Cork 3-13 Derry 3-11
CORK almost squandered a 10-point lead with only eight minutes of normal time left at wind-swept Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
But, despite conceding 2-3 in the closing stages, Cork had more than done enough to bag their fifth Division 3 victory to be on the cusp of promotion.
On the hour Paul Kerrigan caught out the Derry defence with a quickly taken free to send John O'Rourke through for his second goal.
And when substitute Michael Hurley kicked a point with his first touch Cork looked to be cruising at 3-12 to 1-8 only to switch off at the back.
Emmett Bradley and substitute Niall Loughlin netted for the Ulster side, who had one last attack with both teams reduced to 14 following black cards to Killian O'Hanlon and Ciaran McFaul.
But, Cork managed to get their mitts on the leather as referee Fergal Kelly blew for the last time, four minutes, into injury-time.
Cork captain Ian Maguire won the toss and decide to play with a howling wind blowing from the city end in the first-half.
It didn't take long for Derry to show their hand, withdrawing all their players behind the 45m line, forcing Cork to move the ball slowly and methodically laterally.
They were forced to be patient in their build up with space at a premium in the danger zone, but Cork still claimed the opening three points inside 13 minutes.
Luke Connolly kicked two and O'Rourke the other from a 'mark' following a Kerrigan pass before Derry opened their account a couple of minutes later via a Shane McGuigan free.
Then came a decisive moment as the outstanding Sean Powter missed a goal scoring chance by dwelling on the ball a fraction too long before Derry escaped with a free out.
But, it turned to be a disaster as keeper Odhran Lynch's kick to the feet of Padraig McGrogan broke loose to the alert Damien Gore, who duly dispatched to the back of net, 1-4 to 0-1 after 19 minutes.
Alas, Cork could only add one more point in the remainder of the half as they lost Connolly to injury and his replacement, Cathail O'Mahony, hit the target, three minutes from the break.
Before Cork were grateful for Powter's timely intervention to punch a Danny Tallon off his own goal to save a certain goal at the expense of a '45, which keeper Lynch converted.
And when Emmet Bradley added a third almost immediately in the 25th minute, Cork's lead had been reduced to 1-4 to 0-3.
O'Mahony's effort was cancelled out a free from defender Carlus McWilliams in added on time for 1-5 to 0-4 at the interval.
Cork were the dominant side on the resumption, outscoring their opponents 1-3 to 0-1 to take a firm grip on proceedings.
Brian Hartnett had a shot taken off the line by McGrogan, 90 seconds in, but the second goal arrived after 45 minutes.
Powter was the instigator with a storming run through the heart of the Derry defence for O'Rourke to palm home from close range.
The same player, O'Mahony, Gore and substitute Eoghan McSweeney kept the scoreboard ticking along until Derry's late showing.
Scorers for Cork: J O'Rourke 2-2 (0-1 m), D Gore 1-3 (0-1 m), C O'Mahony 0-4 (0-2 f), L Connolly 0-2 (0-1 f), E McSweeney, M Hurley 0-1 each.
Derry: S McGuigan 0-6 f, E Bradley 1-1, N Loughlin 1-1 (0-1 f), P Kearney 1-0, P Cassidy 0-1, McWilliams 0-1 f, O Lynch 0-1 45.
CORK: A Casey (Kiskeam); T Clancy (Fermoy), M Shanley (Clonakilty), P Ring (Aghabullogue); L O'Donovan (Clonakilty), S Powter (Douglas), M Taylor (Mallow); I Maguire (St Finbarr's), captain, K O'Hanlon (Kilshannig); J O'Rourke (Carbery Rangers), S White (Clonakilty), B Hartnett (Douglas); P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers), L Connolly (do), D Gore (Kilmacabea).
Subs: C O'Mahony (Mitchelstown) for Connolly injured 25, K O'Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for L O'Donovan 35+1, E McSweeney (Knocknagree) for Hartnett 45, M Hurley (Castlehaven) for Kerrigan 62, J Loughrey (Mallow) for Powter 64.
DERRY: O Lynch; P McGrogan, B Rogers, C McWilliams; S Downey, C McKaigue, N Keenan; C McFaul, P Cassidy; E Bradley, N Loughlin, D Tallon; B Heron, S McGuigan, N Toner.
Subs: L McGoldrick for Cassidy and P Kearney for Toner 42, C Doherty for Tallon 57, D Cassidy for Heron 61.
Referee: F Kelly (Longford)