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Part Zero

Why are we here………

Lets get the philosophy out of the way first πŸ™‚ 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.

Mixing it with the Big Boys – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS5 C2 S1 – Part 46 – Dundalk – September 2023

Welcome back. We are September 2023. Still in the FAI Cup, League Cup (Final versus Cobh mid-month), Champions League (Group D!!!) and 10 games left in the League, currently top by 6 points with a game in hand. 39 games unbeaten, everything is pretty sweet πŸ™‚

Last month was a madness but we have an imposed 13-day international break after the FAI Cup 2nd Round game versus Bray Wanderers (Though I do have 13 players called up for internationals as well…) – Those not involved will be sent on a week’s hols!!! Injuries were mounting up through wear and tear – we have already played 46 competitive games this season, and have at least 20 left, potentially 23 if we get to the FAI Cup Final – a 69 game season!!!! And we have a chance at some Silverware versus Cobh as well in the League Cup Final!!

The usual start of month malarkey first before we welcome Bray for the FAI Cup 2nd Round on the 2nd.

Isn’t that a thing of beauty!!! Still on an A- with the board πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Dynamics are Good/Excellent/Excellent

First 5 results of the 8 in the FAI Cup 2nd Round – Sligo beating Derry City the pick.

Interesting Group in the Conference League for Shamrock – CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets (BUL) and Villareal…

2nd September 2023 – Bray Wanderers (H) – FAI Cup 2nd Round

We welcome Bray (8th in the 1st Division) to Oriel Park this afternoon for our last game before the international break, and as such we are fielding a pretty strong side.

Collins & Kelly (The reason why Ireland needs to unify – so they can start together up top in an International) loving life & keeping McGarvey out of the soide. Rea gets a start as BBM, Laera partners Ngoy for the first time (Our best central defence by CA), Sheehan at right back in both Gannon & McCabe’s absence. Bray are going 4-4-2 defensive, pretty much Phil Gannon & Jake Ellis the only names I remember from my time at Cobh.

FT Dundalk 5 (McGrath 31, Collins 39, Jordan Kelly 50, 75, Holloway 86) Bray Wanderers (Roche 90+3) 1 Att 2,298 (93 Away)

Quietish start – always tough when a team is sitting back against you. It takes until the 31st minute to take the lead – Jamie McGrath playing with left-back Fletcher like a Cat with a Mouse before striding through and scoring from 10 yards. Kickoff highlight…McGrath just wide with his shot. And McGrath sets up the second. A lovely ball from Sheehan sets McGrath off, and his final ball sets Collins up to header powerfully in from just outside the 6 yard box. 2-0 Dundalk., 39th minute. Lovely play from the lads. 2-0 at the break.

Massively long highlight in the 50th minute, Bray have already had 2 shots saved! O’Malley releases early to Connolly, first cross gets intercepted, ball works its way back to him, and his next cross, quite low, somehow gets to Jordan Kelly, who finishes beautifully. 3-0 Dundalk. And Kelly’s 50th goal for Dundalk (21yo). If Collins was a beater header of the ball he’d be a Braut-Haaland!! Collins & McGrath off for youngsters Brady & Hanratty. Beautiful play for the 4th – intricate passing leading to a 1-2 between Kelly & TM Brady, Kelly receiving the ball back to tap in. Gorgeous pass-and-move football. Holloway for Rea for the last 10. Brady has the ball in the net, but was offside. 5-0 in the 86th, Holloway with the side-foot finish after good work from Connolly & Kelly. Bray score with pretty much the last kick of the game from Roche after a nice move. 5-1 it finishes. Off on your break lads πŸ™‚

Cork & Cobh also win as expected. Β£23k in the pot.

Fucks sake – Another right-back injured, and this is a bad one. His contract is up at the end of the year, so he’s played his last game for Dundalk πŸ™

And that occurred in a 4-0 U19’s win over Manulla – goals from Brian Stapleton, Mark Hanratty, Anthony Forde & Sinclair Armstrong.

