Dundalk and Bohemians will meet again in a replay on Tuesday night to determine which side will take their place in the semi-finals of the FAI Ford Cup.
Bohs will be happy to take Dundalk back to Dalymount Park, but the Gypsies will feel they might have even got the job done at the first attempt.
Pat Fenlon’s men created the clearest openings on the night and Ger O’Brien in particular will look back and rue a chance which he should have buried in the first-half.
Injuries yet again forced Dundalk manager Ian Foster’s hand, with the Lilywhites boss forced to name a back four that that included two teenagers in Carl McHugh and Cian Doyle.
Bohs made two changes to the side that beat Dundalk 3-1 in the league just four days previously, with Barry Murphy and Aiden Price replacing Craig Sexton and Keith Buckley.
A quiet start to the game meant both goalkeepers saw little in the way of action early on. The closest any side came to causing trouble was in the 16th minute when Mark Quigley attempted an audacious chip which went wide of Barry Murphy’s post.
Quigley has been Dundalk’s talisman this season, and he went close again with two chances in quick succession, firing a right-footed drive at Murphy in the 23rd minute before drilling an effort wide seconds later following a neat interchange with Marc Griffin.
The visitors eventually came into things and they squandered the best chance of the half in the 33rd minute. Killian Brennan’s cross bounced over the head of Simon Madden at the back post.
However, it fell kindly for Ger O’Brien but the midfielder could only smash his effort into the side netting from close range.
Another Brennan delivery caused more problems for Dundalk in the 40th minute. This time it was his left foot that caused the danger, with Peter Cherrie showing good agility to save Aiden Downes’ header after Stephen Hurley had knocked the free-kick back across goal.
Quigley then hooked a difficult chance over the bar late in the half and both sides went in scoreless at the break.
The start of the second half was almost a carbon copy of the first as both sides struggled to break their opponents down.
Dundalk had a scare in the 56th minute when Cherrie spilled an O’Brien cross in his six-yard box, with the Scottish goalkeeper was relieved to see Dean Bennett hack the loose ball to safety.
At the other end, Dundalk had appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Anthony Buttimer eight minutes later when the ball bounced off the surface and appeared to catch Stephen Hurley on the hand. In fairness to the Bohs midfielder, it looked like there was very little he could do to prevent it.
The game seemed to open up briefly after that and Quigley just couldn’t readjust his body enough to turn an effort on target after Griffin had picked Liam Burns’ pocket in the box.
Play switched to the other end moments later and Anto Flood saw his strike saved by Cherrie.
It proved to be the last real opening of the night as the tie petered out in the closing stages.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden, Cian Byrne, Dean Bennett, Carl McHugh; Johnny Breen, Keith Ward, Greg Bolger, Ross Gaynor; Mark Quigley, Marc Griffin (Jason Byrne 78).
Subs not used: Nathan Murphy, Stephen McDonnell, Phillip Duffy, Chris Reilly, Glen Trainor, Paul Murphy (GK).
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Owen Heary, Aidan Price, Liam Burns, Mark Rossiter; Anto Flood (Keith Buckley 76), Glenn Cronin, Stephen Hurley (Robert Bayly 67), Killian Brennan, Ger O’Brien (Stephen Traynor, 82); Aidan Downes.
Subs not used: Roberto Lopez, Christy Fagan, Kevin Feely, Craig Sexton (GK).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).