A crazy three-minute spell just past the half hour mark proved decisive in settling the Presidentís Cup clash between Dundalk and St Patrickís Athletic at Oriel Park on Saturday afternoon as the Lilywhites claimed the trophy.
After a quiet opening, the affair exploded into life in the 35th minute when Chris Forrester put the visitors ahead.
However the game was completely turned on its head as Daryl Horganís blockbuster pulled Dundalk level just seconds after the restart before Richie Towell guided home what proved to be the winner 60 seconds later.
With the new SSE Airtricity League season just six days away, both managers used the occasion to name their strongest possible team.
Dundalk, with captain Stephen OíDonnell their only absentee, lined up with Chris Shields, Ronan Finn and Richie Towell as their midfield three with David McMillan, who has inherited the departed Patrick Hobanís number nine shirt this season, leading the line.
Patís, who face Shamrock Rovers in their first league game, also named a star studded line up with last seasonís top scorer and FAI Cup final hero, Christy Fagan in attack. Ian Bermingham, making his 200th appearance for the Saints, was named as captain for the day. Kenny Browne (thigh) and Ger OíBrien (hamstring) missed out.
Nine minutes had elapsed before the first half chance arrived. Daryl Horganís clipped free-kick from the left was met by a glancing header by McMillan but it drifted just wide.
Dundalk pushed again five minutes later. Richie Towell broke well on the left flank and cut the ball back for Ronan Finn who saw his effort blocked, Chris Shields fired over with the follow up.
Patís improved and looked sharper in possession, shifting the ball quickly around the park in comparison to the hosts. And it was a careless moment from Dundalk that almost let the Saints in for the opener.
Shields presented the ball straight to Fagan, 25-yards from goal. The Patís striker slipped Conan Byrne in behind the Dundalk backline, but Gary Rogers was quick to get off his line, blocking Byrneís effort with his body.
The game began to open up and Dundalk should have went ahead on the half hour mark.
Finn hustled Killian Brennan, 25-yards from goal and when Jason McGuinness stopped Horgan, inadvertently diverting the ball into McMillanís path, it took a great stop from Brendan Clarke to keep the game scoreless.
A great move down the Dundalk left led to the deadlock being broken in the 35th minute. Killian Brennan put Conan Byrne into a dangerous position inside the Lilywhites penalty area and his ball across goal was tapped home by the incoming Chris Forrester.
The game had barely restarted before Dundalk were level. Finn again pressed the Patís backline, forcing Jason McGuinness into an error and Daryl Horgan punished him, rifling a blistering 20-yard volley into the top left hand corner of Clarkeís goal.
The goals continued to rain down as Dundalk pulled ahead to cap a crazy three minute spell. Finn was again involved, his cross from the left evading a host of bodies, before falling kindly for Richie Towell to guide home.
Dundalk took that lead into the break although James Chambers was desperately unlucky to see a powerful effort curl just wide before the interval.
The game failed to come to life in the second-half with both sides struggling to get any sort of fluency into their respective games.
It was the league champions who looked the most likely to add to the scoreline and Towell should have done better than blaze over in the 67th minute when he was teed up by John Mountney just inside the penalty area.
Mountney created that opportunity by picking the pocket of Bermingham on the right and Patís were almost caught overdoing it again minutes later. Kilian Brennan gave it away but Horganís deflected, curling effort drifted just past the post. Ronan Finn then cracked an effort just over the top.
Buckley reacted by introducing Ciaran Kilduff to partner Fagan up front but Patís offered little with a Darragh Markey effort in injury time being their only attempt of note in the second-half as Dundalk comfortably saw the game out to add the Presidentís Cup to the SSE Airtricity League and EA Sports Cup trophies that they collected in 2014.