Cork 2-18 Dublin 2-17
A draw probably would have been the fairest result, but Cork will take great satisfaction from snatching this victory from the jaws of defeat.
They were out-hurled for most of the second half, but a late Pa Cronin goal and some effective substitutions gave them a winning momentum.
Missing a late free that would have earned them a share of the spoils surely rubbed salt in Dublin’s wounds, but there was a major positive too in the performance of young wing-forward, Danny Sutcliffe, who scored four points and looks like an outstanding prospect.
It was an entertaining match, but the first half was quite error-strewn with both teams hitting a series of bad wides.
Cork looked that little bit sharper in the forward division than Dublin though, and didn’t have to work quite so hard for their scores.
Pa Cronin is playing confidently at the moment, and he more than anyone was testing the Dublin defence with his natural athleticism and ability to snipe points from even half a chance.
He got score the first point of the match and his second of the day moved Dublin into an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead.
Dublin slowly warmed to the task though, and thanks mainly to the sure shooting of Paul Ryan, had drawn level at 0-5 apiece by the 29th minute.
The last few minutes of the first half belonged to Cork’s Conor Lehane. The teenager showed just why everyone is raving about him so much by scoring two cracking points that pushed the Rebels into a 0-9 to 0-7 half-time lead.
Dublin raced out of the traps by scoring a goal in the very first minute of the second half through Simon Lambert, but straight from the puck-out Cork cancelled it out when Cathal Naughton took off on one of those turbo-charged runs of his and lanced the ball to the back of the Dublin net.
As the half wore on though, Dublin grew steadily more dominant and moved into the lead when Ryan O’Dwyer lashed home a goal after Paul Ryan’s 21 yard free was saved and rebounded in his direction.
A sequence of three cracking points from Sutcliffe moved Dublin four points ahead, but Cork substitutes William Egan and Darren Sweetnam led the charge as the Rebels fought their way back into the game.
They drew level when good work from Pat Horgan and Jamie Coughlan gave Pa Cronin an easy goal chance that he gratefully accepted, so with five minutes left it was all to play for.
Another Sutcliffe point moved Dublin into the lead again, but Cork finished the stronger team and late points from William Egan and Pat Horgan earned them a hard-fought victory.
Cork: P Horgan 0-7 (5f), P Cronin 1-3, C Naughton 1-1, C Lehane 0-3, P O’Sullivan 0-2, B O’Connor 0-1, W Egan 0-1
Dublin: P Ryan 0-8 (2 ’65, 2f), S Lambert 1-2, D Sutcliffe 0-4, R O’Dwyer 1-0, J Boland 0-2, L Rushe 0-1
Cork: D Og Cusack; S O’Neill, S McDonnell, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Cashman, E Cadogan; S Og O’hAilpin, T Kenny; C Lehane, P Cronin, C Naughton; P Horgan, P O’Sullivan, B O’Connor. Subs: W Egan for R Cashman (38), L McLoughlin for T Kenny (48), D Sweetman for J Gardiner (54), J Coughlan for B O’Connor (59)
Dublin: G Maguire; N Corcorean, P Schutte, R Treanor; M Carton, JH Boland, S Durkin; J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; C McCormack, R O’Dwyer, S Lambert; D Treacy, L Rushe, P Ryan. Subs: D O’Callaghan for C McCormack (32), A McCrabbe for D Treacy (ht), R O’Carroll for J McCaffrey (51), M O’Brien for S Lambert (62), E Dillon for R O’Carroll (69)
Ref: J McGrath (Westmeath)