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Part Zero

Why are we here………

Lets get the philosophy out of the way first 🙂 I’ve been playing CM/FM since CM 97/98. If you love football you’ve most probably come into contact with the series at some point. Over the last couple of years I’ve really gotten back into regular game-play, mostly because I came across a few YouTube Creators playing FM18. They were:

https://www.youtube.com/user/DoctorBenjyFM/ – Ben’s Thames series was a major influence, very well put together and he tells a story really well. https://www.youtube.com/user/SecondYellowCard/ – Matt’s B67 series was brilliant from the gameplay aspect – the possibility of taking a team from Greenland as far as he did was amazing.

So I decided to have a go myself – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC49CuCMPebNZZh6PBlE1mrQ – With a couple of lower league saves, Guernsey in the English Football Pyramid and a resurrected Vulkan Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in the Russian Football Pyramid.

Both suffered from being remote geographically, and as such I struggled with promotions due to not really being able to get the quality of players needed to move on and upwards. At the end of the day I got bored and stopped enjoying it.

Before that however I had hearkened upon another couple of creators in FM19, one of whom is doing a couple of amazing saves currently, and one who has a semi-fictional league and is doing a really strong play-through.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3wJqf60YbC6jzAfPRm2ig – Loki Doki (Jon) has both a superb lower league to legend going on with Fort William and a brilliant Journeyman that started in Luxembourg and is currently in Italy. He is definitely one of the best creators I’ve seen.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN0EpFqPAwCsEMygWV1qy8A – FMTahiti (Pelham) started a semi-fictional French Polynesian save with the Humpbacks of Rurutu about the same time as I started my save with Guernsey, and he has told a very interesting story. He also did a few pieces on something that is also near an d dear to me – Data Analysis.

My day job is as a SQL & Business Intelligence Developer – Basically creating databases, moving data around/between databases and designing reporting from data on databases. Pelham’s work got me thinking about how I could get data out of FM, into a database so I could start working with it so I could be better informed about the team I was managing.

So I started thinking about a blog format – Where I can go into much more depth in telling a story than I ever can in Youtube – around a Journeyman save (Never done one before and after watching Loki Doki its something that really appeals) incorporating ways and means of getting data out of FM19 and using it (Thanks Pelham). And that’s why we are here.

Ladies and/or gentleman – I present to you, my FM Journeys.

Arsenal Part 1 – #FM20 OS8 C2 S4 – Part 73 – Dundalk – February 2026

The Emirates Stadium, London – Capacity 60,704

Welcome back for the start of the 2026 season here in Louth. And it’s a quick start. Even-Numbered years give Irish clubs the added problem of not being able to play for a month from early June.

Just the 2 Premier Division games, a couple of cup, one the Irish equivalent of the Community Shield and the biggie, the trip to London N7 to play Arsenal in the UCL 1st Knockout Round 1st Leg.

We start straight away – New-boys Athlone at theirs.

13th February 2026 – Athlone Town (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Athlone Town 0 Dundalk 2 (McGarvey 16, O’Malley 30) Att 623 (365 Away)

The two richest teams in the league play this evening. German sugar-daddy Marvin Schneider pumping in the money. They are 7th in the IPD Season Preview. I’ve only got 3 non-newgens in my starting eleven this evening. We have a few chances early and open our account for the season in the 16th minute, Captain Colin McGarvey with a smart finish after being played in by Stevie Moore – a lovely little 9-iron over the top. We make it 2-0 in the 30th minute, a lovely move down the left, started by Dallas, Astler striding down the wing, playing Connolly on, who took the ball to the byline, swinging in a sumptuous cross for Steven O’Malley to head in across the Keeper. Astler twisted his knee in the build up, Seddon on. 2-0 at the break. Just coming up to 60 minutes Tommy Collins pulls up lame with a tight groin… A bit disjointed, but we were very much on top. It finishes 2-0.

Aidan Hamilton scores for Cork as they join us on the top of the table. Shamrock drop 3 points straight away, losing at home to Shelbourne.

Season Ticket sales up to 2,600, 115 more than last season.

We have a couple of the lads going to Waterford on loan for the season – Jim Collins & Martin Kenny.

And we had 5 players in the IPD Team of the Week.

18yo Adam Kelly (36 scout rating) has joined Derry City.

17th February 2026 – Longford (H) – Leinster Senior Cup 4th Rnd

FT Dundalk 3 (Kelly 24, 59, Burrows 29) Longford 1 (Cawley 68) Att 2,779 (60 Away)

We face newly-relegated Longford tonight in the Leinster Senior Cup. As expected its all Dundalk, but somehow they keep us out until the 24th minute – a smart Kelly finish from a beautiful Hanna through ball. Matty Burrows gets the 2nd 5 minutes later – a good header from a Duffy corner. 2-0 at the break. Jordan gets his second just before the hour – a good header from a Seddon free kick. A defensive rick lets Cawley in to make it 3-1 with 20 minutes left. It finished 3-1 – still need a bit of Cohesion back I think.

Fisrt UCL 1st Knockout Round games – Schalke with a great win over Juve. Leipzig and PSG in the balance.

Cork the only team with 2 wins after beating Shelbourne. Shamrock 1 point out of 6 and Derry 2 after their draw, Shamrock rescuing a point 4 minutes into stoppage time. Limerick hold St. Pat’s. Shamrock for us next in the President’s Cup.

All good for the English sides in the 2nd set of UCL 1st Knockout Round 1st Legs.

Never had this before…

We’ve had the League Cup 1st Round Draw.

Away to non-league Cockhill (Donegal).

20th February 2026 – Shamrock Rovers (H) – President’s Cup Final

FT Dundalk 1 (Duffy pen 71) Shamrock Rovers 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

We have a strong side out this evening for the Irish version of the Community Shield versus a Shamrock side who have not started their season well. They are without their best player, Andrew Moore, who is injured for a couple of weeks. And Shamrock start with some tired players. Dundalk on top early, just lacking a bit of quality. Plus The Shamrock Keeper has made some really smart saves. 0-0 at half time. 13 shots on target… The second half starts in the same vein, and it takes until the 71st minute for a (possible) breakthrough. Penalty Dundalk, Ngoy pushed in the box by McKiernan. Duffy takes… 1-0, Keeper goes the wrong way. We have absolutely battered them today, and only a penalty splits us. We finish 1-0 winners – another piece of silverware.

Finn Harps move into 3rd with a good point versus Waterford.

St. Pats and Athlone both knocked out by non-league teams in the Leinster Senior Cup 4th Round. Wexford get through a day later v Killester.

Vetle Dahl has gone out to Aalesund in the Norwegian First Division for the season.

Our U19’s beat Letterkenny 5-1 – goals from Chris McCabe, Brian Stapleton, Tommy Carlin, Tim Foulkes and Gerry O’Halloran.

We’ve had the Quarter Final draw for the Leinster Senior Cup.

Away to First Division Wexford.

Limerick get their first win of the season versus Finn Harps.

Milan with a big win versus Man Utd on the Tuesday night UCL 1st Round Knockouts – we travel to London for our 1st leg with Arsenal tomorrow.

25th Feb 2026 – Arsenal (ENG) (A) – UCL 1st Knockout Round 1st Leg

FT Arsenal 4 (Tal 34, 45+2, Pen 71, Carmo 53) Dundalk 0 Att 57,722 (311 Away)

Arsenal sit 3rd i the Premier League currently, and don’t lose too often. This will be tough – hoping we can get them back to Fortress Tallaght with a chance. That said, we’ve beaten Lazio twice, Dortmund and drawn with Barcelona and have strengthened. We need the big match boys to step up once again. 2 minutes, Tommy Collins injured – potential thigh injury. Bollocks. Jordan Kelly on. Pretty tight in the first 20 – Big Col with the best chance after great work by Duffy and Astler. Jenks hits the outside of the post with a free kick, and Arsenal hit the bar from a header as we get to 30 minutes. But Arsenal take the lead in the 34th minute, Tal with a great bit of solo play, though I would have liked the defenders to have done better. So nearly 1-1 just before the break. A lovely counter, Jenks with the final shot, somehow kept out by 22yo Brazilian Keeper Luiz Marconi. And we get sucker-punched just before half time – Tal again, this time a tap in as we fail to clear. Disappointing. 2-0 at the break. 3-0 in the 53rd minute, and its one of those retarded ones where the Keeper makes a great save, but just doesn’t go and get the ball – Carmo tapping in. Fuck. Off. Game. Penalty Arsenal, 71st minute, Williams flicked out a leg. 4-0, Tal, Hat-Trick. That’s how it finished. Too fast, too skillful.

Bayern turned over as well, Benfica are really good this save.

Looks like Jordan will be getting a bit more games time, with Matty, Tommy Carlin & David Behrenbeck all in the wings as well.

Shamrock need extra time to beat Sheriff Youth Club in the last Leinster Senior Cup 4th round game.

One of our U19’s, DC Stephen Boyle, is going to Bray Wanderers in the Summer.

More league action before we play tomorrow – Cork continuing their fine start to the season with a win in Derry. Jim Collins gets a couple for Waterford as they win in Limerick.

28th February 2028 – Finn Harps (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 2 (McShane 10, 45) Att 1,109 (356 Away)

We go to Donegal to face Finn Harps, back in the IPD after 1 season in 2024. A quiet start, but we take the lead in the 10th minute, a gorgeous cross by Neil Hanna picking out Colm McShane, who volleys home at the back post. And its a quiet half, McShane making it 2 just before the break, tapping in after Carlin’s shot was saved. 2-0 at the half. And the second half was quite subdued – Finn Harps going down to 10 with the last action of the game. 2-0.

Shamrock and St. Pat’s dropping more points. A strange start to the league season.

And with that the 1st of March dawns.

Quite a quiet month all told – An important league game versus Cork City and that 2nd leg versus Arsenal where we have nothing to lose. See you soon.

Building the Island – #FM20 OS8 C2 S4 – Part 72 – Dundalk – 2025 Post-Season, 2026 Pre-Season

Welcome back to Dundalk for an important post and pre season. We will be getting ready for a 2026 that will start with the 1st Knockout Round of the UCL, £8M and a £9M carrot if we can get to the Quarters.

I will take things chronologically over this period. There will be a lot of Wheeling and Dealing 🙂

Firstly our u19’s draw 0-0 with Lazio U20’s, also qualifying top of their group. We are both in to the draw for the later stages.

Acheivement Unlocked – Invincible 🙂

Cheers Col!!!

Jordan Flores holding on in midfield in the Dundalk best 11. Ray Moore is currently at Hull, Dara O’Shea Mansfield, Sean Gannon Waterford, Jamie McGrath at TNS, Jordan Flores in teh First Division at Bohemians and Chris Shields is a manager in Wales – Flint Town Utd.

I didn’t pick this one – Neco Williams Fans Player of the Season!!! Neil Hanna Young Player of the Season – will be interesting seeing him battling it out with David Dallas when he arrives for that playmaker spot.

An interesting stat – The average attendance is now 3,840 – 85% capacity. We may need to think about a stadium expansion soon.

First time I’ve seen the Club Culture Items. We do all of these already so this might be the tail wagging the dog 🙂

And the lads are now on their break – only a month before they come back for training in mid-January.

The Youth and Training facilities upgrade has begun – £3.7M, should be ready in May 2026.

