They’d taken quite a while to eventually dominate Roscommon. And in the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, well, we’re not picking it for the quality of performance. Cork were far better in plenty games of that 2009-2012 period – but this remains many people’s favourite experience with this Cork side. In a quick check a few weeks back, everyone I asked had it in their top five, more than the final even.
It was the sort of game-winning that took this team onto that All-Ireland winning level (and make no mistake, lose here and it’s hard to see this group coming back in that form again), that 10 minutes where they refused to lose and mentally and physically destroyed Dublin.
Paul Kerrigan showed his devastating pace to leave Philly McMahon for dead a couple of times, kicked a score, pinged an outside-of-foot shot off the post from way out that was either almost one of the great or luckiest Croke Park goals.
Dublin had nothing left to give.
That wasn’t an accident. He spent an age with Ned English making sure the technique was consistent no matter the distance or angle.
When the game was there, it was this Cork team that stepped up, kept playing, kept demanding ball and running hard and in the end they got the rewards. If there was a tendency afterwards to suggest Dublin left it after them with naivety and indiscipline, you can more easily make the argument that Cork won it with composure and discipline. That in their moment they had that winning quality in them.