John Meade got the faintest of touches to head home a late equaliser as he met a Davin O’Neill free to earn Cobh Ramblers a 1-1 draw against Finn Harps in their FAI Ford Cup clash at Finn Park.

This result means that the game goes to a replay at St. Colman’s Park on Monday.

And the sides will be sick of looking at each other as they must meet in Cobh again next week in the First Division as well.

For both clubs, who have failed to make an impact in the league, this game represented a chance to keep their respective seasons alive.

In three previous games this season between them, Harps and Cobh shared 13 goals with the Donegal side winning once, and the other games ended as draws.

It took Harps just six minutes to open the scoring in this clash with long-serving striker Kevin McHugh lobbing Cobh goalkeeper Shane Hallahan with a speculative effort.

Harps could have added a second when Mark Forker drove narrowly wide on 24 minutes and McHugh blasted over on the half hour as the home side enjoyed plenty of possession.

Ciaran Gallagher was called upon to make a decent save shortly afterwards to deny Martin Deady as Cobh pressed to get back into the game.

Johnny Bonner then almost doubled Harps’ tally as he steered the ball just wide following a sweeping move down the right.

And Pat McCann then hit the side-netting in the 40th minute as the Cobh goal began to lead a charmed live.

However, Cobh almost equalised on the stroke of half time as Kynan Rocks rose to meet a Deady cross but headed just wide of the post.

And Cobh’s Brendan Frahill then hit a shot that deflected off his team-mate Andrew Bharndarker and went wide of the target as Harps endured a nervy finish to the half.

Harps began the second half with a flurry of attacks and Cobh also had to survive a handball appeal inside the box.

But Rocks always looked lively for Cobh on the occasional counter-attack and Harps knew that they desperately needed a second to give them some breathing space.

Cobh brought on Jonathan Spillane and Adam Thompson midway through the second half as they stepped up their quest for an equaliser.

Ray Kenny sent a dipping shot from 30 yards not far over the crossbar as they reminded Harps that the game was far from over.

In a frantic final ten minutes both sides had further chances but Cobh finally punished Harps for not making the most of their first half chances.

With the game heading towards injury time, O’Neill whipped in a free and Meade got the vital touch from close range to silence the Finn Park faithful.

Cobh boss Dave Hill was understandably delighted with the outcome and felt his side deserved a second crack at whip for their battling display.

Harps manager Peter Hutton admitted that his team was “gutted” by conceding the late goal, but pointed out that Harps are still in the competition and will be going all out to make it to the last eight on Monday.

This was only the third time the two clubs have met in the FAI Cup, but the first at Finn Park. The previous two meetings were both in St. Colman’s Park in 1981 and 1983 while Cobh were still a Munster Senior League club with each club victorious on one occasion.

Finn Harps: Gallagher; Doherty, Cowan, McMonagle, Coll; McGowan; Funston, Forker, McCann, J. Bonner; McHugh. Subs: Toland for Bonner (65 mins), McVeigh for McHugh and Mailey for McMonagle (both 83 mins).

Cobh Ramblers: Hallahan; Frahill, O’Mahony, Meade, O’Donnell; O’Flynn, Bharndarker, Kenny, Deady; Rocks, O’Neill. Subs: Hastings for O’Mahony (25 mins), Spillane for O’Flynn (65 mins), Thompson for Bharndarker (68 mins).

Referee: Mr. R. Matthews (Dublin).