Dublin 5-18 Cork 1-17
The fifth goal came with four minutes left to play and while keeping it super simple and convincing Dublin have got their Super 8s campaign up and winning.
As is their style and it seems preference these days, Dublin did all they needed to do and then helped themselves to a little more. Cork pressed them hard early on and right to the end but it wasn’t enough to hold out against three smashing goals in the last 10 minutes.
First came Niall Scully’s thundering shot on 62 minutes to close out the game as a contest, Jack McCaffrey playing the ball to Con O’Callaghan, who deftly found Scully in the right place at the right time. Beautifully intricate and yet simple.
Cork then gifted Dublin their fourth goal four minutes later, Mark White's short kick-out simply intercepted by substitute Paddy Small, who passed off to Ciaran Kilkenny who didn't need to think about what to do next.
A minute after that Brian Fenton added Dublin's fifth with another terrific finish, McCaffrey again providing the pass in what was a super evening for the man from Clontarf.
It left Cork fairly stunned at the finish, a little harshly too given the effort they had made to keep in touch with the champions. But with that two goal advantage at the break, Dublin gathered momentum like a rolling stone, out-scoring Cork 3-3 to 0-3 in the last 15 minutes.
Dean Rock came off the bench on 44 minutes to contribute 0-5, three frees and one 45 and without missing one. Con O’Callaghan also banged over four from play and Philly McMahon added two from the Dublin defence.
The two first half goals - a neat moment of magic from McCaffrey on 10 minutes, then a slam-dunk from Michael Darragh Macauley in the two minutes of injury time just before the break- opened up the early road on Cork, leaving Dublin 2-9 to 0-9 in front at the break, the sense at that stage being Cork had been giving their all, Dublin only getting going.
Still on 44 minutes Cork were back in the game thanks to a brilliant penalty strike from Luke Connolly, after Ian Maguire was dragged down in front of the Dublin goal, Cian O’Sullivan the main culprit. That closed the gap to two points again, 2-10 to 1-11, the sense now being Cork were getting going again.
In the end it was a typically business-like display from the All-Ireland champions on a calm summer evening at GAA headquarters, before a crowd of 30,214.
Cork certainly made a contest of it for the first half, starting brighter and more effectively, scoring six points from their opening six attacks, at one point giving them a four point cushion, 0-5 to 0-1, Kevin O’Driscoll, Paul Kerrigan and Ruairi Deane showing them the way.
Dublin were initially awarded a penalty on four minutes for a foul on O’Callaghan, only for that to be cancelled out after referee David Gough consulted with his umpires - although Dublin still got their first goal on 10 minutes, McCaffrey finding room in front of goal to turn and flick the ball past White into the Cork net.
That settled Dublin, and while Cork kept the pace and the pressure on, the champions eased ahead, Fenton putting them in front for the first time on 18 minutes with a terrific point from some distance. Not long after that McMahon popped up for a point and Cork were under pressure, especially on the quick break.
Cork, the defeated Munster finalists, scored 10 goals in their last three matches - including four against Laois last weekend. Brian Hurley had a one-on-one goal chance in front of Stephen Cluxton on 28 minutes, only for Cluxton to make a smart block with his feet. Had that slipped in and Cork would have gone back in front - still further points from the excellent Brian Hurley and another from Kerrigan keeping them to within the goal. All six forwards had scored by the 30th minute.
Still Dublin pressed on, O’Callaghan adding his third from play, before on the stroke of half time, Michael Darragh Macauley did what Michael Darragh Macauley does best, latching on to a super quick pass from Cormac Costello to practically slam-dunk Dublin’s second goal.
Taylor had another Cork goal chance on 41 minutes, only for Cluxton to get the block on that too.
Dublin had already bagged 6-64 in their three Leinster matches, adding five more here - without conceding a goal, Connolly’s penalty erasing that clean sheet. It effectively leaves Dublin four games away from that elusive fifth successive All-Ireland, one foot already in the semi-final it would appear.
Roll on next Saturday, when Dublin are back in Croke Park to host Roscommon, their Super-8s campaign already up and losing, defeated by Tyrone by five points in their home game at Dr Hyde Park earlier in the evening. Cork are also back in Croke Park to meet Tyrone.
James McCarthy also came on late for Brian Fenton, clearly over his injury worry.
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Byrne, M Fitzsimons, P McMahon (0-2); J McCaffrey (1-0), C O'Sullivan, J Small (0-1); B Fenton (1-1), M D Macauley (1-0); N Scully (1-0), C Kilkenny (1-2), B Howard; C Costello (0-1), P Mannion (0-2), C O'Callaghan (0-4).
Subs: D Rock (0-5, three for Costello (44 mins), P Small for O’Calllaghan (64 mins), J Cooper for O’Sullivan, K McManamon for Mannion (both 67 mins), E Murchan for McCaffrey (68 mins), J McCarthy for Fenton (72 mins)
CORK: M White; J Loughrey, T Clancy, K Flahive; L O'Donovan (0-1), T Clancy, M Taylor (0-1); I Maguire (capt), K O'Driscoll (0-1); P Kerrigan (0-3), S White (0-1), R Deane (0-1); M Collins (0-1, a free), B Hurley (0-3, one free), L Connolly (1-3, a penalty, one 45).
Subs: M Hurley (0-2) for Kerrigan, K O’Donovan for Loughrey (both 56 minutes), R O’Toole for White (63 mins), S Sherlock for Collins (64 mins), C Kelly for L O’Donovan (65 mins), J O’Rourke for Maguire (68 mins)
Referee: David Gough (Meath)