Remarkable Dublin comeback denies Cork at Croke Park
Derry await Jim Gavin’s side in the final after 17-point swing against Rebels in second half
Alan Brogan of Dublin with Daniel Goulding of Cork in Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer / Inpho
Dublin 2-20 Cork 2-13
Dublin would be forgiven for thinking there is nothing that cannot be achieved after this remarkable revival.
Recovering from an 10-point deficit early in the second half, against a rejuvenated looking Cork in Croke Park, they dug their way out of jail to finish emphatic victors.
Bringing Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O’Gara off the bench helped with Brogan wasting no time getting into the 2014 season.
Five points in 27 minutes was his welcome home gift to Hill 16.
This is largely the same Cork team we have grown accustomed to, yet different. Brian Cuthbert’s regeneration process sees Fintan Goold in midfield, Patrick Kelly running from centre back and some other slight tweaks.
Same Colm O’Neill though.
Two goals and a point squashed between minutes five and seven had Dublin chasing the contest. It seemed futile.
O’Neill’s first goal was thunderous. Stephen Cluxton’s kick out was sent right back down Dublin’s throat for O’Neill to point. Then Cluxton failed to get a hand on the next dropping ball as Mark Collins appeared to get a touch.
Nicky Devereux hardly wants to be claiming it.
Dublin kept chasing.
Diarmuid Connolly streaked through the middle, Alan Brogan showed and created in that soothing fashion of his but it took arrival of O’Gara to inject the much needed directness.
Michael Darragh Macauley was another superb performer when needed the most.
O’Gara relieved Ballymun’s Jason Whelan of his duties after 25 minutes. By then Cork had a 2-7 to 0-4 lead. It seemed vast. Even for Dublin.
Two O’Gara points made it 2-8 to 0-7 approaching half-time only for Cork to score the next three. That seemed enough.
By the time Bernard Brogan arrived for his seasonal debut it was an eight-point deficit. And that was only because of Macauley’s goal.
Then a blue wall was erected across the halfway line. Three Cork attacks scaled this imaginary wall thereafter.
Four scores were squirreled away by Brogan and Davy Byrne as the cavalry duly made it a four-point game.
Then a two-point game, O’Gara and Brogan raising the white flags.
All Dublin now. When Cork did get over halfway, Rory O’Carroll was there to clean up. From a resulting counter-attack Alan Brogan gave Johnny Cooper the chance to make it a single score game. He took it.
It was relentless. Macauley leveled it before Bernard Brogan took a pass from his brother and put them ahead. Alan Brogan quickly turned it into a cushion.
Eleven Dublin points had rained down since the 40th minute with a single response from Kelly.
The killer blow came when Bernard Brogan was hauled back by James Loughrey. Penalty. Connolly rolled it into the bottom corner for a five-point lead.
Cork looked stunned.
It was emphatic. Ruthless. And a message to all who seek to dethrone the champions of three titles.
Over to Derry to test them next, back here on Sunday, April 27th (4pm), but Jim Gavin will find plenty wrong with this performance. Be sure of that.
Gavin will probably only see the scoreboard after 52 minutes. When Cork had amassed 2-13.