Cork City claimed an important SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win that moved them up to second in the table when defeating Limerick FC at Thomond Park.

City hit the front in the 14th minute courtesy of a sweet Garry Buckley strike following a Mark O'Sullivan assist.

Busy Cork attacker O'Sullivan created a second for Billy Dennehy two minutes later as John Caufield's side doubled their advantage.

Six minutes after the restart Limerick were back in the reckoning as Rory Gaffney scored with a firm header, but Cork held out.

It was tight initially with chances scarce as the opening quarter was a real midfield battle with both teams keen to make an impact before Cork seized the initiative.

Cork's physicality was a feature as they sought to release Brian Lenihan and Billy Dennehy down the flanks.

But when the Rebel Army took the lead it was due to a Limerick defensive mistake as Mark O'Sullivan shrugged off Samuel Oji's challenge to provide the assist for Buckley, who drilled the visitors' ahead with a crisp finish.

Stunned by how cheap a goal they had given away Limerick were in further bother two minutes later when City added a second.

Again the immense O'Sullivan was involved creating an opportunity which Billy Dennehy converted with aplomb.

John Caulfield's charges had the requisite guile and experience to protect their advantage during the remainder of an opening period in which youngster Lenihan provided glimpses of his considerable promise.

Mark McNulty eventually was forced to make a save of note in the 48th minute when the Cork custodian gathered Shaun Kelly's powerful drive.

But McNulty was unable to prevent Gaffney's 51st minute header from rattling the Cork net as the frontrunner climbed high to connect with a Shane Tracy cross.

Cork spurned an opportunity in the 61st minute as O'Sullivan failed to direct a Billy Dennehy corner on target.

With 11 minutes remaining McNulty had to be alert when saving a dipping Tam McManus free kick as Limerick probed for an equaliser, but Cork survived.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams (Patrick Nzuzi, 8); Prince Agyemang, Shane Duggan, Shane Tracy (Danny Galbraith, 57), Jason Hughes; Tam McManus (Ross Mann, 81), Rory Gaffney.

Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Michael Leahy, Darragh Rainsford, James McGrath.

Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy, Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Colin Healy, Garry Buckley (Liam Kearney, 76), Gearoid Morrissey; Brian Lenihan (Rob Lehane, 69), Mark O’Sullivan, Billy Dennehy.

Subs not used: John Kavanagh, Ian Turner, Kevin Mulcahy, Dave O’Leary, Matt Gledhill.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).