Cork punish wasteful Dubs to stay unbeaten
Dublin 1-11 Cork 0-17
By Brendan O’Brien
Monday, March 29, 2010
CORK remain the only unbeaten side in Division One of the NHL after this trip to the capital but they should probably send a ‘Thank You’ card Dublin’s way after yesterday afternoon’s fifth round clash.
Dublin were more than a match for the Munster side, just as they were the weekend before when it was Kilkenny who paid Donnycarney a visit, but Anthony Daly’s men were the architects of their own demise on both occasions.
However Cork now have one foot in the final while Dublin have only crisis-hit Limerick and two points standing between them and second tier hurling next spring with two rounds left to play.
Cork finished with a dozen wides of their own but they had no such issues for most of the first-half and, in Pat Horgan, they had the game’s outstanding player.
The Glen Rovers man finished with six points, all of them from play and each one was a little gem in its own right. It was a performance made all the more impressive for being carved out from a fairly limited supply.
“He was in form last Sunday as well,” said manager Denis Walsh, “and maybe the Sunday before that so he is going well. He is probably showing the ability that he has. He has got very strong physically as well. He has everything.”
Elsewhere Shane O’Neill was imperious at the back, popping up all over the place in a fire-fighting role, Tom Kenny kept the engine running in midfield while Cathal Naughton worked hard for his three points and more besides.
Some of the veterans, like Sean Óg O h’Ailpín and Ben O’Connor, were below what would be considered par for them however and Walsh still has to fasten on to the best combination for the GAA’s latest twin towers.
Yesterday, Aisake O h’Ailpín started at 11 and Michael Cussen at 14. Cussen was largely peripheral, unlike against Waterford the week before, while O h’Ailpín scored a point and caught a few high balls at dotted intervals.
Walsh pointed out that it will take more “trial and error” before he solves that particular conundrum but he already has 11 of his championship 15 accounted for in his head and it was a pretty strong selection he sent out in Donnycarney.
However, the spring’s experimentation extended to Aidan Ryan at wing-back and Graham Callinan who started in midfield in place of Naughton, who in turn switched to wing-forward to slot in for the injured Niall McCarthy.
Dublin made a trio of positional changes from the off, chief of which was the move of captain Stephen Hiney to centre-back from the wing to shadow Aisake O h’Ailpín and the opening exchanges were tight.
The sides were level four times before Cork upped a gear to rattle off a quartet of unanswered points before the interval and they were 0-11 to 0-6 to the good 10 minutes after the restart. The entire afternoon had been pockmarked with Dublin’s bad choices going forward but they managed to pull the lead back to a more manageable two points before Cork extended it back to five.
That looked to be that until McCrabbe found the top corner of the Cork net with a stunning volley on the stroke of full-time that left the minimum in it but a monster point from Horgan and another from Luke O’Farrell sealed the result.
“To be going in down at half-time, it was hard to pick it up but they did, in fairness to them,” said Anthony Daly who admitted some “crazy wides” had cost his side a badly needed win. But they kept believing right to the end.”
Scorers for Dublin: A McCrabbe 1-4 (0-4f), P Ryan 0-2, J McCaffrey 0-2, S Durkin 0-1, D Treacy 0-1, K Flynn 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: P Horgan 0-6, B O’Connor 0-4f, C Naughton 0-3, T Kenny 0-1, A O h’Ailpin 0-1, P O’Sullivan 0-1, M O’Sullivan 0-1, L O’Farrell 0-1.
Subs for Dublin: S Lambert for Ryan (42), K Flynn for O’Callaghan (42), P Ryan for Kelly (57), S Ryan for Treacy (65), P Carton for Rushe (66).
Subs for Cork: J O’Connor for Callinan (55), J Gardiner for Sean Og O h’Ailpin (55), L O’Farrell for O’Sullivan (56), M O’Sullivan for Cussen (62).
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, March 29, 2010