SUBSTITUTE Rory Gaffney's 88th minute equaliser earned champions Shamrock Rovers a draw in Sligo after the home side's gritty performance threatened to inflict a first Premier Division defeat of the season on Stephen Bradley's men.
Gaffney's angled drive – which went in despite the best efforts of Sligo defender John Mahon – erased Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus' unexpected blunder that led to Sligo's opener.
Winger Walter Figueira's shot after 82 minutes from distance had intent but no venom – still the ball somehow squirmed past Mannus and into the net for a lead that Sligo's resilience merited.
With Greg Bolger impressing against his former club and standout defensive displays from Colm Horgan and Garry Buckley, Sligo frustrated the visitors.
Rovers, meanwhile, never got playmaker Danny Mandriou fully sparking. Rovers' defence was their best sector – Liam Scales was excellent throughout.
This fixture was high on intensity but low on clear-cut chances. This was summed up by just two memorable first-half goal attempts.
Graham Burke almost gave Rovers an early advantage but his stinging drive after two minutes was parried by Ed McGinty. Greg Bolger's well-taken shot was thwarted by Mannus in the 24th minute.
That was that in terms of what the respective goalkeepers had to deal with in the opening period although Robbie McCourt fizzed a free-kick narrowly over on the cusp of half-time.
The second-half was similarly absorbing – Sligo more than holding their own and almost snatching it.
After Figueria's goal Rovers threatened to level matters through Mandriou and Gaffney before the latter delivered a late equaliser to disappoint Sligo.