Kildare County FC suffered their first ever defeat on Tuesday night as they fell 2-0 to Premier Division stars Bohemians in an absorbing pre-season friendly at Kildare Town.
Dermot Keely's thoroughbreds put on a top notch display to thwart Bohs but ultimately paid the price for making nine second half substitutions.
"I was very impressed by Kildare, I think Dermot has gathered a squad together that will surprise a few people in the First Division this season," said Bohemians boss Stephen Kenny.
County had defended resolutely against the Dubliners, who had all but three of their first choice squad available - including new signings Paul Keegan, Derek Coughlan, Paul McNally, Ashley Bayes and Damian Lynch.
Kildare left out some of the heroes of Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bray Wanderers, including exciting strikers Philip Gorman and Shay Zellor and midfield powerhouse Ben Whelehan.
"It was an excellent night's work," said Keely afterwards. "I wanted to have a look at the depth in my squad and some of our younger guys were quite impressive."
Kildare had keeper Fred Davis to thank for preventing Paul Keegan putting Bohs ahead on the hour but for the first 60 minutes it was very much honours even.
Bohemians finally took the lead in the 65th minute after the home side began to make wholesale changes - 6'5" defender Derek Coughlan poking home after Stephen Caffrey headed down from a deep Dave Morrison corner.
The introduction of former Newbridge Town winger Alan Kelly gave the County attack real zest and he worked well to set up Ray Scully for a 25 yard drive that Bohs keeper Ashley Bayes saved well.
Bohs extended their lead in cruel fashion ten minutes from time, Simon Webb's long range effort taking a dreadful deflection before flying past impressive County sub keeper Tadgh Murphy.
Former Celtic striker David Murphy of Monsterevin was unfortunate not to have a debut goal to his name in injury time after he shot home from five yards - keeper Bayes had apparently been fouled.
KILDARE COUNTY - Fred Davis; Damian Brennan, James O'Callaghan, Gavin Dykes, Damian Maher, Mark Revins, Barry Burke, Cathal O'Connor, Gavin Doyle, Keith O'Connor, John Ryan. Subs: Alan Kelly, Tadgh Murphy, Ray Scully, Derek Griffin & David Murphy for Doyle, Davis, C O'Connor, Maher & K O'Connor 60 mins; Ray Coleman, Eoin Hetherington, Cormac Ryan & Glen Brien for O'Callaghan, Burke, Brennan & Ryan 75 mins.
BOHEMIANS - Bayes; Oman, Webb, McNally, Coughlan, Ryan, Lynch, Caffrey, Morrison, Keegan, Crowe. Subs - McGuinness & Mooney for McNally & Oman 70 mins; Cooney for Keegan 80 mins.
Ref: M Maloney (Kildare).