Cork entered the final having had the benefit of a competitive semi-final against Galway ten days previously while in contrast, Dublin arrived at the decider in a less that satisfactory manner after Antrim had refused to honour their semi-final fixture.
However, that disadvantage failed to hinder Dublin initially as they enjoyed a lively start despite falling behind to a sublime solo score from Blake Murphy in the opening minute.
The Dubs levelled matters in an instant thanks to an equally sumptuous score from Tom Aherne and some loose Cork marking was punished in the fifth minute as Billy Ryan was afforded all the time in the world to inch Dublin ahead.
Dublin added to their lead through a Liam Murphy free and could well have netted in the eighth minute but Kevin Kirwan fired narrowly over the crossbar from a promising position.
Gradually, Cork began to settle with Daire Connery beginning to show his talents around midfield and he added two points in quick succession to help his side gain a foothold in proceedings.
Although the lively Ryan clipped over another great score at the opposite end, the Munster champions were beginning to gain the upper hand as they drew level by the end of the first quarter following scores from Colin O’Brien and Declan Hanlon.
After Murphy and O’Brien had traded frees, the momentum swung back in Dublin’s favour as they were awarded a generous looking penalty after a foul on Kirwan and goalkeeper Eddie Gibbons made a lengthy and successful trip upfield to fire a rocket to the left of Eoin Davis.
A Mark Grogan point looked to have handed Dublin added initiative but Cork finished the half on a high as full-forward Joe Stack availed of a slip by Dublin’s Kevin Burke in the 28th minute to leave Gibbons helpless from eight yards.
Murphy added another inspirational score for Cork while his namesake Liam Murphy converted a late free to trim Cork’s lead to the bare minimum (1-9 to 1-8) by the interval.
The third quarter saw Cork continue their control of matters although they were fortunate that Gibbons’ second penalty of the hour had too much elevation with Davis a relieved man after he had felled Murphy inside the area in the 38th minute.
Cork were further boosted as their opponents were reduced to 14 players in the 42nd minute after Aherne picked up a second caution for an innocuous looking challenge on Conor O’Callaghan.
For a while, it seemed that dismissal would effectively settle the contest as Cork pushed into a three-point lead following scores from Cormac O’Brien and Owen McCarthy.
However, to their credit, Dublin continued to remain competitive with Liam Murphy tagging on frees but Cork held on for a deserved win with fittingly, Connery, adding an insurance free in injury time.
“We knew what to expect from Dublin as we had played them in a few challenge games down the years,” said Cork captain Brian Roche.
“They were big and physical and every ball that you won, you didn’t get it easy. We have been aiming for this since U14 and it was a dream come true today,” said Roche, who can yet add a minor medal this season.
“Today is the day we wanted but we need to focus on next week now as there is still a job to be done with the minors.”
Dublin manager Fintan Clandillon will again stand in Cork’s way next weekend. “We are bitterly disappointed with the defeat today but we can be proud of how we played, especially with 14 men in the final quarter.
“We need to pick ourselves up for next week but we’re very fortunate to have next week’s minor semi-final to look forward to and focus on after today’s loss.”
D Connery (0-6, 5 frees); Colin O’Brien (0-5, 3 frees); D Hanlon (0-3); J Stack (1-0); B Murphy, O McCarthy (0-2 each), Cormac O’Brien (0-1).
L Murphy (0-7 frees); E Gibbons (1-1, 1-0 pen, 0-1 pen); B Ryan, L Gannon (0-2 each), E O’Donnell, T Aherne, M Murphy (’65’), M Grogan, K Kirwan (0-1 each).
E Davis; E Roche, C Nyhan, R Sheehan; Cormac O’Brien, C O’Callaghan, A Walsh Barry; D Connery, S Twomey; B Roche, D Hanlon, T O’Connell; B Murphy, J Stack, Colin O’Brien.
R McCarthy for Cormac O’Brien (23-31, Blood Sub), O McCarthy for O’Connell (35), S Barrett for Murphy (53).
E Gibbons; A Dunphy, K Burke, T Kinnane; L Gannon, E O’Donnell, S Kinsella; T Aherne, M Murphy; K Kirwan, B Ryan, M Grogan; L McDwyer, L Murphy, K Desmond.
S Clerkin for Desmond (44), L Dunne for M Murphy (52), M Sweeney for Kirwan (54).
John Keane (Galway)