Dublin 1-15 Cork 2-7: After a week in which Dublin’s home comforts of Croke Park were atop the pre-Championship agenda, Jim Gavin’s men made a successful 600km round-trip to the hilly amphitheatre of Cill na Martra yesterday.
In a rematch of the League final, both sides lined out largely second-string outfits, with Dublin once again proving their bench strength in wild conditions.
With players asked to state their case for championship inclusion in atrocious weather, Gavin was satisfied with the effort of his team, which saw Brian Fenton and Philly McMahon among the only final starters to make the trip.
“Regardless of the score, it was good to get the boys out. The overall effort from both our defence and attack was good in difficult conditions. That’s all we ask them, to be the best that they can be, and I thought they put their best foot forward today.
“We won’t be going back to full training until the end of next week so we’ll take it from there.”
Cork’s comparatively more shallow pick was bolstered by the inclusion of a new midfield pairing, Ruairí Deane, returning after last summer’s cruciate injury, and Alan O’Connor, two weeks back after ending his 18-month retirement.
Brian Cuthbert emphasised his satisfaction with everything but the pouring rain, and praised the midfield duo that will be pushing for a place in a sector which the Rebels have yet to solve.
“It’s like having two new players but they need more games and that’s what today was about. I was very happy with them and I thought we played good enough football.
“A challenge game is a challenge game and a lot of players played well, so I’m happy out.”
O’Connor had a solid showing but Deane stood out, winning dirty ball and breaking tackles, although his option-taking was less than optimal in attack. Meanwhile, Peter Kelleher caused sporadic trouble at full-forward, while Barry O’Driscoll and Conor Dorman swapped their traditional roles as attacker and defender without overly catching the eye for better or for worse.
It was some of the usual suspects who were most impressive early on, with Noel Galvin, Paul Kerrigan and Daniel Goulding, whose 25th minute goal provided the highlight of the first-half, helping Cork edge ahead, 1-5 to 0-7, despite playing into a strong wind.
Both sides were wayward in their shooting, with the changeable breeze a factor in the huge wide count of 30; Dublin leading that statistic 16-14.
Despite that, the Dubs created plenty of chances, with John Small and Fenton setting the platform as Gavin learned plenty about his youngsters’ ability to cope with the conditions and the often heated exchanges.
Philip Ryan’s tap-in goal franked a bright Dublin restart, although Donal Óg Hodnett’s pile-driver to the roof of the net kept the home fans happy.
Yet late points from the impressive Conor McHugh and Alan Brogan ensured that Dublin took victory in the inaugural Comóradh Seán Uí Shíocháin; although the former Director General would not have minded, having won both a Cork and Dublin County Championship in his own playing career in the 1930s.
Scorers for Dublin:
P Ryan (1-3, 2fs), C McHugh (0-4, 1f), A Brogan (0-3), P Andrews, H Dawson (0-2, 1f, each), E Lowndes (0-1).
Scorers for Cork:
D Goulding (1-3, 0-1f), D Óg Hodnett (1-1), J Hayes (0-2), P Kelleher (0-1).
M Savage; E Culligan, K Nolan, David Byrne; E Lowndes, J Small, D Daly; B Fenton, E Ó Conghaile; H Dawson, A Brogan, Davey Byrne; P Ryan, P Andrews, C McHugh.
J Smith for Daly, S Carthy for Dawson, J Whelan for Davey Byrne (all ht), H Gill for Culligan (50), P McMahon for Fenton (53), S Currie for Savage (54), Dawson for Andrews (62), Davey Byrne for Ó Conghaile (64).
K O’Halloran; N Galvin, J O’Sullivan, S Cronin; K Crowley, T Clancy (Clonakilty), Barry O’Driscoll; A O’Connor, R Deane; P Kerrigan, C Dorman, C O’Driscoll; D Goulding, P Kelleher, J Hayes.
D Óg Hodnett for Cronin (23), M Collins for C O’Driscoll (ht), Brian O’Driscoll for Clancy (58), E Cadogan for O’Sullivan (65), K O’Driscoll for Óg Hodnett (70).
R Moloney (Limerick).
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