All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Rebels oust 14-man Dubs

August 11, 2013

Dublin's Liam Rushe and Conor Lehane of Cork
©INPHO/James Crombie
Cork are through to the All-Ireland final following a thrilling 1-24 to 1-19 victory over Dublin at Croke Park.

A crowd of 60,092 were kept on the edge of their seats from start to finish of an astonishing match, with the sides level 15 times during the 70 minutes. The turning point of the game was the dismissal of Dublin centre forward Ryan O'Dwyer for a second yellow card after 49 minutes.

Cork's victory means we will have an all-Munster All-Ireland final this year, with the Rebels now awaiting the winners of next weekend's second semi-final between Limerick and Clare.

The southerners led by one point, 0-15 to 1-11, at the end of a pulsating opening half which saw the teams level on ten occasions. Corner forward David Treacy kicked the Dublin goal into the Hill 16 net in the 30th minute, while midfielder Lorcan McLoughlin knocked over three first-half points for the Rebels.

Thirteen players scored from play in the first half as both sides went for it from the off, with never any more than two points between the sides and an exhibition of score-taking evident at both ends.

Both sides started as selected during the week and, with a huge crowd gathered in Croke Park to witness this historic meeting, the atmosphere built to a near-crescendo prior to throw-in. Before the pre-match parade, there were handshakes all around as part of the GAA's new respect initiative, but there was little sign of mercy or empathy as the action began at a scintillating pace. As it would continue...

Danny Sutcliffe had the Dubs ahead within ten second but the Rebels responded to take the lead with points from Patrick Horgan (free) and Conor Lehane. Dublin's O'Dwyer could consider himself very unfortunate to pick up a yellow card in the first minute for a slightly-mistimed shoulder…

Luke O'Farrell doubled the gap with a ruthless finish but Cork's next attack was snuffed out brilliantly by Dubs full back Peter Kelly. At the other end, David 'Dotsy' O'Callaghan's strong running yielded a free, from which Paul Ryan halved the deficit from marginally to the left of the Hill 16 posts: 0-3 to 0-2 after seen minutes.

Lehane hit a Cork wide before the lively O'Callaghan just about dropped over the equalising point via the hurl of All Star goalkeeper Anthony Nash. Seamus Harnedy added to the Leesiders' wides tally and former Dublin footballer Conal Keaney made them pay when he thumped over a fourth point for Anthony Daly's charges in the tenth minute.

Midfielder McLoughlin levelled the scores for the third time, 0-4 each, and the Cork No.8 then made the most of an ordinary Lehane pass to slot his team in front with twelve minutes gone. When Nash's free from inside his own half got held up in the wind, the Dublin defence stood firm to prevent Horgan from bearing down on their goal.

It was intense and frenetic stuff as July's Hurler of the Month Ryan tied the scores up from a '65' before McLoughlin stroked over his third: 0-6 to 0-5. This time it was David Treacy who supplied the equaliser. On the run, Sutcliffe nailed a sensational lead point for the Dubs at the end of a brilliant opening quarter; instantly, Lehane had the teams level for the sixth time, 0-7 apiece.

Magnificent Dublin play culminated in a Joey Boland point; Horgan replied with a tidy point from play … level again with 16 points shared inside the first 20 minutes! Midfielder Daniel Kearney went for goal at the end of a lung-bursting solo run but his shot deflected wide off the head of Liam Rushe, with Horgan surprisingly missing the resultant '65'.

Harnedy edged the winners back in front from an acute angle in the 23rd minute and Treacy dropped an effort shot onto the hurl of the ever-vigilant Nash. Substitute Shane Durkin's shot went to the right of the posts and wide before Lehane put two points between the teams for the second time. Blink and you'd miss it: O'Callaghan replied - 0-10 to 0-9 after 27.

Six minutes shy of the short whistle, Horgan floated over a free but then came a brilliant Dublin goal: Ryan's vision was excellent as he picked out Treacy and the Dublin No.15 improvised wonderfully to boot a close-range effort to the net with his right foot, having knifed through two tackles.

Horgan (free) and Dublin captain Johnny McCaffrey swapped overs and Harnedy tied the scores up with his second point: 0-13 to 1-10 after 31 minutes. Keaney fired a shot wide from close range but the unerring Ryan was on hand to clip over his third free and restore the Sky Blues' advantage.

