St Kevin’s Boys manager Stephen Costello hailed the impact of supersub Yuki Saito as he netted twice in extra time to set the Saints on their way to the FAI Intermediate Cup quarter-finals.
Luke Ingram scored a hat-trick, while strikers Stephen Cantwell and Jordan Farry were also on target as the Saints cut loose with five extra-time goals to seal the win.
Their celebrations looked unlikely as normal time drew to a close with Verona 2-1 up, thanks to goals from Christy Clarke and Ben Bosze either side of Cantwell’s penalty.
As they did in the first game at Coolmine Park, which finished 2-2, Kevin’s showed character to battle back and secure a late equaliser through man-of-the-match Ingram.
The win sets up a quarter-final meeting with Senior Sunday leaders St Mochta’s, a side three divisions above the Whitehall side but who will hold no fear given recent results.
“Yuki is over on a student exchange type of thing and we were waiting for his international clearance so he couldn’t actually play until the transfer window opened,” Cantwell told Dublin Gazette.
“He played with the Saturday team the week before and impressed, and you can tell the bit of quality he has. Hopefully it’ll hold him in good stead for the next couple of months while he’s here.
“The lads showed good character to come from behind twice. Getting two last minute goals between the two games, you’d have to be pleased with that.
“They were two good goals, by the way, well-worked goals, especially the one on Friday night. You could have forgiven in the last couple of minutes of the game going more direct but, credit to the lads, they stuck to the gameplan, kept doing the right things and got their just rewards.”
Kevin’s predictably dominated possession and made most of the early running against a well-organised Verona side content to play on the break.
Cantwell was twice denied early on with incisive breaks off the wing, seeing one shot blocked and another excellently saved by the outstanding Stephen Daly.
It was Verona who took the lead moments before the break following a swift counter-attack that finished with Clarke burying a shot from inside the box.
The Saints were level within a minute, however, as they were awarded a penalty and Cantwell made no mistake from the spot.
Chances were at a premium in the second half as the wind became more of a factor, but it was Verona who hit the front once more through a well-worked Bosze goal.
Once again, the Saints continued to plug away and they got the goal they deserved as Ingram got on the end of a slick passing move to bundle home.
Two goals in four minutes, and two fine finishes, from exchange student Saito turned the tie on its head in injury time moments after Eoin Clarke had headed over the bar.
Ingram added a fifth before the break and completed his hat-trick shortly after, before Farry finished off another fine move to make it 7-2.