Dublin manager Anthony Daly
CYRIL FARRELL – 12 AUGUST 2013
DUBLIN have often played worse than they did yesterday and come out on the right side of the result and, while losing an All-Ireland semi-final was bitterly disappointing, they can take solace from the fact that they died with their boots on.
They had a great season and went down with all guns blazing, but Cork having the extra man for 20 minutes was a killer. The Dubs gave everything, but it just wasn’t enough.
There were two big turning points during the second half: James Owens’ decision to send off Ryan O’Dwyer, and Paul Ryan fouling the ball before his point which resulted in Anthony Nash sending over the resulting free. That was a two-point turnaround.
O’Dwyer’s first yellow card was doubtful; I felt that the challenge was shoulder-to-shoulder. If you remove all contact from the sport, we won’t have a game at all. It was a hard game, but the hitting was honest and fair. It was a pity to see anyone sent off.
After the controversy that followed the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals it was refreshing to see such hard, fair play. It is great for the GAA to have a positive thing to talk about; if it was a draw it would have been fantastic.
There was nothing malicious in it. Even after the game Anthony Daly didn’t want to focus on the decisions and wished Cork the best of luck. Jimmy Barry-Murphy was also gracious. These boys have been around the block and know that it is a thin line that separates the victors from the defeated.
Paul Ryan has had a fine season, but he’s had better days in a Dublin jersey. If you want to win All-Irelands you have to take all of your chances, and a couple of frees went begging.
When the Rebels get a run they are a hard team to stop – they are so natural with their hurling. For example, Stephen Moylan came on and the first thing he did when receiving the ball 50 metres out was head for goal and send the ball over the bar.
They are a lovely team to watch. Their movement and strength is impressive. Daniel Kearney and Lorcan McLoughlin were impressive and hard-working in midfield; McLoughlin probably had the game of his life.
Nash has become the Stephen Cluxton of Cork hurling, scoring three points which were crucial.
The backs were in trouble at times when Dublin ran at them, but they managed to hold out.
When the decisive goal came, it was fortuitous. Pa Cronin was going for a point, and, while most forwards would probably have belted ‘keeper Gary Maguire, Horgan just calmly flicked the ball away and the touch did it. There was no way back for Dublin then.
It was a great game of hurling. Despite the five-week break, Dublin hit the ground running and they scored some fantastic points early on.
O’Dwyer was having a colossal game until his second yellow card. He is always involved in pushing and going in hard, but he was winning vital ball and scoring.
Conal Keaney, David Treacy, Danny Sutcliffe and Dotsy O’Callaghan were all playing well and, while centre-field was a problem early on, Daly made the change and brought Shane Durkin in for Stephen Hiney and switched Joey Boland back. It did the trick.
But Cork kept rotating the forwards, and they are hard to pin down. Dublin drew the man back after half-time and, while it left them a bit short up front, it was working. However, when O’Dwyer was sent off, that killed it.
Cork took a while to adjust: they actually had two men back, before pushing one of them up. They are capable of pinging the ball around: they are good, wristy hurlers who can find one another with the ball.
Sometimes the 14 can beat the 15, but Cork are natural hurlers and had enough to get over the line. They will really fancy themselves in the final now and have a great chance of winning a 31st All-Ireland.
Dublin will have a bye into next year’s Leinster semi-final and with all due respect to the likes of Offaly, Wexford and Laois, they are a class apart from those sides.
This season gives hope to everyone that they can win it. Last year you could see Daly walking away, but his players showed how they were willing to die for him yesterday. There isn’t much more you can ask. He will be frustrated by the sending-off and one or two little decisions, as well as the missed frees.
I can’t see Dublin or the players letting him go. If he wants to stay, he should stay. Why go now? They are Leinster champions after all.
Barry-Murphy and Cork were beaten in the semi-final last year and it shows that it doesn’t come overnight. Dublin have Leinster and league crowns, they’ve been beaten in a semi-final again and they were involved in a top game of hurling.