Limerick sign Dan Cross (21yo Winger) – One of our released kids. Hoping this increase in our Youth setup will end up benefiting Ireland as a whole.

Tommy Collins breaks the Dundalk goalscoring record with 39 goals – Big Col score 38 in 2024.

Steven O’Malley breaks his own record for assists with 31; he assisted 25 times in 2024.

Joe Holloway signs until the end of 2027 – A really good BBM and still only 21.

Stephen Andrews (21yo MC) goes to Shamrock Rovers on 1st January.

And we have the UCL Last 16 draw – we are seeded as group winners 🙂 Don’t think we can get Lazio – Liverpool and Arsenal are the biggies.

Arsenal 🙂 It’s definitely doable (Arsenal currently 3rd in the Premier League).

Hopefully we can take them to Fortress Tallaght in a good position.

NEW SIGNING

Liam signs from Bayern Munich Until the end of 2028. 4* CA. Currently our 2 best players are Central defenders, with Zech Medley coming in as well, and Nathan Ngoy – 4 very good centre backs.

LOAN SIGNING!!!!!!!

Jenks signs on loan for a 4th season 🙂 Just £4.7k/wk – what the hell are Leicester up to!!! That’s worth an A+ from the Fans 🙂

Contracts offered to all the 31/12/2026 contract renewals.

LOANED OUT

Dom Kiene goes to IFK Helsingfors in the Finnish Veikkausliiga (Premier League) until the end of the 2026 season, 29th August. Hoping he gets a full season of football like Vetle Dahl has been getting at Kristiansund.

Aidan Hamilton goes to Cork for the 2026 season.

And we have the first set of contract signings – Evan O’Donovan (20yo GK, 3 years), Brian Connolly (3 Years), Jordan Kelly (3 Years), Neco Williams (2 years).

Ryan Corrigan also signs (2 years) & Tommy Carlin (3 years)

And I now have all my licences 🙂 70% reputation now.

Just got a £1.8M tax bill 🙁 Shouldn’t be so successful.

Everything on the up apart from Sponsorship – would have thought I’d be getting more sponsors through the door TBH.

Young Striker Dom Halford (18) goes to Cork on loan for the season – he joins Aidan Hamilton.

Steven O’Malley has come second in the Irish Player of the Year, Michael Obafemi of Watford taking the award.

Jim Collins (Limerick) gets 3rd in the U21 Irish player of the year – Brian Sammon gets the award.

Steven O’Malley did however get the Irish Young Player of the Year – Jordan Kelly 3rd. Steven is 23, as is Jordan…

Jordan Kelly wins the League of Ireland Player of the year, Ger Ryan (Limerick) was 3rd.

NEW SIGNING (2nd Jan 2026)

19yo Welshman Kieron Hillman (Natural ML, winger, 6ft 5in!!!) joins from Cardiff for £450k. A 75 Scout recommendation, Kieron has 5* PA and 2.5* CA. Hoping he will take over from Michael Duffy in the next couple of years.

And so we reach 2026. Dan Kelly, Mark Hanratty & Darragh Cunningham have left the club, along with youngsters Kyle Sheridan and Sean Brennan. All the other leavers have found clubs (Sean Sheehan to Waterford, Dan Cross to Limerick, Stephen Andrews to Shamrock, Karl Harmon to Derry, Kevin Noakes to Cork).

Jamie McGrath is doing well at TNS – Player of the Month for december in the Welsh Premier. He is also one of the Media Dream 11 for that league.

We received the League fixtures for 2026 – We visit Premier League new-boys Athlone first up, Friday 13th(!) of February. We also receive £70k for TV rights for the new season. And we have rearrangements straight away as we play Arsenal in March in the UCL 1st Knockout round.

The board would like us to win everything, and get to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the UCL 🙂 New Wage Budget £258k/wk. We are using £95k of that… £14M transfer budget.

2nd January – 4 players arrive.

Last season showed an average attendance record, 4,699. Oriel Park holds 4,500…. Those European nights at 8,000 capacity Tallaght bumping that up.

Steven O’Malley sets a team average rating record – 7.82 from 41 appearances, beating Big Col’s 7.82 (39 appearances) in 2024.

PLAYER LEAVING

Mazeed Ogungbo (23yo DC) goes to Ipswich for £450k. He wouldn’t be getting anywhere near aenough game time, and at 23 he deserves better, so goes to Ipswich in League 1. Now a 49 scout rating, so a good sale i think.

We;ve had the draw for the big one – the Leinster Senior Cup 4th Round!!!

Newly relegated Longford.

NEW SIGNING

We welcome 21yo American Keeper Jonny Devlin from New York City FC for £1.6M. Looking forward to seeing him progress, as we have some good Goalkeeping coaches now!

And we reach the start of our season and first friendly =- Civil Service (N.I.)

Friendly – 14th January 2026 – Civil Service (N.I.) (H)

FT Dundalk 6 (Connolly 9, Collins 11, Jenkinson pen 18, Burrows 21, Dallas 39, McGarvey 73) Civil Service 0 Att 1,276 (7 Away)

Cohesion is still good as we’ve not had too many squad movements over the close season. 5-0 at the break, good to see new signings David Dallas and Matty Burrows. Zech Medley slotted straight back in as well.

Friendly – 17th January 2026 – U.C.D. (H)

FT Dundalk 3 (Kelly 2, Moore pen 18, pen 35) U.C.D. 0 Att 1,262 (2 Away)

Our second friendly versus an old friend from the First Division, U.C.D. David Evans (MR, Cobh on loan from Shamrock, was Irish First Division Player and Young Player of the Year for us in 2021). Ex-Cobh youngster Axel Bernet is also there. A bit disjointed, and U.C.D ended up with 9 men… 15 shots on target though.

NEW SIGNING

A bit of a punt. Sammy Baird (19yo Northern Irish MC) arrives on a free in the summer from Ballinamallard. A 67 scout rating, 2* CA, possible 4.5* PA he could potentially be a decent winger in time. £500/wk plus a loan move straight away, not too much lost if he doesn’t progress. Actually, He’s cost £500 to get him now, let’s do that and get him out on loan and playing.

PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)

Ryan Corrigan goes out to Championship Luton until the end of their season. Hoping he gets some decent game time as he’s 3 choice here currently.

Affiliates – Cobh Ramblers was on the list – will defo give them first refusal. And they’ve accepted 🙂

New signing Sammy Baird has gone out to Dungannon (Currently 4th in the Danske Bank Premiership) until the summer.

Friendly – 21st January 2026 – Bala (H)

FT Dundalk 5 (Burrows 51, 59, Collins 67, 86, 87) Bala 0 Att 1,267 (1 Away)

Bala (3rd in the Welsh Premier) come over the Irish Sea for a friendly this evening. Might be an interesting game as I’ve put the kids out (For the 1st half at least). 0-0 at the break, the big boys came on at half time and it finished 5-0, 5 great goals as well. Matty Burrows is really good. Torn, I think Jordan Kelly might have to go out on loan…

Friendly – 24th January 2026 – Morecambe (H)

FT Dundalk 0 Morecambe 0 Att 1,335 (79 Away)

Morecambe also make the short crossing across the Irish Sea to play us this afternoon – They are in the Vanarama National, which is no longer a playable league in my save. Totally on top, but just couldn’t get the goal versus a 4-2-2-2 2DM.

Friendly – 27th January 2026 – Southport (H)

FT Dundalk 6 (Burrows 18, O’Malley 25, Duffy 34, pen 56, 88, Kelly 48) Southport 1 (Palmer 45+2) Att 1,286 (16 Away)

Another Vanarama team this evening for hopefully a better performance. And it was , Duffy with a hat-trick.

Our U19’s beat Galway 6-0, goals from Tommy Carlin, Jim Collins, David Behrenbeck and a hat-trick from Tim Foulkes.

Friendly – 31st January 2026 – Montreal Impact (H)

FT Dundalk 4 (O’Malley 16, Burrows 71, Duffy 78, Collins 82) Montreal Impact 1 (Olivier 89) Att 1,467 (12 Away)

A strange one this, MLS East Canadian side Montreal asked for the friendly. Their season in Mid February as well. We ground them down and ended up comfortable winners.

NEW SIGNING

Dan Haworth signs – originally in July but it was only £16k to get him in now so I did that. 2.5* CA 5* PA, 80 Scout Rated Dan is an almost natural BPD. I will try and get him a season-long loan for his development. he comes in from Premier Division (!) Millwall (!!!)

Friendly – 4th February 2026 – Barrow (H)

FT Dundalk 6 (Collins 6, 16, 17, 18, McShane 7, McGarvey 27) Barrow 0 Att 1,285 (27 Away)

Vanarama North team Barrow come over from Cumbria for this evening’s friendly. All over inside the first half-hour, including an under 3-minute hat-trick (Goals 2 to 4) for Tommy Collins.

Bollocks. Was just about to offer him an extension as well – he wanted 3 years, taking him to 34. I’ve had to withdraw that now. Conor may have played his last game for the club 🙁 Depends on what decent affordable Keepers are out there.

Our U19’s beat Cabo 9-0, goals from Josh Donnelly, Ger Ryan, David Behrenbeck, Tommy Carlin, 2 for Martin Kenny and a hat-trick for Jim Collins.

Michael Duffy has signed a 1-year extension to his current deal, taking him to 33. Good to have his experience in what is a very young squad. Brian Stapleton has signed until 2028 – I’m going to see if he can play as a Pressing Forward.

Friendly – 8th February 2026 – Edenderry (H)

FT Dundalk 16 (Kelly 1, 5, 47, Burrows 7, 8, pen 11, 45+2, 55, O’Malley 19, 32, pen 42, Knight 43, Dallas 45+3, McShane 56, 78, Collins 67) Edenderry 0 Att 1,261 (4 Away)

Our last friendly sees non-league Edenderry come to Oriel Park. 4 minute hat-trick for Burrows, 5-0 in 11 minutes. 11-0 at the break. 3 players with hat-tricks. 50% conversion of shots on target.

Sam McCabe goes to Cork for the season – He moaned about not getting added to the UCL squad…

So we reach the end of pre-season. Next time we will have 5 games, including the trip to London.

Squad depth (3*) is pretty good – 6 forward, 6 central midfielders (Behrenbeck & Knight not shown) new boys Dallas and Burrows strengthening a n already good squad

Defence is also pretty strong. The only worry is goalkeeper with O’Malley out. Devlin & Mpande will be getting a lot more game time than I first thought. See you next time.

One Team, Two Cups (And the UCL)… – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS7 C2 S3 – Part 71 – Dundalk – Nov/Dec 2025 (End of Season)

Dundalk winning the Irish Champions Cup in 2019 and the FAI Cup in 2016

Welcome back to Dundalk for the end of my 3rd season at the club and 7th overall.

Two Cup Finals, the ICC over 2 legs and our 3 remaining UCL group games finish off our 2025 season.

The usual start of month admin first.

Matty Burrows wins player of the month for Derry with 9 goals in 5 games. Looking forward to him joining in January. Jordan Kelly and Neil Hanna were 2nd and 3rd.

Jake Taylor’s thunderbastard versus Cobh on 3rd October was goal of the month. Dundalks’s Ger Ryan was 2nd for Limerick with a goal versus Longford.

I win IPD Manager of the Month for October.

