Sligo Rovers maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they saw out a thrilling 3-1 away win against Bohemians on Tuesday evening.
The win ensures Liam Buckley's side remains joint-top of the SSE Airtricity League, level on points with his former clubs Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic.
A series of incredible goals from Jordan Gibson, Mark Byrne and David Cawley were enough to cancel out Liam Burt’s goal of the season contender, and allow Sligo to return west with another valuable three points.
While we are still in the early days of the season, Buckley – who secured European football for the Bit O’ Red last season – may suddenly boast a title-challenging team, with a healthy blend of experience and youth playing his characteristic attractive football both home and away.
Both sides should have had a goal apiece within the opening three minutes following a series of calamitous errors at the back.
Initially, Georgie Kelly found himself one-on-one after intercepting Garry Buckley's clumsy back pass but the striker’s eventual effort was gently struck at Ed McGinty in the visitors’ net.
With a little more composure on show, Sligo would have been 1-0 down, however, just moments later they were nearly in the lead.
This time, it was Bohs’ usually reliable goalkeeper James Talbot who made the mistake.
Channeling his inner Manuel Neuer, the former Ireland youth international surged to the edge of his box to clear the danger of a long ball but completely failed to make a connection with his kick.
Romeo Parkes ran into possession, but Talbot eventually recovered well to smother the ball when Parkes passed to Johnny Kenny at the back post.
Kenny, the 17-year-old who scored the winner against Finn Harps last weekend, nearly got on the scoresheet on the 10th minute when his furiously hit shot rattled the Bohs crossbar.
With the game showing no signs of slowing down, Sligo finally opened the scoring with an incredible team goal on the half-hour mark. Gibson finished the move with a wonderfully hit volley but it was Parkes’ ingenuity that crafted the opportunity.
The former Jamaican international skilfully flicked the ball over the head of Ciaran Kelly on the half-way line before finishing the move by delivering a perfect cross for Gibson to strike home at the back post.
As Bohs wrestled to get back into the first-half, it was 19-year-old Jack Moylan who shined brightest, beating his man and whipping in crosses from the right wing on a couple of occasions. Kelly, however, couldn’t find himself in the right position to finish off either delivery.
Perhaps it was the simultaneous demise of the European Super League or perhaps it was Keith Long’s half-time team talk, but the fan-owned Phibsborough side came out swinging immediately after the break.
The second-half was just a minute old when Liam Burt equalised with a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out.
Just minutes later, Kelly almost had the home side in front from a corner four, but his header flew just wide of the post.
Both sides looked to finally be cooling down mid-way through the second-half as they took off their respective strikers, Parkes and Kelly.
However, Sligo’s substitutes worked to regenerate the visitors with both Byrne and Cawley coming off the bench to find the scoresheet.
With 15 minutes to go, Greg Bolger, the Bit O’ Reds veteran captain, sent a looping ball towards the back of the box which Byrne obligingly controlled and calmly lifted over Talbot into the Bohs net.
Long’s troops pushed forward for an equaliser but their hopes were dashed on the 87th minute when, on the edge of the box, Cawley smashed a wonderful strike into the roof of Talbot’s net.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Rory Feely, Robert Cornwall, Ciaran Kelly, Anthony Breslin; Liam Burt, Conor Levingston (Ali Coote, 80), Jack Moylan Ross Tierney (Keith Ward, 80); Dawson Devoy; Georgie Kelly (Promise Omochere, 72).
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan (Lewis Banks, 86) John Mahon, Garry Buckley; Robbie McCourt; Niall Morahan, Greg Bolger; Romeo Parkes (David Cawley, 73), Walter Figueira (Mark Byrne, 59), Jordan Gibson; Johnny Kenny.
Referee: Neil Doyle.