Cork boss Ronan McCarthy says he's proud of the way his team went down fighting against the All-Ireland champions.
In the end they lost by 13 points, the 5-18 to 1-17 final scoreline making it look like an emphatic beating at Croke Park.
But they took the game to Dublin for long spells and a converted second-half Luke Connolly penalty reduced their arrears to just three points. It wasn’t until late in the game that Dublin cut loose.
McCarthy acknowledged that the Dubs are a great side, but he was proud of the way his team performed while Jim Gavin was also full of praise for the losers.
"I would feel that we were competitive and a fair reflection of the game is we kept at them, kept fighting, we didn’t sit back, but we were always under pressure," he said.
"To be fair, the goal before half-time shouldn’t have happened and at it put us six down at half-time. We got the penalty in the second half and we stayed in the game.
"We made a few poor decisions at the end that cost us. We were just a small bit naive and that comes from playing more big games. We will learn from this.
"We weren’t coming up here to hold our own for 45 minutes. What I liked in the performance was that we conceded a poor goal before half-time, were six down and people were expecting Dublin to pull away, but that didn't happen.
"Your best chance of winning a game is in your next game and this was our next game. we came up here to win and Dublin were deserving winners. You can lose it emphatically, or you can lose it going against a great team."
Cork’s next match is against Tyrone next Saturday against Tyrone at Croke Park on the same bill as the Dubs against Roscommon.
The Boys in Blue are the best team of the last decade and one of the great sides of all-time so losing to them at Croke Park was no disgrace and their manager was impressed by what he saw in the Rebels.
"We did well to limit them to 17 points, they're a potent team and coming into this game they had scored 10-48 in their last three championship games," said Gavin.
"They had ten different scores against us, they started with six points on the spin (without a wide), they looked strong and I think we just took our goal opportunities better than they did.
"That’s just the quality of the Cork side and the quality of the scorers they have, they movement they have. It was no surprise that they were going over the bar.
"You just need to look at their recent games, those are a true reflection of them. They are athletic, they are very strong and they play a game similar to ourselves, a skills-based game, and we were very impressed looking at them in our video analysis."
Early in the game Cork’s tactic of running down the middle of the Dublin defence paid dividends and they led 0-05 to 0-01 after nine minutes.
"Every time you give the ball back to them you pay for it at the other end, so we wanted the players to be patient and probe and they did that very well," said McCarthy.
"We should have continued to do that. We stated very well and then they got the first goal. Overall, we were positive, we showed courage - it finished 23 scores to 18.
"Dublin are an outstanding team. They don’t panic. Their decision-making is the key thing. They are patient, they wait for the right man to get the shot off and at times we were a bit rushed and hassled. We gave as good as we got for a long time and they pulled away in the end."
Gavin added: "They brought it back to three points and we responded really well to the challenge. We went through phases, got sores on the board."
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