Dublin unveil a capital idea on their first night out
He scored three of them in a first half in which Dublin caught a hold of Cork early and didn’t let go. Bernard Brogan was quietly effective all night, right from the moment he opened the scoring with his first kick of the game 40 seconds in. He, Andrews and Diarmuid Connolly were given all the acres they liked down around the Hill 16 end of the pitch and they took full advantage. Between them they were responsible for seven of Dublin’s 11 first-half points and with McCaffrey bombing forward to provide two of the others, they had Cork all but put away.
That Conor Counihan’s side were in touch at all was down to a well-worked goal from Aidan Walsh, the midfielder latching fluidly onto a brilliant catch and lay-off from Colm O’Neill 12 minutes into the game. Two excellent points in succession from under the Hogan Stand by Paul Kerrigan hinted at a revival but it never really materialised.
After going in at the break four points down, Cork nailed the first score after the restart through Fintan Goold. But any chance they had of making a game of it disappeared when Paul Ryan was tripped as he bore down on goal after 43 minutes and Diarmuid Connolly buried the penalty to make it 1-12 to 1-6. From there on Dublin had no great difficulties, even after Donncha O’Connor converted a penalty of his own to give Cork’s total a sheen it didn’t particularly deserve.
This was Cork’s first defeat in their opening league fixture since 2007. They had a young side out, with all four of Michael Shields, Graham Canty, Alan O’Connor and Ciarán Sheahan missing from the side that was named in the programme and replaced by willing but inexperienced substitutes.
Only Sheahan’s replacement John O’Rourke distinguished himself with three points from play. The last of them took Cork to within five points but the goal they needed wouldn’t come – O’Neill had the best chance with five minutes to go but Cluxton kept him out.
“Our performance wasn’t good enough,” said Counihan afterwards. “There was no doubting Dublin were a far superior team. We were quite intent in terms of wanting to come up here and put on a performance. Now, I don’t want to take form Dublin and their victory but from our point of view we would be very, very disappointed with it.”