And we are straight into games – 4 in the next 9 days. We go to the Aviva in Dublin for the FAI Cup Final.

2nd November 2025 – Derry City (N – The Aviva Stadium, Dublin) – FAI Cup Final

FT Dundalk 1 (Moore pen 47) Derry City 0 Att 13,680 (9,863 Dundalk, 3,817 Derry)

First plays third in the Irish FA Cup Final today. Derry are in pretty good shape, so I expect a tough one. Six minutes in, Jake Taylor hits the woodwork with a header from an O’Malley free kick. Twelfth minute, Collins heads home but is adjudged to be offside. By a foot maybe. Getting a few chances. We’re on top, but it has the feeling of one of those days. 0-0 at the break. Big moment at the start of the second half, McGarvey winning a penalty, a shove by Doyle. Stevie Moore to take… 1-0, lovely penalty, bottom right with power. The second half is very quiet afterwards, the time ticks down. Last 5, all looks a bit nervy. Stoppages… And it’s all over. 1-0 Dundalk, more silverware 🙂 And £117k for the win. 28 medals dispersed, £150k bonuses paid out!!!

Currently sitting 3rd in the Ireland Manager Hall of Fame – Hoping to pass Stephen Kenny at the end of the 2026 season.

Dortmund next up in a couple of days time, also in Dublin – might stay over instead of doing the journey to Dundalk and back again.

We had 2 of the lads in the last IPD team of the week following the 2-0 win over Cork.

Loads of goals on the Tuesday evening in the UCL – Benfica also beat Sevilla 3-0 in Group D.

Finn Harps drew 1-1 in the First Division Promotion Playoff Semi – The winner plays Bohemians over 2 legs, and the winner of that plays Cobh Ramblers over another 2 legs – When we got promoted back in 2021 we did it that way, 7-1 on Agg versus Bray, 6-2 versus Limerick and 4-3 versus Bohemians. And Bohemians have been in the First Division ever since…

Ten players called up for the November internationals. Rimvydas Romanovas is a newgen from the last youth intake. Born in Kildare, 6ft 1in, looks useful. Really nice to see Stephen Andrews’s call up to the N. Ireland U21’s, Tim Foulkes get called up for the Wales U21’s and both Neil Hanna and Matty Burrows called up to the Northern Ireland first team.

5th November 2025 – Borussia Dortmund (GER) (H – Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Group E Matchday 4

FT Dundalk 2 (Stevie Moore pen 5, Collins 53) Borussia Dortmund 1 (Dollberg 84) Att 8,000 (4,000 Away)

We had our collective arses handed to us in the first half last time out, let’s not make the same mistake today. We should have the lead inside a minute, Seddon with a tame shot when in on goal. But in the 5th minute we get a pen – McShane scythed down when in on goal. Defender Stevie Moore with the shot… 1-0 Dundalk, tucked right inside the left-hand upright. A great start by the lads. Good open play, they aren’t handling Tommy Collins coming deep for the ball. We’ve missed a few good chances already, McGarvey shooting straight at the Keeper. O’Malley has made some good stops today though to keep it 1-0. Good open game as we approach half time. We go in 1-0 to the good, a bit different from the game in Germany. Dortmund start the second half more dangerously. May go 4-1-4-1? But not before we go 2-0 up!! 53rd minute, Collins with the headed finish after a lovely back to front move. Dortmund pushing right up is leaving spaces. Neco Williams with the assist cross. 39th of the season for Tommy 🙂 Got to be careful not to sit back too much though. Nearly 3 in the 74th minute, a Collins header just wide from a Holloway deep free kick. Szoboszlai currently on an 8.6 for Dortmund, nobody else above 6.8. But of course Dortmund get a goal back, 84th minute, Dollberg with a tap-in. And a kick-off highlight… nothing doing, just a Dundalk shot. Five minutes left. We somehow keep out a right stramash, definitely offside in there somewhere. Stoppages… Should have been 3-1, Duffy’s shot tipped over. Time running down. Fergie Time… And it’s all other. Another famous day for Dundalk, we win 2-1!!

Both Barcelona and Lazio dropping points. No great shocks. Another £2.3M in the pot and we are currently in 2nd place in Group E with 2 games left…

That’s a madness!!!!

We have Larne next in the 2-leg All-Ireland Champions Cup. Then a 2 week-break before we go to Camp Nou. Lazio at home will be the biggie in the last game, with the potential of European knockout football in the spring and all those lovely coefficient points. Go up a couple of places and we will be starting in the 2nd Qual Rnd next season. 15th (Currently 19th) would give us another European spot. Two more years and we will be close to the top 10 and an automatic group stage spot.

Our U19’s sit atop of the pile in the U19’s UCL group, winning 3-1 over Dortmund U19’s – Tommy Carlin with a brace & Dom Halford the scorers.

More callups.

8th November 2025 – Larne (A) – All-Ireland Champions Cup Final 1st Leg

Inver Park, Larne, Capacity 2,050

We make the trip up to the Antrim coast to play Northern Irish champions and moneybags Larne; owned by Kenny Bruce, founder of PurpleBricks in the UK (Online Estate Agents). They have a £4.5M wage bill per year, compared to our £3.3M!!! But like other AI Sugar-Daddies, they don’t seem to be spending their money wisely. Our Scouts rate their best player as a 55, 2.5* CA and on £6,500/wk…

FT Larne 1 (McCausland pen 28) Dundalk 3 (Duffy 48, 90+4, O’Malley 65) Att 2,050 (150 Away)

We start as Evens favourites. This could be a tough one though! We start off strongly (I’d rate these like a St. Pat’s or Derry) but Larne soak up the pressure. And Larne get a penalty in the 27th minute, Astler with the foul. McCausland scores, O’Malley very close to the save. We push and push, but the Larne Keeper has made a good few saves. 1-0 Larne at the break. Hairdryer given. 1-1, 48th minute, Duffy finishing off a Tommy Collins flicked header. And it’s 2-1 in the 65th minute – O’Malley with a lovely cushioned volley from a lovely Hanna cross. Dundalk really pushing on. We get to the 4th minute of stoppages and make it 3-1 – Williams striding into the box, unleashing a beautiful cross to the back post, Duffy there to volley home his 20th of the season. Clinical. We take a 3-1 win back to Co. Louth.

A 3 day turnaround until we host Larne. Rotation, Rotation, Rotation!!!.

NEW SIGNING (2nd Jan 2026)

18yo David Dallas arrives for a club record £2.1M (£1.6M up front) in January – From Crvena Zvedza…. Where he started his career (So must have been poached as he was born in Benburb, Co. Tyrone. A scout-rated 75, 3/3.5* CA, natural DLP with 3 full international caps for N. Ireland, this signing was actually started by the Chairman (And that’s fine in this instance). David & Neil Hanna will be first team regulars for the foreseeable. And it most probably means we won’t try to get Jenks for a 4th season on loan.

And natural left-winger Brian Smith has signed professional terms for the start of next season. 16yo, 12 crosses, improving, and quick. Will hopefully get him some first team football in the IPD next season.

11th November 2025 – Larne (H) – All-Ireland Champions Cup Final 2nd Leg

FT Dundalk 2 (Kelly 54, Halford 82) Larne 1 (Toure 79) Att 4,500 (225 Away) – Dundalk wins 5-2 on Aggregate

The return leg – we’ve rotated fully. Just looking to wrap this up in a professional manner. Dundalk on top, plenty of chances in the 1st half hour. 0-0 at the break. Scott in the Larne goal is keeping them in this tie. But we go 1-0 up and 4-1 on aggregate in the 54th minute – Jordan Kelly firing home on the low volley from a Jake Taylor corner. Larne equalise on the night in the 79th, defensive errors leading to Toure getting a tap-in. The reply was swift – 2-1 Dundalk, 82nd minute, Dom Halford with a tap-in after great work by Hanna, Corrigan & Connolly. We win 2-1, 5-2 on aggregate. £43k for the win, my 14th piece of Silverware with Dundalk.

We’ve had some November Internationals. Rimvydas Romanovas played in Lithuania U21’s 3-0 loss to Israel. Tim Foulkes played in Wales U21’s 2-0 loss to Spain. Evan O’Donovan and Joe Holloway played in Ireland U21’s 1-0 win over England. Tommy Carlin, Stephen Andrews and Aidan Hamilton played in N. Ireland U21’s 2-0 loss to The Netherlands. And last but not least Michael Duffy played in Ireland’s 2-0 win over the Faroes.

Our U19’s beat Swords Celtic 5-0 – goals from Brian Stapleton, Martin Kenny, 17yo Striker Andrew Carroll, and a brace for 18yo striker Tommy Coffey.

Northern Ireland’s senior team lost 3-0 to Spain – Tommy Collins & Colin McGarvey both played. As did David Dallas, with Neil Hanna and Matty Burrows on the bench.

We’re at the Relegation playoff – Finn Harps (3-2 winners over Sligo and 5-3 over Bohemians) playing Cobh Ramblers.

Cobh need a win back on the South Coast to stay in the Premier Division.

Cobh are relegated in extra time. Finn Harps and Athlone Town will be playing IPD football next season.

And another madness – Our U19’s beat Barcelona 3-0 – goals from Sean Brennan (19yo MC, not our 18yo MC of the same name) and a brace for Tommy Carlin (49 goals in 29 starts this season). P5 W4 D1, qualified for the next round!!!

And as the Relegation playoff is now complete we have the usual awards.

Dundalk’s Matty Burrows gets IPD Player of the Year for his exploits for Derry. He also gets the golden boot over Tommy Collins (20 goals) and Andrew Moore (19). The Young Player of the Year is the same as the above.

Jake Taylor gets IPD Goal of the season – a 30 yarder thunderbastard versus Cobh.

Conor O’Malley gets Keeper of the Year – 11 conceded in 29 with 20 clean sheets.

Jordan Kelly 2nd in the weird Personality of the Year award, Shelbourne’s Oscar Brennan coming out on top.

Seven Dundalk-owned players in the IPD team of the Year, Matty Burrows at Derry and Ger Ryan at Limerick. I think none of our defenders played enough league games to qualify because of rotation.

25th November 2025 – Barcelona (A) – UCL Group E Match Day 5

Camp Nou, Capacity 99,354

We make the 950 mile journey as the crow flies to Spain for our penultimate Group E UCL game. Somehow we are 2nd with 6 points. Barcelona beat us 4-2 in Dublin, so I’m not expecting anything; the last game versus Lazio at Tallaght Stadium will be key.

