Cork City and Bohemians shared the spoils of a 1-1 draw in their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Turner’s Cross, the result enough to see John Caulfield's men retain their spot at the top of the table.
The game was entirely dominated by atrocious weather conditions and both sides will feel they might have earned more than the solitary point at full-time after Bohs’ Kevin Devaney hit the woodwork and Mark O’Sullivan had a goal disallowed in added time.
Billy Dennehy broke the deadlock courtesy of a spot kick on 53 minutes.
Veteran Jason Byrne levelled matters three minutes later though with an excellent header from Paddy Kavanagh’s cross, and it wasn’t until the dying minutes that either team created additional clear-cut chances in a game hampered by driving rain and swirling winds.
The hosts made two changes from the side that beat UCD on Easter Monday - Colin Healy and Liam Kearney both starting, with captain John Dunleavy moving into the heart of the defence to replace the suspended Darren Dennehy.
The visitors, for their part, made three changes with Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh and Steven Beattie all coming into Owen Heary’s starting XI in place of Darragh Reynor, Andy Mulligan and Keith Buckley.
In conditions that tested even the hardiest of golfing umbrellas, it was City that pushed forward early on in front of a crowd of 3,711.
John Kavanagh broke down the right with eight minutes gone, but though his ball found Garry Buckley, the midfielder was left down by his first touch and the danger was cleared by Bohs.
Former City man Dave Mulcahy headed a decent chance straight at Mark McNulty a minute later from Aidan Price’s free kick, before Liam Kearney and then Gearoid Morrissey tried their luck from distance - to no avail.
The best effort of the first half arrived on 18 minutes. It was Morrissey that initially raced clear, and he combined with Buckley to find Kearney free on the left-hand wing. The Conna man’s ball inside had all the pace and direction required, but the incoming Dennehy was just inches short of making contact for what would surely have been another goal for the in-form midfielder.
Using the wind to his advantage three minutes later, Dennehy tried to curl an effort beyond Murphy - only to watch his effort fly wide - while Bohs’ best opportunity came on the half-hour mark when McNulty’s poor clearance found Ryan McEvoy. His ball set Craig Walsh free, but the Bohs front man could only direct his header straight at City’s number one.
City changed their kit entirely for the second half, emerging in white shirts and green shorts - and it was Dennehy that threatened once again for the Leesiders by taking a shot from the edge of the box on 47 minutes.
Bohemians should have gone ahead a minute later when McEvoy blazed over from the edge of the six-yard box from Karl Moore’s cross, but the longed-for breakthrough eventually came with 53 minutes on the clock.
Lenihan fed Kearney, whose ball inside from the left found O’Sullivan and when the striker was upended by Derek Pender, referee Neil Doyle immediately pointed to the spot.
Dennehy has been lethal in and around the goal in recent weeks, and made no mistake to dispatch yet another penalty kick at the Shed End of the ground.
The hosts’ advantage lasted just three minutes, however, as Kavanagh floated a pinpoint accurate cross into the box where Jason Byrne escaped the clutches of marker Dan Murray to power an excellent header to the back of the City net.
Heary’s men almost took the lead with 20 minutes remaining when Derek Pender’s cross, assisted by the wind, almost dipped underneath McNulty’s crossbar.
Substitute Kevin Devaney then whipped an effort in from the left on 83 minutes, only to see it drift past McNulty’s post, before a scramble at the other end eventually saw Murphy gather the ball.
Devaney hit the City woodwork on 90 minutes to give the home side a scare and the crowd were on their feet moments later when Murphy dropped Lenihan’s cross and though O’Sullivan seemed to legitimately poke the ball home, the match referee awarded a free out.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Kavanagh (Iarfhlaith Davoren ’65), Dan Murray, John Dunleavy, Brian Lenihan; Billy Dennehy, Gearoid Morrissey, Colin Healy, Garry Buckley (Dave O’Leary ’80), Liam Kearney (Rob Lehane ’72); Mark O’Sullivan.
Substitutes: Anthony Elding, Ian Turner, Andy O’Connell, Matt Gledhill.
Bohemians: Lee Murphy; Steven Beattie, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price (Daniel Byrne ’64), Derek Pender; Paddy Kavanagh, Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy, Karl Moore; Craig Walsh (Kevin Devaney ’82), Jason Byrne.
Substitutes: Stephen Traynor, Jake Hyland, Darragh Reynor, Keith Buckley, Dean Delaney.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Yellow: Moore (Bohemians) ’42, Kearney (Cork City) ’68, Dunleavy (Cork City) ’72.