COLM O’NEILL RETURNED to action for Cork almost a year after tearing his cruciate for the third time as the Rebels defeated All-Ireland champions Dublin in Croke Park tonight.
O’Neill grabbed 0-2 as well, including the last point of the game, as Brian Cuthbert’s side moved to the top of the Division 1 league table.
John Hayes, starting a league game for Cork for the first time in over three years, scored 1-3 in the opening period and Daniel Goulding kicked seven points from frees to help Cork to victory.
19,626 spectators were present for a high-scoring opening period with Cork ahead by 1-11 to 0-12 at the interval. Dublin had sprinted 0-7 to 0-3 clear after just eight minutes with Cormac Costello and Ciaran Kilkenny shining in attack.
But Cork drew level thanks to Goulding’s free taking and the teams were locked together at 0-8 apiece by the 18th minute. The remainder of the first-half was closely contested with Hayes crucially netting in the 26th minute after being put through by Mark Collins.
Cork started the second-half brightly to go 1-14 to 0-13 clear by the 43rd minute. However Dublin responded to draw level with ten minutes left after kicking four points on the trot from Kevin McManamon, Kilkenny, Stephen Cluxton and Paul Hudson.
Colm O’Neill, with his first touch of the ball since coming on, and Shane Carthy traded points to see the teams still tied with five minutes remaining. But Cork finished the stronger with substitutes Donal Og Hodnett and O’Neill raising the white flags that ensured they made a successful trip to the capital.
Scorers for Cork: Daniel Goulding 0-7 (0-7f), John Hayes 1-3, Colm O’Neill, Donal Og Hodnett 0-2 each, Fintan Goold, Brian Hurley, Paul Kerrigan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 0-4, Ciaran Kilkenny (0-1f), Stephen Cluxton (0-3f), Kevin McManamon 0-3 each, Ciaran Reddin 0-2, Paul Hudson, Shane Carthy, James McCarthy 0-1 each.
CORK: Ken O’Halloran; Conor Dorman, Eoin Cadogan, Noel Galvin; James Loughrey, Alan Cronin, Tom Clancy; Aidan Walsh, Fintan Goold; John O’Rourke, Paul Kerrigan, Mark Collins; Daniel Goulding, Brian Hurley, John Hayes.
Subs: Kevin Crowley for Dorman (27), Donal Og Hodnett for Galvin (half-time), Colm O’Neill for Hayes (52), Ruairi Deane for Walsh (55), Andrew O’Sullivan for Goold (58), Kevin O’Driscoll for Loughrey (inj) (70).
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Michael Fitzsimons, Philly McMahon, Sean George; Eric Lowndes, Cian O’Sullivan, Johnny Cooper; James McCarthy, Michael Dara MacAuley; Davy Byrne, Ciaran Reddin, Bryan Cullen; Kevin McManamon, Cormac Costello, Ciaran Kilkenny.
Subs: Jack McCaffrey for George (26), Dara Nelson for Lowndes (half-time), Eoghan O’Gara for Byrne (46), Paul Hudson for Costello (52), Shane Carthy for Reddin (62).
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)