An electric atmosphere at the Showgrounds saw Sligo Rovers begin their SSE Airtricity campaign with a draw against Cork City. Steven Beattie opened the scoring for the Bit o’ Red while Ross Gaynor replied with an equaliser deep in added time for the visitors.
The away fans made their voices heard from the outset, helping to create a great atmosphere but both sides spent most of their time in midfield during the first ten minutes.
Cork City did make their presence felt though, with Garry Buckley and Colin Healy booked inside the first twelve minutes for reckless challenges.
Sander Puri tried to find a gap in the City defense after fifteen minutes but Alan Bennett watched his run all the way and easily cleared the danger. At the other end Cork’s first real chance came from a free by Healy after twenty minutes but his shot had too much power in it and it was easily carried over Richard Brush’s net.
Dinny Corcoran and Morten Nielsen led an attack two minutes later but Bennett and Dan Murray closed off the chance and quickly cleared the danger.
Dinny Corcoran was fouled by Healy in the 24th minute which led to a free taken by David Cawley but the Bit o’Red man fired the shot straight at Mark McNulty who smothered the shot.
Rovers were close to getting on the score sheet ten minutes later when a well placed corner found the head of Nielsen but McNulty scrambled to block the danger, while Karl Sheppard had a great run up the right five minutes before the interval, but Danny Ledwith was on hand to stop the danger.
Healy also had a great run in the dying minutes of the half when he managed to cut through Ledwith and Stephen Folan but he placed his pass too close to Brush who dived on the ball..
Rovers started the second half strongly with Nielsen and Corcoran asking questions of the City defense but McNulty was able to deny them on both occasions.
Cork’s first chance of the half came from a free by Healy but the ball carried over the head of everyone in the box and went out of play.
Garry Buckley had the visitor’s next chance when he fired a low shot in from the left but it lacked accuracy and carried across the face of Richard Coulter’s goal.
Alan Keane found a gap in City’s midfield and crossed to Kevin Devaney in the 74th minute but the midfielder was unable to control the ball but Steven Beattie finally found the net for Rovers after a corner from Russell led to a frantic scramble in the six yard box in the 84th minute.
Cork City, however, got an equalizer in the dying seconds of the game when three consecutive shots at the home goal ended with Ross Gaynor slotting the ball into the back of Sligo’s net in the 95th minute.
Sligo Rovers have their next Premier League game away against Drogheda United while Cork will welcome Limerick to Turner’s Cross next weekend.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush (Ryan Coulter, 53); Alan Keane, Stephen Folan, Gavin Peers, Danny Ledwith; Steven Beattie, David Cawley, John Russell, Sander Puri (Kevin Devaney, 66); Morten Nielsen (Keith Ward,73), Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Gary Boylan, Jake Dykes, Ryan McManus, Gary Armstrong.
Bookings: Russell (32), Beattie (70), Corcoran (81), Coulter (90+5).
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy (Kieran Djilali 90+2), Alan Bennett, Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy; Liam Miller, Gavan Holohan (Danny Morrissey, 79), Colin Healy, Garry Buckley (Ross Gaynor, 88), Karl Sheppard, Mark O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Kevin O’Brien (gk), John Kavanagh, Liam Kearney, Josh O’Shea.
Bookings: Buckley (9), Healy (11), Miller (24), D Dennehy (64).
Referee: Robert Rogers
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Steven Beattie (Sligo Rovers).