Cork hurlers brought back down to earth by rampant Dubs

Eoin Conroy of Dublin prepares to strike his side's second goal despite the attention of Stephen McDonnell of Cork during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 2 match between Cork and Dublin at Páirc Uí Rinn in Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Cork 1-14 Dublin 2-19

By Brendan O’Brien at Pairc Uí Rinn.

Another example, if it were needed, that February form is not to be trusted.

Cork opened their Allianz Division 1A campaign with a resounding defeat of Clare at Pairc Ui Rinn last weekend. Dublin suffered a heavy beating at the hands of All-Ireland champions Tipperary in HQ. Everyone expected this to go one way. It went the other.

Dublin finished with 14 men but were the superior side for long, long stretches of this floodlit affair and the scoreline doesn’t flatter them a jot. A game between two sides expected to have relegation worries in a few weeks’ time, it is the Rebels who will have more reason for worry on this evidence.

Or until the next twist in fortunes in round three, maybe.

Who can tell at this time of year?

Dublin were aggressive, sharp and eager on the night, their collective performance personified by the young Donal Burke up front who finished with eight points, two of them from open play, and a handful of vital assists besides.

Cork’s travails were many and varied but the sight of Patrick Horgan spinning four fairly basic dead ball shots wide was all too typical of a display that undoes so much of the good - and goodwill - generated by that beating of the Banner.

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham had named a side with just two changes to the one which started the opening weekend’s 16-point defeat to Tipp at Croke Park but there were five alterations to that selection shortly before throw-in.

It was no surprise.

Dublin still couldn’t prevent Cork from starting the stronger. Horgan should have claimed a goal just minutes in but he fresh-aired as he bore down on goal. Even still, Cork were four points to one to the good after the first 15 minutes.

Dublin weren’t doing all that bad but their shooting held them back. They would finish the half with eight wides to their credit but their defence was proving sufficiently sticky to keep them afloat and the forwards eventually found a flow.

The turnaround was, in fact, astonishing.

Cork went 16 minutes of the half without registering a score. Making matters much worse was the fact that Dublin hit them for 1-8 in the same time. Far too many of those scores were self-inflicted with loose play out of defence and a few of goalkeeper Anthony Nash’s puck-outs sent back over his bar.

Dublin’s first goal came at the start of that run with a long Chris Crummy free landing in the penalty area and eventually dribbling to the net after an aerial tussle between Dublin’s Ryan O’Dwyer and Cork defender David Griffin. Custom dictates that we give the score to the attacker.

Cork manager Kieran Kingston reacted with a first change ten minutes before the break but Damien Cahillane hadn’t even touched the ball by the time he conceded a penalty for a foul on O’Dwyer. Nash at least sent the penalty away for a ‘65’ that brought a white flag instead of a green.

Cork woke from their slumber as the oranges were being peeled.

Shane Kingston of Cork shoots to score his side's first goal past Dublin goalkeeper Conor Dooley during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 2 match between Cork and Dublin at Páirc Uí Rinn in Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Shane Kingston had been anonymous up until then but the Douglas attacker hit Dublin for 1-2 in just over five minutes. His goal was a lovely bit of stickwork as he shortened his grip before sending the sliotar into the far corner after bearing down on Conor Dooley’s goal.

The net result to the first 35 minutes was a four-point lead for the visitors on a scoreline of 1-11 to 1-7 but it got worse again for Cork who conceded a second goal just half a dozen minutes after the restart and it was a bad one to give away.

Stephen McDonnell was only on since the interval and a rusty first touch let the ever dangerous Burke, fresh out of minor, in behind the Cork defence. The Na Fianna man was forced wide at first but still sent a ball square that Eoghan Conroy guided to the net. .

That pushed the margin out to six points and it stretched again, to eight, before Dublin lost Chris Crummy for what appeared to be a questionable second yellow card. That happened just as Cork happened to be finding some momentum that proved to be temporary.

Conor Lehane added an element of danger and drive up front when brought on but he found the side-netting on one occasion and a close-in Horgan free was batted away soon after as the home side searched for the big score that would ignite a late charge.

It never came.

Scorers for Cork: P Horgan (0-6, 5 frees); S Kingston (1-2); M Coleman (0-2 frees); L Meade (0-2); A Cadogan, C Lehane (both 0-1).

Scorers for Dublin: D Burke (0-8, 6 frees); E Conroy (1-2); R O’Dwyer (1-1); R McBride (0-2); C Crummy, E Dillon, C Conway, F McGibb, E Conroy and C Bennett (all 0-1).

Cork: A Nash; K Burke, D Griffin, C Spillane; C Joyce, M Ellis, M Coleman; B Cooper, D Kearney; L Meade, S Kingston, D Fitzgibbon; A Cadogan, P Horgan, S Harnedy. Subs: D Cahillane for Spillane (25); S McDonnell for Griffin (HT); C Lehane for Fitzgibbon (45); P Haughney for Kearney (50); C O’Sullivan for O’Dwyer (62).

Dublin: C Dooley; J Madden, E O’Donnell, S Barrett; B Quinn, L Rushe, C Crummy; C Conway, N McMorrow; E Conroy, R McBride, E Dillon; F McGibb, R O’Dwyer, D Burke. Subs: C Bennett for Quinn (49); C MacGabhann for Conway (59); F Whitely for Dillon (69); D Fox for Burke (73).

Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny).

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