Drogheda United snatched a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw to earn a replay after an absorbing FAI Ford Cup quarter-final clash against ten-man First Division Finn Harps at Finn Park.

The Boynesides were heading for a cup exit when Mick Daly pounced five minutes from time to frustrate brave Harps.

This was the Donegal club’s first quarter-finals clash for ten years and helped to attract one of the biggest crowds of the season.

And Harps started positively with Michael Funston and Damien McNulty both going close early on.

Drogheda then enjoyed a decent spell with Ryan and Gavin Brennan to the fore as they looked increasingly threatening in front of goal.

Ciaran Gallagher made a super reflex save to divert a thundering Gavin Brennan free but at the other end Harps pounced in the 23rd minute when captain Kevin McHugh let fly with a cracking 25-yard striker into the top corner of the net.

Boosted by the goal, Harps could well have doubled their tally and Drogheda had to thank Michael Slingermann who made two decent stops to deny Ciaran Coll and Pat McCann, who also blazed over from a good position.

In an increasingly competitive encounter, Ciaran Coll was sent off on 55 minutes after an off the ball incident with David Cassidy.

Tempers started to fray all over the pitch and also on the benches with Harps boss Peter Hutton being banished to the stands.

Drogheda kept plugging away and their efforts were finally rewarded in the 85th minute when Cassidy crossed for the unmarked Daly who side-footed the ball home.

Cancer victim Gary O’Neill was in the minds of Drogheda United’s players before the game.

The club was rocked earlier this week when their striker was diagnosed with testicular cancer and the team warmed up with t-shirts that read “United with Gary.”

Drogheda now face a busy week. They are in the EA Sports Cup final against Shamrock Rovers next Saturday, while the cup replay is on Monday night at Hunky Dorys Park.

Finn Harps: Gallagher; McNulty; Cowan, McMonagle, Mailey; Funston (McVeigh 77 mins), McGowan, Bonner (Forker 62 mins), Coll; McCann, McHugh. 

Drogheda United: Slingermann; Daly, McNally (Foley 80), Predergast, Grimes (Hynes 66); Byrne; Cassidy, R. Brennan, O’Connor; G. Brennan (Marks 55); O’Brien.

Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).

Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s Airtricity League action on MNS from 7pm on Monday 16 September on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).