Posted by Shane Stapleton at Croke Park

Shane Stapleton was at Croke Park to see Dublin and Tyrone progress to the semi-finals, but both have plenty to work on

2013 Dublin v Cork
Shane Stapleton was at Croke Park to see Dublin and Tyrone progress to the semi-finals, but both have plenty to work on…

DUBLIN 1-16 CORK 0-14
The selections just didn’t add up, for Cork or for Dublin.

Jim Gavin’s team were the favourites and their speed was seen as the reason for that. Jack McCaffrey’s goal, and many of the other clear chances, came because of this.

The Rebels decided the best way to combat speed was to deploy some of their oldest and least pacy players in positions that were there to be exposed. You can’t blame Graham Canty or Alan O’Connor for lacking speed, but you can ask why outgoing manager Conor Counihan thought this was anything other than a recipe for disaster.

Dublin, in terms of selections not adding up, put out six forwards that between them contributed just 0-4 over 70 minutes of being in the ascendancy — their subs came on and added as much, while the Cork’s starting attackers tallied 0-8.

It was a game where Dublin owned the ball but, despite all their trespassing inside the Cork ’21, their forwards weren’t turning it into enough scores. The selections of Canty — at left wing-back — and Alan O’Connor — at midfield — gave Dublin huge opportunities to use their superior space.

Michael Darragh McAuley ran past O’Connor on a couple of occasions while at times McCaffrey burst up Canty’s wing as if no on was there; with Canty marking Bryan Cullen in that position for much of the first half, there might as well not have been.

Fans of both sides would have been wondering whether either should have started, with many suggesting both are over the hill, and they effectively remained anonymous. Neither costing their side in terms of this particular match-up; neither effective.

Dublin owned the ball for much of the first half, had 19 scoring chances to Cork’s 13 but still went in just two points ahead.

Diarmuid Connolly got on the ball, set up Bernard Brogan for one of many missed goal chances, but the St Vincent’s man was hugely wasteful too — two forward passes went out of play, and Connolly hit another tame shot into Alan Quirke’s hands under no pressure. He missed a clear goalscoring chance in the second half after running clear of Canty, fed by McAuley who had just flown by O’Connor.

Again, Cork allowed mismatches but Dublin weren’t converting. This move was a microcosm of the game.

It was all so very lackadaisical from Jim Gavin’s side who seemed so superior to a Cork team with just one obvious plan, horse the ball in on top of Ciaran Sheehan. To be fair, the Eire Og man was fetching them too so you could see why they continued to feed him.

But it made the side predictable, and the Dubs knew that if they crowded out the penalty area, then the Rebels would need to rely on luck. And with Rory O’Carroll gifting a goal chance to Paudie Kissane in one instances with 10 minutes to go, they nearly got it.

But they wouldn’t have deserved it. Dublin played smarter, exposed the clear flaws of the Rebels, won their kickouts while upsetting the opposition’s, and created far more chances: 37 to 27.

That sort of performance is unlikely to be good enough to win an All-Ireland, and so many of their marquee players – Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn and Connolly, among others — were lacking a cutting edge. A dominant five-point win but with lots of warts — both on the field and the sideline.

The final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos and that didn’t even do justice to the drudgery that we were subjected to in the Tyrone-Monaghan quarter-final.

Whether you feel he favoured one side over the other or not, it’s clear that his inconsistent application of the rules will endure much longer than any other analysis of the game. It was apparent from early on that Cormac Reilly was too card happy.

Six Monaghan players received a caution in the first half and the crimes were not always worthy of being put on borrowed time for the rest of the game. To show how inconsistent the Meath official was, there was a period well into the first half where Tyrone’s Martin Penrose gave away two cynical fouls in a short space of time and escaped a proportionate censure.

The Farney County were always walking a tight-rope thereafter and, whether they were going to see men sent to the line or not, they would be forced to reduce the ferocity of their tackling.

Ironic then that Penrose was the man sent to the line for an altercation with Dessie Mone after the short whistle went. Credit to Reilly for doing his job on this occasion because it took a lot of guts to come out after a long half-time break and make that call.

Kieran Hughes of Monaghan didn’t reduce the ferocity of his tackling and a ridiculous high tackle on 47 minutes effectively gave momentum back to the Red Hands. Cool heads win games in Croke Park – but the Ulster champions left theirs back in Clones.

Monaghan were always going to struggle to bring the same intensity to this quarter-final having expended so much energy against Donegal. They didn’t perform to that same level in the first half and, with Joe McMahon and Co sweeping in front of the penalty area, there was little space.

Of course Monaghan were as slow to get men forward as they were to deliver the ball. It was lethargic, ponderous and it partly explained why the Farneys didn’t score from play between minutes three and 34. Nor did they from minute 54 to the finish line.

Sean Cavanagh was the difference in the first half but was mostly shut out in the second – which could be Tyrone's undoing yet. As Dublin’s All-Ireland winner Barry Cahill tweeted at half-time: “Think teams should play a half back in midfield against Tyrone to try and nullify Cavanagh. He doesn't have any defensive duties.”

Monaghan curtailed his influence in the second half, and it may be a lesson for the semi-final. Stephen O'Neill was blotted out too; he went to the half-forwards in second half and did little more before being taken off. Another worry for Tyrone.

You could argue that Monaghan deserve to go out after managing to create just 22 chances in the game. They were too negative, had little movement inside, and were ponderous.

Tyrone might have shown more cynicism but they created 34 chances, and their systematic fouling was nothing unusual. From junior B to senior A, you’d expect the same of any team with a two-point lead.

It ain’t pretty, but they won’t care. Winners write their own history.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte exclusively gave us his reaction to Joe Brolly's outburst on Sean Cavanagh: 

"I am a bit weary of the unbalanced reporting of the game by a tired and rather boring analyst.

"Sadly his shallow interpretation of the quality of Sean Cavanagh as well as our team in general is being reiterated by others who seem to be bereft of independent thinking. 

"We are thrilled to have made it to the last four for the first time since 2009. An excellent run of five games in six weeks for this team in transition."

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