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Dublin at their destructive best as they clinch National Football League three-in-a-row

The Dubs handed out an 11-point hiding to retain their league title against a disappointing Cork.

Diarmuid Connolly's goal set Dublin on course for a historic afternoon. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dublin 1-21

Cork 2-7

DUBLIN PUT THEIR championship rivals on red alert as they clinched a hat-trick of National Football League titles in style.

Diarmuid Connolly’s first-half penalty helped the Dubs to a comprehensive 11-point win over Cork in the Division 1 decider.

Dean Rock finished with 0-10 as Jim Gavin’s men saved one of their most impressive performances of the spring until last.

It is the first time in Dublin’s history that they have won the league title in three successive years.

They will now turn their attention to their Leinster Championship opener against Offaly or Longford on 31 May. On this evidence, it will take something special to deny them provincial honours for a 10th time in 11 years.

Gavin will know the danger of reading too much into a league win, however comprehensive it might look on paper. Dublin beat Derry by 15 points this time last year but when August came around, their carefully-laid plans quickly unravelled.

Stephen Cluxton lifts the cup Friends reunited: Stephen Cluxton lifts the cup. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Cork will need the seven-week break before their Munster semi-final against Clare or Limerick to iron out the wrinkles that cost them any chance of making this a competitive affair.

They managed just three scores from play against a stubborn Dublin defence and at the other end, found themselves completely overpowered for long stretches.

Dublin finished with nine different scorers as they flaunted their firepower in front of a crowd of 31, 548 in Croke Park.

Dean Rock and Denis Bastick celebrate Dean Rock and Denis Bastick celebrate. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

The game was effectively decided by a stretch between the 32nd and 48th minutes when Dublin outscored the Rebels by 1-7 to 0-1.

But the writing was on the wall long before that. Cork limped out of the traps and managed just a single point to Dublin’s seven in the opening 25 minutes.

Kevin McManamon, Ciaran Kilkenny and three from the dead-eyed Rock (two frees) got the holders off to perfect start as Cork were held scoreless until Colm O’Neill’s free in the 14th minute.

Another Rock free and a point from Philly McMahon left it at 0-7 to 0-1 before Cork reeled off a rapid-fire treble of frees that cut the deficit to three and briefly threatened to make a game of it.

Any hope of a comeback was snuffed out on the stroke of half-time when Tomás Brady was brought down by Cork skipper Michael Shields.

Shields was shown a yellow card — as was keeper Ken O’Halloran for his over-zealous protests — and when the dust settled, Connolly made no mistake.

Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

The Dubs led by seven at the break and, in truth, it could have been even more; some wasteful shooting saw them rack up eight wides in the opening period.

But they started the second half with the same intent and posted the first five scores courtesy of man of the match Jack McCaffrey, Rock (2), Tomás Brady and Bernard Brogan.

Cork may wonder what might have been if Daniel Goulding had scored in a goalmouth scramble just moments after coming on as a sub. The crossbar, and Stephen Cluxton, somehow managed to keep him out.


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When Cork did get their first goal through Mark Collins in the 48th minute, the game was already done and dusted at 1-15 to 1-5.

Even with more than 20 minutes to play, the only real question concerned the size of the final margin. Paddy Andrews added a pair of points as Gavin emptied his bench while Rock continued to pick off the frees.

Cork did get another late consolation when Goulding scrambled the ball over the line in stoppage time but once again, this was Dublin’s day.

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-10 (7f), Diarmuid Connolly 1-0 (pen), Ciaran Kilkenny 0-3, Bernard Brogan 0-2, Paddy Andrews 0-2, Kevin McManamon, Philly McMahon, Jack McCaffrey, Tomás Brady 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Colm O’Neill 0-6 (5f), Mark Collins, Daniel Goulding 1-0 each, Brian Hurley 0-1 (1f).


1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

2. Philip McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)
3. Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes)
4. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)

5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
6. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
7. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)

8. Denis Bastick (Templeogue Synge Street)
9. Brian Fenton (Raheny)

18. Tomás Brady (Na Fianna)
11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
12. Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincent’s)

13. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
14. Kevin McManamon (St Jude’s)
15. Bernard Brogan (Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruaidh)


23. Michael Fitzsimons for O’Carroll (26)
17. Paddy Andrews for Brady (46)
24. Emmett Ó Conghaile for Bastick (54)
20. Cormac Costello for Connolly (55)
26. John Small for McMahon (62)
21. Darren Daly for Fenton (64)


1. Ken O’Halloran (Bishopstown)

18. Noel Galvin (Ballincollig)
3. Michael Shields (St. Finbarr’s)
4. James Loughrey (Mallow)

5. Jamie O’Sullivan (Bishopstown)
6. Conor Dorman (Bishopstown)
7. Tomás Clancy (Fermoy)

8. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas)
9. Fintan Goold (Macroom)

10. Kevin O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh)
11. John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers)
12. Colm O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh)

13. Colm O’Neill (Ballyclough)
14. Mark Collins (Castlehaven)
15. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven)


22. Paul Kerrigan for Dorman (26)
21. Daniel Goulding for O’Rourke (37)
23. Donal Óg Hodnett for O’Sullivan (50)
25. Barry O’Driscoll for Colm O’Driscoll (50)
19. Stephen Cronin for Galvin (63)

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Niall Kelly

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