Confident Cork capitalise on dismal Dublin display
CORK 0-12 DUBLIN 1-7 THE only complaint Cork can make about this Church & General National Football League final score-line is that it should be much more in their favour.
A 62nd minute goal by Dublin substitute Darren Homan fooled no-one.
Dublin were pathetic and last night's trip home from Pairc UiChaoimh was probably long and silent if it wasn't, it should have been.
Dublin ended the game a dishevelled, tetchy lot. The spirit allegedly forged through the long winter together evaporated as they degenerated into a bunch of individuals at cross-purposes.
They folded, and Cork's celebratory air long before the finish signalled the extent of Dublin's ineptitude.
The most compelling and surprising embodiment of the disorganisation was Jason Sherlock, who skipped onto the field in the 47th minute and was back in the dug-out just five minutes later, having felt the weight of referee Brian White's red card.
Sherlock declined to talk to reporters afterwards.
He looked shaken in the dug-out and remained impassive exiting the dressing-room as some young Cork supporters, oblivious to the man's inner turmoil, told him of their view that ``Rapid is the best programme on television.''
Like the Dublin team as a whole, Sherlock could have no excuses.
Shortly after coming on, he responded to minor provocation by letting the elbow fly back.
When this course of action failed on a few occasions, he made sure by turning around and boxing Anthony Lynch in the mouth.
Then he set off and fouled Cork goalkeeper Kevin O'Dwyer with a high tackle.
Brian White took information from his umpire on the earlier incident and Sherlock was marched to the sideline.
Any more than a one-month suspension will rule him out of the opening round of the Bank of Ireland Leinster championship against Louth on June 6.
The management of Tom Carr, Richie Crean, Dom Twomey and John O'Leary cannot have been happy, either.
Dinky corner-forwards are not sent in to rough up meaty corner-backs.
And Sherlock, an intuitive forward who knows the best response to a corner-back with roaming hands is a point tapped over from a free, will also know that his loss of composure was total.
Four years ago, when he was a timely addition to the Dublin attack, he would settled for the free.
It wasn't that Dublin spent the entire game having the lard beaten out of them by Cork.
What galled their share of the 10,000 spectators not the worst league in modern times, but not far off it was the way in which returns diminished as the demands of the game heightened.
And what of Cork? A league title will not insulate Larry Tompkins against a possible heave if they don't win a Munster title this season, but winning a league final is preferable to losing one.
The reputation of their defence is undimmed.
Apart from Seán Óg Ó hAilpín who found Dessie Farrell a handful for 45 minutes, they tied up the Dublin forwardline.
Eoin Sexton, a centre-back of considerable presence, led the way. The Dublin forwards only scored twice from play. This defensive unit will deal with most of what comes their way in a championship.
Worries about their team start further out the field though midfield was able to answer anything thrown at them by an unsettled Dublin centre-field diamond.
Joe Kavanagh was the best of his forwards. He had an entertaining duel with Paul Curran. Both men tended to play an attacking game, and this suited Kavanagh all the more.
Pádraig O'Mahony improved as the game wore on. Alan O'Regan had the beating of Paddy Moran but didn't capitalise.
Philip Clifford gave Shane Ryan plenty of bother while they were in direct opposition. Aidan Dorgan worked hard even if the return was minimal.
Mark O'Sullivan is now suffering from the long shadow cast by his heroics against Derry. Until he's placed in the corner, he will continue to be hit and miss.
GOOD AS OVER
Dublin endured two lengthy scoreless periods, stretching from the 9th minute to the 25th, and again from the 33rd to the 46th.
Three times in the first-half they had clear goalscoring chances, but Kevin O'Dwyer brought off three brilliant saves from Brian Stynes, Declan Darcy and Dessie Farrell.
At half-time, Cork were 0-5 to 0-3 ahead and worth it all, if only for their marginally more economical forward play.
Dublin scored the final two points of the half both frees from Darcy and they were well-positioned to go on and win the game if they were fit to.
They brought precious little by way of a fighter's instinct into the second-half, notwithstanding Sherlock's uncharacteristic piece of pugilism.
By the end of the third quarter, it was as good as over as Cork led by 0-10 to 0-4.
And the impression of Dublin being on the backfoot is enhanced by the fact of Davy Byrne being pressed into action.
O'Mahony skinned Keith Galvin making two yards on him over five and with a clear run at goal, only Byrne's alacrity prevent a goal. For good measure, Ciaran O'Sullivan pointed the resultant 45.
Aidan Dorgan and O'Mahony (twice, one free) ran the scoreline up to 0-10 to 0-4 and Cork were masterful in every area.
Dublin's tactical response fell well below the watermark: a two-man full-forward line of Declan Darcy and Brendan O'Brien was not the way to go.
It later briefly mutated into a Sherlock/Darcy combination, before Jim Gavin arrived to restore the full complement.
Whelan and Philip Clifford exchanged points to maintain the six-point margin - 0-11 to 0-5 - and a Dublin rally in the last six minutes was little more than a last waltz.
Darcy kicked over two frees and, after another O'Mahony point, Homan arrived to fist a goal from a Farrell centre.
The league tends to be an inconclusive affair. Cork can take it as read that they have a defence as good as anything in the country, a midfield of average standard, and a forwardline that has more to do before it can dispel lingering doubts about its big-day temperament.
Dublin, well they have difficulties in every line on the field. Galvin was sluggish when taken on man-to-man. Moran and Ryan did not command their corners.
And the attack may be a touch better than it revealed yesterday factor in a better performance from Gavin, for instance but it won't have Darren Fay and Glen Ryan shivering in their boots.
SCORERS Cork: P O'Mahony 0-4 (2f), P Clifford 0-4 (3f), C O'Sullivan 0-2 (2 45s), A Dorgan 0-1, J Kavanagh 0-1. Dublin: D Darcy 0-5 (4f), D Homan 1-0, D Farrell 0-1, C Whelan 0-1.
Man-of-the-Match: Kevin O'Dwyer (Cork.).
CORK K O'Dwyer; M O'Donovan, S Óg Ó hAilpín, A Lynch; C O'Sullivan, O Sexton, M Cronin; M O'Sullivan, N Murphy; A Dorgan, J Kavanagh, P O'Mahony; P Clifford, M O'Sullivan, A O'Regan. Subs: D Davis for A O'Regan, 36. R McCarthy for N Murphy, 56.
DUBLIN D Byrne; P Moran, P Christie, S Ryan; T Lynch, P Curran, K Galvin; C Whelan, E Sheehy; J Gavin, D Darcy, B Stynes; B O'Brien, D Farrell, N O'Donoghue. Subs: D Homan for N O'Donoghue, 41. J Sherlock for B O'Brien, 47.
REF B White, Wexford.