Dublin 3-11 Cork 0-14
Dublin secured a place in the All-Ireland U21Football final with a well deserved victory over a hard-working Cork side in Portlaoise.
Cork had by far the better of the opening exchanges, defending vigorously and providing their forwards with a very good quality supply. Brian Hurley, in particular, was looking very dangerous and four of the attacking sextet were on the board by the tenth minute.
John O’Rourke got them off the mark and though Philip Ryan equalised, Cork were on the front foot, scoring four points in succession.
Hurley (free), Mark Sugrue and Donal Óg Hodnett all raised white flags before Hurley landed a fine point at the end of a wonderful move that started with corner-back, Danny O’Donovan making a very brave interception on the deck at the other end of the field.
Dublin began to find that little bit more space as the game progressed and within eight minutes, they had turned a four-point deficit into two-point lead.
Gary Sweeney and Daniel Byrne raised white flags for Jim Gavin’s side before Philip Ryan converted a penalty brilliantly after Paul Hudson had been fouled when about to tap the ball to an empty net. Ciarán Kilkenny did provide the finishing touch but referee Martin Higgins had already whistled. Fortunately for the Dubs, Ryan made sure that they got the goal they deserved.
The full-forward struck for another major six minutes from the end of the half after Dublin created a three-on-one situation against Cork full-back Damien Cahalane, Daniel Byrne providing the final pass.
The Leinster champions led by 2-5 to 0-7 at the break and they struck a significant blow with less than two minutes of the second half under way, when Jack McCaffrey pounced for a goal.
To give Cork their due, they kept battling away, Luke Connolly, John O’Rourke and Hurley kicking some wonderful points but Dublin were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over, and crucially, denied the Leesiders the goal opportunity they really needed to blow the game open.
Cork did get the deficit down to six points entering the final quarter but Dublin were in total command and quickly increased the margin to eight once again.
The Rebels were never short of possession and a they did manage to hit back with three pointed frees, two of which were outstanding conversions by Hurley and substitute, Dan McEoin.
As if to prove a point though, Ryan – who had been very quiet in the second half – lofted over a fine score and that was the final act.
Dublin: P Ryan 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1 45); J McCaffrey 1-0; E Ó Conghaile, P Hudson 0-2 each; D Byrne, G Sweeney, C Kilkenny, P Maguire 0-1
Cork: B Hurley 0-6(5fs); J O’Rourke, L Connolly (1 45) 0-2 each; D Óg Hodnett, M Sugrue, K Hallissey (f), D McEoin (f) 0-1 each
Dublin: JB Carthy; M Concar, K O’Brien, S George; L Fletcher, J Kelly, J McCaffrey; E Ó Conghaile 0-1, D Byrne 0-1; C Reddin, G Sweeney 0-1, M Schutte; C Kilkenny, P Ryan, P Hudson. Subs: P Maguire for Byrne (38); G Seaver for Schutte (45); P O’Higgins for Reddin (46); H Dawson for Hudson (55); E Keogh for Sweeney (57)
Cork: S Mellet; D O’Donovan, D Cahalane, A Cronin; J Cronin, T Clancy, J Wall; R Deane, E Healy; K Hallissey, M Sugrue, J O’Rourke; L Connolly, B Hurley, D Óg Hodnett. Subs: D McEoin for Hallissey (ht); C O’Sullivan for Wall (40); B O’Driscoll for Healy (51); A Cadogan for Sugrue (55)
Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh)