Jessie Stapleton scored the Shelbourne equaliser as the reigning champions earned a 1-1 draw against Shamrock Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Women's Premier Division.

Although still in the very early stages of the season, this clash had the feel of being a significant encounter in the context of the title race.

Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers served up an entertaining contest and one which proved to be enthralling from the very outset.

From the very start this game was gripping, with end to end action throughout.

Noel King’s Shels side had a great chance in the fith minute, when Keeva Keenan blazed over the crossbar from a few yards out inside the penalty area.

Jamie Thompson showed the attacking spark she can provide on 10 minutes, when cutting in from the left before seeing her effort flash just wide of the target. While shortly beforehand Jessica Hennessy threatened with a headed effort from a Thompson corner kick.

Ireland manager Vera Pauw took in the action at Tolka Park

In what was developing into a keenly contested duel, Shelbourne went close to scoring on 21 minutes, when Megan Smyth-Lynch fired a shot which clipped the post from a tight angle.

With this top of the table clash on a knife edge, Rovers almost struck on 38 minutes through another attempt from Thompson which forced a fine save out of Shels goalkeeper Courtney Maguire.

Early in the second half, a dangerous looking free kick from Alex Kavanagh went just wide, with Shels shooting just over with another chance shortly after.

However, it was Rovers that took the lead in the 58th minute. Áine O’Gorman clinically dispatched her shot to the back of the net, following a good driving run and pass from Jamie Thompson to set her up.

During this period of the contest Rovers were in the ascendancy. O’Gorman nearly got a second moments later, but she was unable to fire home from a strong position in the box.

Ireland international Aine O'Gorman's team-mates celebrate her goal for Shamrock Rovers

Thompson continued to pose problems, including on 65 minutes through a shot that went just over the top and wide.

Despite the numerous chances Rovers had created, Shelbourne equalised on 68 minutes when Jessie Stapleton was on hand to head into the back of the net.

With the contest very much still in the melting pot, Maguire made a fine save to deny yet another Thompson attempt on goal in the 70th minute.

In a game which seemed to have it all, Shels almost took the lead when a header by Pearl Slattery came close to finding the back of the net in the closing minutes.

There was almost dramatic late drama when Noelle Murray had a goal ruled out for Shelbourne for offside.

Ultimately both sides had to be content with a point, on what was a fine advert for the domestic Irish game.

Shelbourne: Courtney Maguire; Keeva Keenan, Jessie Stapleton, Pearl Slattery, Alex Kavanagh, Siobhan Killeen (Ruvimbo Mucherera, 64), Rachel Graham(Jenaya Robertson, 89) , Noelle Murray, Megan Smyth-Lynch(Kerri Letmon, 90+1) , Maggie Pierce, Kayla Hamric(Jemma Quinn, 64) .

Shamrock Rovers: Amanda Budden; Jessica Gargan, Shauna Fox, Jessica Hennessy, Abbie Larkin, Aoife Kelly, Alannah McEvoy (Lauren Kelly, 84) , Lia O'Leary, Aine O’Gorman, Orlaith O’Mahony, Jamie Thompson.

Referee: Alan Carey.

Elsewhere, Peamount United made it three wins from three with a comfortable 4-0 win at Sligo Rovers to go top of the table.

All the goals came in the second half, with Carla McManus opening the scoring on 54 minutes before further goals from Rebecca Watkins, Kate Mooney and Avril Brierley eased them home.

Athlone Town picked up their first win of the season in empathic fashion as last season's league and cup runners-up thrashed Treaty United 8-0 away.

Maddison Gibson helped herself to a hat-trick with Scarlett Herron, Chloe Singleton, Muireann Devaney, Eve Conheady and Antea Guvo scoring the other goals for the midlanders.

Earlier, former Mayo footballer Sarah Rowe scored Bohemians' winner as they edged Galway United 1-0 at Eamonn Deacy Park as the visitors picked up their second win of the new season.

It was the ex-Shelbourne, Raheny United, Ballina Town and Castlebar Celtic player's first goal since signing for Bohs during the winter and arrived three minutes before the break when she made the most of an errant back pass before scoring what proved the only goal of the game.

DLR Waves picked up their first win of the season with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home against Cork City.

The south Dublin side established an early advantage with goals from Joy Ralph and Katie Malone within 10 minutes of the start before Neema Nyangasi added a third with a quarter of an hour to go.