FT Barcelona 2 (Conor O’Malley o.g. 20, Gouiri 42) Dundalk 2 (Jenkinson 25, Connolly 72) Att 96,326 (253 Away)

Expecting a thumping here – playing away seems to be so difficult. As expected Barca look dangerous going forwards. I hate these games as it seems to just be highlight after highlight. And the opener is really unlucky – a Rodrigo speculative shot seems to have come back off the post and off the outstretched O’Malley and in for an own goal. 1-0 Barca, 20th minute. But fucking take that!!! 1-1, 25th minute, Jenks with a lovely powerful daisy-cutter finish from the edge of the area following a flowing team move. Great goal. first time I’ve ever shouted ‘No Pressure’ as well, just before. Genius 🙂 It’s actually quite tight as we move towards the break. But a Pulis-ball goal undoes us, 2-1, 42nd minute, 60 yard ball, Gouiri breaks the offside trap and scores well. 2-1 Barca at the break. 253 Dundalk fans in the Camp Nou this evening out of a crowd of over 96,000 🙂 We get to 60 mins with very little happening. But a madness then occurs, 72nd minute, 2-2!!!! AND IT’S AN ABSOLUTE WORLDIE! Good hustling up front by Collins and McShane (DLF), Williams gets hold of it, clips the ball over and Connolly, on for Duffy, slams the ball past Ter Stegen, just after on the up after the half volley! A crazy goal. I’d still expect Barca to win this, but we can dream 🙂 Time running down… O’Malley making a good stop with 4 minutes left. Stoppages… Connolly defending like a trojan, then up the other end harrying Ter Stegen 🙂 Legend. End to end in the final moments, and De Ligt hauls down Collins just in the Barca half with nobody else between him and the goal, a sending-off, surely…. Just a fucking warning, not even a yellow!!! And it’s all over!!!! A point at Barcelona – FM20, completed it mate 🙂

So, Lazio win… No shocks.

OK – We play Lazio to see who tops the group 🙂 🙂 🙂 Win and we do as that would be 2 wins versus Lazio. Draw or Lose and here are the scenarios:

  • Dundalk Draw, Barca Win – Europa League Knockouts
  • Dundalk Draw, Dortmund win – UCL Knockouts
  • Dundalk Draw, Barca/Dortmund Draw – UCL Knockouts
  • Dundalk Lose, Barca win – Europa
  • Dundalk Lose, Dortmund win – I think Europa on countback as Dortmund have a better head to head
  • Dundalk lose, Barca/Dortmund Draw – Europa

So we definitely have European knockouts in the spring. UCL is worth £8M just for qualifying, plus another £9M if you can get to the Quarters. Europa we had early this season, £430k for getting to the 1st Knockout Round. We’ve just got £775k for that draw!!!! And we’ve nicked coefficient points from Barca as well 🙂 Points taken from all 3 of our opponents, and this is a definite Group of Death!!!

For coefficients The Europa would be a better path – we can get deep in that again. And get a ton of points. Monetarily though the UCL is the only game in town.

The Lazio game isn’t for 2 weeks, so I’ll sneak a friend in the middle, so the guys have a half.

Lyon with a good win versus Real in Madrid – Both already qualified.

I keep getting Takeover new items…

Right, a cheeky little friendly versus P.S.N.I. (Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Irish 3rd tier team)

FT Dundalk 10 (Collins 18, 32, 34, McGarvey 26, 43, Connolly 35, Barton 52, Kelly 68, 77, 83) P.S.N.I 0 Att x (x Away)

Standard and expected, blew P.S.N.I away in the first half, 6-0 at the break. Keep the morale nice and high.

I’ve taken on a DoF, Espen Olsen, 46, Manager & DoF in Norway, mainly for staff matters, working with the Technical Director.

Jason Knight’s season is over – pulled knee ligaments, out for a couple of weeks

We have the first of our releasees picking up clubs – Kerl Harmon, 20yo DR will be going to Derry City in January.

OK, fuck off game! 2 games before the Lazio game… Will take a punt

Again, a lack of shocks. Groups A through D

No major upsets – Benfica maybe, with Sevilla in the Europa League. And Inter, with RB Leipzig going through.

The second of our released players gets picked up – Kevin Noakes (20yo DC) goes to Cork City in january.

And so, possibly the biggest game in our save so far. Lazio arrive in Dublin. Let’s do this.

10th December 2025 – Lazio (ITA) (H – Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Group E Matchday 6

FT Dundalk 3 (O’Malley 22, 68, Duffy 33) Lazio 2 (Vlahovic 43, 81) Att 8,000 (446 Away)

Lazio only start as 6/4 favourites, are 6th in Serie A but are in decent form. We beat them in the Stadio Olimpico, can we do it again in the Stadio Tallaght and top the group!!! A slowish start, both teams probing. Barcelone 2-0 early in Dortmund – we need a win to have UCL football in the Spring. And the breakthrough comes in the 22nd minute, a really quick break, McGarvey punting the ball forward to Tommy Collins, who controls and lays in Steven O’Malley in acres, he strolls in and scores his 14th goal of the season. Game on! Top of the group as it stands 🙂 Should have been 2 not long after, O’Malley this time snatching a bit, Radu with the save. Radu keeping Lazio in it with a fine tip-over from a Taylor far-post header. But it’s a stunner that puts us 2-0 up – Michael Duffy, tek a boo son!! He wins the ball back 20 yards into the Dundalk half on the left win from rightback Lazzari, runs in on goal unchallenged 60 yards and scores past an immobile Radu. 2-0 Dundalk!!!!!!!!! Barcelona currently going into the Europa League!! It’s all Dundalk, but 2 minutes from Half Time it’s 2-1, Vlahovic with a good finish after a quick Lazio move. And it’s a kickoff highlight… nearly 3-1 after a fine passing move from the boys. 2-1 Dundalk at the break, a good tight game. 45 minutes from another £8M! Similar to the Barcelona game, the second half starts quietly. The first real highlight is in the 68th minute, and it’s 3-1 Dundalk!!! Another flowing passing move, Duffy ending up with it, floating a ball in for O’Malley to head home beautifully!!! What a performance lads!!! But it’s the curse of the set pieces. 3-2, 81st minute, Vlahovic with a tap-in, onside after the ball reaches him from a flick-on/attempted challenge. 15 minutes or so to hang on. But we’ve been the better team, not changing anything. 5 minutes of normal time, Dortmund back to 2-1. A bit end to end here in Dublin. Squeaky-Bum. Lazio pushing, Dundalk countering. Radu makes a superb save from a Jenks header with a minute left of normal time. 5 minutes of stoppages, Lazio keeping us out. Last chance for Lazio, 90+5, free kick ou wide, palumbo clean on goal… but he tries to pull it back!! McGarvey runs away with the ball and nearly scores himself. Breathless football… AND IT’S ALL OVER!!!! 3-2 Dundalk, we qualify for the UCL Knockout Stages!! Top of the Group of Death 🙂 🙂 🙂 FM20, Completed it Mate!

Barca playing Europa League Football in the Spring 🙂 Livepool beat PSG 1-0 in the game that didn’t fit on the page at the bottom.

Will you look at the state of that! We want Liverpool 🙂 🙂 🙂 Some big teams in the Europa – Inter, Barca, Atletico, Ajax!!

How has that happened 🙂 £2.3M for the win, £651k of unallocated prize money for draws. Currently £43M in the bank, with a definite £8M coming in the 1st Knockout Round.

That’s what happens when you start in the 1st Qualifying Round! We also have the potential of getting Ireland up to 15th in the Coefficients next season – we’d start in the 2nd Qual Round plus we’d get 5 places in Europe as a nation, with 2nd going into the Best Placed playoff route for the UCL, 3rd into the Europa and 2 in the Conference League. About 2 years ahead off schedule. Let’s build this nation!

What an end to a season!! We are a top-16 club in Europe now, somehow.

See you next time for the build-up to the 2026 season, my 4th Season with Dundalk and my 8th overall.

Dortmund – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS7 C2 S3 – Part 70 – Dundalk – October 2025

Welcome back to Dundalk for a busy month of football, 10 games, the big one being Dortmund at Tallaght Stadium on the 21st.

Firstly we have 3 games in 4 days, the big one being an FAI Cup Semi versus St. Pat’s.

Matty Burrows came 3rd in the IPD goal of the month – a 30-yarder versus Shelbourne for Derry.

We have £38.2M in the bank, I’m an ‘A’ with the board, Dynamics are Very Good/Excellent/Excellent.

Wednesday night UCL action – Benfica with a big win over Man City.

Twelve players called up for the internationals in a few days time. Think we will have at least 1 game impacted.

Shamrock salvage a point in the 96th minute versus Derry – two Dundalkers on the scoresheet. St. Pat’s will be kicking themselves as they stay 5 points behind in 3rd with a draw versus Cork.

3rd October 2025 – Cobh Ramblers (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 6 (McShane 7, pen 19, Carlin 37, Taylor 53, Kelly 73, Hanna 89) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 4,003 (32 Away)

Looking for a decent performance from the lads this evening, a mix of experience and youth on show. A decent enough start, Dundalk with lots of the ball and Higgins making a few good saves for Cobh. 1-0, 7th minute, Colm McShane with a thunderous half-volley at the far post from a dinked Hanna cross. McShane has really come on leaps and bounds this season. 19th minute, McShane wins a penalty after a challenge from Keaney. he takes it himself… gorgeous, inside the left upright, 2-0. Superb goal for 3-0, Tommy Carlin with a great header from a whipped Neco Williams cross. 3-0 at the break. Not a good start to the 2nd half for Cobh – O’Neill getting himself sent off for a lunge on Hanna. It’s a thunderbastard for 4-0, Jake Taylor, 1st game back from injury with a 30 yarder off the bottom of the crossbar. Stunning goal. Jordan gets himself a goal in the 73rd minute – a fine, powerful header from a pinged Connolly cross. Pushing for the 6th, and we get it in the 89th, Neil Hanna with a lovely placed curler, in off the left-hand post, just outside the ‘D’. Assist pass from Connolly. Cobh down to 9 for the last 90 seconds, Agnew with a 2nd yellow. All over, 6-0 it finished.

Limerick get 5, 4 of the goals from Dundalkers Ger Ryan, Josh Donnelly & Jim Collins (2). Waterford drop back in 5th, the loss to Shelbourne meaning Cobh are now 5 points back. Longford are now relegated. St. Pat’s next up for us in less than 48 hours for the FAI Cup Semi.

Our U19’s won 6-2 versus Waterford in the National League Playoff Quarter Finals, goals from 16yo MC triallist David Robertson, 16yo AML triallist Kevin McCann, 16yo AMR triallist Paddy Cunningham and a hat-trick from Dom Halford.

5th October 2025 – St. Pat’s Athletic (A) – FAI Cup Semi Final

FT St. Pat’s Athletic 0 Dundalk 2 (Collins 57, McGarvey 64) Att 3,270 (652 Away)

First play 3rd in this semi final, 4th play 2nd in the other. Expecting a tough one away from home. Dundalk with the majority of the ball in the first half but few good chances. 0-0 at the the break. Changing to a wider style, down the wings, try to stretch the St. Pat’s team out of shape. Better, but Bossin is keeping them in the game. We take the lead in the 57th minute, Collins with his first goal in a while, a good near-post header from a Big Col cross. McGarvey is having a great game today. St. Pat’s come straight back and have the balll in the net from a free kick, but Traynor was 2 yards offside when the ball was passed to him. Going to a 4-1-4-1 again, their 4-4-1-1 is giving them to much time in that Dundalk DM area, so Holloway comes on to break that link. And we go 2-0 up, McGarvey with a nice finish after a great ball over by Stevie Moore. Great play lads. We maintain the pressure and see the game out. We win 2-0, FAI Cup Final here we come 🙂 £58k for the win.

Derry just 9 minutes from the final when Hamilton scores an unfortunate Oggie. They go to a replay. The Cup Final is on 2nd November.

Right, 48 hours until Cobh again, this time down on the south coast.

Seven of the lads have made the IPD team of the week.

