Finn Harps let a one goal lead slip on their first visit to Stradbrook on Friday night as newcomers Cabinteely hit them with a 95th minute equaliser.
Ollie Horgan’s men will rue their failure to see out the game after Ruairi Keating headed home early to give Harps a deserved lead.
Cabinteely were in search of redemption after their humiliating defeat in Ferycarrig Park the previous week, and the Stradbrook crowd had to endure a tedious affair leading up to McKeown’s goal.
The first ten minutes set the tone for the next ninety, long balls forward dealt with easily by the opposition who sent them straight back.
Finn Harps were generally in control of play, Gareth Harkin created the first decent chance of the game shooting just wide from the edge of the box but referee Ray Mathews signalled for a corner, much to the Cabo player’s surprise.
Kevin McHugh’s first corner was cleared for another, and his second was met by Ruairi Keating at the back post who directed the ball into the net scoring his third goal against Cabinteely this season having netted twice in the reverse fixture at Finn Park.
Cabinteely tried to respond and within a minute Daniel Campbell had a header from a promising position but failed to threaten the goal.
Harps controlled the first twenty minutes and Cabo’s backline found themselves under pressure. In the 19th minute McHugh picked up a failed clearance just inside the box but dragged his volley well wide of the target.
Five minutes later Gareth Hawkin broke and fired from the left of the box, his shot flew past Evan Whelan but failed to beat the post and Cabo managed to clear.
The game was littered with petty free kicks and Hawkin almost scored from forty yards as his dead-ball delivery from the right beat everybody only to bounce wide of the post.
Both sides had dubious penalty claims in the first half, Daniel Campbell was accused of handling the ball while trying to defend a corner while at the other end Bubinel Mazono appeared to be dragged down in the box, referee Ryan Matthews once again was not for moving.
In the forty-second minute Raymond Foy came close with a powerful volley from the edge of the box, the shot had Whelan beaten but couldn’t find its way into the Cabo goal.
Cabinteely came out for the second half with more intent, John McKeown swung in a dangerous free kick early on but nobody could get on the end of it.
Harps responded and Josh Mailey picked up the ball on the right wing and brought it inside before playing an angled ball past the defence in to Wilfred Tagbo who shot from a tight angle straight into Whelan’s hands.
Gerard Pender went on a dangerous run for Cabo bringing the ball down the right wing before playing in McKeown who found himself with space on the edge of the box but his shot was low and straight at Gallagher.
Long balls became more frequent in the last spells of the game as Cabinteely went in search of a goal, Harps sat back and made some promising breaks but failed to create any goal-scoring opportunities.
The referee signalled five minutes of added time and Cabinteely needed every last second of that five minutes before eventually they found their just rewards. Another free kick swung in pin-balled through the area before bouncing to McKeown who managed to flick it back across Gallagher into the left top-corner.
The full-time whistle blew immediately and Stradbrook erupted.
Horgan will be disappointed in his players for leaving McKeown with so much space in the box while Gormley will be happy his side found the never-say-die attitude that evaded them in Wexford.
The result sees Finn Harps remain top of the league by three points while Cabinteely stay in 7th drawing level with Shelbourne and Cobh on points.
Cabinteely: Evan Whelan, Jamie McGlynn, Victor Ekanem, Robert Maloney, Evan Finnegan, Aaron Brilly, John McKeown, Conor Foley (Stephen Hanley 74), Daniel Campbell (Gavin Fahy 89), Gerard Pender, Bobinel Mazono (Ross Broderick 82).
Subs not used: Lloyd Cairns, Jamie Broderick
Booked: Mazono (59), McKeown (68)
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Matt Crossan, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Tommy McMonagle, Josh Mailey, Wilfred Tabgo, Raymond Foy, Gareth Harkin (Regan Donelan 89), Ruairi Keating (Michael Funston 83), Kevin McHugh (Garbhan Friel 63)
Subs not used: Tommy Lee McCarron, Tony McNamee, Darragh Black, Gerard O’Callaghan
Booked: Tabgo (45+1), Cowan (63), Coll (90+2)
Referee: Ray Matthews
Attendance: 500 (estimate)