Tommy Dunne’s Cork side controlled the game from start to finish and should really have won by an even bigger margin.
The home crowd, who turned out in their numbers for City’s last home game of the season, had to wait until the 15th minute for the first real chance when John Dunleavy shot wide from 25 yards after a good run from Danny Murphy.
They should have been celebrating a minute later but Vinny Sullivan headed wide from six yards after Daryl Horgan had picked him out.
The opening goal did arrive after 23 minutes, when Murphy’s cross wasn’t properly cleared and it broke to the inrushing Gearoid Morrissey, who struck a superb left-footed half-volley into the corner of Peter Cherrie’s net from the edge of the box.
It was Morrissey’s first goal of the season.
Five minutes later and it was 2-0 when Murphy’s cross was headed back across goal by Ian Turner to Sullivan, who hooked a cracking right-footed volley back over his shoulder and high into Cherrie’s net.
With the Dundalk defence at sixes and sevens and the home crowd expecting an avalanche of goals, City took their foot off the gas and despite bossing possession, failed to create any more chances before Sullivan again went close in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Dundalk replaced Stephen McDonnell with Liam Burns at half-time in a bid to shore up the leaky defence but the visitors found themselves three down within five minutes of the restart.
Shane Duggan found himself in acres of space after being put through on goal by Morrissey and the City number eight finished with aplomb burying a left-footed shot into the corner of Cherrie’s net from inside the box.
Davin O’Neill should have scored seconds after coming on but he shot narrowly wide when put through one-on-one with Cherrie and then substitute Stephen Kenny’s cross was missed by everyone and flew inches wide.
CORK CITY: McNulty; Dunleavy, K Murray, Kavanagh, Murphy; Turner (Kenny 63), Healy, Duggan, G Morrissey, D Horgan (D Morrissey 77); Sullivan (O’Neill 63).
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Whelan, (Gaul 60) Thomas, Shields, Murphy; McDonald, McDonnell (Burns 45), Maher, Walsh; Griffin, Woods (Conlon 72).
Referee: P Sutton (Clare).