Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley and Sligo Rovers boss John Russell conceded a 1-1 draw was a fair result after their sides got their League of Ireland Premier Division seasons under way at the Showgrounds on Saturday night.

The defending champions had captain Roberto Lopes sent off in the 67th minute following an innocuous looking clash with Kailin Barlow.

Rovers grabbed the lead in the 17th minute with a classy Graham Burke finish from distance, but sustained Sligo pressure after the dismissal of Lopes eventually led to an equaliser deep into added time from debutant Lukas Browning.

"You hope to see the game out with a minute left, but to be fair to Sligo they were pushing and pushing and in the end they got their reward," Bradley, who is attempting to mastermind a fourth league title on the trot, told LOITV.

"We were holding out well to be fair, but a silly error from the corner, we let the ball go central and they punished us.

"You think you're going to win it with a minute left, but when we went down to 10 men they were pushing and I think a draw was a fair result."

Referee Damien MacGraith shows a red card to Roberto Lopes of Shamrock Rovers

The Shamrock Rovers manager believed that Sligo were fortunate not to finish with 10 men themselves when asked about the Lopes sending off.

"I didn't see it, the fourth [official] didn't see it, the linesman didn't see it, but if Pico's is a red card the right-back of theirs is a definite red card.

"The linesman was standing 20 yards from it and he's elbowed him, clear in the face. I've watched it back four or five times and it's a definite red card."

Russell was keen to look ahead to Sligo's next game against UCD, while praising the resilience of his charges.

"We played well tonight and it's a starting block for us. It's important for us to regroup and we've got UCD next week and we've got to try and get three points.

"We kind of felt like it wasn't going to happen for us. There were balls flashing across the box and a couple of hand balls which we weren't sure if they were or weren't.

"Thankfully, we kept going, we kept plugging away and I thought we got what we deserved in the end.

"To a man, even the lads coming off the bench, it was a really good performance and it's a good start for us."