Ronan Coughlan netted the equaliser against his old club as Sligo Rovers and Cork City played out an absorbing stalemate at the Showgrounds.

Marksman Graham Cummins had given Cork the lead with just six minutes elapsed.

But the Bit O’Red recovered to level the game through the industrious Coughlan mid-way through the opening half.

The Leesiders made the most of a sluggish start from the home side as they hit the lead early on.

Romeo Parkes’ attempted clearance from a James Tilley corner, landed at the feet of Cummins, who unleashed a vicious first-time volley past Ed McGinty.

City remained in charge for the next quarter of an hour.

Gearoid Morrisey testing McGinty from distance, while goal-scorer Cummins had sight of goal twice in quick succession.

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Rovers eventually found their feet in this game and Parkes’ ball across the face of goal only lacked a tap-in at the back post on 24 minutes.

Liam Buckley’s charges finished the first half the stronger and clawed their way back into this game three minutes later.

Daryl Fordyce heading Parkes’ set-piece from deep back across goal, where the determined Coughlan arrived late to head past Mark McNulty from close range.

Kris Twardek worked McNulty again before the break as Sligo searched for a second.

While Parkes did all the hard work on the stroke of half-time as he took control of a neat through ball from Ronan Murray. The Jamaican dodging the challenge of several Cork defenders, but could only balloon his resulting effort from 10 yards.

Twardek turned up a decent chance after more Parkes magic three minutes into the second half as Rovers picked up where they left off.

McGinty then twice kept out James Tilley, his second shot a speculative drive from 30 yards as John Cotter’s men kept the Rovers rearguard busy.

Sligo substitute John Russell mis-read the flight of the ball as, unmarked, he could only loop Sam Warde’s cross over McNulty’s crossbar at the front post on 70 minutes.

Russell stabbed wide after hard from Parkes and Lewis Banks with just over a quarter of an hour to go.

It was then Cork’s turn to spurn a golden opportunity as the result could have fallen either way.

Cummins doing well to wriggle free of his marker but could only sky his header at the front post as he met Tilley’s squared ball.

Darragh Rainsford then floated a glancing header narrowly wide of McGinty’s post with the young goalkeeper all but beaten.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Niall Morahan, Jack Keaney, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Sam Warde; Daryl Fordyce (John Russell 67), Kris Twardek; Ronan Murray; Romeo Parkes, Ronan Coughlan (Liam Kerrigan 84).

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan, Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Garry Comerford (Ronan Hurley 56); Gearoid Morrisey, Kevin O’Connor; Daire O’Connor (Darragh Rainsford 75), Garry Buckley, James Tilley; Graham Cummins.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.