Donncha O'Connor (Cork): So many players stuck their hands up for leadership when Cork lost Daniel Goulding to injury and they looked that bit more perilous. But nobody offered it more willingly and effectively than O'Connor, who led the line superbly as he built his 1-6 tally.
How significant was a missed free from Mark Poland in the 23rd minute in front of Cork's goal when Down trailed by just two points not long after Goulding's departure? Fintan Goold scored a goal at the other end within a minute and Down didn't recover.
How can Down go from leading an All-Ireland final, at one stage by five points, 10 months earlier to then lose to the same opponents, weakened by injury, by 12 points?
Michael Duffy dished out the cards, 13 in all, but may have brandished red to Martin Clarke much earlier if he had seen the incident in the fourth minute with Noel O'Leary.
What they said
Conor Counihan (Cork manager):
"Down have had better days in Croke Park and we have to factor that in, in terms of our performance."
James McCartan (Down manager)
"As regards the Marty sending off, I didn't see what he did. I would just be interested to see if a camera was put on Marty Clarke for 70 minutes of the game. I have no doubt that Marty was probably guilty in two instances but I'd just like to see what the camera might pick up."
Wides: Cork 12 (4); Down 6 (3)
Frees: Cork 16 (8); Down 18 (8)
Yellow cards: Cork 5 (M Shields 30, A O'Connor 38, N O'Leary 47, J Miskella 56, F Goold 70); Down 8 (M Clarke 4, 56, D Gordon 21, K King 31, D Hughes 32, C Maginn 52, D Rooney 65, C Laverty 71)
Red card: Down 1 (M Clarke 56)
Cork meet Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-finals this weekend; Down must figure out why they can't string two consistent seasons together.