Brandon Miele scored a sensational hat-trick against his former side Bluebell United as Shamrock Rovers advanced to the FAI Cup semi-finals with an emphatic 4-2 win in Tallaght Stadium.
The Tallaght native spent time with the Leinster Senior League outfitafter returning from Newcastle United in 2014 and wasted little time showing manger Andy Noonan what he was missing.
Miele netted twice in the first half, either side of a Gary Seery equaliser, and capped off the win late on following a third from Ryan Connolly and a Lee Grace own goal.
The Tallaght side made all the early running and registered the first shot in anger within a minute of kick-off, Simon Madden shooting the ball over after his initial cross was blocked.
The best chance of the opening exchanges fell to the amateur side, who gave a good account throughout, but new signing Aaron Robinson could only shoot straight at Tomer Chencinski.
Rovers were enjoying plenty of the ball in the opposition box, however, and 17-year-old Aaron Bolger was next to try his luck from distance, Glenn Walsh heading his goalbound shot behind.
The Hoops broke the deadlock a minute later as Miele was, for once, allowed space in the Bluebell third and he exacted maximum return, smashing his shot into the top corner of Andy McNulty's net.
That lead was to last just two minutes, and it was an equally classy finish from Gary Seery, who crept in front of Trevor Clarke to steer home ex-Hoops Dean Ebbe's cross with the outside of his right boot.
Normal service resumed thereafter as Michael O'Connor showed skill but not quite the finish on the edge of the box, while Connolly could have done better to turn Miele's lofted pass on goal.
And former Bohemians goalkeeper McNulty – who played in the Gypsies' infamous 4-0 drubbing under Stephen Kenny in 2012 – was in fine form to deny David McAllister.
The former Sheffield United man picked the ball up 30 yards out and his firmly-struck effort took a wicked deflection that was dipping under the bar before McNulty spectacularly turned it over.
The reprieve was shortlived as, five minutes before the break, Miele exchanged passes with Connolly on the left-wing, cut inside and sent a furious shot looping over the helpless McNulty.
The Bell had the better of the play early in the second half but they were stung by Rovers' third after six minutes of the second period.
Miele was creator this time, picking out Connolly near the penalty spot and the former Galway United man turned and picked his spot in the bottom corner – McNulty, again, had no chance.
Bluebell weren't finished yet, though, and they pulled one back 18 minutes from time as sub Richie O'Hanlon's cross was turned into his own net by Grace under pressure from Shane Stritch.
However they imploded two minutes later as captain Anthony Griffiths was shown a second yellow card when he stood on Simon Madden after fouling the Rovers full-back.
And Miele completed his hat-trick shortly after as Clarke danced into the box, stayed on his feet despite being clipped by Karl Russell, and teed up the winger for a well-taken third.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Trevor Clarke; David McAllister, Aaron Bolger, Ryan Connolly (Dean Dillon 82), Brandon Miele, Cameron King (James Doona 69); Michael O'Connor (Darren Clarke 82).
Bluebell United: Andy McNulty; Karl Russell, Jeff Flood, Glenn Walsh, Keith Quinn; Aaron Robinson (Robert Bayly 60), Dave Scully (Richard O'Hanlon 64), Anthony Griffiths, Dean Ebbe, Gary Seery (Jordan Keegan 81); Shane Stritch.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).