The crowd at Turner's Cross sung “Going down” at the end of a pulsating Airtricity Premier Division game which saw Cork City beat Shelbourne 5-3.

Shels may not yet go down but they remain joint-bottom after their penultimate league game, which proved to be an incredible encounter between intense rivals.

Shelbourne manager John McDonnell saw his team open brightly, taking the initiative and the lead, before seeing his side's challenge crumble in an oscillating second half.

Four superb goals by Kilcock man Ciarán Kilduff consigned Shelbourne to another defeat.

Defensive mistakes from both sides allowed first Dean Kelly and then Ciarán Kilduff to score.

Kilduff got three more and Danny Morrissey scored one, too much for Shelbourne, who responded through Dean Kelly and Paul Andrews.

Shels, more desperate for points, started with far more purpose and pressed the home side hard.

Cork City were happy to probe with long balls over the top of a Shels defence that maintained a very high line.

Both sides began the game playing 4-4-2 but all the early chances fell to the Dubliners, who had an early shot on target after five minutes when Kelly stung Mark McNulty's palms with a drive, following a long ball from goalkeeper Lee Murphy.

First blood deservedly went to Shels after 22 minutes when top scorer Kelly profited from a very slack back pass from young centre-back Garry Buckley. Picking up the ball just outside the box, he finished coolly into the bottom right-hand corner.

Cork City mustered little more than a series of offsides in response, until they equalised after 33 minutes.

The game turned when a weak back header by Shel's centre-back Paul Andrews allowed Kilduff to steal in and lob the exposed keeper.

Just three minutes later, Kilduff bagged his second.

This time Shelbourne failed to clear their lines properly through Graham Gartland. Kilduff chested the ball just outside the box and fluidly arrowed his volley into the top right-hand corner.

Less than a minute into the second half, the home side went further ahead.

Shane Duggan released Danny Morrissey with an astute through-ball. The in-form striker took the ball wide past the goalkeeper but was able to finish accurately from an acute angle.

He had the ball in the net again three minutes later from a pass from Gearóid Morrissey when he looked onside, but the linesman's flag said otherwise.

Shelbourne grabbed a lifeline when skipper Kelly picked up a ball wide on the left-hand side of the box. He cut inside and finished superbly to give the away side hope.

Kilduff grabbed his hat-trick with a great near post header from a Danny Murphy cross after 71 minutes to make it 4-2.

Andrews responded in kind with a headed goal from an Adam Hanlon cross after 83 minutes to make it 4-3.

That man Kilduff had to have the final word and he scored with another strong header, this time from an arcing Gearóid Morrissey cross.

Breathless stuff, but City deserved the three points and their 5-3 victory.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Gearóid Morrissey, Colin Healy (C), Shane Duggan, Danny Morrissey, John Dunleavy, Daryl Horgan, Garry Buckley, John Kavanagh, Ciarán Kilduff (Rob Lehane 90).

Subs not used: Ian Turner, Kalen Spillane, Brian Lenihan, Neal Horgan, Kevin Burns.

Shelbourne: Lee Murphy, Graham Gartland, Lee Murtagh (Sean Brennan 61), Dean Kelly (C), Adam Hanlon, Pat Flynn, Paul Andrews, Stephen Hurley, Robert Cornwall, Darren Tinnelly (Jamie McGlynn 79), Derek Doyle.

Subs not used: Niall Burdon, Carl Walshe, Stephen Sheerin, Ian Ryan, Dylan Connelly.

Referee: Robert Rogers.