And while this may well have been a typical end-of-season game with nothing but pride at stake, both sides really should have netted a few goals each.
In the end, the result was probably unfair on the Candystripes, but Cork will have little worries about that.
Indeed, the scoreline could have read 3-3 at the break as both goalkeepers earned their wages with top-drawer saves.
Cork could have raced into a 3-0 lead by the half hour.
Lone striker Vinny Sullivan shaved the post in the 9th minute when he really should have done better.
Shane Duggan did well to get a downward header on target in the 21st minute but Ger Doherty produced a magnificent save.
And Sullivan again failed to hit the target in the 30th minute when he met Gearoid Morrissey’s teasing cross on the full.
However, Cork can also point to the agility of their own custodian, Mark McNulty, who did well when denying Ruaidhri Higgins after just three minutes.
In the 36th minute McNulty pulled off another top drawer effort when pushing a Patrick McEleney low shot wide of his upright, while Garry Buckley also did well to block a close range David McDaid effort on his goal-line.
The home side opened the second half on the front foot, with McNulty again doing well to parry at Barry Molloy shot while Derry striker, Conor Murphy, failed to direct Simon Madden’s cross on the target in the 50th minute.
Always dangerous on the break, Cork’s Davin O’Neill forced Doherty into another save in the 68th minute, the Derry keeper conceding a corner.
And it was from that setpiece that the visitors broke the deadlock.
The ball was floated in deep towards the back post and when it was headed back across the face of goal Buckley diverted the ball to the net to stun the home attendance.
McDaid had another shot blocked on the goal-line as Derry continued to push forward in search of an equaliser.
And Barry Molloy headed over the bar during injury-time from close range when he should have done better.
Making matters worse for Derry was the last minute sending-off of centre-half, Ryan McBride, for a two-footed tackle on goalscorer Buckley.
DERRY CITY: Doherty; Madden, McBride, S. McEleney, McCaffrey; P. McEleney (Brolly, 90), Molloy, Higgins, McLaughlin; McDaid, Murphy (Farren, 69).
CORK CITY: McNulty; Kavanagh, Murray, Spillane, Murphy; Buckley; Turner (Kenny, 90), Morrissey, Duggan, O’Neill (Quinn, 81); Sullivan (Parker, 62).
Referee: P. McLaughlin (Monaghan).