Cork came out on top in a crucial fixture at the bottom of Allianz Football League Division 2 as they condemned Down to relegation.

This win means it all comes down to an away trip to Offaly next week for the Rebel County, while the Mourne men are set to compete in Division 3 next year. The five--tiem All-Ireland winners must reach the Ulster final to compete in the Sam Maguire.

It was Cork that pointed for the opening score of the game when Cathal O'Mahony slotted a cool effort over the crossbar on six minutes.

Down responded in kind with a score through Darren O’Hagan, before Stephen Sherlock converted a free for the home side. An Andrew Gilmore free for Down brought the teams level on 0-02 apiece after ten minutes of play.

Cork goalkeeper Micheál Martin was forced into a great save to deny a Down goal chance from Anthony Doherty on 15 minutes, while Daniel Dineen blasted just wide while shooting for goal at the other end moments later.

A point from John O’Rourke edged Cork back in front 0-04 to 0-03 in the 20th minute, before Down responded in kind once more through a well taken Pat Havern effort.

Stephen Sherlock showed his predatory instincts in front of goal to finish to the back of the net for Cork in the 27th minute, after getting onto the end of a good pass into his path by John O’Rourke.

Havern split the posts with a fine long-range effort to reduce the deficit for Down back down to three points, as it was Cork that held the advantage at the half time break at 1-05 to 0-05.

A close range free by Sherlock got Cork up and running in the second half, before Darren O’Hagan pointed for the visitors.

A fine point from play by Colm O’Callaghan put Cork 1-08 to 0-06 ahead with 40 minutes on the clock. That was before scores by Havern and Ceilum Doherty reduced the gap back to three points.

Through what was a well worked move, Down found the top corner of the net through a beauty of a finish by Tiernan Rushe , with the score now Cork 1-09 to the 1-08 of Down after 48 minutes.

Sherlock got another much needed Cork score, before a well taken Daniel Dineen score from play saw the Rebels extend the advantage back to three points.

A pair of Down frees by Gilmore ensured this contest was very much up for grabs heading into the final ten minutes with Cork leading now 1-12 to 1-10.

O’Hagan missed a great goal chance for Down on 65 minutes, before Ryan O’Higgins scored to leave just a point between the sides.

Cork kept in front through Mark Cronin and Mattie Taylor scores, with Ryan McEvoy scoring to reduce the gap down to two in second half stoppage time.

But late points from O’Callaghan and Sherlock secured Cork the win

Cork: M Martin; K O’Donovan, K Flahive, K Histon; J Cooper, R Maguire, M Taylor (0-01) ; I Maguire, C O’Callaghan (0-02) ; D Dineen (0-01), E McSweeney, J O’Rourke (0-01); S Sherlock (1-07, 0-05 frees) , C O’Mahony (0-3) , B Hurley.

Subs: T Walsh for Histon (5, inj), Blake Murphy for Sherlock (35 +3, temp), Sherlock for Murphy (36), F Herlihy for Dineen (53), M Cronin (0-1) for Hurley (58), C Kiely for McSweeney (64), J Grimes for O’Rourke (69)

Down: R Burns; P Fegan, F McElroy, G Collins; D O’Hagan (0-02), C Poland,C Doherty (0-01); A Doherty, N McParland; A Morgan, L Kerr, R McEvoy (0-01); A Gilmore (0-03, 0-3 frees) , P Havern (0-03), C Quinn (0-01).

Subs: K McKernan for McParland (23), T Rushe (1-0) for Quinn (34), G McMahon for Burns (35+3), R O’Higgins (0-1) for Morgan (57)

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)