Spectacular strikes from Marty Waters and Jake Hyland lit up a tense play-off first leg tie between Cabinteely and Drogheda United at Stradbrook Park.

Waters had given the south Dublin side the lead with a stunning early strike but Drogheda finally broke the home side's resistance late on as Hyland repeated the trick from distance.

The sides are all-square heading into the second leg at United Park, where away goals won’t be part of the final score assessment. 

Cabinteely, competing in the play-offs for the first time, could have been forgiven some early nerves but those were quickly quelled by Waters' virtuosic finish.

Kevin Farragher and Rob Manley were tied up in an aerial battle and Waters used the resulting space to snaffle a loose ball before curling wonderfully into the top corner.

The visitors were poor in the opening quarter but the gradually managed to find gaps in the well-organised Cabo side and should have levelled midway through the half.

Sean Brennan played in Mark Doyle following a nice exchange of passes but the winger was pushed wide by Stephen McGuinness and saw his low effort saved.

Cabo passed up a glorious chance to double their lead just before half time as Keith Dalton picked out top scorer Rob Manley but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

McGuinness had been the hero of the penalty shoot-out win in Longford in the previous play-off and he was at his best as Drogheda laid siege in search of a leveller.

Doyle didn’t make the same mistake the next time he was played in one-on-one, rounding McGuinness, but this time Jack Tuite got back to turn away his goalbound shot.

McGuinness pulled off another great reaction save to deny Doyle’s acrobatic volley, which Lyons saw his curling effort strike the edge of the post.

Drogs did eventually get the leveller they deserved as Hyland smashed in a shot from 25 yards while sub Alex Aspil went close late on for Cabinteely, but it’s honours even at the halfway stage.

Cabinteely: McGuinness; Blackbyrne, Tuite, Keely, Hudson; Massey, Fox (Sasaki 90), O’Neill (Aspil 59); Dalton, Waters (Labutis 78), Manley.

Drogheda United: Gratzer; Brown, McNally, Farragher (Heeney 68), Kane; Hughes, Hyland, Brennan (Hollywood 81) Doyle, Wixted, Lyons.

Referee: Adriano Reale.