Shelbourne's hopes of Premier Division survival took another blow as four Ciaran Kilduff goals gave Cork City victory at Turner's Cross last night.
While Dean Kelly's early goal had given the visitors a deserved lead following some sloppy defending from the home side, Cork woke from their lethargy and underlined why Shels are in such relegation trouble with a strong response.
And once two Kilduff goals in the space of four minutes put the hosts in front, they always looked likelier winners.
As he has done since his loan signing from Shamrock Rovers, the excellent Kilduff linked up very effectively with striker partner Danny Morrissey, who struck for City's other goal inside a minute of the second half.
The win means that Cork look set to finish in sixth spot, but it will be a concern to their management team that they only came to life after they went a goal down.
Kelly gave Shels – who had spurned three chances before that – the lead when he took advantage of Gary Buckley's poor backpass on 23 minutes.
However, Kilduff levelled the scores when Paul Andrews left short a header back to goalkeeper Lee Murphy.
A superb Kilduff volley then put Cork 2-1 up in the 36th minute and after holding that lead to half-time, Morrissey added a third.
Kelly's second with 24 minutes left punctured any Cork complacency, and when Kilduff claimed his hat-trick, they looked safe.
There was still time for Andrews to give Shels late hope as he made it 4-3, but Kilduff had the final say with his fourth.
CORK CITY – McNulty; Kavanagh, Buckley, Dunleavy, Murphy; G Morrissey, Healy, Duggan, D Horgan; Kilduff (Lehane 90), D Morrissey.
SHELBOURNE – Murphy; Cornwall, Gartland, Andrews, Doyle; A Hanlon, Hurley, Flynn, Tinnelly (McGlynn 79); Murtagh (Brennan 61), Kelly.
REF – R Rogers (Dublin).