This Airtricity League Premier Division game at Turner's Cross ebbed and flowed before Cork City's striker Danny Morrissey produced an exhibition of finishing with a brilliant hat-trick to leave Derry City smarting, as the home side won 4-1.
The City striker scored a great opener after 13 minutes when he outpaced the Derry defence and added further strikes in the 67th and 74th minutes. Striking partner Ciaran Kilduff beautifully chipped Derry keeper Gerard Doherty for a fourth before the visitor’s top scorer Rory Patterson grabbed a late consolation goal for the Candystripes.
Derry played well for most of the match but were blown away by clinical finishing from the home side.
Cork City continued their good league form under Stuart Ashton and opened brightly. Their 4-4-2 formation and direct play unnerved the Derry defence, largely through the pace of Kilduff and particularly, Morrissey.
The duo created a spectacular opening goal after 13 minutes. On a counter attack, the twice involved Daryl Horgan found Kilduff in the centre circle. His wonderfully judged through ball allowed Morrissey to burst past Shane McEleney and smash the ball into the top right hand corner from the edge of the box.
It was Morrissey’s fifth goal in six games, while he later improved that record to seven in six.
Derry lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation that should have provided security for the away defence, but failed on a number of occasions in the first 20 minutes.
Derry's best chance came after 23 minutes when Patrick McEleney cut in from the left wing and hit a right-foot shot at the far post that Cork keeper Mark McNulty saved, dropped and then re-gathered.
A minute later, Derry looked like they could have had a penalty when Simon Madden went over in the box under a Dan Murray challenge. Referee Sean Grant blew his whistle but brandished a yellow at the Derry City defender to the relief of the home fans.
The game dropped in quality thereafter with both sides unable to keep the ball with Derry having by far the better of things.
The Candystripes threatened again after a great cross by Barry McNamee was steered on target by Rory Patterson but McNulty grasped it without too much difficulty.
Derry manager Declan Devine was left incensed after referee Grant failed to award his side a penalty at the start of the second half when John Dunleavy bundled over Patterson in the box after 49 minutes.
Morrissey scored an excellent second after 67 minutes when his namesake Gearoid played a through ball to his feet. The striker spun his marker beautifully and adroitly finished past Doherty from inside the area.
The hat-trick came after 74 minutes when Morrissey tucked the ball into the far corner after getting a pass from Gearoid, once again, this time on the left of the box.
Three minutes later it got even better for the home side. Kilduff exchanged passes with Shane Duggan on the right hand side and was put through, before brilliantly chipping the Derry keeper from a wide angle.
Derry's late goal, a scrappy one after the ball pinballed around the box, was eventually finished by Patterson but it proved a mere consolation as the home side eased to victory.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Ian Turner (Colin Healy 64), Gearóid Morrissey, Shane Duggan (Brian Lenihan 87), Danny Morrissey (Stephen Kenny 81), John Dunleavy, Dan Murray (C), Neal Horgan, Daryl Horgan, Garry Buckley, Ciarán Kilduff.
Subs not used: Rob Lehane, Kalen Spillane, Kevin Burns, John Kavanagh.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Dean Jarvis, Barry Molloy (C), Shane McEleney, Ruaidhri Higgins, Marc Griffin (David McDaid 68), Patrick McEleney (Patrick Kavanagh 68) Rory Patterson (Ryan Curran 84), Ryan McBride, Simon Madden, Barry McNamee.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Michael Rafter, Raymond Foy.
Referee: Sean Grant