7th October 2025 – Cobh Ramblers (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Cobh Ramblers 0 Dundalk 4 (Ngoy 3, Kelly 32, Connolly 79, Carlin 82) Att 386 (123 Away)

Cobh will be without their 2 sendings-off from our game 4 days ago, O’Neill & Agnew. They have Sam Bone away on international duty for Malaysia, we have Joe Holloway out with Ireland U21’s. 1-0 in 131 seconds, Ngoy with a tap-in after Higgins flaps and parries a Hanna free kick straight to him. The more I see Geoffrey Astler play at left back the more i’m impressed – feel like he is going to be a star. He has a wand of the left foot. Great goal for 2-0. Astler screams down the left wing, passes inside to Hanna, clips it to McShane, who side-foot volley’s it straight into Kelly’s path, and Jordan finishes nicely from 7 yards. Gorgeous football. I doubt I’ll be able to get Jenks back next season (He’s on £45k/wk with Leicester) and Neil Hanna definitely good enough to be in line to be our playmaker. Lots of love for the lefties 🙂 2-0 at the break. A quiet second half, the lads looking a bit tired. We make it 3-0 in the 79th minute and it’s a stunner – Brian Connolly on the volley from a Kelly cross. Three minutes later it’s 4-0, Carlin with a good finish, Higgins rooted to the spot, after being slipped in by Mark Hanratty. That’ll do pig. 4-0 it finished.

Six games left, 102 points possible – It won’t be a record as we got 103 last season, but we did lose 1 (Derry City) so at least this can be a Invincible season if not a record points haul. We are 18 goals back on our goalscoring record (116) currently and we’ve let 6 goals less in so far (9 in 30 games).

And we will be playing Derry City in the FAI Cup Final. Matty Burrows looked to have won it for Derry in extra time but Brian Sammon scored a penalty 3 minutes from time to take it Pens. Derry won 7-6, Paddy Scott with the winning penalty.

Jamie Forde played 18 minutes in Ireland U19’s 3-1 loss to Croatia. The day after Tommy Carlin, Neil Hanna and Aidan Hamilton played in N. Ireland U21’s 0-0 draw with Turkey and Tommy Collins and Stevie Moore played in N. Ireland’s 1-0 loss to Scotland.

And Jason Knight played 16 minutes for Ireland in their 1-1 draw with Sweden.

Our U19’s fail again when it gets to the domestic playoffs, losing 2-1 to Limerick, Dom Halford with the goal.

13th October 2025 – Shamrock Rovers (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Shamrock Rovers 0 Dundalk 3 (Kelly 14, Halford 85, McShane 88) Att 3,663 (664 Away)

A bit of a bare-bones look to the team todays as we have 12 players away on international duty. Shamrock have a couple, Andrew Moore the main loss. I will be getting him in January, even if I loan him back to Shamrock for the season. A quiet start after the initial highlight. We take the lead in the 14th minute, a wonderful ball from Taylor to Behrenbeck, 50 yards, and David is really unselfish, a first-time pass straight into Jordan’s path, and he goes in and scores his 23rd of the season in his 100th appearance for Dundalk. Beautiful play all around. Dundalk on top as we move towards half-time. 1-0 at the break. Shamrock down to 10 for the last 20 minutes as we have a quiet second half, Flynn with a 2nd yellow. We make it 2-0 5 minutes from time, Dom Halford with his first goal for Dundalk 1sts, a fine flicked header from a Jake Taylor corner. Three minutes later it’s 3-0 – Colm McShane with the finish at the 3rd time of asking, after 2 blocks. It finishes 3-0 – A great showing by the lads versus 2nd in the table.

We can’t do it for you St. Pat’s!! They could have closed to 2 points but stay 5 back after losing to Cork in stoppage time. We are now 28 points clear. Forty-Eight hour turnaround again, Shelbourne next up at Oriel Park.

We’ve had some more international football. Tommy Carlin, Neil Hanna and Aidan Hamilton played in N. Ireland U21’s 0-0 draw with Sweden. And Michael Duffy got 29 minutes in Ireland’s 2-2 draw with England, getting an assist for Troy Parrott’s equaliser.

Ten of the lads made the IPD team of the week.

And the last internationals of this break had Jamie Forde playing for Ireland U19’s in their 4-0 win versus Kosovo, getting an assist, and Tommy Collins, Stevie Moore & Colin McGarvey playing in N. Ireland’s 4-0 win over the Faroes, Tommy with a goal and Big Col with a brace.

15th October 2025 – Shelbourne (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 0 Shelbourne 0 Att 2,723 (158 Away)

Regardless of what happens this evening Cobh need 2 wins from their last 5 games to surpass Shelbourne and escape the relegation playoff, versus one of Athlone Town, Bohemians, Finn Harps or Sligo Rovers. Nearly 1-0 in the 2nd minute, Morrison heading against the post. Pretty quiet from then though. 0-0 at the break. Plenty of cahnces in the first 15 of the 2nd half, but lacking a bit of quality. Feels like a 0-0. We’ve had chances to put this one away, Kelly missing a simple 1-on-1 after great work by Behrenbeck with 3 minutes left. Stoppages, McShane missing another easy one. It finishes 0-0, Shelbourne Keeper McCabe with 10 saves.

Not much to say about that. Another 48-hour turnaround – Relegated Longford away. They won’t have played for 2 weeks, and have lost their last 11 in a row – expect a tough game…

Longford will be my 200th game as Manager of Dundalk.

17th October 2025 – Longford (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Longford 2 (Cawley 18, Scales 73) Dundalk 4 (McGarvey 3, 9, Duffy 20, 39) Att 837 (329 Away)

Let’s smash them (I will never forgive them for that idiotic 2-2 earlier in the season). Conor O’Malley’s 175th game for Dundalk this evening. And we take the lead in the 3rd minute, Big Col with his 21st of the season, a nice header from a pinpoint Hanna cross. And he makes it 2-0 and 22 for the season with a banger across Horgan in the Longford net, the assist a simple pass from Hanna. 2-1 in the 18th minute – a 25-yard DFK from Cawley, O’Malley should have done better. Don’t poke the bear, 3-1, 2 minutes later, Duffy with a nice header from an O’Malley cross. That’s what you get with no full-backs. Duffy gets his 2nd in the 39th minute, another header, this time from a Williams cross. 4-1. And that’s what we take in with us at half-time. Longford get another one in the 73rd minute, Scales with a back post header. It finishes 4-2 – looked tired in that 2nd half. Feeling like we need a new Keeper as well – Sorry Conor!

Just 3 points now between 2nd and 3rd as Shamrock draw with Cobh and St. Pat’s beat Derry, Matty Burrows with a brace for the losers. Right, 5 days until Dortmund in Germany. Get something and we’ve got a decent chance at some European knockout football again this season, all that money and lots of lovely coefficient points.

Colm making leaps. However he’s showing declines in his attributes for some reason. Weird.

Neil also making leaps and/or bounds. 18 First Touch/Flair, 16 Tekkers/Vision & 17 Teamwork!

Shamrock really don’t want 2nd, losing 4-2 to Derry, Matty Burrows with a hat-trick. Looking forward to getting him into our squad next season. St. Pat’s will go 2nd with a win.

Our U19’s remain top of Group E with a 2-2 draw with Dortmund – Tommy Carlin & Dom Halford with the goals.

Four of the lads made the IPD team of the week.

21st October 2025 – Borussia Dortmund (A) – UCL Group E Matchday 3

Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund. Capacity 81,365(!)

We make the short (600 mile) journey to Dortmund with another chance of a shock. Dortmund are 2nd in the Bundesliga – The only game they’ve lost this season is Lazio. They won their last game 2-0 versus Hoffenheim, but they did draw the previous 4 games… They look like 4-2-3-1 merchants – what a surprise…

FT Borussia Dortmund 5 (Dollberg 12, 34, Brandt 17, 82, Manco 33) Dundalk 1 (Collins 43) Att 59,471 (205 Away)

Dortmund start this as 2/1 favourites. And they are lining up with a 4-2-4. Let’s see what we can do. A decent start, got the boys on Stay on Feet, but we go 1-0 down in the 12th minute, Kasper Dollberg with a back post header from close range. I’ve said this before, if only Tommy Collins could header, he’s missed a couple now. And Dortmund go 2-0 up in the 17th minute, Julian Brandt with a 25 yarder. They are playing really wide so will try to go narrow. But we go 3 down in the 33rd minute, Manco with a good volley. We’ve not got much of a reply. 4-0 from the kick off, Dollberg with a good header. This is fucking awful. So I go to neutral tackling and we get a goal back – Collins stabbing the ball home after O’Malley hits the post. A bit better. Can’t say this won’t end 8-3 though. 4-1 Dortmund at the break. We are looking far better on the break now. We get to the 82nd minute before Dortmund make it 5 – Brandt with another decent shot. All over. A better second half but they blew us away in the first half hour. 5-1 Dortmund. Will not change how we normally play next time.

OK – The same Lazio we beat 3-2 has beaten Barca 1-0… Don’t think we need to worry about European knockout football this season.

Right, back to the day job, 3 league games in 6 days to round out the month and the League season. Derry next in 3 days.

Wednesday night UCL games – Galatasaray v Lyon ends with a bang – 88 & a 90+1 equaliser for OL. Krasnodar hold Arsenal to a good draw.

24th October 2025 – Derry City (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Derry City 1 (Miskelly 77) Dundalk 3 (Kelly 9, Hanna 27, Duffy pen 57) Att 1,385 (276 Away)

1st play 4th this evening. We have rotated with our penultimate league game versus St. Pat’s in just 3 days. A good start from the boys in the pouring Derry October rain. Jordan gets his 24th of the season to make it 1-0, tapping in at the back post after a Steve Seddon corner made its way through unimpeded. Neil Hanna makes it 2-0 with a lovely curling direct free kick from 30 yards. 27 minutes gone. Apart from that it’s quite a tight game. 2-0 at the break. Dundalk get a harsh penalty in the 58th minute – Devlin with what looks like a great tackle on McShane. But it wasn’t apparently. Duffy to take… Lawlor guesses right but it’s hit too well. 3-0. Miskelly gets 1 back in the 77th minute with a well struck shot. Time ticks down, it finishes 3-1.

The fight for 2nd will go to the final game as Shamrock lose for the 11th time this season versus Cork and St. Pat’s get a point at Waterford. Longford get their first win of the season versus Shelbourne by as Cobh lost they will be playing in the relegation playoff. The First Division title goes to the final day – Athlone leading Bohemians by 8 goals, both on 51 points. Finn Harps and Sligo will both be in the playoffs, plus one of the above.

Our U19’s beat St. Mochtas 3-0 goals from Martin Kenny, 16yo triallist striker Gary Murphy & 17yo triallist striker Connor Coughlan.

Had this before, might be seeing something at the end of the season.

27th October 2025 – St. Pat’s Athletic (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 4 (McGarvey 10, Stevie Moore 33, Collins 38, Knight 45+1) St. Pat’s Athletic 0 Att 4,483 (208 Away)

First plays third this evening as St. Pat’s try to push Shamrock with their game in hand. We have rotated, have they? Not as much as we have, which will be important in the 2nd half. We go 1-0 up in the 10th minute, a surging run from Astler, a simple cross and McGarvey finishes well at the near post. 23rd of the season for Big Col. St. Pat’s come back at us, pressing intently. Bossin keeping them in it again though. Stevie Moore makes it 2 in the 33rd minute – a nice volley from an O’Malley free kick as Dundalk breaks the offside trap. A great team goal for #3, Collins finishing off a good move, O’Malley with yet another assist. 38 for the season for Tommy now! And it’s 4 just before half time, as we flood forward. Knight with the tap-in after Duffy brought the ball forward, Collins initially retrieving the ball. Quality counter. A quiet second half, job done in the 1st. It finishes 4-0.

