Cork overcome Dublin to book semi-finals place

Cork 1-12 Dublin 0-12

Cork 1-12 Dublin 0-12

Cork qualified for the semi-finals of Division 1 of the Allianz Football League as they overcame Dublin at Páirc Uí Chaoimh today.

While it was not a scintillating performance from the reigning league champions in this clash of the two most recent All-Ireland winners, a strong start to the game laid the foundations for the victory, providing a cushion against a resurgent Dublin display in the second half.

As a result of the win, Cork finish in second place in the table, meaning that they will play Down in next week’s semi-final.

A Donncha O’Connor free and a good point from Aidan Walsh had Cork two to the good in as many minutes after the throw-in, Dublin taking a while to get going as they looked listless in almost all areas of the pitch, the game lacking the bite that one might have expected from such a clash.

Fintan Goold added a third Cork point in the eighth minute, and a sign of the Dubs’ malaise was Diarmuid Connolly putting an easy free wide, though the full-forward did finally open their account with a point on 16, responding to Donncha O’Connor’s super effort after a surging Eoin Cadogan run through the middle.

Colm O’Neill, with a nicely taken point, restored Cork’s four-point advantage immediately, and then they pushed further clear in the 20th minute. From a good delivery by the impressive Fintan Goold, targetman Walsh tried to catch the high ball and while he was unable to do so, he got enough contact on it to send it past goalkeeper Michael Savage for a 1-5 to 0-1 lead.

Instead of building on that, though, Cork instead allowed Dublin back into contention as the visitors outscored their hosts by four points to three for the remainder of the half, 1-8 to 0-5 the half-time score.

When Dublin got the first four scores of the second half through through Bryan Cullen, Eamon Fennell, Kevin McManamon – who could have gone for goal – and Michael Dara Macauley, a real fightback looked to be a possibility.

At the same time, though, there was never any sense of the tempo being upped, with a lack of urgency still prevalent in the play and Cork, despite some ponderous forward play, always looked as if they had enough in reserve should they have required it.

A Colm O’Neill free restored their goal lead and while a Connolly free was Dublin’s response, Pearse O’Neill then scored for Cork after a patient build-up. By now, Walsh had been withdrawn to the middle sector, where he was winning vital ball, though Dublin were not being overrun as much as they had been.

But, despite working the ball into scoreable positions, Dublin couldn’t fully capitalise as the wides tally continued to build up, and a long-range O’Neill free pushed Cork four clear with 10 minutes left following a long scoreless period.

Two from Connolly, one a free, kept Dublin in it as the end neared, but Pearse O’Neill’s second point, a good score from a tight angle, was enough to ensure that the home side took the points.

Scorers for Cork: C O’Neill 0-4 (0-2f), A Walsh 1-1, P Kerrigan, P O’Neill, D O’Connor (0-1f) 0-2 each, F Goold 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: D Connolly 0-5 (0-2f), MD Macauley, B Cullen, K McManamon, E Fennell 0-2 each.

CORK: K O’Halloran; E Cotter (J O’Sullivan 67), M Shields, R Carey; G Canty, E Cadogan (N O’Leary 65), S Kiely (P Kissane half-time); A O’Connor, P O’Neill; F Goold, P Kerrigan, P Kelly; C O’Neill, D O’Connor, A Walsh (B O’Driscoll, 30-32 blood).

DUBLIN: M Savage; R O’Carroll, P McMahon, C O’Sullivan; J Cooper, J McCarthy, K Nolan (P Brogan 62); S Murray (D Bastick 31), E Fennell (R McConnell 66); D Byrne (B Cahill half-time), MD Macauley, B Cullen; C Dias (D Kelly 62), D Connolly, K McManamon.

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).

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