Ten points down in the 37th minute here and they end up coasting to a seven-point victory. Name another team capable of such a transformation?
That’s right — there is none.
In front of 28,903 spectators, this fixture didn’t have the billing of previous knockout clashes with Cork. However, unlike last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, the manner of this Dublin win felt like revenge for their defeats in the 2010 semi-final and following year’s league final.
Drawing from the same pool of experience that Cork had back then, Dublin turned on the afterburners to score 1-9 without reply in the final 18 minutes of action, Patrick Kelly’s 52nd minute effort Cork’s last of the game.
It was such a contrast from the opening period when Brian Hurley had threatened to pulverise Dublin in the same way he had damaged Kerry seven days previous.
By the break, he had five points to his name and Cork led by eight, 2-9 to 0-7, as their level of urgency far surpassed Dublin’s around the centre and the quick ball into their deadly full-forwards was reaping dividends.
But with the redeployment of Paul Flynn to midfield and Davy Byrne coming on for Declan O’Mahony at half-time, Dublin turned the kick-out scales in their favour after Jamie O’Sullivan and Daniel Goulding had sent Cork 10 clear.
Goulding added a free, the first of the game, in the 41st minute after Michael Darragh Macauley had gathered a Philly McMahon shot off the post to stab the ball past Ken O’Halloran.
But the fightback truly began for Dublin with a Diarmuid Connolly free in the 45th minute and it was the in-form St Vincent’s man and another veteran in Alan Brogan who initiated it.
The cry for the cavalry was sounded in the 44th minute when Bernard Brogan appeared and within 10 minutes he had a brace of frees to his name.
Cork couldn’t get a foothold in midfield and the strong running from Nicky Devereux and Macauley had the visiting defence scrambling to put out fires.
In the 50th minute, McMahon had his second goal chance of the game only for Tom Clancy to deny him. However, the same Cork defender was forced into fouling the ball a minute later and Brogan duly sailed over the free.
Following Kelly’s outside of the right boot point, Dublin were hardly troubled. They rattled off five without reply in eight minutes, the last of them from Macauley in the 61st minute to tie up the game.
Seconds later, Bernard Brogan put them ahead for the first time since the opening minute and then Alan pounced to loft a point after an Aidan Walsh error.
Bernard Brogan was a nuisance and he was justifiably awarded a penalty when James Loughrey fouled him. Connolly dispatched the ball to the net and the curtains were drawn on the game, although there was stilltime for Ciarán Reddinand Bernard Brogan scores.
Cork shouldn’t feel too despondent. The Dublin they faced on March 1 was an entirely different side to this one coming off two steely performances against Mayo and Tyrone.
On the assembly line, Cork still have a few parts to put together compared to Dublin who are already packed and parcelled. A fully-fit Walsh was missed badly from midfield.
In the first half, they showed exactly what they can — and you would expect — will be. Like in Tralee, it was a Paul Kerrigan run which provided Colm O’Neill with a goal.
That came six minutes in. Seconds later and Stephen Cluxton failed to get a fist to a Hurley up-and-under.
Under the dropping ball, Mark Collins put Devereux under pressure and it was enough to see the ball spin off the Dublin defender into the net.
Cork couldn’t have asked for a better start but, as Kerry will tell them, it’s not enough against this machine.
Scorers for Dublin: D Connolly (1-2 , 1-0 pen, 1f); B Brogan (0-5, 3f); MD Macauley (1-1); P Andrews, E O’Gara (0-3 each); K McManamon, P Flynn, D Byrne, J Cooper, A Brogan, C Reddin (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: B Hurley (0-5); C O’Neill (1-1); N Devereux (1-0, og); D Goulding (0-2, 1f); F Goold, M Collins, D O’Connor, J O’Sullivan, P Kelly (0-1 each).
Subs for Dublin: E O’Gara for J Whelan (27); D Byrne for D O’Mahony (h-t); B Brogan for K McManamon (inj 44); C Reddin for P Andrews (67); T Brady for E O’Gara (70+1).
Subs for Cork: J O’Rourke for D O’Connor (44); A Walsh for D Goulding (49); J Hayes for C O’Neill (56); N Galvin for T Clancy (inj 60); T Clancy (Fermoy) for A O’Sullivan (63); K O’Driscoll for P Kerrigan (70+1).
Referee: C Branagan (Down).
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O’Carroll, P McMahon; N Devereux, K Nolan, J McCarthy; MD Macauley, D O’Mahony; P Flynn, D Connolly, J Whelan; P Andrews, K McManamon, A Brogan. CORK: K O’Halloran; M Shields, T Clancy (Clonakilty), J O’Sullivan; D Cahalane, P Kelly, J Loughrey; F Goold, A O’Sullivan; M Collins, D O’Connor, P Kerrigan; D Goulding, C O’Neill, B Hurley.
Diarmuid Connolly’s 66th minute penalty put the game out of Cork’s reach.
The character of the All-Ireland champions. Never-say-die is a cliche but it’s appropriate when mentioning Dublin.
The first scored free was recorded in the 41st minute.
Bernard Brogan made a significant impact, but the phalanx of Alan Brogan, DiarmuidConnolly, Davy Byrne, Michael Darragh Macauley and Philly McMahon were thewinning of the game.
Jim Gavin had better auxiliaries to call on and they worked a treat. The midfield switch at half-time, bringing on Davy Byrne for Declan O’Mahony and pushing Paul Flynn to the centre, was a great call.
A handy day for Ciarán Branagan but his decision-making was composed.
Cork have a 10-week break until their Munster semi-final. Dublin face Derry in the Division 1 final in a fortnight.