By ANTHONY NEWMAN
Dublin manager Mick Bohan was pleased with the resolve his players showed after letting a ten-point lead slip and then battling back for victory against Cork in the Lidl NFL Division 1.
It was an outstanding game in Páirc Ui Rinn with the sides sharing seven goals, and Cork showing heart and determination to overturn a big 4-8 to 0-10 half-time deficit.
Nevertheless, Dublin were champions as recently as 2021 and showed all of their class as Carla Rowe stepped up to score the last two points of the game and rescue the win.
“We started off poor and they put us under pressure but when we squeezed up on them we found ourselves with a lot of really good opportunities. We did really well at that period of time,” said Bohan.
“Very disappointing at start of second half and they were a bit lucky with the first goal but we know this, it can swing the energy of the game away from you.
“But in fairness we came back and answered it and would be happy with the way we finished as it could have slipped away from us.
“It’s an awful lot easier to travel the three hours home with the points in the bag in a difficult place to get them.”
These two had dominated the landscape before Meath arrived on the scene and their rivalry carried over into another classic on Bank Holiday Monday.
Cork took the early ascendency with points from Eimear Kiely (two) and Katie Quirke giving the home side a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after four minutes.
But Hannah Tyrrell wriggled free for Dublin’s opener moments later and that was a sign of things to come. Dublin got through for their first goal that Rowe finished neatly in the 16th minute.
It was 2-5 to 0-8 when Caoimhe O’Connor came up with their second and further goals arrived from Tyrrell and Kate Sullivan for a ten-point half-time advantage.
Cork could have dropped their heads but they didn’t and Erika O’Shea’s looping ball finished in the net before Eimear Kiely brought it back to 4-9 to 2-11 by the 37th minute.
The scores continued to flow at both ends until Cork substitute Orlaith Cahalane netted for a 3-14 to 4-11 scoreline. Quirke pushed Cork in front but it was only short-lived as back-to-back frees from Rowe won it for Dublin.
“A good 45 minutes but we collapsed for 15 and you can’t do that at this level. We gave away a goal and then just seemed to fold and against sides like Dublin you will pay and we did,” said Cork manager Shane Ronayne.
“But credit to the girls, a great second half and we can take a lot from that going forward.”
Scorers – Dublin: H Tyrrell 1-6, C Rowe 1-3 (2f), K Sullivan 1-2, C O’Connor 1-0, J Dunne 0-1, E Gribben 0-1.
Cork: E Kiely 1-3, K Quirke 0-6 (3f), L Magee 1-0 (OG), O Cahalane 1-0, L Coppinger 0-3, R Leahy 0-1, A Healy 0-1, H Looney 0-1.
DUBLIN: A Shiels; R Brennan, M Byrne, J Tobin; L Caffrey, D Lawless, E Deeley; J Dunne, E O’Dowd; O Nolan, C Rowe, E Gribben; C O’Connor, H Tyrrell, K Sullivan.
Subs: L Magee for Brennan (15), S Wylde for Deeley (22), K Owens for Sullivan (46), N Hetherton for Tyrrell (48).
CORK: M O’Sullivan; S Kelly, S Leahy, D Kiniry; A Healy, H Looney, M Duggan; M O’Callaghan, E O’Shea; E Cleary, L Coppinger, D Kiely; K Quirke, E Kiely, R Leahy.
Subs: L O’Mahony for O’Callaghan (ht), A Ryan for Kiniry (ht), O Cahalane for D Kiely (ht), B O’Sullivan for O’Shea (45), K Redmond for Leahy (46), R Phelan for Duggan (58), A Ring for Kiely (58).
Referee: Garryowen McMahon (Mayo).