Thursday 22 March 2018

10 classic clashes at the heart of the Dublin v Cork rivalry

Donncha OConnor, Cork, shoots to score his side's goal, from a penalty, past Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton
Donncha OConnor, Cork, shoots to score his side's goal, from a penalty, past Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton
Dublin's Jason Sherlock blasts the ball past Cork goalkeeper Kevin O'Dwyer
Dublin manager Kevin Heffernan
Dublin's Barney Rock scores what proved to be the winning goal in extra time. Cork had not presented themselves for the start of extra time
John Allen, Cork, in action against Gerry Hargan, Dublin
Dinny Allen, Cork, in action against Dublin Goalkeeper John O'Leary
Michael Darragh Macauley, Dublin, scores his side's first goal
Mickey Kearins, Referee sends off Dublin's Keith Barr (5)
Cork captain Michael Shields lifts the cup
Cork's John Kerins in action against Dublin's Barney Rock
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

If Dublin were playing Kerry, Mayo, Donegal or Tyrone in tomorrow's Allianz Football League final, the crowd would be much bigger than for the clash with Cork.

That's not solely due to the preference among more of the Rebel army to march with the hurlers, but rather to the sense that Dublin v Cork doesn't fit as one of the great football rivalries.

That feeds into the Dublin psyche too, while neutrals living in the capital would be much more stirred for a trip to Croke Park if one of the aforementioned four was lining up against Jim Gavin's men.

All of which is somewhat unfair on the true nature of the Cork-Dublin relationship. For, while it may lack the passion of some other more intense rivalries, it has consistently delivered on excitement over the years.

More than that, several of the clashes have been defining influences for either county, ranging from Dublin's win in the 1974 All-Ireland semi-final to Cork's league final/All-Ireland semi-finals in 1989 to Dublin's All-Ireland semi-final success in 1995.

In latter times, the power balance has switched from Cork to Dublin, which adds an extra dimension to tomorrow's game.

From a Dublin perspective, they need to win in order to keep another challenger in its place, while there's also the distinct possibility that this could be their last all-out test until the All-Ireland quarter-final in August.

The requirement for Cork is to make a bold statement of intent, securing a win that would attract attention way beyond Dublin. They also need to prove that they have absorbed the lessons from last year when they collapsed against Dublin in the league semi-final.

So while the actual rivalry may not be wrapped in tradition and ferocity, it's actually very genuine in other facets, some of which are more important than blood and thunder collisions. And, as the following ten examples show, they have also produced lots of drama.

1974 All-Ireland semi-final: Heffo's Here

Dublin 2-11 Cork 1-8

The game that changed an era? If Dublin had lived down to their outsiders' tag and succumbed to the reigning All-Ireland champions, would Heffo's Army have ever been commissioned?

Kerry emerged as a new, frightening force in 1975, but Dublin's All-Ireland win of 1974 gave them the confidence to re-launch so successfully in 1976. Would it have been the same if they lost to Cork in 1974?

There's still a widely-help view that Cork misread that semi-final, assuming that Dublin's first win in Leinster since 1965 was down to a drop in standards in the province, rather than a marked improvement by Kevin Heffernan's newly-charged outfit. A goal from a penalty by Brian Mullins 13 minutes front the end set Dublin up for a win, which was just as comprehensive as the six-point margin suggested.

1983 All-Ireland semi-final: Rock Solid

Dublin 2-11 Cork 2-11

Will Dean Rock inflict anything like the same amount of misery on Cork tomorrow as his father Barney did 32 years ago when he scored the levelling goal in the final minute of the All-Ireland semi-final? It was a game Cork should have won, but they didn't exploit their periods of dominance, allowing Dublin to cling on before rescuing the day. It was to prove very costly.

1983 All-Ireland semi-final replay: Leeside Blues

Dublin 4-15 Cork 2-10

A rare trip outside Croke Park for an All-Ireland semi-final, where home advantage counted for zero in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. In one of the best-ever performances by Dublin, they flattened Cork with relentless power in the final 25 minutes.

1987 NFL quarter-final: Theatre of the Absurd

Dublin 1-10 Cork 1-7

Barney Rock scored the easiest goal of his career as Cork refused to play extra-time after normal time finished level. Referee, Michael Greenan (Cavan) started extra-time without Cork. Dublin midfielder, Declan Bolger caught the throw-in and passed to Rock who booted the ball to the net. It was the final act in a bizarre situation. Dublin were awarded the game and while Cork appealed, common sense prevailed and the oddly-acquired result stood. Dublin went on to win the title, beating Galway in the semi-final and Kerry in the final.

1989 NFL 'Home' Final: New Beginnings

Cork 0-15 Dublin 0-10

The value of this win should not be underestimated in the subsequent Cork success story. After losing the 1987 and 1988 All-Ireland finals to Meath, they were desperate to win a national title. Indeed, defeat by Dublin would have reinforced their insecurity and might well have left them vulnerable later on. Instead, they went on to win the All-Ireland title and retained it a year later.

1989 All-Ireland semi-final Penalty Power

Cork 2-10 Dublin 1-9

Dublin led by 1-4 to 0-0 after 15 minutes but lost the remaining 55 minutes by 2-10 to 0-5. The turning points were two penalties, despatched by John Cleary in the second quarter. Cork went on to win the All-Ireland title, joining Offaly, Kerry and Meath as counties who reached the peak after beating Dublin in the 1980s. The trend continued for Donegal, Derry and Down in the first half of the 1990s.

1995 All-Ireland semi-final: Jayo's Jink

Dublin 1-12 Cork 0-12

Jason Sherlock, then aged 19, was the sensation of the season, a status which was accelerated by his first-half goal in the All-Ireland semi-final when he sped past Mark O'Connor after the Cork full-back slipped. That goal is still recalled as the most memorable aspect of the game but, unquestionably, the best overall performance came from Mick Galvin, who scored 0-4 from open play.

2010 All-Ireland semi-final: Cool Customers

Cork 1-15 Dublin 1-14

Dublin led by five points entering the final quarter but Cork calmly worked their way back into the game, a process started by a goal from a penalty by Donncha O'Connor. Dublin's indiscipline - they conceded 1-7 from placed balls - cost them dearly. Still, the close call rescued a season where they recovered from a trimming by Meath in the Leinster semi-final to come very close to reaching the All-Ireland final.

2011 Division 1 final: Comeback Kings (1)

Cork 0-21 Dublin 2-14

More one-point heartbreak for Dublin, who looked to be on their way to victory when they led by eight points early in the second half. However, Cork, playing with all the confidence of reigning All-Ireland champions, sorted out their problems and raised their game to a level which suffocated Dublin. Cork scored the last six points of the game, leaving Dublin deeply frustrated after losing a game where they scored 2-14.


Division 1 semi-final: Comeback Kings (2)

Dublin 2-20 Cork 2-13

The pendulum had swung from 2010-11 when Dublin opened up big leads, only to be hauled back. This time, it was Cork's turn to squander a sizeable advantage. They led by ten points early in the second half before suffering a 17-point turnaround in 30 minutes. It was a humbling experience for Cork and may well have left them with scars which weren't fully healed for the championship.

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