Andrew Dempsey reports from Stradbrook
Ciaran Kelly snatched a late, late point for Drogheda United as Cabinteely were left ruing missed chances on a frustrating night for the South Dublin side.
A quickfire double from Karl Manahan and Keith Dalton gave Cabo an early lead but they were left pondering what might have been after Kelly's strike at the death.
Tim Clancy’s promotion-chasing side looked beaten but bounced back spectacularly through a Sean Brennan penalty and a late Ciaran Kelly leveller.
Following a quiet enough start, Pat Devlin’s energetic Cabinteely had the first chance of the game as Kieran Butler’s headed effort just went wide of Paul Skinner’s goal from a sumptuous Karl Manahan delivery.
Drogheda reacted well to the early scare as Jake Hyland went close soon afterwards as he saw his headed effort crash off Stephen McGuinness’ post from a Brennan free-kick.
However, despite shading the opening period of the game, Drogheda fell behind in the 20th minute following a sloppy passage of play.
Marty Waters found the influential Daniel Blackbyrne, whose inch perfect ball into the Drogheda box caused panic and Manahan was on hand to finish with a strikers’ instinct.
Cabinteely doubled their lead moments later courtesy of a well-taken Dalton goal.
Fed in by the talismanic Waters, former Dundalk youngster Dalton slammed home from the edge of the box with a curling effort that crept under Skinner’s reach.
Reeling from this Cabinteely blitz, Drogheda struggled to gain any real foothold as the attacking trio of Luke Clucas, Dalton and Waters impressed with their superb interplay.
With Clancy’s Drogs slowly ebbing their way back into the game before the interval with some half-chances, the Boynesiders halved the deficit just before the half-time whistle.
Brennan slotted a well-taken penalty past former Drogs ‘keeper McGuinness after Mark Doyle was taken down by Blackbyrne in the penalty area.
Stung by the late concession, Cabo reacted well in the second period as they penned a lacklustre Drogheda back in the early stages of the half.
Waters went close with a looping header, but it was never going to trouble a composed Skinner in the Drogheda goal.
Despite all of their early dominance, Cabo were nearly caught out by a menacing ball in from William Hondermarck as Mark Doyle and Jake Hyland both missed glorious opportunities in front of an empty net to level the game.
With time running out, Drogheda fashioned a decent opening for themselves but the influential yet quiet Brennan couldn’t get a firm head on a Doyle flick to level the scores.
As the game petered out somewhat, there was plenty of late drama which began four minutes from time as Colm Deasy was given a deserved red card for a lunge on the influential Manahan.
Cabinteely really should have scored their insurance goal via the left foot of Robert McGee, but he blazed over following a great passage of play by the new signing Jean Yves Poame.
Drogheda, with their hopes hanging on by a thread, got one final chance to level which they took with a clinical strike from Kelly.
Kelly pounced on a Doyle through ball to slam the ball into the back of McGuinness’ net despite a hint of offside as Clancy’s side grabbed an unlikely draw at the death.
Cabinteely defender Kevin Knight was given a late red card following the conclusion of the game as the outcome left a sour taste amongst the Cabinteely players and coaching staff.
In truth, it was a cruel blow on Cabinteely who looked full value for a win against playoff chasing Drogheda.
Pat Devlin’s side must now dust themselves down for an away trip to the Markets Field next week in the FAI Cup second round while Drogheda host Premier Division Waterford at United Park.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Daniel Blackbyrne, Kieran Butler, Kevin Knight, Jack Tuite; Jack Watson, Karl Manahan, Dean Casey (Robert McGee 67); Keith Dalton, Kieran Marty Waters (Joe Doyle 90+1), Luke Clucas (Jean Yves Poame 90).
Subs not used: Adam Maher (gk), Andy O’Reilly, Jack Hudson, Jack Menton.
Sent off: Kevin Knight (90+7).
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher (|William Hondermarck 46), Colm Deasy; Richie Purdy, Jake Hyland, Luke Gallagher, Sean Brennan; Chris Lyons, Mark Doyle.
Subs not used: Eoin McPhillips (gk), Rob Manley, Malachy Doyle, Kealan Dillon, Lloyd Buckley, Sean Trimble.
Booked: Colm Deasy (39, 86), Conor Kane (66), Ciaran Kelly (80).
Sent off: Colm Deasy (86).
Referee: Sean Grant
Attendance: 200 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Karl Manahan (Cabinteely).