Caulfield lauds battling Cork
Cork City 4 Derry City 2
Cork City manager John Caulfield praised the character of his side after late goals clinched victory at Turner's Cross to leapfrog Dundalk at the top of the table.
Having taken control of the game when Karl Sheppard scored his second in the opening minute of the second half, the champions found themselves pegged back as Derry responded with quickfire goals from Ronan Curtis - in his final game before joining Portsmouth - and Ronan Hale in the 65th and 69th minutes.
City were stunned, but Kieran Sadlier put them back ahead with a goal from a free-kick on 72 minutes - his 11th league of the season - and Cummins reached the same tally when he headed home their fourth 11 minutes later.
A relieved Caulfield said: "At 2-0 you should be safe but we went self-destruct by conceding two sloppy goals and all of a sudden it's 2-2.
"There's a great character in our team, massive attitude. Kieran Sadlier stepped up and scored the free-kick and Graham got another; fully deserved for all the hard work he does.
"It's about character and that doesn't happen overnight. You've players and management who work hard to make sure we're always in the game and we always think we can score goals.
Cork had a perfect start as Sheppard, in for the suspended Conor McCormack and skipper in his absence, had them in front on seven minutes as he met Cummins' cross with a glancing header.
When Garry Buckley played in Sheppard for his second just 28 seconds after the restart, the outcome looked all but guaranteed, but Derry put their hosts under a concerted period of pressure thereafter.
Darren Cole and Rory Patterson had efforts off-target before Patterson flicked a Gerard Doherty goal kick on for Curtis and his low drive eluded McNulty.
Four minutes later, the sides were level as Jack Doyle's cross fell for Ronan Hale at the back post and he fired the ball high to the net.
Cork City - McNulty; Horgan, McCarthy, McLoughlin, Griffin (Kane 73); Keohane, McNamee (O'Hanlon 77); Sheppard, Buckley, Sadlier; Cummins.
Derry City - Doherty; McDonagh, Toal, Peers (Logue 61), Doyle; Hale, Cole, Rory Hale; Ronan Hale, Patterson, Curtis.
Ref - R Hennessy (Clare).