Colman Stanley reports from Dalymount Park
Bohemians and Shelbourne served up a second half for the ages with the home side coming away with a 3-2 victory at Dalymount Park.
Shels looked to have secured an unlikely victory after they went 2-0 up after 81 minutes, thanks to goals from Ciarán Kilduff and Shane Farrell.
It was not to be however as an incredible last ten minutes played out with Keith Buckley and Danny Mandroiu making it all square, before Mandroiu completed the miracle come back in the 91st minute with a sublime effort.
The game was a possible litmus test for First Division high-flyers Shelbourne, and a chance to see how they might fare next season should they gain promotion.
However, manager Ian Morris did make five changes from their disappointing 90th minute defeat to Cobh Ramblers, as they understandably want to give themselves every chance of winning the league.
The home side made three changes from their 1-0 defeat away to Finn Harps, with Danny Grant, Keith Buckley, and Andy Lyons coming into the side.
The Gypsies were also without captain Derek Pender who was still serving a suspension for his involvement in the fracas at the Belfield Bowl.
Nothing less than a victory would have been deemed acceptable for any Bohs fan after a miserable month where they were defeated by UCD, and last week by Finn Harps.
It was a disappointingly subdued first half for such a derby, with no clear chances coming for either side.
The Gypsies dominated possession in the opening 25 minutes, but Shelbourne were more than capable of soaking up the pressure.
Luke Wade-Slater looked busy up front, trying in vain to give the home fans a cheer, as the voices of the Shels support rang out the loudest.
A game of two halves is usually a cliché but in this case, there is nothing that could some it up better than the age-old phrase.
Andre Wright nearly put Bohs in the lead, but he headed just wide, and soon after Shels missed a sitter.
Jaze Kabia stole the ball off the Bohs defence and laid it off perfectly to Conan Byrne. From 6 yards out, with only the keeper to beat he fired it over.
Three minutes later, substitute Ciaran Kilduff made up for the miss when he gave the underdogs the lead.
A beautiful gliding run into the box by the striker allowed him to slot past James Talbot, who could only get a hand to it.
What came after was ten minutes of solid pressure from the home side and a host of clear cut chances, as the game began its build up to an unbelievable crescendo.
The first chance of this period fell to captain Keith Buckley. He did well to keep his volley down five yards out, but Dean Delany matched it with a brilliant save to tip the ball just over the bar.
Andre Wright then fired a rocket of a shot just over the bar, before Danny Grant had two big chances to put them in front.
He was played in by Danny Mandroiu with a square ball. Delany however was quick to get off his line and block the shot.
From the resulting corner, the Shels defence scrambled to clear their lines and gave the home side a second corner in a matter of seconds.
Again, the ball fell to Grant, this time he was further out. His shot from 25 yards took a huge deflection forcing Delany into an acrobatic flying save as the looping ball headed for goal.
Having survived all of the pressure Shels got a second within minutes as the ball fell nicely to Shane Farrell on the right hand side of the box. Farrell duly delivered a powerful shot into the far top corner, leaving Talbot with no chance.
With all hope seemingly gone, and an embarrassing loss on the cards, Jaze Kabia gave Bohs some faint hope when he was sent off for time wasting in the 83rd minute. Faint hope was all they needed as the captain Buckley stepped up two minutes later to grab one back for the hosts.
The ball came to him in the middle of the park 26 yards out, he picked his spot, and curled an exquisite shot past a host of defenders and Delany. Three minutes later they found, and with some good luck, an equaliser.
Mandroiu’s shot from outside the box was blocked but the deflection took it inches past Delany’s feet and into the net.
Another three minutes passed and this time Mandroiu needed no such luck.
From the same miracle area, in the middle 25-26 yards, Mandroiu took aim. It was a goal for the ages, an elegant curling effort with pinpoint accuracy, just inside the post and right into the top corner.
For a neutral it was magical, for a Bohs fan it probably felt like a dream, and for anyone supporting Shels they probably would have done anything to swap the score for a comfortable 4-0 loss.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Andy Lyons, Darragh Leahy, James Finnerty, Aaron Barry; Luke Wade-Slater, Daniel Mandroiu, Conor Levingston (Keith Ward 63), Keith Buckley; Daniel Grant (Ross Tierney 83), Andre Wright.
Subs not used: Robbie McCourt, Michael Kelly, Ryan Graydon, Michael Barker, Scott Allardice.
Booked: Danny Grant (7), James Finnerty (50), Keith Buckley (50), Daniel Mandroiu (76), James Talbot (90), Andre Wright (90).
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Lorcan Fitzgerald, Luke Byrne, Derek Prendergast; Conan Byrne (Ciarán Kilduff, 60), Oscar Brennan, Daniel McKenna, Sean Quinn, Dayle Rooney (Darragh Noone, 79); Jaze Kabia, Shane Farrell.
Subs not used: Colin McCabe, Aidan Friel, James English, Greg Moorhouse, Alex O'Hanlon.
Booked: Jaze Kabia (68), Oscar Brennan (72).
Sent off: Jaze Kabia (83).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Daniel Mandroiu (Bohemians).