An unfortunate late howler by Shelbourne goalkeeper Colin McCabe gifted Cork City a point at Tolka Park to lift Neale Fenn's side off the foot of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table.

And though a mistake by Mark McNulty between the posts at the opposite end led to Shelbourne’s early lead, the City goalkeeper produced a string of second half stops to thwart the Dubliners.

A late goal from Ciaran Kilduff was all that separated the sides at Turner’s Cross on the opening night of the season way back in February.

And it was the Real Reds who started on the front foot here, forcing a corner within a minute and punishing dreadful defending to take the lead three minutes later.

McNulty’s sloppy clearance was straight to Shelbourne midfielder Sean Quinn some 40 yards form goals.

With plenty of time and space, Quinn surged forward to thread a ball through the visitors’ defence for the run of Kilduff.

The big striker got to the end line to clip over a cross for left winger Dayle Rooney who got across veteran defender Alan Bennett to head to the net.

Well worked the goal may have been by Shels, but City manager Fenn will have been livid at how easy his defence made it.

Cork did settle into the game to enjoy a good spell of possession, if labouring to really create anything in the final third until the 20th minute.

Dylan McGlade was the architect on the right, working a one-two with full-back Dale Holland. The deep cross found striker Scott Fenwick who planted his header wide. 

While Cork continued to have much of the ball, it was Shelbourne’s direct approach on the counter that almost brought them a second goal just before the half hour.

On this occasion, Cork’s defence stood firm as, first, Bennett did well to block a shot from Shels’ skipper Gary Deegan. Moments later, Cian Coleman got his body in the way of a drive from Kilduff.

Redeeming his early mistake, McNulty then got down well to push away a header from Dan Byrne after Rooney was given a little too much room to whip over a cross from the right.

Rooney’s alertness, pace and control continued to trouble Cork. And the 22-year-old’s endeavours on the left set up Ryan Brennan who wasted a real chance to extend Shels’ lead when blazing over the top from 12 yards.

Fenn introduced Connor Simpson at half-time as he went 4-4-2 in chasing the game. The change almost paid a dividend eight minutes into the second half when the striker’s flicked header brought a fine tip over save from McCabe after Fenwick had flicked on skipper Gearoid Morrissey’s diagonal ball.

Rooney headed Shels into an early lead

Good goalkeeping at the other end rescued Cork on the double.

Brennan robbed a sluggish Deshane Dalling to cross for Kilduff who got through to bring a good save from NcNulty with his feet.

A minute later, Kilduff was in on goal again from the impressive Rooney’s fine pass with McNulty once more equal to the effort to make a diving save.

Cork finished strongly, getting their reward on 74 minutes, albeit from a goalkeeping howler.

Dalling appeared to miscue his cross in from the left. But McCabe seemed to take his eye of the dropping ball and merely helped in over the line off his right-hand post.

McNulty then saved well from Jaze Kabia and Aaron Dobbs late on as Cork held out for their point.

Shelbourne: Colin McCabe; Georgie Poynton, Dan Byrne, Luke Byrne, Alex O’Hanlon; Denzil Fernandes (Mark Byrne 79), Sean Quinn, Gary Keegan, Dayle Rooney; Ryan Brennan (Aaron Dobbs 69), Ciaran Kilduff (Jaze Kabia 79).

Cork City: Mark McNulty 7; Dale Holland (Ronan Hurley 83), Alan Bennett (Jake O’Brien 45+1), Kevin O’Connor, Rob Slevin; Cian Coleman, Gearoid Morrissey, Henry Ochieng (Connor Simpson half-time); Dylan McGlade, Scott Fenwick (Ricardo Dinanga 87), Deshane Dalling.

Referee: Rob Hennessy (Clare)