Cork 1-15 Dublin 0-16
Dublin made a losing start to their Allianz Football League title defence as Cork finished the stronger in a 1-15 to 0-16 win at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The Rebels scored five of the final six points in this entertaining Division 1 opener, with defenders Conor Dorman and Eoin Cadogan claiming the last two.
Jamie O'Sullivan’s scrambled 11th-minute goal had the hosts leading 1-7 to 0-9 at half-time. Dean Rock landed 0-8 for an experimental Dublin side, but Cork prevailed.
Last year’s table toppers made two late changes as Dorman and John O’Rourke came in for Tomás Clancy and Donncha O’Connor respectively, while the Dubs lined out as selected, giving league debuts to Eoin Culligan and John Small in defence.
The Cork marking was lacklustre in allowing Tomás Brady to slot over a third-minute opener, and Kevin McManamon got away from James Loughrey to land a second point in quick succession.
In a fast-paced opening, Fintan Goold replied for Cork who pulled Mark Collins back as an extra defender. Brian O’Driscoll set up O’Rourke for the leveller before Rock fisted Dublin back in front.
Cork were guilty of dropping three shots short into goalkeeper Seán Currie’s hands, but a clinical attack teed up Dorman, who was operating as a wing back, and his half-blocked shot was bundled over the line by the supporting O’Sullivan.
There was a good response from the visitors with points from Cormac Costello and Rock (free), making it 1-2 to 0-5, and a left-footed score from impressive midfielder Shane Carthy edged them ahead again.
Colm O’Driscoll was fortunate to avoid a black card when bringing down the advancing Jack McCaffrey, with the resulting free knocked over by Rock.
Brian Hurley closed the gap to 0-7 to 1-3, but Goold followed up with two poor attempts at scores, failing to profit from an interception firstly and then slipping as a goal looked on the cards.
Colm O’Neill, who had been quiet, landed the equalising score soon after, as the short kick-out tactic finally paid off for the Rebels. Dorman then raided forward for a well-struck point and a 1-5 to 0-7 lead.
Brian Cuthbert’s charges maintained their slender advantage up to the interval as following a Goold wide (Cork’s sixth of the day), they were back on target through O’Rourke and classy free-taker O’Neill.
The Dubs matched them as Rock rewarded a fine catch from Denis Bastick, and Eoghan O’Gara became the fifth Dublin forward to get on the scoresheet.
Into the second half, O’Gara and Rock (0-2, 0-1f) had the reigning league champions leading by 0-12 to 1-7 by the 43rd minute, with McCaffrey and company using their pace to put the Cork rearguard under increasing pressure.
Net minder Ken O’Halloran crucially intervened as he was first to reach a dangerous ball in from O’Gara, and a much-needed free from O’Neill got the scoreboard moving again for Cork.
Following an exchange of frees between Rock and O’Neill, the appreciative crowd were treated to two lovely left-footed points from Hurley and McManamon.
It was real nip and tuck stuff as Rock’s eighth score was cancelled out by back-to-back frees from O’Neill and Hurley, bringing the Rebels back level (1-12 to 0-15) with just over 12 minutes remaining.
As Jim Gavin dipped into his bench, Cork’s greater experience and tighter hold of midfield sparked a decisive run of scores that ultimately decided this end-to-end tussle.
The hard-working Collins kicked them ahead before Cadogan popped up with a key score four minutes from the finish.
McManamon led the Dublin response, but they were unable to manufacture a goal-scoring chance. Rock, who was thwarted by O’Halloran in the first half, hung a ‘45’ in towards the square and eventually substitute Michael Deegan broke up their scoreless spell.
However, that point was duly cancelled out by the influential Dorman who ensured a satisfying result for the majority of the 4,245 attendance.
CORK: Ken O'Halloran; Conor Dorman (1-2), Tom Clancy, James Loughrey; Jamie O'Sullivan (1-0), Eoin Cadogan (0-1), Brian O'Driscoll; Fintan Goold (0-1), Ian Maguire; Mark Collins (0-1), John O’Rourke (0-2), Colm O'Driscoll; Colm O'Neill (0-5, 0-4f), Donal Óg Hodnett, Brian Hurley (0-3, 0-1f).
Subs used: Paul Kerrigan for O’Sullivan (half-time), John Hayes for Hodnett (46), Luke Connolly for C O’Driscoll (66), Kevin O’Driscoll for Maguire (68).
DUBLIN: Seán Currie; Eoin Culligan, Rory O'Carroll, Darren Daly; Jonny Cooper, John Small, Jack McCaffrey; Denis Bastick, Shane Carthy (0-1); Tomás Brady (0-1), Dean Rock (0-8, 0-4f), Emmett O Conghaile; Kevin McManamon (0-2), Eoghan O'Gara (0-2), Cormac Costello (0-1).
Subs used: Davy Byrne for O Conghaile (half-time), Brian Fenton for Bastick (46), Ciaran Reddin for McCarthy (53), Conor McHugh for Costello, Eric Lowndes for Cooper (both 56), Michael Deegan (0-1) for O’Gara (68).
Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).