With just goal difference separating Cork from Limerick and Monaghan, the three points were crucial in Cork’s efforts to return to the Premier Division.
The visitors played with a defensive formation, that included five in midfield, and contained the home attack for over an hour.
Then City, playing into their favourite Shed End in the first half had the home attendance of 1,707 on their feet with a superb strike from midfielder Shane Duggan. Picking up the ball 25 yards out, he strode forward before belting a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area beyond the diving Ronan Forde.
It was Duggan’s fourth goal in the league.
City were given a late fright when Salthill’s Ronan Conlon flicked a shot just wide following a rare attack from his side.
CORK: McNulty; Murphy, Spillane, O’Halloran, N Horgan (O’Brien 63); O’Neill, Duggan (Escude-Candau 81), G Morrissey, D Horgan; Cummins, Sullivan (D Morrissey 76).
SALTHILL: Forde; O’Leidhin, Geraghty, Quinlan, Horgan; Shaw, Browne (McConnell 70), Conlon, Greaney, Smyth (Dolan 69); Collins.
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).
SUB Michael Isichei scored an 88th-minute goal to secure all three points for promotion-chasing Monaghan over a battling Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park last night.
Monaghan took the lead on 27 minutes after a goalkeeping blunder let Keith Quinn in.
Dean Broaders levelled from the penalty spot but Isichei had the last word.
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Holden, Nolan, Russell, Keogh, Kehoe, Malone, Ryan, Wall (Kinsella 88), Broaders, Walshe (Elmes 60), Vickers (Ylverton 81).
MONAGHAN UTD: Sava, Grimes, Collins (Loughman 50), Byrne, Quinn, Reilly, Grennan, O’Brien, Byrne (Isichei 55), Marks (Don Tierney 44).
Referee: Keith Callanan (Cork).
SECOND-HALF goals from David Cassidy and Conan Byrne kept Shelbourne seven points clear in First Division as they came from a goal down to defeat Waterford United at Tolka Park last night.
In an untidy opening it was the league leaders who created the early chances.
But on 16 minutes it was Waterford who took the lead when Willie John Kiely deftly glanced his header into the Shelbourne net.
Shels pressed tried to respond and 11 minutes after the restart the home side’s dominance was rewarded. Byrne’s headed ball across goal was returned to him via Kenny Browne and the winger volleyed back into the danger area for David to side foot home from close range.
And on 77 minutes Byrne found his distance and scored Shelbourne’s winner.
SHELBOURNE: Delaney; Matthews, Ryan, Boyle, Fitzgerald; C Byrne, Cassidy, James, D McGill (Dawson, 72), B McGill (S Byrne, 92); Hughes (Mulhall, 85).
WATERFORD UNITED: Burns; P Carey (Nolan, 66), Browne, Murray, Coady; Walsh (Phelan, 78), Sinnott, Long, Murphy; Kiely, McSherry.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
ATHLONE TOWN leapt above Mervue United to seventh in the First Division thanks to a brace of goals from Noel McGee. The midlanders had to come from behind after Rory Gaffney gave Mervue the lead with an excellent strike after 27 minutes.
MERVUE UNITED: Hanley; O’Brien, Ludden, Conneely, Casserly; Molloy, Crehan (Lawless, 59), Varley (McEntee, 55); Goldbey (Lee, 77), Gaffney, Collins.
ATHLONE TOWN: Collopy; Walsh, King, Fallon (Tier, 46), Danaher, Carr; Williamson, Kavanagh, Hughes (Relihan, 21), McGee (Stack, 85); Monaghan.
Referee: C Fitzgerald.