The Supersaints of Inchicore produced a sensational performance in a cracking FAI Carlsberg Cup semi-final replay at Richmond Park on Wednesday night, with youth international Keith Fahey playing a key part in three of his side's four goals.
The Saints came took the lead after just a minute, came from behind late on to force the game to extra-time, took command with two goals in the first eight minutes of the supplementary half-hour and had to withstand a late siege as Bohs pressed for the goal that would have taken the tie to a penalty shoot-out.
To think that these two sides are set to return to action for potentially crucial league ties tomorrow evening beggars belief, particularly given the standard of entertainment they gave to a near capacity crowd at Richmond â€“ never mind the television viewers, who were treated to an epic encounter from their armchairs.
Keith Fahey, who is eligible for selection for the Irish squad for the World Youth Cup finals this winter, did his chances of being included no harm at all with some key moments in the game.
It was from his perfectly flighted free kick that the Saints took the lead inside 70 seconds, the 78th minute equaliser had Fahey's corner at its heart, and he came up with what turned out to be the winner when scoring direct from another free in extra-time.
Despite picking 13 current under-20s in his under-21 squad for this week's European game in Switzerland, Don Givens opted to overlook Fahey. It is doubtful whether Gerry Smith, the manager of the under-20 side, can do likewise when he names his squad in a month's time.
The tie began as it would go on when, just outside the angle of the Bohs area, Gary McPhee got the better of Colin Hawkins, restored to the Gypsies' line-up after serving a one-match suspension. Hawkins tugged at the Northern Irishman's shirt and referee Paul McKeon gave the free; another few inches and it could well have been a penalty.
Fahey stepped up to whip the ball into the area, where it took a deflection off a head and whizzed into Seamus Kelly's top left corner. Pats defender Darragh Maguire got the congratulations, although replays showed that the final touch belonged to Bohemians centre half Ken Oman.
Pats were lively in attack for the next ten minutes, with the midfield quartet of Charles Mbabazi Livingstone, Paul Osam, Davy Byrne and Fahey all able to get decent ball to the forwards, McPhee and Tony Bird, who kept the visiting rearguard on its toes.
But Bohs found a foothold and equalised with a sensational Thomas Heary strike after just 15 minutes. The former Huddersfield man, who has played most of his football with Bohs this season at centre half, was named in midfield in place of the suspended captain Kevin Hunt, and he advanced onto a weak clearance to slam a half-volley past Chris Adamson in the Saints goal from 30 yards. In the face of such a perfectly executed and powerful low drive, Adamson had little chance.
The game ebbed and flowed for half an hour without a further breakthrough before half-time. Bohs, however, looked the more dangerous side, with Glenn Crowe producing a weak finish when offered a clear sight on goal, Robbie Doyle missing a couple of half-chances, and Adamson pulling off an excellent double-save to deny Fergal Harkin and Dave Morrison.
In the 68th minute, Doyle made amends for a couple of his earlier fluffed chances when holding off substitute Clive Delaney to power the ball past Adamson for the lead goal. Colm Foley had completely missed a chance to head the ball clear immediately prior to that, and Doyle accepted the chance with glee.
Twelve minutes from the end, it was level, Delaney â€“ beaten to the punch for Doyle's goal â€“ atoning for that with a header from Fahey's well-taken corner. Doyle on the goal-line attempted to clear but could not prevent Delaney's header from crossing the line.
Into extra-time, and as they had done in normal time, Pats took the lead inside a minute. Again it was an own goal, this time Hawkins diverting Tony Bird's low cross past former Pats favourite Kelly to the delighted of the home fans.
Seven minutes later, the destination of the tie appeared beyond doubt, when Fahey stepped up to curl a brilliant effort to the top scorer with Kelly looking on helplessly.
Barely 90 seconds later, however, Damien Lynch stooped to head home from three yards at the other end to set up a final 20 minutes to savour.
Substitutes Bobby Ryan, Paul Keegan and Irish under-19 international Stephen Ward all tried to force a dramatic equaliser for Bohs, but Pats held firm to hold out for a final meeting with Longford Town in less than three weeks time.