St Sylvester's produced not one but two stirring comebacks to eventually draw 1-14 apiece with Ballymun Kickhams in their absorbing Dublin Under 16 Football League Division 2 final at Broomfield last Saturday afternoon.
Despite starting in the ascendancy, Syls looked on the back foot for large chunks of the thrilling encounter but their determination, especially in extra-time, ensured another shot at the league title for the Malahide lads.
Given the state of the pitch, there were legitimate concerns that the inspection would not be passed but after consultation with both managers, referee Derek Doran gave his green light and his decision was vindicated with a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout.
It was the hosts that started on the front foot, seizing the initiative from early on and they opened the scoring in the second minute after an excellent score by midfielder Eoin Cooney.
Bryn Redmond doubled that lead four minutes later and with Syls picking up all the breaks against their initially sluggish opponents, that advantage was extended in the 10th minute through a curling effort by the impressive David Moloney that snuck inside the left-hand upright.
Moloney added a free in the 12th minute but gradually Kickhams began to settle into their task and Seán Perkins was denied a goal by the fine reflexes of Seán O'Connor after connecting with Adam Keogh's free at the end of the first quarter.
Keogh finally got Ballymun on the board in the 16th minute and despite St Sylvester's regaining their four-point advantage thanks to Mark McCormack soon after, the visitors finished the half in the ascendancy with points from Keogh and Kenneth Kelly helping to generate momentum.
With the hosts becoming increasingly wasteful in front of goal, Kickhams took the bulk of their chances with Perkins showing great perseverance to find the net in the 25th minute after his first two attempts had been blocked.
Leading by 1-4 to 0-5 at the break, Ballymun looked to extend that lead after the interval and a sublime point from wing-forward Lee Fox suggested the game may be slipping from Syls' grasp.
However, the security offered by Redmond's free-taking ensured the hosts would remain in the hunt and his two frees in addition to an excellent team score from McCormack helped negate scores at the other end from Keogh and Fox.
The game was turned on its head in the 53rd minute as Redmond's fine score from play preceded a well-worked St Sylvester's goal with Redmond's pass receiving the finish it deserved as Daniel Brennan fired an unstoppable shot from 12 yards beyond the sprawling dive of Chris Burke in the away goal.
Despite that concession, the visitors finished strongly, driven on by their talented half-back line of Darragh McArdle, Shane Leahy and Ryan Kelly and they restored parity in the 60th minute thanks to an excellent point on the turn by Leahy.
Despite losing corner-back Seán Tuke to two innocuous-looking bookings, Ballymun almost snatched in injury time but Darragh Conlon's close range effort was blocked by O'Connor in a nerve-jangling finale.
To their credit, Ballymun resumed in a dominant manner in extra-time and they looked to have built an impregnable lead as they pushed four points clear thanks to scores by Brian Ashton, Conor Fox and a brace by Keogh.
However, given the meandering nature of the tie, it was of scant surprise to see Sylvester's bounce back with Redmond landing three frees to keep his side's feint hopes alive.
The input from the home bench proved telling in the final passages of play and after Brennan had left just a point between the sides, Redmond ensured the most equitable conclusion as he converted his seventh free of the afternoon with darkness descending on the Malahide venue.
Scorers - St Sylvester's: B Redmond 0-8 (7f); D Brennan 1-1; D Moloney (1f), M McCormack 0-2 each; E Cooney 0-1. Ballymun Kickhams: A Keogh 0-7 (6f); S Perkins 1-0; L Fox, C Fox 0-2 each; K Kelly, B Ashton, S Leahy 0-1 each.
St Sylvester's: S O'Connor; N McCann, C Doyle, E McLoughney; M Sheridan, M Meaney, D Moloney; M McCormack, E Cooney; P Ryan, B Redmond, P Grehan; J Kennedy, S Finnerty, D Murphy. Subs: D Brennan for Grehan (27), D Danaher for Murphy (37), M Dowling for Kennedy and L Cassidy for Doyle (60), S Meehan for Sheridan (65), L Troy for Finnerty (69).
Ballymun Kickhams: C Burke; S Tuke, E Comerford, C Cullen; R Kelly, S Leahy, D McArdle; B Ashton, D Conlon; K Kelly, C Fox, L Fox; A Keogh, S Perkins, T McCaul. Subs: C McCormack for Kelly (59), E Hill for Tuke (61).
Mentors - St Sylvester's: Declan Barnes, Pádraig McCarthy, Rod Fitzpatrick. Ballymun Kickhams: Anthony McCaul, Paul Ashton, Declan Conlon.
Referee: Derek Doran (St Colmcille's).
Wides - St Sylvester's: 11 (7+2+2); Ballymun Kickhams: 8 (4+3+1).
Conditions: Sticky pitch but a dry afternoon nonetheless.
Player of the Game: Bryn Sheridan (St Sylvester's).