John Egan's superb equaliser for Sheffield United against Burnley epitomised the incredible journey undergone by both player and club.
The goal means Egan has now scored in all four divisions of the English league system. It's a rare achievement in an era when Premier League clubs are more likely to augment their ranks from overseas than from sides further down the pyramid.
These days few players make the same kind of progress as Egan, who just six years ago was playing in League Two for Southend United on loan from Sunderland, who later released him.
Starting his comeback with Gillingham in League One, he progressed to Brentford in the Championship before helping the Blades to promotion last season.
The tendency of clubs to add experienced Premier League personnel on reaching the top flight also militates against a player sampling action in every division. But the Blades decided to stick with the team which had secured promotion.
A relegation struggle seemed on the cards, particularly since their wage bill is the smallest in the Premier League. The entire first-team squad, put together, receive roughly the same as Anthony Martial gets, and less than what Arsenal are paying Mesut Ozil. At £13.1million, the wage bill is around 10 per cent of Spurs' and 20 per cent of Crystal Palace's.
So United's current eighth place in the table, in line for a Europa League spot, makes Chris Wilder's managerial achievement rival that of Jurgen Klopp's. Before the lay-off they even looked like challenging for a Champions League spot before falling away somewhat since the restart. All the same, they remain closer points-wise to Manchester City than they are to the bottom four, two of whom, Watford and Bournemouth, fork out three times as much as the frugal Blades.
The foundation stone for this over-achievement is a defensive record bettered only by Liverpool and Leicester. Central to this have been two Irish internationals, Egan in the centre of defence and Enda Stevens on the left.
Stevens also got to the top the hard way. Having loaned him out to three different clubs, Aston Villa eventually offloaded the Dubliner to League Two side Portsmouth in 2015. Three seasons ago, he was still plying his trade in the bottom division before United snapped him up on a free transfer.
That seems one of the bargains of the decade after a season when Stevens has established himself as one of the Premier League's best left-backs.
The third member of Bramall Lane's Irish brigade has not made the same splash as his defensive team-mates. But though the goals have dried up for David McGoldrick, stats alone do not fully indicate the contribution made by his intelligence and hard work.
The striker remains a fan favourite at the club where he was last season's player of the year. At the age of 32, McGoldrick has already worn the colours of nine clubs, as has the 29-year-old Stevens, while at 27 Egan has played for seven different teams.
You could call them 'The Loan Sharks' as they've accumulated a combined 14 loan spells, while each sampling every division in the league. Such career paths don't usually lead to the top, but theirs have.
The fecklessness which has seen Sunderland slide into League One was exemplified by their axing of Egan. It even looked ill-advised at the time. Made captain by Brentford at the age of just 24, the Corkman has always been a leader.
Yesterday's goal, which keeps United one place ahead of Burnley, was a spectacular example of his ability to make a telling contribution when the team needs a lift. But there have been so many others; crucial interceptions, surges from the back, and blocks inside the area illustrating his absolute fearlessness.
In last week's FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal he also looked to have scored a crucial equaliser only for a team-mate to be given offside.
When the going gets tough John Egan gets going. It's remarkable that yesterday was his first goal of the season as he could have had a hat-trick in the first half with a shot blocked on the line, a header flying just over and a cross barely eluding him at the far post.
John Egan Jnr shares with his famous father and namesake not just exceptional talent but a tendency to be grossly under-rated by others. Perhaps that's due to a family preference for getting the job done with the minimum of fuss.
"It's hard to fathom how John Egan doesn't have more Ireland caps," said Stephen Kenny in April. That he's only made eight international appearances is another sorrowful mystery of Irish soccer. But the Sheffield United trio will surely play a key role under the new Irish manager.
In the first minute yesterday a typically deft McGoldrick flick gave Oli McBurnie a goalscoring opportunity, while in the 90th minute Stevens was still getting forward to force a corner for United as they strove for a winner. The three comeback kids are central to United's fairytale season.
It's hard to believe that six years ago this month Sunderland decided Egan would never be a Premier League player. And 11 months later Aston Villa made the same call about Stevens. It wasn't the players who didn't belong in the Premier League.
Now players and club alike have proved miracles can still happen if you keep the faith. By persevering in the face of rejection and coming through with flying colours, Egan and Stevens in particular have given hope to every Irish youngster who encounters a setback in his cross-channel career.
Team Of The Season?