A late Shamrock Rovers goal denied Limerick a famous win in a controversial tie Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
Jason McGuinness headed an injury-time equaliser for Shamrock Rovers, who staged a last-gasp rally to earn a share of the SSE Airtricity League spoils drawing 1-1 with Limerick at Tallaght Stadium.
The visitors had Barry Ryan sent off in stoppage time and although Shane Tracy saved a Sean O’Connor penalty, McGuinness levelled with a header from the rebound.
Limerick hit the front in the 14th minute when Rory Gaffney headed home Tracy’s inviting free-kick. And there was drama after the restart when Rovers were awarded a controversial 64th-minute penalty, but Barry Ryan saved Gary McCabe’s spot-kick.
Rovers were eager to make a positive start and McCabe’s clever third-minute cross found Ciaran Kilduff, who headed wide under pressure.
Limerick were set up to be solid as Prince Agyemang, Shane Duggan, and Jason Hughes were busy in the centre of the park.
Despite the visitors’ admirable work ethic, Rovers were still manufacturing chances as Marty Waters shot wide from an awkward angle in the 12th minute.
But Stuart Taylor’s side made a trip into Rovers territory count two minutes later as Gaffney glanced Tracy’s delivery past Barry Murphy.
Rovers were given a 64th-minute penalty when referee Rob Rogers controversially deemed that there had been a handball in the area by a Limerick defender.
Following a lengthy debate Ryan saved McCabe’s spot-kick and Limerick eventually cleared the danger.
Then Limerick goalkeeping coach Eddie Hickey was ordered from the technical area moments later as the visitors were incensed following the penalty decision.
And they were equally annoyed at the end when Ryan was sent off for a second bookable offence and McGuinness rescued a point for the Hoops.
SHAMROCK ROVERS Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Robert Cornwall, Jason McGuinness, Luke Byrne; Ryan Brennan, Shane Robinson, Robert Bayly (Karl Sheppard, 57); Gary McCabe, Ciaran Kilduff, Kieran Marty Waters (Sean O’Connor, 77).
Subs not used: Craig Hyland, Sean Heaney, David O’Connor, Evan Osam.
LIMERICK FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams; Shane Tracy, Prince Agyemang (Danny Galbraith, 71), Jason Hughes, Shane Duggan, James McGrath (Darragh Rainsford, 79); Rory Gaffney (Ross Mann, 90).
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Tony Whitehead, Colm Murphy, Patrick Nzuzi.