Dundalk 3-2 Shelbourne
There is nothing ordinary about life around Dundalk these days and a five-goal thriller to kick off Filippo Giovagnoli's reign sits in comfortably with the plot twists.
The Italian faced questions about Giovanni Trapattoni at his unveiling, but the great man would have suffered nightmares about the open nature of this affair. Still, a win is a win, as Dundalk native Steve Staunton once said, and Giovagnoli now has a 100pc Oriel Park record.
After two weeks to properly take stock of the squad at his disposal, the shock appointment left keeper Gary Rogers on the bench here and opted for Aaron McCarey. Sean Gannon stayed amongst the subs with Sean Hoare favoured out of position at right full. Patrick Hoban missed out through injury, and Patrick McEleney was then ruled out after damaging himself in the warm-up.
That was a sign there would be nothing routine about this opening Oriel night. The game then coughed up four goals inside 23 minutes. Dundalk were tuned in at the outset, and a stunner from Michael Duffy when he was invited inside onto his favoured right foot 25 yards from goal broke the deadlock.
Brian Gartland doubled the advantage by nodding home Duffy's corner. This was quickly cancelled out by a Dan Byrne header before Shels levelled in controversial circumstances when ref Paul McLaughlin made the curious decision to punish Gartland when he jostled with ex-Dundalk striker Ciaran Kilduff in the box.
Another former Lilywhite, Poynton, dispatched the spot-kick. There was still three quarters of the game remaining.
And it stayed lively. Dundalk appeared the stronger side, yet Shels actually grew in confidence after their double strike.
From the restart, Dundalk attempted to regain their earlier momentum but their lead goal was helped by ponderous play from Sean Quinn with Greg Sloggett picking his pocket at the edge of the area before firing another thunderbolt beyond the luckless Colin McCabe. They will need to be more disciplined on their European travels.