The fight for 2nd goes to the final day, with Shamrock, Derry & St. Pat’s all in with a shout. Everything else is decoded, except Cork could go past Waterford in 5th if they beat us and Waterford lose.

Seven of the lads made the penultimate IPD team of the week.

Think we knew this but we will be playing Larne in the All-Ireland Champions Cup. They won the Danske bank Premiership last season and currently sit 1st by 7 points after 13 games. The PurpleBricks owner pumped a load of money into Larne IRL – They have a salary bill per annum of £4.4M. We have a bill of £3.3M! Our finances are now officially Rich (Larne Secure) – 1 of only 60 teams in Europe that have that Rich status!

30th October 2025 – Cork City (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (Kelly 46, Connolly 54) Cork City 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

Expecting a tough one today, Cork always up their game against us. We have the ball in the net in the 11th minute – A Jenks header, but he was offside at the back post. Marginal. And we get a penalty straight after, O’Malley tripped by Kirk. Jenks takes it… Saved, straight down the middle, a terrible penalty… Ryan in goal for Cork performing heroics to keep Dundalk out in the first 20. And we go in 0-0. 72% possession but a lack of quality. Hairdryer. 1-0 dundalk, 45:21 on the clock, a Kelly header from a Kiene cross for his 25th of the season. Better! And it’s 2-0 in the 54th minute, Connolly with a fine half-volley finish from an O’Malley cross. O’Malley’s 25th Assist of the season, Brian’s 17th goal. We continue to push but we end the game 2-0 winners. Invincible season complete 🙂 Will await the Steam achievement (Think it happens when the season turns over).

Season done. 100pts, 102 GD. Shamrock take 2nd with a final day win, Derry 3rd by 4 GD with a 2-1 win at Limerick, all goals scored by Dundalk players, St. Pat’s 4th with a 3-2 win not enough to unseat Derry. Longford relegated, Cobh will be into the playoff. Just the bottom 2 left to play tomorrow. The First Division’s final games are also tomorrow, and i’ll report back with the result.

The board are happy 🙂

And the last league game in the IPD has happened. I fear for Cobh in the playoff, Longford leaving the IPD on a high. We get £383k for the IPD title.

Athlone promoted as Champions on a nervy night as Bohs lose at home to Sligo. Four seasons in a row now where Bohemians have finished 2nd. 2nd season in a row when they could have gained promotion on the final day and choked. Sligo & Finn Harps make up the playoffs. Sligo are the form team – not lost in 2 months.

So that’s that for October 2025.

Dortmund was obviously disappointing but we reached another domestic cup final (FAI Cup) and finished off an invincible League season, so it wasn’t too bad overall 🙂

See you next time for 6 cup games and the chance at 2 more pieces of silverware. See you soon.

Group of Death – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS7 C2 S3 – Part 69 – Dundalk – September 2025

Yes, Barcelona, Dortmund and Lazio…

Welcome back to Co. Louth for a September that see us play Barcelona & Lazio, whilst trying to win a league Cup and (hopefully) being crowned League Champions.

Yep, will be interesting and (possibly) messy. Talking about Messi, where is he now…

Manager of Deportivo – 15th in the Segunda Division. Of course.

First up some start of month news – We don’t play until 15th September due to the International break.

Vetle Dahl is Norwegian OBOS-ligaen (2nd tier) Player of the Month for August 🙂

We have £36.4M in the bank 🙂

We’ve had the FAI Quarter Final draw.

We host one of the 2 First Division teams left, Galway Utd, currently 8th. That is our next game.

I’m an A+ with the board (I’d bloody hope so) and the dynamics are Very Good, Excellent, Excellent.

A few of the kids had international games.Evan O’Donovan did well in Ireland U21’s 2-0 loss to England, and Tommy Carlin, Neil Hanna & Aidan Hamilton all played in N. Ireland U21’s 4-0 loss to The Netherlands.

Jamie Forde got a few minutes for Ireland in their 1-1 draw with Greece. Lastly Michael Duffy and Jason Knight got sub minutes in Ireland’s 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands.

My Technical Director has gotten us an U19’s Data Analyst apparently 🙂

We have some Irish participation in the Scottish Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup – 3rd Round, Waterford lost 1-0 to Raith, Cork beat Morecambe (Vanarama National in 2025) 3-0. Funnily both the McCabe’s (Sam & Chris) were sent off in those games…

More international games for the kids – Jamie Forde with more minutes for Ireland U19’s in their 1-1 draw versus Scotland. Joe Holloway had a few minutes for Ireland U21 in their 3-0 win versus Bosnia, and Tommy Carlin, Neil Hanna and Aidan Hamilton played in N. Ireland U21’s 1-0 win over Gibraltar.

And we’ve had some senior action – Michael Duffy and Jason Knight with a few minutes in Ireland’s 2-1 win over Scotland, and Stevie Moore, Colin McGarvey and Tommy Collins played in N. Ireland’s 2-1 win over Lithuania – McGarvey with a goal.

A bore-draw in the IPD. Dundalk’s Sam McCabe MotM for Waterford.

Our U19’s beat Longford 9-1, goals from 19yo MC Sean Brennan, 17yo MC Adam Kelly, a hat-trick from Tommy Carlin (33 goals in 14 non-competitive matches) & 4 from Dom Halford (10 goals in 6).

14th September 2025 – Galway Utd (H) – FAI Cup Quarter Final

FT Dundalk 10 (Rooney o.g. 10, McShane 18, Behrenbeck 21, 27, 72, Duffy 25, Holloway 58, O’Malley 65, Kelly 71, 79) Galway 0 Att 2,668 (164 Away)

Galway sit 7th now in the First Division with 4 games to play. Athlone are 4 points clear at the top. A few highlights for Dundalk early. It’s an unfortunate opener though. 1-0 Dundalk, 10th minute, Rooney with an own goal, a corner from Duffy evading everyone, hitting Rooney and it trickled in. Galway getting a bit of attacking ball. It’s 2-0 in the 18th minute, Colm Mcshane with a back-post header from a Holloway free kick out wide. David Behrenbeck gets a tap-in for #3 in the 21st minute after a Jordan Kelly shot was saved into his path. All Dundalk. Duffy makes it 4 in the 25th minute – a nice looping header from a Williams cross. And Behrenbeck gets his 2nd just 2 minutes later – the same as his first except this was a parried Jordan Kelly header from a Duffy corner. 5-0 at the break. Galway down to 10 in the 53rd minute, O’Grady with a (harsh) 2nd yellow. Joe Holloway makes it 6 with a smart finish from a McShane break, his pass to Joe’s feet. We have the ball in the Galway net again within a minute, but Jordan Kelly was offside. Just. Steven O’Malley comes on and grabs himself a gola, ghosting pas a defender and slamming it in. 7-0. And Jordan gets a goal, 98-0, 71st minute, a volley parried in by the Keeper, a McShane cross playing as an IW on the left. David Behrenbeck gets his hat-trick a minute later, a nice easy finish following superb work again by McShane. It’s 10-0 with 11 minutes left, Pulis-ball bastardry, Colm McShane again with a 60-yard ping that Jordan Kelly controls, strolls in on goal and scores. Could be 11 or 12 at this rate. Clinical and merciless. Craddock in the Galway goal on a 4.7. They keep it to 10 though, game over.

All as expected except Derry taken to a replay by Cork. My biggest win of the save so far, and Dundalk’s as well. £39k for the win.

A little team by the name of Barcelona next… Hoping to keep it respectable. We’ve had the FAI Cup Semi Final draw…

St. Pat’s away. Tough one. October now a 10-game month.

More IPD games without us. Waterford still buzzing around the European spots, even though they’ve played 3 games more. Got an affinity with Waterford, after living there IRL for 2 years.

We’ve had the bookies feelings on our game with Barca – they are only 6/4 on (Dundalk 7/2) – surprises me.

The first UCL matches of the season – Lyon taking Real close, Galatasaray beating Porto possibly the only shock of the evening.

17th September 2025 – Barcelona (SPA) (H- Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Group E Matchday 1

FT Dundalk 2 (O’Malley 56, McGarvey 90+1) Barcelona 4 (De Ligt 13, Gouiri 26, 77, Alaba pen 35) Att 8,000 (4,000 Away)

Barcelona sit top of La Liga after 4 games – they and Bilbao 4 P4 W4. Young Boys get a point at home to Ajax in the 17:55 games. Let’s start the Group of Death! We are without Jenks for Yellows. No newgens in the Barca side, a 34yo Griezmann is up top in a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. Barca have the ball in the net in the 3rd minute, but Gouiri was 3 yards off. A Tommy Collins header skims the bar in the 10th minute from a Duffy corner. Set Pieces separate the big teams from the not so big. Barca 1-0, 13th minute, De Ligt with a header from a Christian Eriksen free kick. We’ve had 5 shots to their 1! Almost identical goal for Barca’s 2nd, Gouiri with the header this time. Fucking OP Set Pieces. And then penalty Barca, a shove from McGarvey – Whatever. 3-0, Alaba, 3 set-pieces. 3-0 at the break, relatively close apart from the set pieces. We get a goal back in the 56th minute, a lovely team move, Astler, on for Seddon, with a beautiful cross and O’Malley heads in unmarked at the back post. Better after the hairdryer at half time. Gouiri makes it 4-1 in the 77th minute, missed tackles allowing him through for an easy goal. We get a 2nd in the first minute of stoppage time – Another Astler cross, this time Big Col with the header. And he gets himself sent off for a lunge 2 minute later. Idiot, Not even got Get Stuck in on or anything. It finishes 4-2. Apart from the set pieces that wasn’t too bad.

Will be interesting to see how Dortmund and Lazio do against Barca. League Cup Final next up in just 3 days.

Our League Cup Final Opponents Derry get through to the FAI Cup Semis after beating Cork on pens – they are our opponents in the League Cup Final, so will have 30 minutes more in their legs than us.

Got a news article that the Barca game was a gate receipt record as well, £210k. Will take a look next season to see if a stadium expansion makes sense.

Amazingly our U19’s beat Barcelona U19’s 3-1!! 18yo STC Tommy Coffey with a goal and ex-Man Utd STC Dom Halford with a brace.

More IPD games – Shamrock and St. Pat’s with good wins. Cobh with another crucial point, now less than a win behind Shelbourne.

20th September 2025 – Derry City (N – Oriel Park) – League Cup Final

FT Dundalk 2 (Kelly 32, McShane ) Derry City 0 Att 4,500 (2,250 Away)

A decent Derry side come to Dundalk looking to stop us winning another piece of Silverware. I’m trusting the second-string lads in the main that got us here, plus Jenks as he didn’t play in midweek. They have a few players short on condition. It’s a quiet start. We take the lead in the 32nd minute, Jordan Kelly finishing well following a beautiful 50-yard over-the-top ball by Holloway. Pulis-ball. Great movement by Kelly to get the space. Derry under the cosh as we get towards half time, but it’s just 1-0 Dundalk at the break. It’s a quiet second half too. Maybe game-over? Colm McShane, 2-0, a banger of a volley from an Astler cross. And yes, it’s all over. More silverware 🙂 £25k for the win, £22.5k paid out in bonuses, 28 medals awarded.

