Sligo Rovers recovered from last weekend's disappointment in Bray to hold second placed Cork City to a scoreless draw at the Showgrounds. Both sides had chances to win the game but both attacks were left frustrated as the Bit O'Red took their fifth point from the Leesiders this term.
City hadn't conceded in five coming in to this game but had to rely on striker Karl Sheppard to keep the tie level on seven minutes as the home side enjoyed a lively start. Following a sustained period of pressure on the Cork goal, Rovers centre half Gavin Peers rose highest to meet Kieran Sadlier's scooped cross. The stalwart unfortunate to see the well positioned Sheppard clear the ball to safety on the Cork goal line.
The Leesider's goal lived a charmed life for a short time. Sadlier swiftly shifted past his marker down the Rovers right before sending a dangerous low ball to the back post, where Liam Martin was just inches away from making contact.
Rovers attacker Achille Campion showed great strength three minutes later when he muscled past two Cork defenders before finding Martin who teed up Sadlier. The Irish underage international denied by Mark McNulty in the Cork nets.
The Showgrounds outfit will be without regular goalkeeper Micheál Schlingermann for an extended period through injury. His deputy, Ciaran Nugent showed no rustiness when he deflected away Sean Maguire's effort from close range after Peers' mistake offered the former Sligo striker a clear path to goal on 21.
A scurry in front of the Cork goalmouth resulted in McNulty rebuffing Pat McCann's scrambled effort ten minutes from the break. While Garry Buckley really should have broke the deadlock one minute into stoppage time but he could only nod Sheppard's cross straight at Nugent from point blank range.
The title chasers came within a lick of paint of opening the scoring in spectacular fashion. Buckley was in the thick of it again when his thunderous drive from a set piece 30 yards out, rattled the Rovers crossbar on 47.
Maguire glanced Stephen Dooley's corner across the face of Nugent's goal just shy of the hour. While both Dooley and Gearoid Morrisey engineered chances shortly after.
McNulty plucked Mick Leahy's headed effort from the air on 69, before Kevin O'Connor's wayward drive did little to worry Nugent eleven minutes later.
The Munster men thought they had found a winner six minutes from time but substitute Dave Mulcahy was adjudged offside after he tapped into an empty net.
Cork were fortunate not to end the game with ten men when substitute Mark O'Sullivan was involved in an incident with John Russell as he attempted to retrieve the ball from the Galway native. O'Sullivan clearly barging Russell to the floor in front of the Sligo dugout but referee Neil Doyle decided instead to book both parties.
Sligo Rovers: Ciaran Nugent; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Michael Leahy, Gavin Peers, Gary Boylan; Kieran Sadlier (Raffaele Cretaro 64), Pat McCann (Daniel Kearns 84), John Russell, Jimmy Keohane; Liam Martin, Achille Campion.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Michael McSweeney (Dave Mulcahy 58), Kenny Browne, Alan Bennett, Kevin O'Connor; Gearoid Morrisey (Mark O'Sullivan 74), Greg Bolger, Garry Buckley; Stephen Dooley, Sean Maguire, Karl Sheppard (Ian Turner 85).
Referee: Neil Doyle.