Cork maintained their 100% record in Division 1 of the Allianz Football League as they beat Derry at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday, but it was hard-fought after a spirited Derry fightback.
Leading by 11 points at one stage in the first half, they were forced to live on their wits at times in the second but repelled any equaliser attempts that Derry had.
The Oak Leaf County's manager Brian McIver questioned the awarding of the free from which Colm O'Neill scored Cork's final point, however.
"I thought that the least we deserved was a draw," he said.
"We had a really good penalty claim and I thought that Cork's last free was very soft. The Cork man ran into him and the ball popped loose, what was he going to do? But listen, we can't blame anybody at the end of the day, we were all over the place for the first 20 minutes."
Early on, Derry showed Cork too much respect, McIver felt.
"Believe me, we wanted to come down and get two points," he said.
"I'm not too sure, maybe for the lads to convince themselves that they can handle any of these sides... maybe there was a bit of standing off Cork and admiring them.
"But once the game turned I thought we showed good composure and worked some great scores."
By half-time, Cork should really have been ahead by more than the five-point lead that they possessed. For long periods, they were dominant and goals from John O'Rourke and Tomás Clancy had them 2-9 to 0-4 in front after 33 minutes.
A pair of green flags before the half-time whistle from Derry gave them a fighting chance, however. First, Enda Lynn latched onto Kevin Johnston's pass and though Ken O'Halloran saved his first effort, the rebounded off the wing-forward and into the net.
Then, a good delivery was won by Emmett McGuckin, who finished well beyond the dive of the goalkeeper to leave them within five.
Before that, Cork had been rampant, especially in the opening 20 minutes, when Derry just could not cope with what was being thrown at them. Brian Hurley was on song at full-forward for the hosts, kicking three points, while Daniel Goulding was punishing indiscretions with accurate frees.
O'Rourke's goal came in the 13th minute, making it 1-5 to no score as he flicked Kerrigan's ball in beyond Thomas Mallon. While Derry did eventually get off the mark, Clancy's goal left 10 points between the sides as Cork led by 2-7 to 0-3 before being pegged back slightly by the interval
In the opening stage of the second half, however, Derry began to continue to erode the lead. Ciarán McFaul and Mark Lynch impressed, but Cork were still keeping the scoreboard ticking over until Lynn's second goal, a shot which deflected past O'Halloran before Fergal Doherty pointed to reduce the gap to one.
Despite getting chances, though, they just could not level, and Cork sub Colm O'Neill kicked three fine points, the last of which, in the 71st minute, left two in it. Chrissy McKaigue's boomer cut the gap again but Doherty's shot right at the end tailed wide.
Scorers for Cork: J O'Rourke 1-2, B Hurley, P Kerrigan, D Goulding (0-3 frees), C O'Neill (0-2 frees) 0-3 each, T Clancy 1-0, M Collins 0-2, F Goold, Barry O'Driscoll 0-1 each.
Scorers for Derry: E Lynn 2-1, M Lynch 0-5 (frees), E McGuckin 1-0, C McFaul, F Doherty 0-2 each, M Craig, C McKaigue, SL McGoldrick, B Heron (0-1 45) 0-1 each.
CORK: K O'Halloran; A Cronin, M Shields, Tomás Clancy; J Loughrey, J McLoughlin, K O'Driscoll; F Goold, A O'Sullivan; M Collins, P Kerrigan, J O'Rourke; D Goulding, B Hurley, J Hayes. Subs: D O'Connor for O'Rourke (41, black card), C O'Driscoll for Goulding, C O'Neill for Hayes (both 46), Barry O'Driscoll for Kerrigan (47, injured), M Ó Laoire for O'Sullivan (54-55, blood), P Kelly for McLoughlin (69), M Ó Laoire for Hurley (70).
DERRY: T Mallon; D McBride, C McKaigue, M Craig; SL McGoldrick, A McAlynn, K Johnston; F Doherty, P Bradley; C McFaul, M Lynch, E Lynn; J Kielt, E McGuckin, C O'Boyle.
Subs: O Duffy for Craig (26), C McAtamney for McGoldrick (30-33, blood), McAtamney for McGoldrick (half-time), B Heron for Kielt (42), D Mullan for McGuckin (64), A Kerrigan for O'Boyle (70).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).