Cork City made it two wins out of two at the beginning of the new Continental Tyres Women’s National League season as they came from behind to defeat Limerick 2-1 in the division’s first ever Munster Derby at C.I.T.

A neat Rebecca Horgan finish gave Limerick the lead going into the half time break but a stunning brace from the talented Saoirse Noonan was enough to see City complete the turnaround to seal the three points and the bragging rights.

Both sides emerged victorious in the opening weekend of the new campaign as Cork City won 2-0 away to Galway while Limerick defeated Kilkenny United 4-0 in their debut fixture at Markets Field.

And it was Cork City who made the brighter start here as they almost took the lead after five minutes but Hannah Donoghue’s curling effort from distance was brilliantly tipped wide of the bottom left corner by the outstretched Trish Fennelly.

The former City shot-stopper was again called into action from the resulting corner but she was able to gather Savanagh McCarthy’s weak effort with relative ease.

Limerick quickly grew into the contest following that let off and Rebecca Horgan had their first genuine attempt at goal on the quarter of an hour mark but she was unable to hit the target from just inside the area.

But Horgan would make no mistake with her next effort as she fired Limerick into the lead as the first half drew to a close.

A mix up amongst the City rear-guard presented Horgan with a glorious opportunity unmarked inside the area and the attacker duly slotted the ball past the keeper and into the far bottom left corner from close range.

The Leesiders almost levelled terms shortly before the interval but after good work down the right flank from Christina Dring, Saoirse Noonan’s scuffed effort was gathered by Fennelly as it trickled towards the line.

City manager Frank Kelleher made a double substitution at half time as he looked to give his side more of an attacking impetus.

And the changes paid dividends with just over an hour on the clock as the home side finally grabbed the equaliser thanks to a moment of class from Saoirse Noonan.

Hannah Donoughue’s cross from the left found Noonan inside the box and following a couple of exquisite touches, the striker drilled her shot on the turn into the far bottom left corner.

The F.A.I Cup holders were now in control of proceedings but they continued to struggle to create chances. 

Their next shot came with five minutes remaining but Noonan’s long-range strike drifted wide of the near upright.

And just when Limerick thought they had done enough to earn a share of the spoils, Noonan snatched the victory for City with a stunning strike in the final minute.

The Republic of Ireland under 19 international secured possession 25 yards from goal and looped an incredible effort over the keeper and into the far top right corner to send Cork to the top of the league table.

Next up for Cork is a home game against U.C.D Waves this Sunday - the first meeting between the two sides since City defeated the students in last year’s F.A.I Cup final – while Limerick travel to Wexford Youths on Saturday.  

Cork City: Eve Badana, Nathalie O’Brien, Danielle Burke, Ciara McNamara, Christina Dring (Danielle Sheehy 45), Saoirse Noonan, Savanagh McCarthy, Hannah Donoghue (Eadaoin Lyons 72), Michelle O’Driscoll, Katie McCarthy (Kate O’Donovan 45), Maggie Duncliffe.

Limerick: Trish Fennelly, Tara Mannix, Rebecca Mahon, Marie Curtin, Therese Hartley (Claire Kelly 58), Carys Johnston (Sabrina McCarthy 86), Sophie Hudner (Chloe Connolly 64), Megan Kelleher, Rebecca Horgan, Aisling O’Connor, Sylvia Gee.

Referee: Jason Mannix.