The rain started to fall half an hour before kickoff at Eamon Deacy Park and it didn’t take long for the goals to start raining in. Cork City led Galway United by three goals after just 19 minutes and they added a goal early and late in the second half to secure a valuable three points and improved goal difference on a night where their title rivals Dundalk lost 3-0 at home.
Stand in Galway United managers Leo Tierney and Gary O'Connor pitted their wits against one of the league's best sides in Cork City and a wily old campaigner in manager John Caulfield.
They might have known they were in for a long night when Sean Maguire stunned the home crowd after just 73 seconds to give the visitors the lead. He headed home Karl Sheppard's cross, for a quality goal, and City continued their pressure as Galway looked very uncomfortable in the opening minutes.
Ten minutes into the game the Leesiders could have doubled their lead when Bolger's free was cut back to Sheppard who clipped it over the bar, when he should have done much better. The free came from Stephen Walsh's rash challenge, for which he was lucky to escape with just a finger wagging from referee Ray Matthews.
Stephen Dooley bagged Cork's second goal on the quarter hour mark when he finished with a tap in from Sheppard's cross as the visitors sliced the home defence wide open - at this point it looked like being a long night for Galway United. Four minutes later it got even worse as Gary Buckley nodded home again from another Sheppard cross.
Those opening 20 minutes really saw Galway in total disarray with their back four playing like strangers next to each other while the midfield were giving the ball away far too cheaply.
Galway first period of possession took 25 minutes to materialise, but after that it was only sporadic and City continued to be very comfortable albeit not as threatening as the opening period.
In fact it was 28 minutes before Galway managed a shot on target and even then Kevin Devanney's 30 yarder was easily saved by Mark McNulty.
The opening period saw Sheppard dominate as provider in chief, while Greg Bolger 'lorded' it in midfield and looked a class apart.
Half time could not come soon enough for Galway as they were completely outplayed in all departments and the only real mystery at the break was that Cork City only led by three.
John Caulfield’s men only had to wait just over a minute of the second period for their fourth goal. Ryan Connolly lost the ball cheaply just outside the box and Maguire took full advantage and exposed a complete lack of effort by some of the home players.
Ryan Connolly managed Galway's second shot on target on 53 minutes when good play by Enda Curran and Vinny Faherty set him up, but McNulty easily dealt with the threat.
Curran tried a long shot on 59 minutes, but to no avail; Galway had introduced Killian Cantwell and Alex Byrne three minutes earlier, but the changes, both defensive, looked as if they were designed to avoid further embarrassment rather than claw something back.
Ryan Connolly sprung to life on 64 minutes, but his speculative shot was wide of the mark. Steven Beattie had a shot from distance for Cork on 67 minutes which moved in the air but Sam Ramsbottom grabbed it at his second attempt.
City’s Alan Bennett picked up a yellow card for his trouble on 70 mins for a daft challenge on Devaney. Galway's Colm Horgan followed him into the book eight minutes later but on this occasion it was hard to see how the referee thought a yellow was merited.
The final minutes of this affair were of academic value only as both sides played out for time. The visitors only occasionally sprang into action and on those occasions the substitute Chiedozie Ogbene looked a real danger and he banged in the fifth goal in time 'added on' form that man Sheppard again – his fourth assist of the night.
A game too far perhaps for a disjointed Galway side, but a cracking result for Cork as they battle to dethrone Dundalk - they did look the real deal, but Galway offered little resistance. City travel to Oriel Park on Tuesday evening with all to play for in the title race as they trail Dundalk by just one point with six games remaining.
Galway United: Sam Ramsbottom; Colm Horgan, Stephen Folan (Killian Cantwell 57), Armin Aganovic, Stephen Walsh, Kevin Devaney, Paul Sinnott (Alex Byrne 57), Ryan Connolly, Gary Shanahan, Enda Curran, (Conor Melody 71) Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Conor Winn, Padraic Cunningham.
Booked: Ryan Connolly (72), Colm Horgan (77).
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Alan Bennet, Greg Bolger, (Colin Healy, 61 )Kenny Browne, (Michael McSweeney) Gavan Holohan, Steven Beattie, Stephen Dooley,( Chiedozie Ogbene,74) Kevin O'Connor, Karl Sheppard, Sean Maguire, Garry Buckley.
Subs not used: Matthew Connor, Danny Morrissey, Mark O'Sullivan, Ian Turner
Booked: Alan Bennett (71).
Official Attendance: 1,002
Referee: Ray Matthews
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Karl Sheppard (Cork City)