Drogheda United and Finn Harps couldn’t be separated in the first leg of the First Division promotion play-off as the sides drew 1-1 at United Park.
Ciaran Kelly hit the opener for the hosts before a second-half strike from substitute Nathan Boyle leaves the sides level.
The Drogs took the lead early on as Kelly rifled home his sixth of the season with a low drive into the bottom corner following a corner-kick.
Mikey Place put the ball in the net for Harps midway through the first-half as he slipped the ball under Paul Skinner but it was disallowed for offside.
Drogheda nearly made it 2-0 before the break as Chris Lyons rounded the keeper but recovering Harps defender narrowed the angle with Sean Brennan’s follow-up shot saved.
Harps were much improved in the second-half and they got their reward on 67 minutes as a long clearance from Ciaran Gallagher was allowed bounce by the Drogheda defence and Boyle nipped in to fire past the advancing Skinner.
The hosts pushed for a winner as Harps retreated but it was to no avail as the two side will face off again next Friday at Finn Park to decide who faces Limerick for a place in next season’s Premier Division.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Kevin Farragher, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran Kelly; Colm Deasy, Kealan Dillon, Sean Brennan, William Hondermarck, Conor Kane; Chris Lyons, Mark Doyle
Subs: Luca Gratzer, Lloyd Buckley, Sean Trimble, Kealan Dillon, Janabi Amour, Eoin McPhillips, Rob Manley
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; John Kavanagh, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowen, Sam Todd; Niall Logue, Jesse Devers (Nathan Boyle 61′), Jacob Borg, Gareth Harkin (Mark Coyle 53′), Mark Timlin (Paddy McCourt 67′); Mikey Place