They might have been playing a second-string Cliftonville side, with Reds manager Tommy Breslin resting nine of his first-choice players, but Cork City got their campaign in this competition off to a flier at Turner's Cross.
The damage was done inside the first half as a stunning opening goal from Gearoid Morrissey, who turned who turned gracefully before driving the ball home from 25 yards, was followed by a double from Ian Turner – the first from the penalty spot and the other from a sweetly-struck free-kick.
There was a lack of tempo in the second period, but with just over 20 minutes to go, City all but secured their progression when new signing Daryl Kavanagh headed home a Daryl Horgan cross after a lovely Dan Murray pass.
Murray had re-signed with the club only hours before kick-off.
Cork City – McNulty; N Horgan, K Murray, D Murray, Murphy; Turner, Healy (D Morrissey 73), G Morrissey, Duggan (Rundle 87), D Horgan; Kavanagh (Furlong 73)
Cliftonville – Brown; Cosgrove, Caldwell, McVeigh, Seydak (Reynolds 73); Lynch, Templeton (McMurray 56), McGonnell, Knowles, Donnelly; Boyce (Warwick 73). Ref – P Sutton