Dublin have a different level of opponent coming at them following Cork victory - Dessie Farrell
All Ireland SFC quarter-final: Dublin 0-21 Cork 0-10
By Liam Maguire
DUBLIN manager Dessie Farrell has said his charges must be prepared to mix it with a different quality of opponent in the All-Ireland semi-finals after Saturday's last-eight canter against Cork.
The Leinster champions had far too much in the tank for the Rebels at Croke Park, despite Cork remaining competitive for much of the first-half, and will now line out against Kerry next month after the Kingdom's win over Mayo.
When Ciarán Kilkenny slotted over a fine effort to put Dublin 0-4 to 0-1 ahead in the 15th minute, it looked as if the Dubs might cut loose early on at Headquarters. However, the fine finishing of Brian Hurley helped reduce the gap between the teams to one. And although Dean Rock helped Dublin maintain control, the gap at half-time was just three, 0-10 to 0-7.
Two Dean Rock frees opened the scoring in the second-half and, by the 50th minute, Dublin held a 0-15 to 0-7 advantage. When Aaron Byrne converted for the Dubs on 60 minutes, the gap was 0-18 to 0-10, with Kilkenny clipping over another point on 67 minutes and Rock concluding the scoring.
"There's a major step up in class coming and the question for us is, are we going to be ready for that," Farrell said on the final whistle.
"We've come through, no disrespect to any opposition, we've had it relatively easy on this side and you're always conscious that you could potentially be sleepwalking into something.
"There's definitely a much bigger test coming in two weeks' time and let's hope we're ready for that."
Dublin played Saturday's game without Con O'Callaghan and James McCarthy after the veteran pair were ruled out ahead of throw-in with respective hamstring injuries, and Farrell says the two are facing a race against time to be fit for the semi-final on July 10.
"It's a tough one, obviously very disappointing for the lads," Farrell added.
"Injuries, unfortunately, they're part and parcel of the landscape at this level. Getting an injury at this time of year is very challenging because the games are coming thick and fast.
"In many ways, it's a race against time now, so our medical team are doing everything possible to have both players available."
Cork interim manager John Cleary, meanwhile, was disappointed by the ultimate margin of defeat given that his team were still within touching distance at half-time.
"To be beaten by 11 points, we're bitterly disappointed," he said afterwards.
"I thought we put up a creditable performance in the first-half, but the scoreline doesn't lie. We were well beaten in the end.
"I felt we should have maybe had a few more scores on the board in the first-half, we missed four or five good scoring chances.”
Cleary believes that, if one good thing can come out of Saturday's experience for Cork football, it was a demonstration of the lengths they must go to reach the level of the likes of Dublin.
"Everyone could see the gulf in standards out there today,” he added.
"The most important to see it maybe are the players. Hopefully when they come here again, they'll be fitter, faster and stronger.
"This Dublin team didn't arrive overnight. They won six All-Irelands in-a-row and they're hell-bent on trying to win again this year, so that's the standard that the Cork lads have to get to.
"They see there today what's entailed. It'll take time, but hopefully they can step up the ladder and maybe get to where the likes of Dublin are at the moment."
Dublin: E Comerford; E Murchan, M Fitzsimons, L Gannon (0-2); J Small, J Cooper, S Bulger (0-1); B Fenton (0-2), T Lahiff (0-1); N Scully, B Howard, C Kilkenny (0-3); C Costello (0-01), D Rock (0-9 frees), P Small (0-1); Subs: L O'Dell for Bugler (52), C Murphy for Cooper (55), A Byrne (0-01) for Small (60), E O'Connell for Murchan (67), Byrne for Small (69).
Cork: MA Martin; S Powter, M Shanley, K O'Donovan; J Cooper, R Maguire, M Taylor; I Maguire, C O'Callaghan; P Ring, E McSweeney (0-1), J O'Rourke (0-1); Stephen Sherlock (0-3, 0-2 frees), B Hurley (0-2), C O'Mahony (0-3, 0-1 free, 0-1 mark); Subs: S Meehan for Ring (48), D Dineen for McSweeney (48), B Hayes for Sherlock (54), C Kiely for Cooper (55), B Murphy for O'Callaghan (69).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).