Cork are through to the second round of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship qualifiers, after a deserved 1-25 and 0-22 win over Dublin at Semple Stadium.
The Rebels faced major scrutiny after a tame performance last week as they exited the championship at the hands of Waterford, but Kieran Kingston’s charges made a statement with a powerful display from start to finish.
Cork enjoyed the better of the first half, with both teams playing with spare men at the back. Jack O’Connor and Declan Dalton – both starting their first championship matches – were causing the Dublin rear-guard real issues.
The duo combined for the Rebels’ first goal in the 10th minute, as O’Connor picked out the Fr O’Neills club-man with a hand-pass. Dalton shipped a heavy shoulder from the on-rushing Alan Nolan, before pulling on the sliotar into the empty net.
The accuracy of Donal Burke kept Dublin in touch, but the men from the capital were just about hanging in there. The Sky Blues were sloppy at times with passes at the back, and were punished dearly. Seamus Harnedy, Shane Kingston, Robbie O’Flynn and Patrick Horgan were among those to raise white flags, to help the Lee-siders to a 1-13 to 0-10 lead at the break.
It was a dour 35 minutes for Dublin, whose best chance for a goal came through Eamon Dillon. ‘Trollier’ fell to his knees after fielding a high ball on the edge of the square, but he couldn’t connect on the ball with a one-handed effort.
The Rebels kicked on after the break. While Dublin were far from their best, Cork looked rejuvenated.
Mark Coleman anchored the defence impressively, while O’Flynn and Harnedy led the attack.
The Lee-siders answered all the questions that were asked during the week, as they showed real fight and determination.
Chris Crummey moved into full-forward and made an impact up front. But try and they might, the Sky Blues were unable to claw their way back into the game.
Mission accomplished for Cork, who are through to round two of the qualifiers. They will be out again next week, and are in the draw alongside Clare, Wexford and Tipperary.
For Dublin, they are facing into a winter of soul-searching as their wait for a first championship win since 1927 goes on.
Cork: Anthony Nash; Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane, Sean O’Donoghue; Tim O’Mahony, Robert Downey, Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper, Luke Meade; Seamus Harnedy, Shane Kingston, Robbie O’Flynn; Jack O’Connor, Declan Dalton, Patrick Horgan.
Dublin: Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O’Donnell, James Madden; Conor Burke, Daire Grey, Cian O’Callaghan; Jake Malone, Rian McBride; Cian Boland, Chris Crummey, Danny Sutcliffe; Donal Burke, Ronan Hayes, Eamon Dillon.
Clare 0-27 Laois 3-17
Brian Lohan’s charges are also through to the second round, but they were sweating late on in Nowlan Park. After David McInerney was sent off late in the first half, the Banner had to weather a strong fight-back from Laois.
The O’Moore County came storming back in the final quarter, as a late Aaron Dunphy goal dragged them back into the contest after Ross King and James Keyes earlier found the net.
But the Munster side held out, as Tony Kelly led the line once again. The 2013 Hurler of the Year contributed 0-13, while Aron Shanagher also impressed upon his return to the starting team.
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