Cork City drew level on points with Dundalk atop the SSE Airtricity Premier Division after a pulsating game at the Showgrounds last night.
On a night when City old boy John O’Flynn made his return for the club and Cillian Morrison made his debut, Gary Buckley almost grabbed victory for the Cork side, hitting the crossbar at the death.
New Sligo boss John Coleman was hoping for a win in his first home game but instead he had to settle for a second scoreless draw, following a similar outcome in the Europa League at FK Banga in Lithuania four days earlier.
Cork attacked from the kick off but a quick counter by Sligo sent Danny North clear on goal but the ball was cleared by the vigilant Cork defence.
Brian Lenihan, the City full-back attracting the interest of Arsenal, drilled an inviting ball across the face of the Sligo goal in the eight minute but there was nobody able to take advantage.
Raffaele Cretaro sent a sizzling shot narrowly over the City bar on 17 minutes as the hosts upped the pressure.
Yet it was City who missed a great chance to hit the front after 27 minutes when Lenihan’s clever cross fell nicely for Morrison but his close-range effort missed the target.
Quick thinking by Cork keeper Mark McNulty denied the in-rushing Aaron Greene on 37 minutes before Gary Rogers in the home goal had to dive smartly to keep a Morrison effort out seconds later.
Buckley had Cork’s best chance of the half a minute before the break but Rogers kept the half scoreless with a superb stop.
McNulty kept a well-struck free kick by North three minutes into the second half.
Aaron Greene went close with a shot from 35 yards in the 77th minute but the Leesiders goal survived.
Cork sub O’Flynn, who has rejoined the club after a six years spell in England, went close with an angled shot on 79 minutes.
Another Cork sub, Dave O’Leary forced Rogers into a superb save in the closing minutes before John Caulfield’s side came close to scoring the goal that would have put them top of the league, as the woodwork denied Buckley after a cross by Kearney in the 92nd minute.
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers, Keane, Conneely, McMillan, Spillane, Cawley,Greene, Russell, Djilali, Cretaro, North (Keating 86).
CORK CITY: McNulty, Dunleavy, Dennehy (Kearney 73), Healy, Morrison (O’Flynn HT), Murray, Lenihan, Dennehy, O’Sullivan, Buckley, Davoren (O’Leary 34).
Referee: Neil Doyle, Dublin.