Shamrock Rovers edged a little closer to their 19th League of Ireland title, but they had to avail of a soft equaliser in coming from behind with 10 men against their arch-rivals Bohemians in this roller coaster Dublin derby at Tallaght Stadium.

The result moves the champions 13 points clear at the top of the table and needing six more to seal the deal, as a Bohemians' side, despite missing major players, kept their own European aspirations via the league well within reach.

While Rovers started Sean Hoare, in defence for Lee Grace, and Rory Gaffney came in up top in place of Aaron Greene from their win over Sligo Rovers on Friday, Bohemians were forced into no fewer than five changes in total from their draw with Dundalk.

Chief among them were the omissions, due to groin and foot injuries respectively, of their ever-present striker force of Ross Tierney and 19-goal Georgie Kelly, though the influential Ali Coote and skipper Keith Buckley returned from the start.

The Gypsies then suffered a further blow in the warm up when regular goalkeeper James Talbot cried off, also with a groin issue, with Stephen McGuinness coming in for his first action of the league season.

Availing of a sluggish start by Rovers, reshaped Bohemians grew to dominate the first half, deservedly a goal to the good at the interval - as the Hoops trooped off a man down.

Rovers can have few complaints as Bohs' 38th minute lead had been coming since Keith Ward cleverly set up Liam Burt to fire wide just past the half hour.

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Alan Mannus then thwarted a clever Bohs set piece to palm away Dawson Devoy's shot from Anto Breslin’s free kick.

But Mannus was then helpless as the Gypsies carved Hoops open to take the lead with a terrific goal.

Promise Omochere and Ward combined on the right with the latter's cross tapped home by negligently tracked winger Burt for his ninth league strike of the season.

Having lost Gary O'Neill to a concussion, it got worse for Rovers three minutes before the break when international defender Roberto Lopes was shown a straight red card for pulling down the lively Omochere.

Rovers needed a spark and almost got it five minutes into the second half, Barry Cotter surging past three Bohs players before flashing a shot not far wide.

But it was another flowing move on the counter from the visitors that almost doubled their lead on 57 minutes; Ward and Burt neatly teeing up Coote who drilled off target.

A triple change ignited Rovers further and they gratefully accepted a gift equaliser on 69 minutes.

There seemed little danger as Chris McCann found Richie Towell in space some 35 yards out. But the midfielder’s low drive, while well hit, was completely fumbled by McGuinness to spin up off the goalkeeper’s left hand and loop into the net.

As Rovers pressed for a winner, McGuinness redeemed himself on the double late on, first with a fine tip-over save from substitute Aidomo Emakhu before also saving one-on-one from Rovers' 17-year-old striker.

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Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Gannon, Roberto Lopes, Sean Hoare; Ronan Finn, Dylan Watts (Neil Farrugia 66), Gery O'Neill (Chris McCann 41), Barry Cotter (Sean Kavanagh 87; Graham Burke 90); Richie Towell; Rory Gaffney (Aidomo Emakhu 66), Danny Mandroiu (Aaron Greene 66) .

Bohemians: Stephen McGuinness; Rory Feely (Andy Lyons 90+1), Rob Cornwall, Ciaran Kelly, Anto Breslin; Keith Buckley, Dawson Devoy; Ali Coote (Roland Idowu 80), Keith Ward (Jamie Mullins 74), Liam Burt (Conor Levingston 90+1); Promise Omochere.

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).