Cork push on in second half to see off Blues
Cork City 3 Waterford 0
Cork City opened up an 11-point gap between themselves and third-placed Waterford with a comfortable win at Turner's Cross.
Leading 1-0 at half-time, the champions secured victory with a pair of late goals, meaning they can return to the top if they beat Derry City on Monday.
Garry Buckley fired them ahead in first-half injury-time. Barry McNamee's free kick - awarded for a David Webster foul on Buckley - was helped on by Graham Cummins and Seán McLoughlin before the midfielder side-footed the ball home for his fourth goal in as many games.
Waterford had started well, with Bastien Héry directing. His pass almost set Ismahil Akinade away early on but City goalkeeper Mark McNulty was quick off his line, while Webster's header was off-target from Faysel Kasmi's corner.
Despite being on the back foot for much of first quarter, the Rebel Army did go close on 13 minutes as a long-range effort from Kieran Sadlier had to be tipped over by Lawrence Vigouroux and, after they settled, Barry McNamee was very unlucky on 27 minutes - his shot hitting the inside of the post from 25 yards.
John Caulfield's side continued to press, with Cummins' header from Colm Horgan's cross saved while a low shot from the striker, set up by Buckley, was pushed out for a corner by Vigouroux.
The goal was a welcome tonic, but it meant that City once again had to withstand Waterford pressure on the resumption. Good defending from City meant that there were no clear-cut chances for Waterford, while at the other end Sadlier tested Vigouroux with a free kick which yielded a corner.
It was the 76th minute by the time the second goal came but it was worth the wait. From a McNulty goal kick, Sadlier took the ball down and made space with lovely skill before feeding sub Karl Sheppard on the right and his cross was perfect for Cummins to register his 10th league goal of the season.
The same trio combined for the third minutes later, this time Cummins heading down Sheppard's cross for Sadlier to score.
CORK CITY - McNulty; Horgan, Bennett, McLoughlin, Griffin; McCormack (Beattie 78), Keohane; McNamee (Sheppard 65), Buckley, Sadlier; Cummins.
WATERFORD - Vigouroux; Feely, Browne, Webster, Barnett; Héry; Holohan, Kasmi (Walsh 78); Martin; Duffus, Akinade.
REF - R Harvey (Dublin).