City will have a headache on their hands with the departure of Sean Maguire as the Kilkenny native can’t stop scoring of late, his first-half penalty seeing of the challenge of St Patrick’s Athletic at Turner's Cross.
The striker has scored 37 league goals in 49 league games in the green of City since signing from Dundalk at the beginning of 2016.
The crowd of 2,403 saw Maguire give the home side the lead from the spot in injury time at the end of the first half and Pats' cause wasn’t helped by Owen Garvan seeing red during the half-time break.
John Caulfield made three changes from the sides that defeated Levadia Tallinn 4-2 on Thursday with Greg Bolger, Jimmy Keohane and Gearóid Morrissey being replaced by Conor McCarthy, Steven Beattie and Kieran Sadlier.
Pats, who have struggled for long parts of the season at the foot of the table, made three changes for the trip to Cork with new signings Owen Garvan, Killian Brennan and Jordi Baik all starting in place of Pat Cregg, Gavin Peers and Rory Feely.
The earlier meeting between the two sides saw City win 3-0 in Richmond Park back in April, while City also defeated them in the League cup at Turner's Cross.
Graham Kelly had the first chance of the game inside the opening 30 seconds when he dispossessed Ryan Delaney only to see his shot saved by Mark McNulty.
Pats were as high as 16/1 before kick off and they were on the backfoot soon after with City enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
City's New signing Kieran Sadlier was playing a central attacking role and he was playing a part in many of the home side’s attacks.
Stephen Dooley went close on a few occasions along with Sean Maguire, who was playing his final home league game before departing for Preston North End later this month.
However the best chance for City arrived on 22 minutes when a superb ball over the top by Kevin O’Connor found Karl Sheppard, but his shot hit the post from 18 yards.
Killian Brennan was making a few very good tackles at the back as he tried to keep his side in the tie but as the half moved on it became more apparent that City were going to score.
They had a number of penalty appeals turned down by Ben Connolly but in the first minute of injury time at the end of the half Steven Beattie saw himself fouled by Owen Garvan inside the area.
Up stepped Maguire to fire home his 19th league goal of the year and 24th of the season to allow City to go into the interval a goal up.
Both teams had a row going into the tunnel at half time which saw Garvan shown a red card for an incident involving Beattie.
City came out the stronger with Conor McCormack, resuming his defensive midfielder duties after playing centre half during the week, going close on a number of occasions from distance in the opening few minutes of the second half.
Substitute Achille Campion was only on the field a matter of moments before he fired over from close range when he really should have found the net.
Maguire then showed a little bit of magic to turn on a six pence following a Stephen Dooley corner and dink a lob over Conor O’Malley only to see it hit the inside of the post and stay out.
O’Malley made a number of very good saves throughout the game and he was called into action on 80 minutes saving an O’Conno free kick that appeared destined for the top corner before reacting quickly to palm away Maguire’s rebounded effort.
Campion had a number of chances during the second half, going close on 84 minutes only for O’Malley to block the one on one with Maguire seeing the rebound saved.
Pat’s knew they would need to score on the break to have any chance of a goal and they nearly did it on 87 minutes when Kelly’s ball over the top found Kurtis Byrne but the striker was unable to keep the shot down.
Late in the game, City had a break involving Maguire, Greg Bolger and Shane Griffin with O’Malley doing well to stop the shot, but City saw the game out to stretch their lead at the top back to 12 points.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Ryan Delaney, Conor McCarthy, Kevin O’Connor; Gary Buckley, Conor McCormack; Karl Sheppard (Achille Campion 55), Kieran Sadlier (Shane Griffin 73), Stephen Dooley (Greg Bolger 84); Sean Maguire.
Subs not used: Gearóid Morrissey, Connor Ellis, Sean O’Mahony, Alan Smith.
Booked: Conor McCarthy (54).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Michael Barker, Jordi Balk, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Killian Brennan, Owen Garvan; Conan Byrne (Kurtis Byrne 80), Graham Kelly, Jonathan Lunney (Billy Dennehy 38); Christy Fagan (Josh O’Hanlon 66).
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Rory Feely, Darragh Markey, Alex O’Hanlon.
Booked: Killian Brennan (90+1).
Sent off: Owen Garvan (46).
Referee: Ben Connolly.
Attendance: 2,406 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Sean Maguire (Cork City).