'Proud' Daly hopes for luck after off-key Cork edge drab affair
Perhaps it was the clocks going forward overnight, but this dire clash failed to ignite until the 70-minute mark as Cork somewhat luckily maintained their unbeaten record.
Again, Dublin will reflect on missed chances, as once more they matched a blue-blooded visitor at Parnell Park but left with nothing except 18 wides.
Cork were disappointing but they top the table. The Rebels will need to improve massively in terms of first touch and shooting -- they had 12 wides -- if they want to beat Tipperary and Galway in their final two games.
They got a late scare when Alan McCrabbe cracked in a superb rising drive after a brilliant pass from impressive sub Paul Ryan to reduce the gap to a point in injury-time. Cork, though, caught the next two puck-outs and Pat Horgan and Luke O'Farrell sealed the win with points.
Anthony Daly was upbeat afterwards, saying: "I'm proud of them. We just can't buy a break at the moment. In the first half we had crazy, crazy wides, but they kept it going to the end. It's going to go down to the wire now."
One exception to the scrappy play was Pat Horgan, who scored six fine points from play. He opened the scoring after two minutes. Dublin then raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, but their wides began to mount and they allowed Cork to go ahead.
Frees from McCrabbe and John McCaffrey edged the Dubs back in front, but their All Star McCrabbe hit some uncharacteristic wides.
Those misses were punished before the break as the Rebels upped a gear and made it 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
Despite their deficiencies, Cork were able to extend their lead to five points with 10 minutes remaining. Ryan narrowed the gap, before McCrabbe stuck his rocket in the net, but that was as close as the hosts would come.
Cork boss Denis Walsh said his team had tired in the second half.
"We faded out," he said. "We had put in such a big effort in the first-half that we just seemed to fade out of the game. We just dropped the tempo really, but we got the bit between our teeth again with about 15 minutes to go."
SCORERS -- Cork: P Horgan 0-6, B O'Connor 0-4 (0-4f), C Naughton 0-2, T Kenny, A Ó hAilpín, P O'Sullivan, M O'Sullivan, L O'Farrell 0-1 each. Dublin: A McCrabbe 1-4 (0-4f), P Ryan, J McCaffrey (0-1f, 0-1 '65) 0-2 each, D Treacy, K Flynn, S Durkin 0-1 each.
CORK -- D Óg Cusack; S O'Neill, E Cadogan, S Murphy; A Ryan, R Curran, S Óg Ó hAilpín; T Kenny, G Calnan; B O'Connor, A Ó hAilpín, C Naughton; P O'Sullivan, M Cussen, P Horgan. Subs: J Gardiner for S Óg Ó hAilpín (54), J O'Connor for Calnan (54), L O'Farrell for P O'Sullivan (57), M O'Sullivan for Cussen (64).
DUBLIN -- G Maguire; N Corcoran, T Brady, O Gough; M O'Brien, S Hiney, J Boland; J McCaffrey, S Durkin; L Rushe, L Ryan, P Kelly; D O'Callaghan, A McCrabbe, D Treacy. Subs: S Lambert for L Ryan (43), K Flynnn for O'Callaghan (43), P Ryan for Kelly (52), S Ryan for Treacy (64), P Carton for Rushe (66).
Ref -- B Gavin (Offaly).