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Barney Rock, Dublin, contests a high ball with Cork goalkeeper Michael Creedon, in the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final replay at the Páirc. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Barney Rock, Dublin, contests a high ball with Cork goalkeeper Michael Creedon, in the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final replay at the Páirc. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Flashback: When the Dubs rocked down to take on Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

SINCE 1941, there have been just two All-Ireland football semi-finals held anywhere other than Croke Park.

One of those was the Kerry-Mayo replay in Limerick in 2014, while the other is one that probably still feels like a missed opportunity for some Cork people.

The Rebels had won the Munster title for the first time since 1974 when Tadhg Óg Murphy’s goal gave them victory over Kerry in 1983, and they nearly followed that with a win over Dublin in Croke Park.

John Allen, Cork, in action against Gerry Hargan, Dublin, in the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
John Allen, Cork, in action against Gerry Hargan, Dublin, in the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

The Dubs needed a late Barney Rock goal to secure a 2-11 each draw, and while Cork would have preferred to have finished the job on the day, the news that the replay would take place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh was a boost, according to Colman Corrigan, who played midfield in both of those games.

“On the train down, we felt that we had got a moral victory in getting the replay in Cork,” he said.

“We had played Dublin off the park for a lot of the game, we were five points up with less than a quarter of an hour to go we had beaten them in all areas but we just didn’t finish it off.

“I suppose experience was a big factor, it was the first time in nine years that Cork had won Munster. When you’re up by five points you should be making it 10.”

The Cork team that drew with Dublin in the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
The Cork team that drew with Dublin in the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

If Cork felt they should have finished the job, for Dublin it was a reprieve.

“We were delighted that we had got a second chance,” Barney Rock said.

“We were down five points so relief was a very strong emotion.

“A few of the lads had played in the late 70s, but most of the team wouldn’t have been used to it.

“The ending was very dramatic, we got a goal in the last minute and then Cork had a chance but Mick Holden, Lord rest him, made a great interception and the game finished.”

Given the let-off, having to travel to Cork a week later was no problem for Dublin.

“The team and management would have had a meeting at maybe 6pm on the Monday,” he said.

“Kevin Heffernan said that wherever they wanted us to play, we’d play.

“We were told to meet at 1pm at the Dublin County Board offices.

“We stayed in the Blarney Park Hotel, had a team meeting on the Saturday night and slept well. It was different to all be together like that, we enjoyed it.”

That feelgood factor continued into Sunday, with the large Dublin support in the Blackrock End (or Hill 17, as it was rebranded for the day) helping the visitors.

“We all went to Mass on the Sunday morning and got to the stadium early,” Rock said.

“I think Cork and Kilkenny were playing in a junior hurling match and at half-time in that Kevin told us to go out and have a look at the pitch.

“The Dublin support was already beginning to gather so we got a buzz of energy.

“It was a great setting, a full stadium on a glorious summer’s day.”

And Heffernan had a trick up his sleeve, designed to limit the impact of Cork’s Jimmy Kerrigan.

Rock, named at number 10, strolled into the right corner-forward position and Kerrigan initially followed.

“Dublin made smart changes,” Corrigan admitted.

“Jimmy had had a blinder at wing-back in the drawn game but it was a major mistake to let him go into the corner.

“Dublin ploughed into us, it was like they made a stand, ‘Ye brought us down here but we don’t give a rattling shite where we play, we’ll take ye on.’”

Matters for Dublin were helped by Rock winning an early penalty to set them on their way.

“What happened was that I walked in and then John Caffrey began to move out with John Evans with him and Jimmy wasn’t really sure who to follow.

“I took advantage of the uncertainty and caught the first ball in and I was about to put it in the net when Michael Creedon, the goalkeeper, pulled me down.

“Brian Mullins put the penalty in and we were off to a great start. Maybe if I hadn’t caught the ball, the Cork management might have told Jimmy to follow John and Cork might have won. That’s the benefit of hindsight!”

Dublin captain Tommy Drumm, right, shakes hands with Cork captain Christy Ryan, while referee PJ McGrath looks on before the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Dublin captain Tommy Drumm, right, shakes hands with Cork captain Christy Ryan, while referee PJ McGrath looks on before the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

By the end, 11 points separated the teams, Dublin winning by 4-15 to 2-10.

The celebrations on the way back were joyous, even if Rock couldn’t partake.

“I think the bus took about seven hours to get home, though I had to go on to Tralee to take part in Superstars,” he said.

“I had to ask Kevin if it was alright, but he was on a high and just told me not to come back injured!”

Cork supporters at the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Cork supporters at the 1983 All-Ireland football semi-final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

On the Cork side, a bad day got worse as news filtered through that defender Tom Creedon had died that evening.

Creedon had been injured earlier that summer in an accident and had been in a coma.

“Tom died at 7pm that night,” his Macroom clubmate Corrigan said, “and that just finished off a horrible week. He always gave his heart and soul when he was on the pitch, and he gave his heart and soul to living after the accident, that he died that night was kind of eerie.”

Scorers for Dublin: B Rock 1-4 (0-3 f, 0-1 45), C Duff, J McNally 1-3 each, B Mullins 1-0 (penalty), T Conroy 0-2, J Ronayne, A O’Toole, J Caffrey 0-1 each.

Cork: J Cleary 0-7 (0-5 f, 0-1 45), D Barry 2-1 (1-0 penalty), T Murphy, J Kerrigan 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: J O’Leary; M Holden, G Hargan, R Hazley; P Canavan, T Drumm, PJ Buckley; J Ronayne, B Mullins; J Caffrey, T Conroy, C Duff; B Rock, A O’Toole, J McNally. 

Sub: J Kerins for Caffrey (58).

CORK: M Creedon; M Healy, K Kehily, J Kerrigan; M Hannon, C Ryan, J Evans; D Creedon, C Corrigan; T Murphy, E O’Mahony, D Barry; D Allen, J Allen, J Cleary. 

Subs: M Burns for Hannon (half-time), T O’Reilly for O’Mahony (46), E Fitzgerald for Murphy (62).

Referee: PJ McGrath (Mayo).