Rebel captain Pa Cronin drew the sides level for the tenth time with a beautiful finish from under the shadow of the Hogan Stand but Kearney's injury-time point ensured the Leesiders of the slenderest of interval leads.

As the short whistle sounded, both sets of players left the field of play for a well-deserved break, having delivered a truly stunning 35 minutes of entertainment.

Upon the restart, O'Dwyer notched the next Dublin equaliser after Ryan had fluffed his lines from a free; Harnedy was wide at the other end; Nash nailed a long-range free to restore Cork's narrow advantage.

Durkin tied the scores up for the twelfth time after good play from O'Dwyer and Sutcliffe, who then put Dublin back in front with his third point on 42 minutes, this one coming after a supreme catch by Keaney. Nash executed a good save to deny O'Dwyer a second Dublin goal but the Leinster champions moved two ahead when Kelly drilled over a routine free from a central position close to goal.

When the Rebels were awarded a soft free, Horgan made no mistake but Keaney retorted immediately with a glorious catch and finish: 1-16 to 0-17 after 46 minutes. O'Farrell led the Dubs defence a merry dance and halved the deficit and there was a real turning point on 49 minutes when Dublin's O'Dwyer was dismissed for a second yellow card.

The sending-off was harsh as the former Tipperary star seemed to accidentally collide with McLoughlin. This writer's opinion was that both O'Dwyer's yellows were very unlucky. The tide had now turned against Anthony Daly's team and Ryan uncharacteristically pulled a free wide after Nash had dropped over the leveller (from the free that accrued from O'Dwyer's foul on McLoughlin).

The Dubs had looked to be taking control prior to that red card and they fell behind when Cork centre forward Jamie Coughlan dropped over a superb long-range point from play. However, 16 minutes from time, Sutcliffe had the 14 men back on terms when he arrowed over a majestic point from an acute angle on the right wing. Horgan restored Cork's advantage from a soft free awarded against Kelly.

Dublin should have been reduced to 13 men when Liam Rushe lashed out wildly at Horgan with his hurl but referee James Owens bottled the decision and the Dublin centre back escaped with a yellow. Ryan's long-range point from a soft free had the sides level for the 15th time with eleven minutes remaining, 1-18 to 0-21.

Horgan demonstrated telepathic qualities to slot the Leesiders back in front with a shot over the shoulder and Nash nailed his third pointed free to make it a two-point game with 62 minutes left. It was back to a one-point match when Ryan won and converted a free for the 14 men with six minutes remaining on the clock.

The issue was settled in the 66th minute when Horgan cleverly picked Gary Maguire's pocket to divert the sliothar to the back of the Dublin net: 1-23 to 1-19. The Dub custodian was trying to come out with the ball after a shot dropped short but Horgan timed his intervention perfectly and tapped it from Maguire's grasp into an empty net.

The pace of the game didn't relent as we went into the final few minutes and Dublin remained four adrift when a hesitant Ryan sent a free to the left and wide two minutes from the end. Mark Schutte won Dublin a close-range free in the 69th minute and Ryan hammered his shot goalwards only to see Nash make the save.

Two minutes of injury time were added at the end of a marvellous match and Cork substitute Stephen Moylan had the honour of lofting over the last score of an epic contest.

Cork - A Nash (0-3); S McDonnell, S O'Neill, C O'Sullivan; T Kenny, C Joyce, W Egan; L McLoughlin (0-3), D Kearney (0-1); S Harnedy (0-2), P Cronin (0-1), J Coughlan (0-1); C Lehane (0-3), P Horgan (1-7), L O'Farrell (0-2). Subs: S White for Kenny, C Naughton for Coughlan, S Moylan (0-1) for Lehane.

Dublin - G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, P Schutte; S Hiney, L Rushe, M Carton; J McCaffrey(0-1), J Boland (0-1); C Keaney (0-2), R O'Dywer (0-1), D Sutcliffe (0-4); P Ryan (0-6), D O'Callaghan (0-2), D Treacy (1-1). Subs: S Durkin (0-1) for Hiney, S Lambert for Carton, M Schutte for Treacy, E Dillon for O'Callaghan, R Trainor for P Schutte.

Ref - J Owens (Wexford).

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