Pic courtesy Paul Lundy
Dublin delivered a storming final quarter performance in edging Cork by three points in their thrilling Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter-final at UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Dubs looked in deep peril as they trailed by six points by the 42nd minute but refused to accept their perceived fate as they drew level deep into added time through an exceptional free from Shane Mullarkey.
There was further drama to follow as Cork’s kick-out went astray and Paddy Curry showed great foresight to intercept and fire home from an acute angle for the game’s defining score.
It took little time for both teams to find their stride with Sean Coakley opening the scoring for Cork through a 2nd minute free before Dublin levelled matters three minutes later through an excellent point from Jack O’Sullivan.
Lenny Cahill edged Dublin in front soon after, palming over the crossbar from Luke O’Boyle’s pass, before Cork restored parity through Denis O’Mullane at the opposite end.
Another fine break by O’Sullivan yielded a score for Harry Curley but there was little to separate the teams initially as Darragh Clifford brought the teams level once again in the 9th minute.
A brace of Cahill frees looked to have given Dublin a semblance of control by the 11th minute but they endured a barren period of thirteen minutes as their opponents began to dominate events.
The catalyst was a goal from O’Mullane in the 13th minute as he reacted well to a mis-directed point attempt from Coakley to outfield Cillian Murray before hammering home from close range.
The Rebels drove on from that juncture, adding four points on the bounce through Timmy Cullinane, O’Mullane, Coakley and Dara Sheedy with Dublin finally troubling the umpires as Curry popped over from Cahill’s incisive pass.
Unperturbed, Cork added another string of points without reply through Sheedy, Coakley and Gearóid Daly to leave seven points between the teams approaching the break.
Dublin were making some uncharacteristic errors but managed to offer a degree of optimism for the second-half as Curry and Ryan Mitchell pointed to reduce their deficit to five points at the turnaround.
Curry and Coakley traded points in the early moments of the second-half before Dublin looked to have played their way back into contention thanks to three points in succession from Joshua Young, Mullarkey and Cahill.
However, their efforts appeared to be in vain as Sheedy was bundled over inside the larger square, allowing Coakley the opportunity to stroke a classy penalty beyond the helpless Cillian Murray in the 42nd minute.
Remarkably, given how well they had played to that point, that proved Cork’s final score of the game, as they looked to defend deep and frustrate Dublin’s increasingly frantic attacking play.
That tactic worked to a degree although Dublin slowly but surely narrowed their arrears thanks to Mitchell, Curry and Cahill to leave just three points separating the teams by the 57th minute.
Andrew O’Reilly kicked a superb ‘45’ to edge Dublin closer and a sumptuous point by Cahill left the bare minimum between the teams in the first minute of injury time.
Mullarkey’s booming free looked to have ensured extra-time but there was to be one final sting in Dublin’s tail as Curry highlighted his poacher’s instincts to give a suitably dramatic conclusion to an epic encounter between two excellent teams.
Scorers – Dublin: P Curry 1-4, L Cahill 0-6 (4f), S Mullarkey (1f, 1 mark), R Mitchell 0-2 each, J O’Sullivan, H Curley, J Young, A O’Reilly (‘45’) 0-1 apiece. Cork: S Coakley 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), D O’Mullane 1-2, D Sheedy 0-2, D Clifford, T Cullinane, G Daly 0-1 apiece.
Dublin: C Murray; S Keogh, C Emmett, J O’Sullivan; J Young, E Costello, R Mitchell; S Ryan, A Carolan; P Coleman, L O’Boyle, N Byrne; L Cahill, H Curley, P Curry. Subs: S Mullarkey for Coleman (38), A O’Reilly for Ryan (43), N O’Brien for Curley (49), C O’Connor for Emmett (52), C McAweeney for Young (65).
Cork: B Curtin; M Ahern, F Hurley, N O’Shea; T Kiely, G Daly, O Foley; M O’Brien, D Clifford; T Cullinane, D Sheedy, D O’Leary; D O’Mullane, S Coakley, O O’Callaghan. Subs: J O’Leary for O’Callaghan (43), A Dinneen for Clifford (52), C Mullins for Cullinane (57), L Shorten for O’Mullane (66).
Referee: Niall McKenna (Monaghan).