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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019
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5 talking points after Dublin's comeback win against Cork

Dublin showcased their resilience and array of options while Cork mixed attacking riches with a second-half collapse.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. Dublin showcase their resilience again

Dublin were the warm favourites to win this match yet the manner of the victory was the most striking part of the narrative. Ten points down by the 40th minute, they were seven points clear by the 72nd minute after outscoring their opponents by 2-13 to 0-2.

It was a remarkably resilient performance as they were unperturbed by their shoddy opening to the game and hit their stride in a devastating fashion heading down the stretch.

It wasn’t the first time they had bounced back from the abyss. They came from five points down with 14 men to beat Kerry and draw with Mayo earlier in the league. Dublin refuse to buckle under Gavin and invariably seem to be rewarded.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

2. Jim Gavin springs the right men from the bench

Dublin needed something to shake them from their stupor yesterday in Croke Park and they got that in the seismic impact made by their substitutes. Ten of Dublin’s points were contributed by players sprung from the bench. Eoghan O’Gara bagged 0-3 in a very important display and settled quickly in shooting a brace before half-time.

Davy Byrne and Ciaran Reddin both raised a single white flag apiece while a 0-5 haul from Bernard Brogan illustrated the value of his input. Brogan was also fouled for the late penalty that clinched Dublin’s win and made his mark in his first appearance of the year. In finding the right men from the bench, Gavin was able to change the course of the game and bend it to his will.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

3. Cork’s collapse a concern

Dublin’s comeback was one tale but spin the coin and it falls on Cork’s collapse. Brian Cuthbert had watched his side build up a head of steam in the first-half, maintain those high standards immediately after half-time before then being submerged by waves of Dublin attacks. ‘We did not do enough to quell the tide that came at us’, was Cuthbert’s verdict.

It’ll be a concern for Cork. They faded badly as the game progressed, only scoring two points after the 37th minute and not scoring after the 52nd minute. Sourcing possession around the middle was beyond them as Dublin took over.

Previously in this league Cork were pegged back by Derry before prevailing by a point and were hauled back for a draw by Tyrone. It’s a moot point as to whether that’s a trend that needs urgent investigation but overall this has been a progressive league for Cork and they have plenty to build on.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. Cork’s attacking riches on show early on

The memories of the second-half slump may linger for Cork but they should not conceal the fine and enterprising work they produced in the first-half. In that period the attacking capabilities they possess were unleashed. Cork offered hints both in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final and in the league last month that they can trouble Dublin’s rearguard.

Yesterday Brian Hurley was in electric form, twisting and turning past the Dublin defence to hit 0-5 from play. Colm O’Neill netted for a third successive game and has hit 3-11 now since his comeback on March 1st despite not yet playing a full match. Cork have attacking riches and showed that early on yesterday. Utilising them for an entire game is the next task.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

5. Should the rest of the country be scared of Dublin?

Dublin’s position as All-Ireland favourites will hardly have wavered after yesterday. If anything it will have hardened further and the popular view of them being too strong for the rest of the country will become entrenched. The key asset is the strength of their squad.

With the game slipping out of their reach against Cork, it was the ability to bring on the likes of Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O’Gara that changed the game. It’s worth considering they still have Cian O’Sullivan, Ger Brennan and Denis Bastick to come into the reckoning while the array of options available to Jim Gavin increases further with U21 players such as Jack McCaffrey, Paul Mannion, Cormac Costello and Shane Carthy.

‘I don’t see what a person’s sexuality has to do with anything’ – Ger Brennan

Gavin hails the Dubs – ‘the mental resolve that they showed, we know they have that’

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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