Stephen Bradley praised the performance of Jack Byrne after his late goal clinched a thrilling 3-2 win for Shamrock Rovers against title rivals Dundalk.
Byrne curled a stunning left-footed strike into the net with seven minutes remaining as Rovers came from behind to stun the defending SSE Airtricity League Premier Division champions at Tallaght Stadium.
"When you look at how hard he worked, he showed unbelievable fitness levels," said Rovers boss Bradley of Byrne.
"He works so hard for his team-mates and then he comes up with that bit of quality. Thirty yards out, left or right foot, he's hitting the target nine times out of ten. Thankfully tonight it went in."
Friday’s dramatic victory was Shamrock Rovers’ second in succession over Dundalk, having beaten them on penalties in the FAI Cup final last November.
Bradley says that shootout success has instilled confidence in his players and they are eager to win more silverware.
"When you win a big competition it gives you that belief, that bit of cockiness and confidence," he said.
"They’ve come back in super shape, really fit and strong, and they’re hungry. They had a taste (of success) in November and they want more."
Bradley's counterpart Vinny Perth was disappointed failed to close the game over when 2-1 up midway through the second half.
Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Dundalk - Wow! Jordan Flores scores a goal of the season contender to level things at Tallaght. You'll be watching this goal for years to come. #rtesocer pic.twitter.com/tIhtCrKfml— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 28, 2020
Patrick Hoban’s 61st-minute strike put Dundalk in front for the first time but they conceded two goals in 12 minutes as Rovers ended their 100% start.
"They showed a little bit of quality with Jack Byrne’s finish so it’s gone against us," said Perth.
"There was very little between the two sides. We didn’t start well, the goal unsettled us, but we got going and should have gone in (at half-time) in front.
"Ultimately we’re very disappointed. Fine margins decide these big games.
"It’s very unlike us to lose from that situation. To concede from a corner isn’t like us, we work so hard on them, and then ultimately that big of magic won the game for them."
A five-goal thriller between @ShamrockRovers and @DundalkFC in Tallaght as the Hoops moved clear at the top of the table - including that @JordanFlores199 screamer & a @jackb_8 belter. pic.twitter.com/j9SSzGs50d— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 29, 2020