Gardaí last night appealed for the driver of the vehicle to come forward and said the impact would have been so great, the motorist must have realised what happened.
The 21-year-old woman is recovering in Cork University Hospital (CUH) after undergoing surgery yesterday for serious injuries sustained in the incident which occurred north of Cork city on Monday night.
She was walking alone in bright evening sunshine on a straight stretch of country road between Carrignavar and Sixmilewater, north west of the village, when gardaí believe she was struck from behind by a vehicle which then left the scene.
The accident occurred at around 8.30pm in the townland of Gortnalahee, between the Republican Cross and Sixmilewater.
The young woman was thrown into an 18-inch deep drain on the right side of the road. She was not visible from the roadway.
A local resident heard her screams for help and ran to investigate, arriving on the scene within minutes of the incident.
Despite her injuries, the woman had almost managed to drag herself on to the road as the local found her lying prone in the ditch.
The emergency services were alerted and the woman was rushed by ambulance to CUH.
Gardaí sealed off the area and a scenes of crime unit conducted a detailed forensic examination of the scene.
Superintendent Pat Lehane said gardaí believe she was the victim of hit-and-run accident.
Detectives were planning to interview the victim yesterday pending clearance from doctors.
He urged the driver of the vehicle involved to come forward.
“I would also appeal to motorists, residents of the area, or to people who were walking in that general area at about 8.30pm on Monday night to come forward with any information they feel may be of assistance,” he said.
People should contact Cobh Garda Station on 021-4908530.