The 150th Louth derby turned out to be a classic as Dundalk hit two goals in the space of two minutes to earn a draw against rivals Drogheda United at Oriel Park.

Goals from Graham Rusk and Ryan Brennan looked to have given Mick Cooke's side the local bragging rights going into the Easter period.

However, the Lilywhites struck back with a Keith Ward free-kick and a John Dillon penalty hauling Stephen Kenny's men level.

Drogheda played the final 14 minutes with ten men following Alan Byrne's dismissal and substitute John Sullivan could have won all three points for the Lilywhites right at the death only for Gabriel Sava to make a fine stop.

The Drogs opened the scoring after 20 minutes. Eric Foley's delivery was only partially cleared to the edge of the Dundalk box and Rusk was the quickest to react, following in David Cassidy's first-time volley to beat the offside trap and sweep the ball past Peter Cherrie from close range.

The Boynesiders continued to boss proceedings and they should have put the game beyond doubt with two great chances before the break.

In the 31st minute, a cross from the right was badly misjudged by Chris Shields. Gavin Brennan met the bouncing ball to direct a header towards the top left hand corner but Cherrie was on hand to make a wonderful save.

Five minutes later, Dundalk were on the rack again. Cassidy, who seemed to pop up everywhere in the first-half, curled a delicious ball in from the right but Gavin Brennan, who did the hard part in holding off Mark Rossiter, could only head wide with the goal at his mercy.

Kenny's side lacked a cutting edge and it was no surprise when he introduced Ward from the bench in the 67th minute.

However, the former Bohs man was just getting into the swing of things when the Drogs doubled their lead five minutes later.

O'Brien nicked the ball out to Cassidy on the right and Ryan Brennan got in ahead of Cherrie to seemingly put the game to bed.

The drama was only beginning to unfold though and Ward finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he left Sava with no chance with a great free-kick in the 75th minute.

Buoyed on by the majority of the 2,198 in attendance, the Lilywhites sensed a way back into the game and they were sensationally level within 60 seconds.

John Dillon's ball sent Tiarnan Mulvenna haring through on goal. His touch took the ball inside Byrne and the defender took the striker down with an outstretched leg.

Referee Padraic Sutton was quick to point to the spot before sending Byrne off and Dillon dispatched the penalty, despite the best efforts of Sava, to rescue the home side.

DUNDALK: Cherrie; Rossiter, Boyle, Shields (Sullivan HT), Massey; Dillon, Towell, Mountney (Ward 67); Meenan (Faherty 84), Byrne, Mulvenna.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Sava; Quigley, Byrne, Gannon, Grimes; Rusk (Hand 79), Foley, R Brennan (O'Conor 74), G Brennan; Cassidy, O'Brien (Hynes 81).

REFEREE: Padraic Sutton.