A couple of league games next up, Cork City away in 3 days, Limerick at Home 3 days after that.

Our U19’s beat Freebooters 9-0 in a friendly – goals from Aidan Hamilton, Brian Stapleton, Dom Halford, 2 from Jake Taylor (Just back from injury) and 4 for Dan Kelly.

St. Pat’s slip up in their quest for 2nd place, Dundalker Jim Collins with the goal for Limerick.

Youth Intake. Brian Smith on the left wing has potential. Apart from that it’s slim pickings.

23rd September 2025 – Cork City (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Cork City 1 (Madsen 58) Dundalk 1 (Duffy 23) Att 3,629 (146 Away)

Cork start the day in 6th, 10 points behind Derry in 5th but on the same points as Limerick in 7th, 12 points clear of Shelbourne in 8th. So a straight Munster fight for 6th place. If we win we will be 25 points ahead of Shamrock, they have 24 points to play for. So we would win the League. We have a strong team out. Let’s do this. A decent start from the lads, Ryan in the Cork goal keeping it 0-0. We do take the lead in the 23rd minute however, a fine Duffy header from an O’Malley cross. We continue to press but Ryan is keeping them in it. 1-0 at the break. Cork equalise in the 58th minute, Madsen with the header, looking pretty offside TBH. Cork down to 10 soon after, O’Connor (Think he’s been sent off against us once already this season) for a second yellow. But we can’t brealk them down. It finishes 1-1, really quite poor.

23 points ahead, 24 to play for. We play Limerick at ours in 3 days, a win secures the title. Matty Burrows with another goal for Derry as they move back to 4th, a game in hand over St. Pat’s.

Our U19’s beat the Youth Candidates just 2-1, goals from Aidan Hamilton and Tommy Coffey for the U19’s, AML Kevin McCann for the Youth Candidates. We will be keeping 6 of the youngsters.

26th September 2025 – Limerick F.C. (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 4 (Behrenbeck 11, Carlin 67, 72, pen 81) Limerick F.C. 0 Att 3,580 (158 Away)

A better result required this evening – let’s tie this league title up. A decent enough start and we take the lead in the 11th minute, youngsters Astler and Behrenbeck combining, David with a near post header from Geoff’s cross. We continue to press afterwards but are just lacking that bit of quality. We go in just 1-0 up, even though we’ve had 10 shots on target. We make it 2 in the 67th minute. Tommy Carlin, just on for Kelly with a good shot that sneaks in after being parried by O’Shaughnessy. Headed assist from Connolly. And Tommy Carlin makes it 3-0 in the 72nd minute, heading home a McShane cross after Colm broke really quickly. We now knows MR really well. 78th minute, Dylan Hand sent off for a straight Red. 81st minute, penalty Dundalk, Connolly pushed by McHugh. Carlin for his hat-trick… 4-0 🙂 It’s all over, we pick the title up in the pouring Louth rain.

FM20 Domination Achievement now gotten 🙂 27 medals given out (So far). And that’s 8 league titles in a row now for Dundalk. Tim Foulkes scores for Shamrock as they win well. St. Pat’s win to keep Derry, who Draw, at bay. One game left this month – Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, where we play for the 3rd time this save (Roma twice).

Initial Budgets set – £250k/wk and £17.1M transfer budget. We spend £80k/week 🙂

Our U19’s beat Bohemians 8-1, goals from left back Dominic Kiene, MC David Robinson, a hat-trick from Dom Halford and a hat-trick from youth candidate Gary Murphy.

More IPD games. Shamrock look to be in control in 2nd now. Cobh have 2 games in hand now over Shelbourne – can they get 3 points to go above them?

And Our U19’s beat Lazio U20’s 4-2!!! Goals from Tommy Carlin and a hat-trick from David Behrenbeck!!

We have 6 of the lads in the IPD team of the week.

30th September 2025 – Lazio (ITA) – (A) – UCL Group E Matchday 2

FT Lazio 2 (Alcacer 70, Suleimanov 75) Dundalk 3 (O’Malley 24, Jenkinson 44, McShane 45) Att 53,790 (44 Away)

Lazio sit 10th in Serie A after an inauspicious start to the season – W2 D2 L2. However they did beat Dortmund 3-2 in germany so we know we are rank outsiders for this game. Big Colin sits this out after his idiotic sending off versus Barca, so Colm McShane will play as a DLF in his place. Lazio using the OP 4-2-3-1 Wide as used by most of the big teams. Danger from a succession of set pieces early – do I change to Stay On Feet from neutral? Lazio on top by shots but we take the lead!! 24th minute, O’Malley from a tight angle after a horror-show from Lazio, a clearance right back into the middle of the pitch, McShane ends up getting it and he slips O’Malley in. One of those where the Keeper should just come and get it. Lazio with a few chances, Dundalk with a few after the goal. And we go 2-0 up in the Stadio Olimpico!! Jenks with a stunning DFK from 30 yards 🙂 Kickoff Highlight (Think we all know what this means…) – FUCKING 3-0 LADS!!!!!! Lazio give the ball away, we move it up the pitch efficiently, ball though from Duffy, Collins hauled down on the edge but the ref plays advantage, everybody stops except for Colm McShane, who runs through to score another one where the Keeper should have claimed to score from 6 yards. 3-0 Dundalk!!!! Madness. 3-0 at the break, 3 shots on target 🙂 I know this isn’t over yet though. Forty-four Dundalk fans in Rome this evening – they are having a party 🙂 And Conor O’Malley is pulling some good saves off early in the 2nd half. They get a goal back in the 70th minute, Alcacer with a tap-in, really unlucky, one of those slide tackles that goes straight to the opponent. Dropping back to a 4-1-4-1. 3-2, 75th minute, Right-back gone missing, Suleimanov with an easy goal. FFS. COME ON LADS!!! Gone Defensive as they go Very Attacking. 5 minutes of stoppages. BUT WE HOLD ON!! 3-2 DUNDALK!! A massive win away to a team that beat Dortmund at theirs!!!

Second on games versus 🙂 Dortmund get a really good point at the Camp Nou. Celtic also on the board with a 3-1 versus Genk. Aaron Wan-Bissaka scoring for PSG as they beat Liverpool at Anfield (Seems to be a trend…) £2.3M in the pot 🙂 Balance now stands at £38.5M.

What a way to round off a month!!!

A League Cup Final victory, IPD title and 3 points in Rome 🙂 A bit of a madness. October is full-on. 3 games in 4 days to start including a FAI Cup Semi Final (Think there is an international break in there somewhere as well) followed by another 3 games in 4 days stretch of IPD games. Will be using the youngsters, which is always good. See you next time for more Lillywhite action 🙂

Poles & Greeks – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS7 C2 S3 – Part 68 – Dundalk – August 2025

Legia Warszawa & PAOK – Can we see both off and get that sweet sweet cash?

Welcome back to Dundalk for August 2025. August will always be a big month for us as we strive to qualify for the UCL, and keep on taking the £13M that that generates 🙂

Firstly, start of the month admin.

Dundalker Matty Burrows comes second in the IPD Player of the Month for Derry City

I get Manager of the Month. We have £23.5M in the bank. I am an A+ with the board 🙂

Dynamics are Very Good, Very Good, Excellent

Looking pretty dire for Cobh & Longford with 11 games left.

PLAYER ARRIVING (END OF SEASON)

Zech Medley will arrive for £325k for 3 years as a start centre-back, replacing Ray Moore (Hopefully). He is currently an 83 with our scouts, 4* CA/PA. A steal.

Our U19’s beat Athlone 5-2, goals from new-boy STC Dom Halford, a brace from David Behrenbeck and a brace from 17yo STC Richie O’Sullivan.

3rd August 2025 – Derry City (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (Connolly 22, Ngoy 25) Derry City 0 Att 4,477 (202 Away)

Derry went out of the Europa Conference League in mid week and are 3 points back from Shamrock in 4th. We have a trip to Poland in just 3 days so will have a rotated team. Will be a tough one. It’s a quiet start. But we take the lead in the 22nd minute, Brian Connolly with the sliding finish after a bit of a schmozzle – Joe Holloway with the free kick, Colm McShane with the initial header, which came off the face of the post, Brian slides in and stabs it in from less than a yard. It’s a set piece nightmare for Derry – 2-0 just 3 minutes later, Nathan Ngoy with a powerful header from a Joe Holloway corner. Great play from the lads. The rest of the half is pretty quiet – we go in 2-0 to the good. The second half is really quiet too. Derry have the ball in the net in the 74th minute, but Morrow was well offside. It finished 2-0. Good win.

European doldrums for 3 of the 4 teams that played midweek! 9 games clear, 11 games left. We could win the league this month!!!

Right, we travel to Warsaw (1,150 miles) soon for the game on Wednesday. First though there is the playoff draw, in which we are seeded!! Only Slavia Prague have more Coefficient points in the draw. Dinamo are playing Dynamo Kyiv… It’s fated, isn’t it…

Interesting one! PAOK. Only had the Greek Superleague turned on for one season but they won it. They haven’t started their season yet though. Tough to go straight in to a playoff. They have a 34 yo James Rodriguez in their ranks and their star striker is ex-Arsenal Chuba Akpom… They didn’t have any European Football last season, fell in the Playoff to Anderlecht in 23/24, Failed to qualify for the Conference league stage in 22/23 but got to the Conference League knockouts in 21/22. I’d consider us favourites, but let’s get past Legia first!

I’ve extended contracts for our best players. Tommy Collins now with us until the end of 2028 (£2.8k/wk) & Big Col the same (£2k/wk)

PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)

Wanted Jamie McGrath gone for a while as he was a malcontent – TNS can have him until the end of the season for nothing. Never know, he may want to buy him…

We’ve had a scout report for Legia – I’d put them as similar in strength to us.

Nathan Ngoy & Brian Connolly made the IPD Team of the Week.

6th August 2025 – Legia (POL) (A) – UCL 3rd Qual Round 1st Leg

Stadion Wojska Polskiego, Warsaw, Capacity 30,967

Legia have started off with 7 wins from 7 games this season… Let’s put a big Dundalk-sized dent in that.

FT Legia 0 Dundalk 1 (Collins 14) Att 27,942 (26 Away)

Legia going with the old 4-2-3-1 Wide. Positive. Will take a draw. We get a couple of highlights early. They look dangerous though. We take the lead however in the 14th minute, Tommy Collins with his 33rd of the season! Nicely tucked past the keeper after an outrageous first-time pass by Duffy from a cross-field Jenks ball… Big-game players. They have an American newgen called Willy Wight – Quality 🙂 End-to-end near the end of the half, both teams looking most dangerous on the break. Exciting to watch. 1-0 at the break. Really quiet for the start of the second half after the flurry of activity at the end of the 1st. We are still getting the better chances as we enter the final 20. Last 5. Stoppages. Collins hits the bar with a header from a Duffy corner. So close. It’s all over. I’ll take that every day!! 1-0 Dundalk.

Qarabag get a really good draw away at Salzburg. And KA also get a great draw at home to HJK. Some tight matches.

