Cork City’s winless run in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division has now been stretched to eight games as they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom club Finn Harps at Turner’s Cross on Monday night.
A stunning free kick from Kevin O’Connor at the beginning of the second half had given City the lead by a Keith Cowan goal was enough to earn Harps their fourth point of the season.
John Caulfield made four changes to his side that was beaten 2-0 away to Derry City on Friday evening with Colm Horgan, Graham Cummins and Pierce Phillips replacing Dan Casey, Darragh Rainsford and Daire O’Connor.
Kevin O’Connor also came into central midfield in place of Conor McCormack, who picked up two yellows in that loss, and he was the first to threaten inside the opening minutes.
The ball broke to the City number 25 on the edge of the penalty area but he dragged his half volley wide of the right post.
The Leesiders ought to have taken the lead in the sixth minute but after Graham Cummins headed Mark McNulty’s long goal kick into the path of Karl Sheppard, the striker could only blast his effort inches wide of the target when through on goal.
City missed another glorious opportunity after 11 minutes as Sheppard and Cummins again combined effectively but on this occasion the former nodded wide of the back post from a couple of yards.
Ollie Horgan also made four alterations to his team which was unfortunate to concede a last-minute equaliser on the road to Sligo Rovers last time out with Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan, Nathan Boyle and Michael Gallagher taking the starting berths from Daniel O’Reilly, John Kavanagh, Raffaele Cretaro and Tony McNamee.
The visitors almost edged in-front against the run of play past the quarter of an hour mark but shortly after Mark Russell’s drilled a free kick just over, Sean Boyd planted his header from an excellent Jacob Borg cross straight at Mark McNulty.
The home side had now lost their rhythm going forward and they were restricted to shot’s from long range with James Tilley twice failing to cause the Harps keeper Peter Burke problems from distance.
Burke was forced into making a stunning save on 35 as he somehow tipped Cummins’s dipping header past his top left corner.
The Harps net-minder was again called into action with the first half drawing to a close as he did well to stop Cummins’ close range header before Sheppard blasted the rebound over the bar.
But the Donegal clubs reliance was finally broken at the beginning of the second half as Kevin O’Connor opened the scoring with a trademark free kick.
O’Connor stepped over the ball close to 30 yards from goal and expertly curled his shot over the wall and into the top right corner of the Shed End net.
Harps, to their credit, responded well to that setback and they twice went close to levelling the scores either side of the hour mark.
Niall Logue’s deft header from a Caolan McAleer free was saved by McNulty before Jacob Borg headed a fine Michael Gallagher cross against the back stick from close range.
And with 14 minutes remaining, Harps finally forced an equaliser thanks to a well-worked goal finished by Keith Cowan.
A clever short corner made its way to the recently introduced Tony McNamee and his cross was drilled into the roof of the net by the captain.
Conor McCarthy went close to winning it for City late on but his powerful drive sailed past the far post as Harps hung on for a share of the spoils.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan (Alan Bennett 75), Conor McCarthy, Séan McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Garry Buckley, Pierce Phillips (Darragh Rainsford 79), Kevin O’Connor (Dáire O’Connor 69), James Tilley; Graham Cummins, Karl Sheppard.
Finn Harps: Peter Bourke; Sam Todd, Keith Cowan, Niall Logue; Michael Gallagher, Mark Coyle, Jacob Borg (Tony McNamee 73), Mark Russell; Caolan McAleer (Raffaele Cretaro 73), Nathan Boyle (Harry Ascroft 89), Sean Boyd.
Referee: Robert Hennessy (Limerick).