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Rebels quelled as key Sherlock goals powers Dublin into decider


Jason Sherlock's goal helped Dublin beat Cork in the 1995 All-Ireland semi-final. Picture Credit: David Maher SPORTSFILE.

Jason Sherlock's goal helped Dublin beat Cork in the 1995 All-Ireland semi-final. Picture Credit: David Maher SPORTSFILE.

Jason Sherlock's goal helped Dublin beat Cork in the 1995 All-Ireland semi-final. Picture Credit: David Maher SPORTSFILE.

DUBLIN overcame the pressure of warm favouritism and Munster champions Cork in the process when securing a largely comfortable 1-12 to 0-12 All-Ireland semi-final victory at Croke Park August 20.

Despite a less than ideal start that saw the Rebels seize early control, the Dubs gradually found their collective feet and never looked back once Jason Sherlock delivered another inspirational moment in the 23rd minute as he skinned Mark O’Connor before firing unerringly past Kevin O’Dwyer from an acute angle.

From that juncture, the confidence derived from their Leinster final win over Meath became all too apparent as Dublin assumed control of the tie, prevailing with greater ease than the three-point winning margin might suggest.

"I’ve a lot of sympathy for Mark (O’Connor) because he slipped and I just got past him," said Sherlock of his wonder strike.

"It was a flukey thing and I said that to him after the game, but when you get these lucky breaks, you’ve just got to take them.

"I knew we were three points down and I had to go for it. I wasn’t that conscious of the angle or the far post. I was more concerned that the ’keeper’s leg might get to it, but thankfully it went in."

"I’m very conscious of the fact that I’m one of the lucky ones, that very few people get to play for Dublin in an All-Ireland semi-final. I just went out to enjoy it," he added.

Sherlock wasn’t the only hero in blue, as once again Brian Stynes was central to Dublin’s dominance as he offered great protection and support to Dublin’s defensive sextet, one in which Paul Curran continued to impress with another exceptional outing at wing-back, albeit with less emphasis on his attacking output than was customary from the Thomas Davis star.

Dublin’s forwards were never likely to receive the same latitude allowed to them by Meath but could feel pleased with their economy on the day with Mick Galvin enjoying his finest game of the year by landing four precious points from play, a vital contribution on an afternoon where Dublin possessed just four scorers in total.

Indeed, Dublin’s first score from play was Sherlock’s goal as Cork held the early upper hand thanks to Colin Corkery’s free-taking and a lively showing from corner-forward Mark O’Sullivan that left Keith Galvin chasing shadows initially.

Charlie Redmond had already converted two frees before his third handed his side the lead for the first time on 27 minutes with a late O’Sullivan point ensuring Dublin’s lead was trimmed to 1-5 to 0-6 by the interval.

Dublin were far more assured in the early stages of the second-half and their first point from play arrived within just 23 seconds of the restart as Galvin split the posts from a Dessie Farrell pass.

That momentum was maintained thanks to further scores from play by Paul Clarke and Redmond inside four minutes as the Dubs made a decisive break for home.

Larry Tompkins and Joe Kavanagh (who was denied a goal by John O’Leary in the 42nd minute) scores offered a modicum of hope for Cork but crucially, they never managed to reduce their arrears beyond three points, allowing Dublin to dictate the terms of the contest.

The remainder of the clash proved somewhat anti-climatic despite the perceived narrowness of the scoreboard as Dublin’s defence held firm with Paddy Moran and Keith Barr replicating their effectiveness from the Leinster final.

Galvin tagged on three further points to enhance his polished display and although Dublin’s final score, a Redmond free, arrived as early as the 62nd minute, it never looked like their authority was going to be undermined as Pat O’Neill’s men closed out the game with a minimum of fuss.

"There are no words to describe how badly we want to win this All-Ireland," said Galvin after his influential 70 minutes.

"I feel that there is a resolve in us that wasn’t there before.

"Today was nice but it was only a step, a means towards an end. We don’t want to get het up about it now.

"We’re playing calm, organised, controlled football at the moment.

"People say we’re only 70 minutes away, but we have been in this situation before and we’ve died in those 70 minutes."

"We have won semi-finals before, no differently to today. We’ll just have to make it different this time. It’s up to us to make the difference," added Galvin.

His views were echoed by manager Pat O’Neill, who praised the focus and determination of his panel as they looked to take that one final step to greatness.

"We have all learned from our experiences in the past and our approach to the final will be exactly the same as it has been for all our championship games this season, take nothing for granted and be prepared for every eventuality.

"All this season, my job has been made easier because of the attitude of the players and how much they want to put certain disappointments and doubts to rest once and for all.

"Many of them know that this is their final throw of the dice and it’s the fear of losing again which is going to be the greatest spur in our lead up to the final," said O’Neill.