Second-half goals by Mark O’Sullivan and substitute Ross Gaynor fired John Caulfields side to within four points of the Lilywhites in a game controlled by the visitors for most of the 90 minutes.
City broke the deadlock on the hour when O’Sullivan drilled past Reds keeper Richard Brush from a free kick just outside the box. However, the Leesiders had to withstand considerable pressure from their hosts before 56th minute substitute Gaynor made the game safe two minutes from time.
A sweeping forward move by the visitors sent Steven Beattie in on goal and the alert Gaynor was in the right place to tap the ball into the net from close range.
Cork started brightly and quickly frustrated the home side with their patient build-up play. The impressive Karl Sheppard had their first chance, sending the ball narrowly over the bar after some neat touches.
Sligo had two chances in a three-minute spell between the 27th and 29th minutes but Cork keeper Mark Mc Nulty was equal to the task, blocking shots by Jason Hughes and Regan Donelon.
Sligo keeper Brush did well to gather a shot by City skipper Johnny Dunleavy after an eye-catching run down along the wing on 39 minutes, but the half ended scoreless.
Raffaele Cretaro and second-half substitute Gary Armstrong showed plenty of endeavour, but their best efforts failed to unhinge the Cork defence.
New Sligo boss Micky Adams was “reasonably satisfied” with his players’ effort and commitment.
“We gave a good account of ourselves but the free kick should have been dealt with better”.
“It was a tight game and Sligo played well, but our lads worked hard and had the will to win” said Cork manager John Caulfield.
“But we had the cushion of a second goal, kept a clean sheet and its another three points”.
The Cork boss is aware that there may be “twists and turns” as the league progresses but City’s position remains promising, unlike Sligo who are now facing into a real relegation battle following Limerick’s late resurgence that has reduced the deficit between the sides to just four points.
Brush, Keane, Peers, Clancy, Donelon, Puri (Armstrong, 74), Boylan, Hughes, Cretaro, Nielsen, Corcoran (Keating, 74).
McNulty, Dunleavey, Bennett, Murray, O’ Connor (Gaynor, 56), Beattie (Morrissey, 91), Miller (Folan, 91), Healy, Buckley, Sheppard, O’Sullivan.
Referee Paul Tuite