We got it (back) to six and then they got it back to seven and I thought we were in trouble again, but in fairness to our lads, Aidan Walsh got into the game, Rob O'Shea was outstanding at midfield I thought and the whole pitch of the game changed when we got the goal.
"I thought our lads grew in confidence and just about deserved it, probably lucky to win in fairness," he admitted. "You couldn't say Dublin deserved to lose or anything. Far from it."