The Dubs rolled on and into the All-Ireland SFC semi-finals with a five points win which was not without its flaws.
They could have beaten the Rebels out of sight at Croke Park had they taken even half of the goal chances they created, but there was much to admire about this latest offering from Jim Gavin’s side.
Defender Jack McCaffrey was the only player who proved capable of finishing one of those opportunities to the net, his 38th minute strike the vital score which gave the Metropolitans the breathing space they were able to utilise to fend off a hard-working Cork side.
Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton’s six points tally was another huge contribution, with only Paul Flynn and Ciaran Kilkenny of the starting attackers managing to score from play.
The sides were level on 0-4 each after 12 minutes, after trading points in quick succession in the early stages.
Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton was Dublin’s chief marksman, slotting three frees and a ’45 between the posts, with Michael Darragh Macauley also on target.
That was after Daniel Goulding had shot the Rebels in front, and they kept very much in touch with scores from Brian Hurley, John O’Rourke and Ciaran Sheehan.
Paul Flynn could have done better when presented with a genuine goal chances, but blasted his shot over the bar, and Cork countered to go in front with a Damien Cahalane ’45 and a Goulding free after 20 minutes.
But as the game opened out, both sides had goal chances, and Cork ‘keeper Alan Quirke saved superbly from Macauley, turning the ball around the posts, with Cluxton slotting the ’45.
Flynn and Ciaran Kilkenny hit the target to ease the Dubs into a two points advantage, and yet another goal opportunity saw Bernard Brogan skip around Eoin Cadogan, only to rifle his shot against the butt of a post.
Goulding had a shot at goal blocked by Rory O’Carroll at the other end, before controversy clouded the closing stages of the half, with Cork full-back Michael Shields fortunate not to have a penalty awarded against him after he touched the ball on the ground, having smothered a Diarmuid Connolly shot.
Dublin led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break, but continued to spurn goal chances, Diarmuid Connolly rifling one wide at the far post.
They did finally hit the net in the 38th minute, Jack McCaffrey blasting to the top corner of the net after Paul Mannion had picked out the wing back’s looping run
Cluxton landed his third ’45, before Cork rallied with scores from Goulding and Hurley, but they were caught out again at the back, and again let off the hook, Connolly over-cooking his cross with Mannion unmarked at the far post, and McCaffrey firing in a shot which was comfortably dealt with by Quirke.
Dean Rock came off the bench to remind Jim Gavin of the quality finisher that he is, and Kevin McManamon also came in to kick a tidy point, before Kilkenny gave them a four points cushion.
Cluxton converted his fourth ’45 to make it 1-15 to 0-14 going into the final five minutes.
Cork resorted to route one, but were thwarted by vital interventions from Rory O’Carroll and Flynn, as the Dubs closed the game out and went a step further on their All-Ireland adventure.
: S Cluxton (0-6, 2f, 4 ’45), J Cooper, R O’Carroll, K O’Brien, J McCarthy, G Brennan, J McCaffrey (1-0), MD Macauley (0-1), C O’Sullivan, P Flynn (0-2), C Kilkenny (0-2), D Connolly, P Mannion, B Cullen, B Brogan (0-1, f).
Subs: D Rock (0-2) for Cullen, P McMahon for Cooper, K McManamon (0-1) for Mannion, D Bastick (0-1)for Macauley, E O’Gara for Kilkenny
: A Quirke, E Cadogan, M Shields, Thomas Clancy, D Cahalane (0-1, ’45), G Canty, J Loughrey (0-1), A O’Connor, P O’Neill, M Collins (0-2, 1f), A Walsh, J O’Rourke (0-1), D Goulding (0-5, 2f, 1 ’45), C Sheehan (0-1), B Hurley (0-3).
Subs: P Kissane for Cadogan, P Kerrigan for O’Rourke, J O’Sullivan for Clancy, D O’Connor for A O’Connor, Tomas Clancy for Canty
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)