When Sligo Rovers beat Dundalk 3-1 at Oriel Park on March 19, 2013 in front of 2,054 fans, no-one would have dreamed that this might be a dress rehearsal for a managerial showdown in a major international match.
Yet should the Republic of Ireland overcome Slovakia and Northern Ireland beat Bosnia, they will meet at Windsor Park on November 12 in what would be one of the biggest games in the history of both countries.
The men in charge would be those who managed Rovers and Dundalk that night, Stephen Kenny's appointment as boss of the Republic having been followed last week by Ian Baraclough's assumption of the job in the North.
After Baraclough's initial triumph, Kenny won the three subsequent contests between the pair and this may be a fair reflection of the ability of both men as the Englishman is not perhaps in the same prodigious class as his old Dublin rival.
But he's a good manager whose achievement in steering Sligo Rovers to a first league title for 35 years in 2012 was massively under-rated. Handed the job just weeks before the beginning of a new season after the sudden defection of Paul Cook to Accrington Stanley, Baraclough hit the ground running to such an extent that hot title favourites Shamrock Rovers were panicked into sacking Kenny.
That decision probably changed the course of League of Ireland history. Sligo's decision to sack Baraclough two seasons later was similarly epochal, at least for a club who've never recovered, going from one struggle to another under six different managers in six years.
One reason advanced locally for his dismissal just months after winning the FAI Cup final and finishing third in the league was that Dundalk had finished second and 'a club like Sligo Rovers shouldn't be finishing behind a club like Dundalk'. Time has not been particularly kind to this argument.
They never fully appreciated Baraclough in The Showgrounds, it being an article of faith that he had merely put the finishing touches to a project initiated by Cook, whose sang-froid about summarily deserting the club only seemed to make its fans feel all the more affectionate towards him.
Yet in winning the title Baraclough succeeded where Cook failed and in his time at The Showgrounds got performances out of the likes of Mark Quigley, Danny North, Lee Lynch, Kieran Djilali and Ross Gaynor they never subsequently produced anywhere else.
His stint at Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League was not a success but did include one significant triumph. Facing a relegation play-off against Division One champions Rangers, the Steelmen were regarded as merely incidental to the Ibrox giants' inevitable triumphant return to the top flight.
Instead they scored a 6-1 two-legged victory which showcased Baraclough's greatest strength, an ability to make the optimum tactical adjustments in a big one-off contest. The two finest performances of his Rovers career, a 4-1 win over a Drogheda United team threatening Sligo's lead at the top in the championship season and a 3-0 FAI Cup semi-final victory against Shamrock Rovers the following season, saw him plot a complete dismantling of opposition who'd gone into those games on the crest of a wave.
This ability should stand him in good stead as Northern Ireland manager. It already has as their under 21 boss -his side lost just two games out of 10 in their 2019 European Championship qualifying campaign and scored a memorable 2-1 away win over the Spanish team which went on to win the competition.
Having begun qualifying ranked 49th out of 55 teams after earning just two points from 10 games in the 2017 campaign, the North missed out on a play-off by just two points. Baraclough didn't have the type of talented youngsters which Kenny had available to him, the team which shocked Spain included players from Glenavon, Coleraine, Derry City, Stevenage Borough and Leyton Orient. Star striker Shayne Lavery is currently playing with Linfield.
Best of luck to this most diligent of managers. Just not on November 12 if that League of Ireland old boys reunion takes place.
Sunday Indo Sport