On a night in Antalya when Ireland welcomed their captain back and the game was settled by a single goal from Turkey's captain Mehmet Topal, it is possible we saw the first strides in green of a future Irish leader.
Martin O'Neill gave game time to 17 players but Declan Rice stood out above all others.
Five minutes to play and the teenager who started in a back three was well into a fine cameo at centre midfield. As he played a short pass and had it returned to him, circling quickly to evade a tackle before playing the ball wide to Daryl Horgan, you were briefly reminded of Wes Hoolahan.
Composed, balanced and composed in possession - Rice was the man of the match on the shores of the Mediterranean as the new era began with a narrow defeat to a side who secured their first win in five.
Along with Scott Hogan, the 19-tear-old was handed his debut for the Republic of Ireland as O'Neill returned to a 3-5-2 formation, including just three of the men who started the second leg of the disastrous World Cup play-off against Denmark in November - Shane Duffy, Jeff Hendrick and James McClean.
It may have lacked the spark of Bursa in 1999, but the voluble Antalya crowd still enjoyed the early stages as Turkey dominated possession and peppered the Irish goal with speculative efforts from distance.
Like a boxer staying outside of range, O'Neill's side avoided significant damage and should have floored their opponents with a sucker punch when Hogan missed the best chance of the half.
Turkey, looking to bounce back from a poor World Cup qualifying campaign where they finished fourth in a group behind Iceland, Croatia and Ukraine, started the brighter on home soil and Emre Akbaba had a powerful shot well blocked by Shane Duffy after a spell of possession, with the vociferous home crowd cheering every pass.
Ireland's experimental back three of Duffy, Declan Rice and Kevin Long saw plenty of early action - Hasan Ali Kaldirim shooting well over after Long's clearing header did not have sufficient purchase.
Ten minutes in and it was Calhanoglu belting one over from distance.
Eventually, the crowd were silenced as the speculative efforts dried up and Ireland slowly worked their way into the game, the back-three working the ball out via wing-backs Seamus Coleman and McClean, with Jeff Hendrick working hard alongside his inexperienced midfield partners.
Out of nothing, Hendrick brilliantly unlocked the Turkish defence on 18 minutes, splitting the rearguard with a curled through ball that set debutant Scott Hogan clear on goal. The Aston Villa striker's first touch was heavy and took him too wide of the onrushing goalkeeper, his left-foot shot from a narrow angle could only find the side netting.
That missed chance seemed to take the wind out of the briefly unfurled Irish sails and things became disjointed in midfield, passes not sticking, and Seanie Maguire and Hogan looking more isolated up top.
Everton's new signing Cenk Tosun brought the best out of Doyle in the 28th minute. Again there was too much time on the edge of the area and the striker drilled a low left-foot shot that the Bradford stopper did well to stop, getting down low to his left to parry and gather.
Duffy and Doyle survived a mix-up moments later when full-back Gokhan Gonul whipped in a cross from the right. Despite a late shout from Doyle, the diving Duffy glanced a header that could have ended in the net but instead went across the face of goal, between keeper and post and out for a corner.
After that scare Doyle, making his first international appearance in well over a decade, must have been delighted when Yusuf Yazıcı curled an effort towards goal that he could comfortably catch.
Volkan Babcan in the Turkish goal, aside from Hogan's chance, had a quiet first half. McClean, minutes after a very unfriendly, McClean-like tackle, got a flick on a Conor Hourihane free-kick that reached the Turkish keeper without threatening his goal.
There were half-hearted shouts for a penalty when Maguire was taken down on the edge of the penalty area, but Slovenian referee Slavko Vinčić did not even award a free-kick.
The second half almost opened with a goal for the home side, a corner was whipped across goal and no one in the Irish defence reacted quickly enough to prevent Caglar Soyuncu shooting from two yards out. Thankfully, the defender hoisted the ball over the bar.
Industrious running down the channels from Preston's in-form Maguire earned Ireland a corner in reply, which came to nothing and moments later Turkey were ahead.
Another corner spelled disaster. With 52 minutes on the clock Hakan Calhanoglu played it short to Yusuf Yazici, who whipped in a left foot cross and Topal lost his marker, McClean, at the front post to volley a tidy left foot shot past Doyle.
Ireland had a few glimmers of hope. A McClean cross-cum-shot from the edge of the area that cannoned off a Turkish leg, a free-kick from Hourihane that caused a degree of chaos int he defence, but Ireland looked toothless in attack.
Cue Shane Long and Matt Doherty - the latter coming on for captain Coleman, who handed the armband to Duffy as he walked off the field, 364 days after being carried off in his last international appearance.
Doyle was called into action again - once more getting down sharply to his left to smother a shot from AC Milan's Calhanoglu.
The introduction of David Meyler and Ciaran Clark for Alan Browne and Hourihane saw Rice move into midfield, a position he has played with some success for the Under-21s.
The West Ham teenager was immediately linking passes and played a neat one-two with Hendrick - not cowed on his international debut, Rice was impressively composed and assured.
Daryl Horgan replaced Hogan and, as is always the way, the introduction of a host of substitutes thieved any hint of coherence from a match that never entirely caught light with the starting 22 on the pitch.
Horgan was lively however and broke down the left before cutting inside and whipping in a right-foot cross that was only inches beyond Long's head.
But on a night of little major incident and the most slender of defeats, there was a grain of comfort to be taken from Rice.
Turkey (4-2-3-1): Babacan; Gonul, Aziz (Ayhan 82), Soyuncu, Kaldırım; Topal (c), Yokuşlu; Yazıcı (Potuk 87), Calhanoglu (Kahveci 80); Akbaba (Malli 69); Tosun (Unal 65).
Booked: Soyuncu (90)
Republic of Ireland (3-5-2): Doyle; Duffy, Rice, K Long; Coleman (c) (Doherty 63), Hourihane (Clark 68), Browne (Meyler 68), Hendrick (Judge 80), McClean; Hogan (Horgan 75), Maguire (Long 62)
Booked: Browne (45), Meyler (81)