Sunday 17 December 2017

Dillon scoring spree leaves out of sorts Rebels reeling

Dublin 4-21 Cork 2-17

Eamon Dillon, Dublin, gets past Stephen McDonnell, Cork, on his way to scoring his sides first goal Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
Eamon Dillon, Dublin, gets past Stephen McDonnell, Cork, on his way to scoring his sides first goal Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
Luke Farrell, Cork, in action against Oisin Gough, left, and Cian O'Callaghan, Dublin Photo: Sportsfile
Partrick Horgan, Cork, in action against Dublin's from left, Liam Rushe, Johnny McCaffrey and Eoghan O'Donnell Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE newsdesk

There were so many questions to be answered by the hurlers of Dublin and Cork as they faced up to last night's Allianz League Division 1A contest.

Could Dublin earn their first victory over Cork in their third encounter with the Rebel County since Ger Cunningham took over management of the team?

Which Dublin would turn up? The Dubs who were second best in all departments to Tipperary in their first outing, or the bright sparks who turned the lights out on Galway at Parnell Park last time out?

Could new Cork manager Kieran Kingston - a team-mate of Cunningham on the Rebels side that won the 1986 All-Ireland title - guide his team to a badly needed first league win after successive defeats?

There was only one certainty: Dublin could not countenance a repeat of the 0-34 to 1-20 drubbing inflicted by Cork under then manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy in the corresponding league game last year.

Cork started well and were 0-4 to 0-2 up after six minutes. But once Dublin tightened up in the marking and raised their level of intensity, it was virtually one-way traffic for the rest of the half. A Liam Rushe effort slammed over from almost 80 metres in the 15th minute was the pick of the home side's points.

The goals, however, did the big damage. Eamonn Dillon got inside his marker Stephen McDonnell to power home the first one after 20 minutes. David Treacy gave Cork keeper Anthony Nash no chance with another fierce drive to the net three minutes later. The porous Rebel defence was breached again for Sean McGrath's goal in the 25th minute, making it 3-8 to 0-4.

Cork had not garnered a point for 20 minutes up to Patrick Horgan's score from a free in the 26th minute. He notched up three more points and Conor Lehane got one, courtesy of Hawk-Eye, from then to the interval, but Cork were 12 points down at half-time, 3-12 to 0-9. That deficit stretched to 13 points when Mark Schutte was first off the mark with a Dublin point within two minutes of the restart.

A brace of Horgan frees closed the gap, but Cork still had a mountain to climb. Five wides in the opening 10 minutes did not inspire confidence that the Rebels could stage a comeback.

And it got worse for them when Dillon registered the fourth goal for a rampant Dublin in the 51st minute.

The men in blue never looked like being threatened in any serious way from then until the finish. However, Cork had a late sting in the tail in added-time. Paudie O'Sullivan blasted the sliotair in low seeking a goal and while the Dubliners beat off the first attempt, Seamus Harnedy followed up to force it home. And just before the final whistle, Harnedy again snatched a goal, but it was too little, too late.

Scorers - Dublin: E Dillon 2-3; D Treacy 1-7 (5f); S McGrath 1-0; S Barrett, M Schutte 0-2, N McMorrow 0-2 each; L Rushe, D Plunkett, D O'Callaghan, D Plunkett, J McCaffrey 0-1 each. Cork: P Horgan 0-7 (6f, 165); S Harney 2-0; C Lehane 0-4; P Haughney 0-2 (1f); L O'Farrell 0-2; B Lawton, B Cooper 0-1 each.
Dublin: C Dooley; E O'Donnell, C O'Callaghan, O Gough; S Barrett, L Rushe, J McCaffrey; D O'Connell, D Plunkett; S McGrath, N McMorrow, E Dillon; D O'Callaghan, D Treacy, M Schutte. Subs: C Cronin for S McGrath (h-t); J Boland for J McCaffrey (58); S Treacy for D O'Callaghan (64); F McGibb for D Treacy (64) ; J Madden for C O'Callaghan (68).
Cork: A Nash; K Burke, C Joyce, S McDonnell; D Cahalane, M Ellis, C Murphy; D Kearney, B Lawton; B Cooper, S Harnedy, P Cronin; C Lehane, L O'Farrell, P Horgan. Subs: L McLoughlin for C Murphy (27); P Haughney for D Kearney (32); S Murphy for S McDonnell (h-t); P O'Sullivan for P Cronin (44); W Leahy for P Horgan (62).
Referee: A Kelly (Galway).

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