Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe earned Derry City a point as they came from 2-0 down to frustrate title-chasing Shamrock Rovers in their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Tallaght Stadium.
Goals from Trevor Clarke and Jack Byrne early in the second half appeared to have put Rovers in command.
But Derry hit back quickly through Ciaran Coll before Ogedi-Uzokwe’s late strike gave Declan Devine’s Candystripes a share of the spoils.
With Shane Duffy, goalscoring hero against Denmark on Friday night, along with Republic of Ireland team-mates Glenn Whelan, James McClean, Ronan Curtis and some backroom staff, interested spectators, the game was slow in coming to life.
Rovers were fortunate not to find themselves behind from the first purposeful attack of the game eight minutes in.
Derry’s Argentinian midfielder Gerardo Bruna put Ogedi-Uzokwe away on the right. The Englishman’s cross wasn’t directed too far over the top from skipper Barry McNamee’s close-range stooping header.
Rovers soon came alive as the action concentrated at the other end for a prolonged spell.
A sweeping move, instigated by Greg Bolger’s sublime pass over the top, got Dan Carr in behind to cross. Aaron Greene’s near-post flick was narrowly wide.
Greene then looked in on goal minutes later only to be thwarted by a superb block tackle from Josh Kerr.
Derry defender Kerr was there again on 20 minutes to clear a Greene cross out for a corner as Carr lurked in behind him hoping to meet the delivery.
Greene then wasted another chance on 25 minutes, turning to head Byrne’s fifth corner off target from just yards out.
That pressure quelled, Derry remained a threat when they got forward, Bolger having to get his head in the way to deflect a McNamee shot out for a corner following clever footwork from Ogedi-Ozokwe on the right.
With Sean Kavanagh on from the start of the second half to add impetus to their midfield, Rovers began on the front foot.
The impressive Carr forced a tip-over save from Peter Cherrie with a clever chip before frantic defending saw Greene’s shot scrambled clear for a corner, all inside the opening three minutes.
As in the first half, Derry remained a threat on the break, a clever move setting up Greg Sloggett to drill a shot inches wide.
The momentum stayed with Rovers, though, and they deservedly took the lead with a fine goal on 52 minutes.
Carr drew a defender into the area to leave space behind for left-back Clarke who took a touch from Greene’s cross before smacking a crisp left-foot drive across Cherrie to the far corner of the net.
Stephen Bradley’s side doubled their lead three minutes later. The Derry defence stood off Byrne as the midfielder surged forward before drilling a low shot to the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the area.
Derry responded well by getting a goal back a further two minutes after that. McNamee’s cross from the right found left-back Coll whose well-place header beat Alan Mannus for his first goal for the club.
Frantic Derry defending kept Rovers at bay as first Clarke and then Roberto Lopes had efforts somehow cleared away.
Cherrie then saved well with his feet from Kavanagh on 70 minutes after Carr and Byrne cut through the visitors’ defence.
They couldn’t kill off Derry who survived to get their equaliser on 84 minutes.
Mannus could only parry a header from Sloggett with Ogedi-Uzokwe scrambling the loose ball into the net.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Trevor Clarke; Greg Bolger, Jack Byrne (Ethan Boyle 79); Brandon Kavanagh (Sean Kavanagh at half-time), Ronan Finn, Dan Carr; Aaron Greene (Joel Coustrain 67)
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Jamie McDonagh, Eoin Toal, Josh Kerr (Ally Gilchrist 79), Ciaran Coll; Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Greg Sloggett, Gerardo Bruna, Ciaron Harkin (Aidy Delap 77), Barry McNamee; David Parkhouse (Eoghan Stokes 64)
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)