Champions Shamrock Rovers' wait for their first win of the season continues as St Pat's left it late to earn a huge point thanks to a Jake Mulraney strike two minutes from time.

A sold-out crowd were treated to a thrilling Dublin derby in which both sides found themselves in the bottom three prior to kick-off, desperately looking to get their seasons going.

And it was the three-in-a-row Hoops who made a rip-roaring start to proceedings, getting in front after just 20 minutes.

Richie Towell, having been teed up cleverly by Rory Gaffney, swept home sweetly from outside the area and in a touching moment amidst the celebrations, held his black arm band aloft while looking for teammate Aaron Greene, who sadly lost his mother this week.

Having had a couple of half chances just before the goal, the Saints responded brilliantly and really should have got level minutes later. Vladislav Kreida’s free-kick from deep on the right hand side found Joe Redmond unmarked at the back post but the skipper saw his header back across goal drift agonisingly wide of the far post.

Shamrock Rovers' Johnny Kenny evades Joe Redmond

Five minutes before the break the visitors, growing in belief, got themselves back on level terms.

Eoin Doyle reacted sharply to take advantage of a sloppy Sean Hoare touch in the area, inviting the centre-half to clip the lively frontman.

Penalty - with Doyle dusting himself down to calmly send Alan Mannus the wrong way from 12 yards.

The end-to-end nature continued into the second half and it was the visitors who got their noses back in front when Jack Byrne hit an absolute stunner from 25 yards out that flew past Dean Lyness in the Pat's goal.

Smelling blood, Rovers chased a third. Trevor Clarke did well to cut in from the left wing and with his weaker right foot, saw his guided effort come back off the foot of the post.

The hosts were eventually punished for their profligacy in front of goal, suffering heartbreak minutes before the end.

Looking to get his side over the line, Stephen Bradley tried to shut up shop, taking off both front men, Kenny and Gaffney, introducing Lee Grace and Sean Hoare but it backfired when Mulraney struck to salvage a huge point for the spirited visitors.

As the game ticked over into injury time, Byrne smashed the post with the last kick of the game, and the drama continued onto the sideline: Tim Clancy saw red for throwing a water bottle in the direction of an official.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Neil Farrugia, Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Dan Cleary, Trevor Clarke (Sean Kavanagh 62), Richie Towell, Gary O’Neill, Jack Byrne, Rory Gaffney (Sean Gannon 85), Johnny Kenny (Lee Grace 73)

St Patrick’s Athletic: Dean Lyness, Sam Curtis, Noah Lewis (Mark Doyle 80), Joe Redmond, John McGrath, Anto Breslin, Thijs Timmermans (Adam Murphy 80), Vladislav Kreida, Chris Forrester (Ben McCormack 87), Conor Carty (Jake Mulraney 66), Eoin Doyle (Tommy Lonergan 66)

Referee: Damien MacGrath (Mayo)