Cork City’s title run-in continued to resemble a nervy stroll as they came undone on Shannonside to Munster rivals Limerick.

City made one change from their FAI Cup success in Longford. Steven Beattie came in for Conor McCarthy – with Robbie Williams facing his former side for the first time.

Limerick named an unchanged side for the second time in a row – opting for a 4-1-4-1 shape; Bastien Hery being charged with shielding the back four.

While widely accepted that the title race is all but over, the run-in can be the most challenging stretch psychologically.

Cork City did nothing to dispel the theory early on in this Munster derby. Robbie Williams’ spell at Limerick lasted nearly five years and rarely did he provide such an opening for the Blues during his time at the club.

After just seven minutes, Greg Bolger played a simple pass towards Williams – but the veteran centre half thought it better to leave the ball run its path towards Mark McNulty. However, Rodrigo Tosi capitalised on the miscommunication and provided a moment of true brilliance.

Racing onto the free ball, the Brazilian flashed his technique when lifting a genius flick over the head of McNulty from just inside the box.

To Limerick’s credit, they played with the confidence not usually associated with a side fighting relegation. They would be rewarded for the application again a few minutes later.

A needless foul on the edge of the City box provided Shane Tracy with a platform to execute from a set piece – and execute, he did.

Lifting the ball over the wall and across McNulty, the Garryowen native found the top corner – stunning the hefty City support behind that goal.

City wouldn’t be two goals behind for long though, as Kieran Sadlier capped a crazy opening fifteen minutes. Stephen Dooley delivered a tempting cross from the right before the former Sligo winger’s header was powered over Clarke. His leap to beat Barry Cotter in the air gave him a chance and he took it.

The second half was a test of Limerick’s defensive resolve and they passed it with flying colours as City failed to net the goal their large travelling support craved.

They will have to pick themselves up before a huge clash with Dundalk on Monday, while Limerick appear to have one foot in the Premier Division for next year.

Limerick: Brendan Clarke; Barry Cotter (Dean Clarke, 46), Tony Whitehead, David O’Connor, Shane Tracy; Bastien Hery; Stephen Kenny (Joe Crowe, 78), Lee-J Lynch, Shane Duggan, Chiedozie Ogbene; Rodrigo Tosi (Peter Berki, 83).

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie (Garry Buckley, 46), Ryan Delaney, Robbie Williams, Shane Griffin; Greg Bolger (Conor Ellis, 70), Jimmy Keohane, Gearoid Morrissey; Kieran Sadlier, Karl Sheppard, Stephen Dooley (Achille Campion, 89).

Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford)