History owes Dubs semi-final respite after decade of pain
Cork 1-15 Dublin 1-14
IF the law of averages has any influence on sport, Dublin will be hoping things are about to break their way.
They will be trying an All-Ireland semi-final case for the fifth time in 10 seasons on Sunday, having been found guilty of failing to provide the convincing piece of evidence required to turn the four previous trials their way.
Three one-point defeats and another loss by two points was Dublin's tantalising return and, in all instances, there were times when they looked poised for success.
That was very much the situation in 2006 when they led Mayo by seven points in the second half and again last year when they were five points clear of Cork with 20 minutes left.
In '07, they led Kerry at half-time and, in '02, they were two points ahead of Armagh past the hour mark, only to lose on both occasions.
They also blew substantial leads in the '89 and '93 semi-finals but held solid in '85 (replay), '92, '94 and '95. However, the '92 and '94 semi-finals were against Clare and Leitrim respectively, counties who had won provincial titles after decades in the wilderness, leaving them vulnerable against more experienced Dublin teams.
Losing four semi-finals since '02, especially in the circumstances involved, was very disappointing and leaves Dublin hoping that there are no psychological scars and that their luck is about to change against Donegal's ambitious raiders.
Dublin's last 10 semi-finals
Dublin led 1-13 to 1-11 after 66 minutes but conceded four points in the closing minutes to fall two behind before Bernard Brogan cut it to one just before the finish.
Dublin led 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time but were hit for 1-3 on the restart. Kerry led by six after 54 minutes before Dublin got five points to trail by one. But Kerry outscored Dublin by three points to two on the run-in.
Dublin led 2-11 to 0-10 after 46 minutes but, with Ciaran McDonald in inspiring form, Mayo rallied to win the remainder 1-6 to 0-1.
It was level (0-6 each) at the interval and Dublin pulled two points ahead on 62 minutes. But they failed to score again and Armagh held on for victory after Ray Cosgrove's late free hit a post.
Jason Sherlock's goal helped Dublin to a 1-5 to 0-6 interval lead and Mick Galvin kicked four second-half points as they advanced.
Leitrim were in the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time in 67 years but found the occasion all too much.
Current manager Pat Gilroy was in the half-forward line on a day Dublin led 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time. However, defiant Derry battled back and drew level after 63 minutes before wing-back Johnny McGurk kicked the winning point.
Clare, appearing in the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time since 1917, lacked the experience of rivals who had waged some great battles with Meath over previous seasons.
Dublin led 1-4 to 0-0 after 14 minutes but lost the remainder 2-10 to 0-5. Two goals by John Cleary restored Cork's confidence and, with Keith Barr sent off, Dublin were gradually broken down.
Mayo led by two points nine minutes into the second half of the replay, but two goals from Ciaran Duff helped Dublin to victory.