Limerick's return to the top flight ended in a grim 0-0 stalemate with Cork City in front of 3,578 spectators at Thomond Park.

Cork were on top initially, but Limerick improved as the contest wore on and could have nicked a winner.

There was plenty to admire in the defensive discipline of Stuart Taylor and Tommy Dunne's teams at the Limerick venue.

Chris Curran and David O'Leary went close in the third quarter for Limerick, but Cork, with Dan Murray solid at the back, defended well when put under pressure.

What should have been a pleasant occasion in front of a decent crowd was ruined by the wretched weather as the wind and rain disrupted both teams' passing approach.

Cork made the short journey to Limerick keen to remind the locals of what a tough and testing division Taylor's outfit must operate in.

And the compact visitors shaded a tight opening period in which chances were manufactured at either end.

With three-man central-midfield units being used by Limerick and Cork there wasn't much space to distribute the ball so opportunities were being fashioned from wide areas.

In the eighth minute a Robbie Williams delivery caused panic in the Cork area, but Craig Curran was unable to direct his crisp shot on target.

Daryl Horgan's left-wing enterprise was causing Limerick problems, though, and the winger's 16th-minute cross had to be hooked away to safety by Stevie Folan.

It was tight, but a loose clearance by City custodian Mark McNulty was nearly punished by Williams, who fizzed a long-range effort narrowly wide.

Horgan continued to provide moments of class, but the Galway native was denied by a Barry Ryan save in the 25th minute.

Limerick were earnest and the bustling Curran, operating as a central striker, had a deflected shot gathered by McNulty.

Still when the interval rolled around the teams were level and the issue was certainly delicately poised.

Curran hooked a 48th-minute effort wide following clever approach work by Danny Galbraith as Limerick sought to land a blow.

Galbraith then slammed a dangerous cross into the area, but Cork, who were now being pegged back, survived the scare.

Another slice of skill from Galbraith found David O'Leary, who headed over, but Cork were rugged with Dan Murray using all of his guile as parity prevailed.

Limerick: Ryan; Nzuzi, O'Callaghan (Bradley, 68), Folan, Williams; O'Leary, Gamble, Tracy; Galbraith (Rainsford, 90), Curran, Bossekota.

Cork City: McNulty; N Horgan, K Murray, D Murray, Murphy; G Morrissey, Healy, Duggan; Turner (D Morrissey, 63), Kavanagh (Behan, 63), D Horgan (Rundle, 89).

Referee: P McLaughlin.