We have a League Cup Semi before the home leg – Shamrock at Tallaght. So we will be playing at the Tallaght twice in 4 days. Nice 🙂

Stevie Moore signs until the end of 2028 – £2.7k/wk.

PLAYER LEAVING

Ray Moore goes to Hull for £400k. Annoyed but better him gone than causing ructions. Scout has him at a 66. He’s getting £11.75k/wk in the Championship (19th currently).

Limerick doing really well in their 1st season up in the IPD with another win. Thinking Longford might be done with 10 games left. They need 3 wins to just get up to Cobh. Waterford have snuck up to 3rd!!!

Our U19’s beat Evergreen 6-0 – goals from 18yo MC Sean Brennan, Brian Stapleton, Dom Halford and a hat-trick from David Behrenbeck. Thinking he may be close to the 1st team…

10th August 2025 – Shamrock Rovers (A) – League Cup Semi Final

FT Shamrock Rovers 0 Dundalk 2 (Kelly 7, 68) Att 6,187 (999 Away)

Shamrock surprisingly sit 4th in the IPD currently, but come into this on the back of a 0-0 draw versus a Scottish Premiership Dundee Utd side. St. Pat’s beat Univ. Craiova 2-1 in the other Irish-involved Conference League 3rd Qual Round 1st Leg. We’ve done a decent bit of rotation. Would be nice to get to another domestic final but that £20M+ is far more important than anything. 4-4-2 v 4-4-2, man for man. Think Shamrock have rotated too. We take the lead in the 7th minute, a great goal by Jordan Kelly after turning his defender, the shot tucked inside the left post. Assist pass from Neil Hanna. Shamrock are looking tired pretty early, and have already lost a player to injury. Well on top, 1-0 at the break. A quiet 2nd half until Jordan makes it 2, a powerful strike from 15 yards, final pass from Brian Connolly. Good to see Jordan scoring, that’s only his 14th of the season. Shamrock have their first shot of the game in the 89th minute! It finished 2-0 – professionally done. £8.5k for the win.

St. Pat’s pulling away a bit in 2nd with 10 games left. Cobh win the battle at the bottom, pretty much consigning Longford to First Division football next season.

And we will be playing Derry City in the League Cup Final. Matty Burrows popping up with the goal to clinch their passage to Oriel Park (Think we are hosting it) on the 20th September.

13th August 2025 – Legia (POL) (H – Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Champions 3rd Qual Round 2nd Leg

FT Dundalk 3 (Jenkinson 5, McGarvey 20, Duffy 45+3) Legia 0 Att 8,000 (233 Away) Dundalk wins 4-0 on Aggregate

Legia come into the game on the back of a 1-0 win versus Wisla Plock in the Ekstraklasa, the previously mentioned American newgen Willy Wight with the goal. Just need to play our normal game. Legia’s away kit very similar to our away kit. We go 1-0 up in the 5th minute after an open start – Jenks popping up with a rare back=post header from an O’Malley free kick from wide on the right. Great start lads!! And it’s 2-0 on the night, 3-0 on aggregate in the 20th minute, Big-Game McGarvey with a wonderful header from another O’Malley set-piece, a little bit closer to the byline than his first assist. Dundalk well on top, they don’t like being harried for every ball. Their attacking players are looking pretty tired already. And we make it 3-0 on the night just over 2 minutes into stoppages at the end of the first half, a hat-trick of headers, this one from open play, Michael Duffy heading in a Freddy Barton cross at the back post. Unfortunately it looks like Steven O’Malley has a poorly foot – will get him off for Connolly at the break. We go in 3(4)-0(0) to the good. The 2nd half passes by pretty quickly, Legia not really giving much, Lillywhites happy to take a break. We win 3-0, 4-0 on aggregate. Very professional work lads!

No real shocks – FC Kobenhavn come back well from a 2-1 1st leg deficit to defeat Feyenoord. Also we are guaranteed European league-based football throughout the autumn and early winter. Lets make it UCL by beating PAOK!

Moneybags Athlone Town next up in the FAI Cup 1st Round before we travel to Salonika for the UCL Champions Playoff 1st Leg 🙂

Checking in on the progress of the other Irish teams still in European competition. Shamrock are out of the Conference League, losing 3-0 at Tannadice versus Dundee Utd. St. Pat’s are also out, 4-3 on aggregate after losing 3-1 on the night to Univ. Craiova. Need to see if I can strengthen these teams somehow, we need the Coefficient points as a nation. It’s up to us!

FAI Cup 1st Round results – Shelbourne need 120 minutes to beat non-league Salthill. Waterford win the all-IPD tie, Barry O’Leary with the winning goal.

16th August 2025 – Athlone Town (H) – FAI Cup 1st Round

FT Dundalk 5 (Carlin 12, Connolly 42, 69, Stevie Moore 73, 85) Athlone Town 1 (O’Rourke 62) Att 2,550 (42 Away)

Athlone top the First Division by 1 point with 6 games left. They’ve continued to splash the cash and are looking to build an IPD team. Hoping for a professional performance from the lads today. And we take the lead in the 12th minute. A defensive mistake by Athlone allows Jordan to get the ball, he slips through Tommy Carlin who does really well to get some space, stroking the ball home inside the right upright. Pretty quiet until the 42nd minute, when Brian Connolly volleys home emphatically at the far post after a gorgeous cross from Colm McShane. 2-0 Dundalk at the break. Athlone get a goal back in the 62nd minute, O’Rourke with a good finish across Mpande. Athlone down to 10 soon after, Greer with a 2nd Yellow. And a few minutes after that we go 3-1 up, Connolly with his 2nd, a back post header from a cross from David Behrenbeck on debut. 4-1 four minutes after the 3rd, Stevie Moore heading home, through Keeper Swann’s hands, from a Behrenbeck deep free kick. And the 5th is identical, except Swann didn’t get near this one. behrenbeck with a hat-trick of assists on debut 🙂 It finishes 5-1. A good result from the boys.

No shocks today. £19.5k in the pot.

More FAI Cup games on the Sunday – Cork City needing 120 minutes to beat non-league Letterkenny, Tim Foulkes on the scoresheet for Shamrock Rovers, Matty Burrows with a brace for Derry and the only shock, if you can call it that – Cabinteely (7th in the First Division) knocked out by non-league Mervue Utd. Just had a look at the First division table again – Galway are 8th and Drogheda 9th!!! And Sligo are a point away from the playoffs in 5th. If Cobh end up going down I definitely want to have them as a junior affiliate so we can try and get them back up straight away.

Our U19’s beat Drogheda 6-0 – goals from 18yo STC Tommy Coffey, 17yo DR Shaun Costello and 4 from 17yo winger Jamie Forde.

Had a PAOK scouting assessment – Their best player by CA is Chuba Akpom – 75 rated by the scouts. Decent players if unremarkable. They also happen to have Panathinaikos in the game between the two legs, their first league game of the season.

We’ve had the FAI Cup 2nd Round draw…

Away to Shelbourne. All the big boys kept apart, Ours is the only all-IPD tie.

19th August 2025 – PAOK (GRE) (A) – UCL Champions Playoff 1st Leg

Toumba, Salonika – Capacity 28,703

We make the 1,650 mile journey to Salonika to play a PAOK side that hasn’t yet started their season. Hopefully cohesion and form will out this evening.

FT PAOK 1 (Nuno Santos 45) Dundalk 1 (McGarvey 27) Att 27,291 (23 Away)

We are unbeaten since Roma away in April – 31 matches. Let’s keep it that way. Had the silly bugged comments in the Tunnel interview (PAOK best defence, lowest scorers – They haven’t played yet!!). They look pretty useful going forward. We should be 1-0 up in the 17th minute, Collins slipped in by Duffy, his shot superbly saved. We do take the lead however in the 27th minute – defensive cohesion not there as Big Col gets acres after a fine O’Malley pass, his shot parried into the net by the PAOK Keeper Tiago Sa. They look tired… They’ve not even started their league season yet, how can they be tired? But they equalise just before half time, Nuno Santos with a decent shot through a crowded box. 1-1 at the break – they already have 5 players booked. Pretty quiet in the first 15, though they do look dangerous going forward. We’ve had chances – Tommy Collins has dropped off form a bit. Tight as we go into the last 10. Into stoppages. It finishes 1-1 – We take the Away goal back to Tallaght Stadium. Apart from Roma they are the best team we’ve played this season. Let’s see how well they travel.

FC Kobenhavn with a fine win in Monaco. Young Boys do a smash-and-grab in Zagreb, goals in the 86th and 92nd minutes. We have Waterford in 3 days before the return leg, 5 days after that.

Salzburg drew 0-0 with HJK in the final UCL Playoff 1st leg tie on Wednesday.

22nd August 2025 – Waterford (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Waterford x (Hughes 65) Dundalk x (Behrenbeck 23, Duffy 37, Kelly 50, 66, 77) Att 1,590 (244 Away)

Waterford currently sit 3rd by 2 goals over Shamrock. They play St. Pat’s today so all to play for. We are rotated, but Duffy & Ngoy play as they are suspended from the PAOK game for yellows. Steve Seddon is back in the squad after his layoff for a Sports Hernia. I’ve noticed they have Glen Rea playing at centre-back! He’s on £450/wk now. Was on £3.5k/wk with us! A tight game early on but we take the lead in the 23rd minute – David Behrenbeck with his first goal for Dundalk, a fine header from a deep Joe Holloway free kick. 2-0 in the 37th, another header, this time Duffy from a McShane cross, across Connor in the Waterford net. 2-0 at the break. Jordan Kelly gets his 15th of the season 5 minutes into the 2nd half, a good 1-on-1 finish after being slipped through by Neil Hanna. Nathan Ngoy gifts Waterford a goal after hanging onto the ball for too long, hitting the ball straight at Hughes, he gets the ball back and has a tap-in. We reply from the kickoff highlight. 4-1, Kelly with his second at the second time of asking, following being laid in by Behrenbeck. And he gets his hat-trick in the 77th minute – a fine header over the keeper from sub Steve Seddon’s majestic cross. Real quality. It finishes 5-1. A great result.

Shamrock take back control of their destiny with a fine 3-0 win at St. Pat’s Cobh win a relegation 6-pointer versus Shelbourne – they are now just 3 points back on Shelbourne. We are 27 points ahead of St. Pat’s, they have 27 to play for. We are 28 points clear of Shamrock with 30 to play for. We’ve definitely qualified for the Conference League in the 26/27 season now 🙂

Right, the biggie in 5 days. £20M+ for the winner!

Our U19’s beat Ballinsloe 12-0 in a friendly. Goals from Aidan Hamilton, Dan Kelly, Three braces (Stapleton, Martin Kenny & Carlin), and 4 from Dom Halford.

A couple of IPD games – Shamrock winning a cracker versus Waterford, Dundalker Tim Foulkes with the winner in the 92nd minute after Shamrock were 3-0 down with 24 minutes left!

Six of the lads made the IPD Team of the Week.

Salzburg are the first team to qualify for the UCL Groups, beating HJK 1-0 in Finland.

Six of the lads called up for International duty for the September internationals.

27th August 2025 – PAOK (GRE) (H- Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Champions Playoff 2nd leg

FT Dundalk 3 (McGarvey 33, Collins 45+1, O’Malley 71) PAOK 2 (Plata 23, 58) Att 7,054 (327 Away) – Dundalk wins 4-3 on Aggregate