Substitute Declan O’Brien put aside his recent woes from the penalty spot to salvage a point for the home side against Cork City as it finished all square at Hunky Dorys Park
Drogheda United came from behind to secure a late draw against Cork City, who squandered another lead despite Shane Duggan giving the visitors the lead. Declan O'Brien stepped up with three minutes to go to score from the spot after a handball in the area.
With only one point separating the sides, it was all to play for and the home side were boosted by the return of captain Derek Prendergast , defender Alan McNally and new acquisition Gary O’Neill from Shamrock Rovers, while the Leesiders were missing five first team players.
Both teams were looking to bounce back from surrendering winning positions in the previous round and Drogheda started marginally the brighter at a blustery Hunky Dorys Park. They came closest to opening the scoring in the 17th minute when Graham Rusk hit the top of the crossbar after being played through by Ryan Brennan, who turned the Cork defence with some clever step overs.
Cork City thought they had done enough to break the deadlock two minutes later but Denis Behan was booked for a foul on Gannon after being put clean through. Cork lost their skipper Kevin Murray to injury in the 25th minute. Shortly afterwards Drogheda spurned a half chance to take the lead when Gary O’Neill blazed over following good work from Graham Rusk.
Drogs skipper Prendergast headed wide from a Foley corner, as the home side continued to look the likelier to score from the paucity of chances being created by both sides. Cork opened the scoring a little against the run of play just a minute later following a counter attacking move. A knock down to Shane Duggan gave the former UCD man an opportunity to strike from nearly 20 yards, drilling it past Gabriel Sava in the home goal.
The Leesiders could have doubled their lead five minutes before the break when a cross from Adam Rundle just eluded the final touch of Denis Behan. From the resultant corner from Rundle, sub Garry Buckley had only the keeper to beat but put his header just over.
Drogs had appeals for a penalty waved away early in the second half as they attempted to wrestle their way back into the match, and they had another shout when John Dunleavy appeared to handle in the Cork City area.
A curling shot from Drogs midfielder Shane Grimes after 64 minutes almost restored parity, however substitute Gavin Brennan, a surprise exclusion from the starting line-up and brought on to replace the injured Rusk, was becoming more and more influential as the half wore on.
Declan O’Brien and Peter Hynes came on for Eric Foley and Gary O’Neill as the home side looked to unlock the Cork defence with some creative passing. However, with the home side pushing forward for an equaliser, gaps began to appear and Gearoid Morrissey almost capitalised ten minutes from time with a fine run and an effort that had Sava scrambling.
Just when time looked like it was running out, Drogheda got the slice of fortune they needed and grabbed their equaliser with two minutes to go when Dunleavy handled in the area from Hynes’ through ball. Substitute O’Brien put his recent penalty misses against Limerick and Bray aside to thump home to the delight of the home side.
The late equaliser sees Drogheda United continue their unbeaten run, stretching back five games to the second game of the season, where they also snatched a late point through a Declan O'Brien spot kick.