Cork come back to pip Dublin

GAABy Sean McGoldrick
Cork's Seamus Harnedy, left, and Rob O'Shea celebrate following their side's victory
Cork's Seamus Harnedy, left, and Rob O'Shea celebrate following their side's victory

CORK 1-27 DUBLIN 2-23

Cork led this league semi-final for less than three minutes; two minutes at the start of the match and for 12 seconds at the death. 

But what counted was that Seamus Harnedy's 73rd minute point gave them the lead when it mattered most and it is the Rebels who advance to the League decider in two weeks' time.

While Harnedy scored the winning point it was his forward colleague Patrick Horgan who essentially rescued this game almost single-handedly for Jimmy Barry-Murphy's side.

He scored a remarkable 17 points - 12 frees, two 65's and three points from play as Cork recovered from a ten-point deficit to overhaul the Dubs who will wonder for a long time how they contrived to lose this absorbing contest at Nowlan Park. 

Dublin led by nine points at the break and extended it to ten immediately on the resumption. It was inevitable that the Rebels, who had the advantage of a stiff breeze after the break, would launch some kind of comeback.

For most of the third quarter it gained little traction even if Horgan kept knocking over the pointed frees. Two crucial long-range points from Paul Ryan - a late replacement for Danny Sutcliffe - still had Dublin boasting an eight-point advantage with 20 minutes left.

But from there to the finish Cork gradually turned the screw. Mind you there was still six points between the sides with less than five minutes remaining when a goal from Cork substitute Paudie O'Sullivan turned the game.

Dublin full back Peter Kelly made a gallant attempt to single-handedly repel Cork but the Rebels outscored their opponents 5-1 during the remaining seven minutes of play to snatch an undeserved win at the death.

Dublin hit 17 wides - including a string of four at the three-quarter point which proved costly in the finish. But really this was a game they ought to have won.

As expected Cork were without centre back Mark Ellis but in order to replace him they changed four lines of the team which appeared to disrupt them completely in the first half.

The most significant change saw Aidan Walsh move to centre back but, yet again, it was the Rebels' inability to win their own puck out - particularly in the opening quarter - which set the tone of the contest.

Still smarting from the mauling Cork subjected them to when they clashed in Croke Park earlier in the spring, Dublin - backed by a very strong breeze - started like an express.

By the time Cork became engaged Dublin had 2-9 on the scoreboard - the goals coming from Paul Schutte who exposed Damien Cahalane's limitations as a full back and a brilliant solo effort from Dotsie O'Callaghan.

Cork finally got some traction in the second quarter and created a couple of goal-scoring chances but Peter Kelly made vital interceptions on both occasions.

Pat Horgan's accurate free essentially kept Cork in the game but Dublin still looked comfortable at the break as they led by nine points (2-15; 0-12).

But ultimately the lead wasn't sufficient for Dublin to see out the game.

DUBLIN: G Maguire; C O'Callaghan, P Kelly, P Schutte; S Durkin, C Crummey, C Keaney (0-2); J McCaffrey (0-2), N McMorrow; R O'Dwyer, L Rushe (0-3), P Ryan (0-7, 4f), D O'Callaghan (1-3), M Schutte (1-3), D Treacy (0-2). Subs: B Quinn (0-1) for McCaffrey 54m; C Cronin for O'Dwyer 62m; O O'Rourke for Treacy 68m

CORK: A Nash; S O'Neill, D Cahalane, W Kearney; L McLoughlin, A Walsh (0-1), S McDonnell; D Kearney R O'Shea; C Lehane (0-4), S Harnedy (0-3), Bill Cooper; A Cadogan (0-1), L O'Farrell (0-1) P Horgan (0-17, 12f, 265).

Subs: P O'Sullivan (1-0) for Cadogan 51m; A Spillane for O'Farrell 63m; B Lawton for Kearney 67m

REFEREE: James Owens (Wexford)