Given that they won by four in the end as a resilience Dublin side never threw in the total, the importance of Cork’s seven-point burst in the opening eight minutes cannot be overstated.
There were no signs of rustiness as they hit the ground running and the Leinster champions were never given the chance to lead the game at any stage. While Cork manager Pat Ryan did acknowledge that there were similarities to the Munster final against Tipperary in that Dublin were allowed back, the cushion assembled was vital.
A key factor in the approach of the Cork management has been to treat every player the same, with no stars in their midst. Players who had started the 2019 All-Ireland final were used from the bench at various stages during the campaign while there was never any reluctance to use the strong squad depth at any stage.
While Pádraig Power was Cork’s top scorer with ‘only’ 1-1, there were 10 scorers in total and eight of them notching more than once.
Eight of the squad were involved in the 2019 All-Ireland U20 final loss to Tipperary but there were more good memories within the group, not least the fact that nine took part in the win over Dublin in the one-off U17 competition in 2017.
Having come through together in the development squads, there was a deep understanding within the squad, which has helped them overcome the lay-offs Covid presented and ultimately emerge successfully.