Vincent Hogan: Echoes of an angry past in 'derby' stalemate
Michael Obafemi could become anything or nothing as a footballer, yet the possibilities around him all but overtook an evening compressing all the awkward energies that still cast shadow on this complex island.
Perhaps wisely, maxbet Martin O'Neill chose not to toss the 18-year-old Southampton prospect into what was a largely angry Dublin maelstrom, the two Irelands going after one another with all the refinement of short-sighted Jack Russells. It wasn't a night for hope here. Rather a bankrupt exchange between mostly journeymen footballers committed to little more than grazing one another's shins.
What local giddiness could be discerned came from Obafemi's pre-match Tweet, maxbet depicting him in an Irish shirt with the caption "All in" and emojis of a tricolour and shamrock. It followed a statement from his representatives declaring him "100pc committed" to Ireland in spite of reputed interest from England and Nigeria.
Obafemi, born in Dublin to Nigerian parents, made his Premier League debut against Spurs last January, aged just 17 years and 199 days. Only Luke Shaw has played top-level football for the club sooner.
And maybe this is where maxbet we are with Irish football. A quarter of a century on from the most famous meeting between us, an unused teenage striker - with just two senior club appearances to his name - becoming the story of the evening.
The anniversary aspect to the night had a peculiar dimension. Because we were celebrating the anniversary of something rotten. Of a game contaminated with levels of division and sectarianism that lent that night 25 years back a putrid beat.