ALL-IRELAND SHC THIRD PHASE QUALIFIER: CORK 1-17 DUBLIN 0-15
An opportunistic goal from Joe Deane proved crucial at Pairc Ui Chaoimh this evening as Cork fended off a wholehearted Dublin side to progress to the fourth round of the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers.
Early in the second half, and at a critical moment in this tight contest, Deane intercepted a pass from Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire before rippling the net to give Cork a 1-10 to 0-08 buffer.
The Rebels, who had an early wind advantage, were 0-10 to 0-06 ahead at half-time with free-taker David O'Callaghan (0-05) top-scoring for the Dubs.
Former footballer O'Callaghan hit five more points but Deane's strike and late scores from Neil Ronan and Pat Horgan saw Cork through to face either Galway or Waterford in the next round.
Cork had 14 points to spare when these sides met in the qualifier last summer and with John Gardiner and his team-mates eager to impress after their Munster defeat to Tipperary, the bookmakers had them installed as 1/20 to produce the win.
But not many observers would have predicted such a hard-fought game as the Dubs proved once again that they can live with the top-tier counties.
Beating them and on a regular basis is another thing, but Cork manager Gerald McCarthy was a relieved man afterwards.
"We expected a tough game from Dublin, they're very strong and fit and certainly put it up to us," McCarthy admitted.
"There were lot of facets of our play which we're unhappy with and we've a lot of improving to do. There's a big improvement needed.
"But we're satisfied that there's a big performance in this team and we've haven't produced it yet this year."
Both sides lined out as selected in mid-week, with Cork drafting in highly rated defenders Eoin Cadogan and Ciaran McGann, as well as Niall McCarthy, Neil Ronan and Joe Deane in attack.
Kevin Ryan, who slotted in at full-back, and wing forward Declan Qualter were the only changes to the Dublin side that lost to Wexford in the Leinster semi-final.
In front of a 12,616-strong attendance, former All-Star Deane quickly took the limelight with a first-minute point, after collecting a snappy cross-field drive from Cadogan.
Cork looked slick as Tom Kenny pointed from distance for a 0-02 to 0-00 lead but two O'Callaghan frees soon levelled the game.
However, the Dubs' reliance on placed balls - they did not score from play until the 24th-minute - was costing them as successive scores from John Gardiner, Kenny, Cadogan and Jerry O'Connor shot them ahead.
Cadogan's effort was the best of the lot as the Douglas clubman curled over an excellent point after taking a pass from the energetic Kenny.
The Cork midfield was lording it at this stage but Dublin were edging the battle around Gary Maguire's square, with defenders Ryan, Niall Corcoran and Thomas Brady all opening well.
Tommy Naughton's men upped the tempo, ten minutes before the break, when two O'Callaghan frees sandwiched a Ross O'Carroll point from play.
O'Carroll had the best goal-scoring opportunity in the opening half but the Kilmacud attacker snatched at his shot and it went the wrong side of the crossbar.
O'Callaghan's fourth point had cut the gap to 0-06 to 0-05 but scores from Ben O'Connor (0-02), Niall McCarthy and Cathal Naughton, who was subdued until his pacy 33rd-minute point, took Cork's tally to 0-10.
Two points from O'Callaghan, either side of the restart, and another from O'Carroll increased the heat on the home side.
Now only 0-10 to 0-08, Cork looked a little shaky as Jerry O'Connor hit their twelfth wide and all round their play was flat and not up to championship standard.
Nonetheless, they got the break they needed just moments later when Maguire's loss of possession put Deane in for his goal.
The Dubs almost hit back with a goal of their own but Cork goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack produced a wonderful full-length save to deny O'Carroll.
Naughton had to reshuffle his pack as full-back Ryan came off with a shoulder injury and although the sides mostly went point for point for the remainder, Cork's grip on the game tightened as the minutes ticked by.
Pa Cronin put in an impressive stint off the bench, landing a good point from play and adding his bulk to the attack, while Paul Ryan did likewise for Dublin by registering a brace of late scores.
With three points on the trot, Ryan and O'Carroll helped make it a three-point game at 1-12 to 0-12.
Cork's short-passing style got them in trouble at times and a more direct approach helped Jerry O'Connor and Naughton pick off two much-needed points.
Dublin rallied again with overs from Ryan and O'Callaghan making it 1-14 to 0-14, with little over five minutes remaining.
Yet that was as close as Dublin would get in the finishing stages as Cork's greater experience helped them hold on for a tight but deserved victory.
Mention must also go to Wexford referee James Owens who put in a solid display in what was his first senior championship game.
Scorers - Cork: J Deane 1-01, C Naughton 0-03, T Kenny, J O'Connor, B O'Connor (0-01f), N Ronan 0-02 each, J Gardiner (0-1f), E Cadogan, N McCarthy, P Cronin, P Horgan 0-01 each
Dublin: D O'Callaghan 0-10 (0-07f), R O'Carroll 0-3, P Ryan 0-2
CORK: D Og Cusack; S O'Neill, D O'Sullivan, B Murphy; E Cadogan, J Gardiner (capt), C McGann; T Kenny, J O'Connor; B O'Connor, N McCarthy, T McCarthy; C Naughton, N Ronan. J Deane.
Substitutes: A Nash, S Murphy, J O'Callaghan, K Hartnett, R Curran, Kieran Murphy (Erin's Own), P Cronin, K Canty, B Corry, M Coleman, P O'Sullivan, Kieran Murphy (Sarsfields), P Horgan, S Og O hAilpin.
DUBLIN: G Maguire; N Corcoran, K Ryan, T Brady; S Hiney, R Fallon, J Boland; J McCaffrey, S Lambert; J Burke, D O'Dwyer, D Qualter; D O'Callaghan, K Flynn, R O'Carroll.
Substitutes: A Nolan, G Bennett, P Bergin, P Ryan, J Kelly, P O'Driscoll, P Kelly, S Mullen, P Carton, D O'Reilly, O Gough, P Garbutt, D Whelan.
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)