Monaghan United gave Airtricity League Premier Division champions Shamrock Rovers a hell of a scare as they took an early lead in Tallaght before succumbing to a second-half comeback.
Willo McDonagh put the visitors ahead as he expertly headed home Darragh Reynor’s floated free kick after just four minutes.
United were full value for their lead at the interval but Rovers showed their champions credentials with two bolts from the blue within the space of six minutes either side of the hour mark.
Killian Brennan – brother of recent Mons Ryan and Sean – produced a fabulous finessed flicked finish from a Billy Dennehy corner. Then, after 62 minutes, Dennehy smashed home a stunning half-volley to overturn the lead.
United were reduced to ten men when Reynor received a harsh second yellow. Substitute Aaron Greene added a third deep into injury time to give the scoreline a flattering gloss for the Hoops.
But United showed that, but for top-drawer finishes, they can match the best in the division even with a depleted team.
Monaghan United: Bennion, Stephen Maher, Reynor, McMahon, Byrne, Isichei, McDonagh, Quinn, Griffiths, Humphrey, Keegan