In the end it happened and while Cork did their bit to prevent it from happening, their efforts were in vain.

The slide continues and in 2020 the Rebels will operate out of Division 3 in the Allianz Football League. A decade ago Cork were appearing in and winning league titles for fun - and in 2010 were All-Ireland champions. 

On Sunday afternoon, Ronan McCarthy's men had a one-point win over Armagh, but a late Clare fightback against Tipperary saw them preserve their Division 2 status, with Cork and Tipp dropping down.

McCarthy exhibited an air of stoicism when he spoke to RTÉ Sport's Marie Crowe after the Athletic Grounds encounter.

"We kept up our side of the bargain and nearly got there," was his immediate reaction.

"We played some nice football in the first half, before letting Armagh back into it in the second half. 

"In the end it should have been more comfortable than it was.

Cork against Kildare in the opening round of the league

"We were responsible for the position we were in. We were close to beating Donegal in the last game, and if we had done that we wouldn't be in this position. 

"We were depending on another result and it didn't fall our way." 

As for mixing it in the third tier a year from now, the Cork boss added: "It's not where we want to be but we'll face into it next year.

"There will be competitive games there; difficult games at that, so will be be tested. Derry are up there now.

"Our focus now is on the championship and a game against Limerick or Tipperary."