Charlie Redmond: 'Unselfish Dubs with plenty to ponder after bold showing from Cork'
Read Charlie Redmond every week in the Sunday World
THIS was a FIVE-star show from Dublin footballers, who used all their experience to come through a serious test from Cork at Croke Park last night.
In the end they got the job done with Jack McCaffrey and Brian Howard outstanding and there was a welcome return to form from Con O’Callaghan who really upped it in this Super 8s game.
This Dublin attack was superb in the last quarter, opening up Cork at will as the Rebels’ resolve finally broke.
They simply couldn’t cope with the hunger of a Dublin team who looked like players hunting their first All-Ireland title.
I was impressed too with the unselfishness that is clearly a part of the team, even when things were going wrong in the first half there was no playing for yourself it was just ‘do what the team needs’.
That unselfishness was obvious too when it came to the killer goals at the end. The pass was always given to make it an easier finish for the best-placed player.
Dublin’s appetite for work was never more obvious than in those closing stages when the Cork legs were tiring.
That’s when Dublin pushed on, they sensed the weakness and turned it into scores.
In such an open game as we saw in Croke Park, so different to the claustrophobic football on offer in Roscommon,
Dublin kicked just five wides in the whole game.
That was a huge return. It tells you there is even more scoring in this Dublin team.
And there is plenty to work on too. I noted that Cork won a lot of breaking ball in this game, dirty ball on the ground that Dublin players were breaking down, but not picking up.
James McCarthy and Jonny Cooper do a lot of that unseen work for Dublin and they came back last night if only for a few minutes at the end.
But Jim Gavin will have noted the amount of ball broken down by Blue shirts and not picked up.
The boss will also be looking at his full-back line that, yes, didn’t concede a goal in open play, but which was opened at times.
Stephen Cluxton was busier than he has been in many a match and he also sent a few stray kick-outs to Corkmen.
But when the pressure came on, with Cork just a goal behind, Cluxton nailed a few kick-outs to Howard and Brian Fenton and Dublin turned the match around.
Mentioning that other game, Tyrone last night went back to their full-on 2017 sweeper mode.
It was good enough to get to the All-Ireland semi-final that year and may do the trick again. But Dublin will break down that system eventually, we didn’t see anything from Tyrone that suggested they are taking their game on.
Indeed Tyrone will have their hands full with Cork next Saturday. If Cork’s tired limbs can recover, next Saturday night’s opener may not be the Tyrone win everyone imagined it would be before last night.