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Lads, you did Dublin so proud

History can be cruel -- and it can be misleading. The cold hard fact is that Cork are in the All-Ireland final. The record books will show that for posterity, but will still only tell half the story.

Truth be told, the better team lost yesterday. If medals were handed out for guts, determination and work rate, Dublin would be champions in waiting today.

And if supremely talented Cork had half their spirit they wouldn't be the nearly men of GAA year after year.

It would be hard to begrudge them a final place this year, but I'll certainly try.

Cork were blitzed from the off, but in the sweltering heat of Croker Dublin started to look punch drunk by the end. So near, yet so far.

And now comes the sniping about another nearly-there year -- but no stay-away Dublin fan has a right to put the boot in.

Written off after a drubbing last year, the squad were back training morning and night. Arguably GAA's fittest team, they never gave up, even though the fans did. It must have been soul-destroying to play to a near-empty house against Tipperary in the driving rain. Apathy still reigned as the boys (yes, most of them aren't much more than that) took the scalps of Armagh and Tyrone.

Many will nitpick today, but some of the frees seemed soft at times (but maybe that's just my Dubs bias). No arguing with the penalty, but youthful exuberance can be forgiven when you remember that this team were mere schoolboys the last time Sam Maguire came home.

Ross McConnell and Michael Daragh McAuley were immense in midfield. The two Brogans (Bernard surely a shoo-in for player of the year) and O'Gara worked tirelessly as their half forwards were busy defending to lend support.

They gave it their all. They ran themselves into the ground in baking heat. We can ask no more, and I couldn't be more proud of all of them today.