Rampant Rebels look to kick on after routing feeble Dubs
Cork 0-34 Dublin 1-20
OPEN GALLERY 5Cork’s Aidan Walsh in action against Danny Sutcliffe of Dublin during yesterday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A clash in Croke Park.
OUCH! That result and that totally unforeseen level of performance has hurt the pride of Dublin .
And on the other side of the equation, Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s Cork team was very impressive on the Rebels’ first visit to Croke Park since losing the All-Ireland semi-final by ten points to Tipperary last August.
Indeed, Barry-Murphy made reference to that match after defeating Dublin.
“We’ve a lot of bad memories from Croke Park. Our performance against Tipp last year left a lot to be desired from us all,” he acknowledged.
“You’d have to say we’re delighted with the players tonight. It’s only a league game but we’re delighted with the performance.”
The Cork manager knows that this topsy-turvy Division 1A will have a few more twists and turns ahead before any silverware is handed out.
That said, JBM’s crew took a wrecking ball to the form of Dublin as they comprehensively outplayed them on Saturday night.
And while sharpshooter Patrick Horgan deservedly took the kudos for his 0-14 (including five from play), Barry-Murphy was delighted with his side’s defensive display.
Yes, Horgan did the business from the placed balls that came his way, and clipped over a couple of neat scores from play.
Yes, all six forwards were on the score-sheet before half-time, with four for man of the match full-forward Luke O’Farrell and three from wing-forward Rob O’Shea.
But you don’t win matches without a solid base, as Barry-Murphy knows only too well, and in that respect, his defenders went about their work with a relentless appetite for combat.
They lost full-back Christopher Joyce to a knee injury after only six minutes, but substitute Stephen McDonnell stepped into his place and gave Dublin full-forward Liam Rushe hardly a sniff until the very last few minutes when Rushe forced home a goal from close range.
Before that goalmouth scramble yielded the green flag for Rushe, the Dubs got only one sight of Anthony Nash’s goal, and the Cork keeper smothered David Treacy’s close-range shot with his legs before the ball was cleared.
Rushe’s goal hardly mattered in the greater scheme of things.
Barry-Murphy had words of praise for all his players, but particularly the rearguard.
As a bonus, all three of his half-back line – Lorcan McLoughlin, Mark Ellis and Cormac Murphy – got on the score sheet.
“Some of the ball we worked out of defence for some of our scores was very encouraging, and very good to watch,” said Barry-Murphy.
“We’re encouraging the players to play with plenty of confidence and to express themselves. I thought they did that tonight.”
Mentally sharp, crisp in their passing and teamwork, and impressively quick to gouge out some important turnovers, Cork were the bosses of the green sward on this occasion.
It was one of those games where team management is a pleasure, and Barry-Murphy said as much afterwards, although he appreciates the challenges to come.
“We’re delighted with it. Particularly in the first half, some of our hurling was very exciting, very encouraging,” he said.
“I’m just hoping we can build on this and move on, and be a bit more consistent.
“We’re looking for consistency, which we didn’t have over the last few years probably, and we’re hoping to build on this again.”
Dublin never got into their stride and were second best to pretty much everything that happened on the pitch, particularly in that first half.
Down by 0-10 to 0-3 after 20 minutes, they looked virtually powerless to halt Cork’s momentum, with Horgan the ace punisher for any transgressions.
O’Farrell’s pace and mobility gave Dublin full-back Michael Carton a torrid time, but this was a collectively forgettable display by the home team.
Paul Schutte, Danny Sutcliffe and substitute Paul Ryan, who scored 0-9 (seven from frees) helped the hosts regain a modicum of respect in the second half.
It was all relative, however. Trailing by 0-21 to 0-8 at the interval did not suggest a sensational comeback was on the cards, and that proved to be the case.
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham – a Corkman, of course – had no immediate answers as to why the impetus gained by those victories over Tipperary and then Kilkenny was so abruptly halted.
“It was a very disappointing performance. It’s hard to put a finger on it in relation to what was different from the Tipp match and the Kilkenny match, but I suppose we must give credit to Cork,” he lamented.
“They put up a really good performance and they started with a lot of intensity, and we weren’t at the pitch of the game for whatever reason at the start.
“It was a disappointing first-half performance but in fairness to the lads they showed a bit of pride.
“It would have been easy for them to lie down but they went out and performed a lot better in the second half.”
Man of the Match: Luke O’Farrell (Cork)
Scorers – Cork: P Horgan 0-14 (9fs, 1 ’65’), S Harnedy 0-5, R O’Shea, L O’Farrell 0-4 each; A McLoughlin, M Ellis, C Murphy, D Kearney, C Lehane, A Cadogan, B Lawton 0-1 each. Dublin: P Ryan 0-9 (7fs), L Rushe 1-0, D Treacy 0-3, S Durkin, N McMorrow, D Sutcliffe 0-2 each, C Cronin, D O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
Cork – A Nash 7; S O’Neill 7, C Joyce, C O’Sullivan 7; L McLoughlin 7, M Ellis 7, C Murphy 7; D Kearney 7, A Walsh 7; C Lehane 7, S Harnedy 7; R O’Shea 7; A Cadogan 7; L O’Farrell 9; P Horgan 8. Subs: S McDonnell 7 for C Joyce (inj 6), B Lawton 7 for A Walsh (52), S Moylan 7 for A Cadogan (57), A Spillane for L O’Farrell (61), A Walsh for R O’Shea (65).
Dublin – A Nolan 7; C O’Callaghan 5 , M Carton 5, P Schutte 6; C Crummey 5, P Kelly 5 , C Keaney 5; S Durkin 5, N McMorrow 5; R O’Dwyer 5, E Dillon 5, D Sutcliffe 6; D Treacy 5; L Rushe 5, M Schutte 5. Subs: P Ryan 7 for M Schutte (32), B Quinn 6 for C Keaney (ht), C Cronin 6 for R O’Dwyer (ht), D O’Callaghan 6 for E Dillon (57), C Boland for N McMorrow (63