We’ve had the FAI Cup Quarter Final Draw.

Cork away – a tough one. October now has 9 matches as the QF will be our next game – 16th September – 3 days before Porto in the UCL. The Shamrock game is now Friday 13th October. And we have a period of 4 games in a week now next month (23rd, 25th, 27th, 30th – St. Pat’s, Man U, Cobh, Derry)…

We’ve had 2 of the U19’s (DR Karl Harmon & MR Martin Kenny) play in Ireland U19’s 3-1 win over Russia, Harmon with a goal, and Tommy Carlin played 9 minutes of Northern Ireland U19’s 2-0 win of Czechia U19’s. The Day after Ray Moore played 10 minutes, Joe Holloway 17 & Colm McShane 73 in Ireland U21’s 2-0 win over Israel. Augusto Laera played all 90 in Italy U20’s 1-0 loss to Germany.

And our U19’s beat Drumcondra 8-1, goals from Chris Shields, Anthony Forder, Dan Cross, 2 from Sinclair Armstrong & a hat-trick from Brian Stapleton.

Martin Kenny played 66 minutes in Ireland U19’s 2-0 loss versus The Netherlands and Colin McGarvey played 38 minutes in Northern Ireland’s 4-0 defeat by Belgium.

Ray Moore got an 8.6 for his 80 minutes in Ireland U21’s 9-0 win over Georgia. Colm McShane (7.1) & Joe Holloway (8.8) also played – 45 & 67 minutes respectively. Laera played all 90 in Italy U20’s 1-0 loss versus The Netherlands, Chris McCabe played 77 minutes in Northern Ireland U21’s 3-1 loss versus Germany, and Colin McGarvey (53) and Tommy Collins (37) player in Northern Ireland’s 3-0 loss versus Kazakhstan – That was Collins’ senior debut πŸ™‚

16th September 2023 – Cork City (A) – FAI Cup Quarter Final

We make the journey to Turner’s Cross knowing we have our first Champions League Group Stage game in the club’s history in 3 days time. As such it will be a strong side, but not first choice. Cork have only lost once since we beat them on 1st May (3-0 to St. Pat’s last month) and with Cobh Ramblers are through to the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers 4th Round (They play Alloa, Cobh play Ayr). I can see this being a tough one.

McGarvey starts up top with Jordan Kelly, Hanratty gets time on the left wing, Davenport at left back, otherwise a pretty strong team. Cork City go with a Cautious 4-4-1-1.

FT Cork City x (O’Halloran 4, Stokes 81) Dundalk x (Jordan Kelly 87, 90+5) Att 2,868 (109 Away)

Cork City kick off at Turner’s Cross this afternoon, and go 1-0 up in the 4th minute – a speculative cross avoiding everyone, O’Halloran sneaks the ball in at the far post. Poor. And they have the ball in the net not long after, but Stokes was well offside. And that’s that for highlights. Really poor. 1-0 down at the break.

Davenport off, McCabe over and Cunningham in at right back. Cork very much in charge. Hanratty off for Dan Kelly on 60. 4-4-1-1, McGarvey just off of Kelly as a Shadow Striker. 4-2-3-1 for the last 20, Jenks on for Benson. 2-0 81st minute, direct free-kick from Stokes… Maybe the break has really affected them, because this is really bad. 87, Very Attacking, 2-1, Jordan Kelly after good work from McGarvey. Any chance?? Kickoff Highlight… Nearly, Jordan kelly’s shot saved. Lots of highlights. Last highlight, 30 seconds over. McCabe on the left, to McGarvey, who gets a cross in… surely not… 2-2!!!! Jordan Kelly with a wonderful finish!!! A Fergie-Time equaliser πŸ™‚ 2-2 it finished, we go to a replay (Just what we don’t want!!)

Look at this shit-show – From Friday 20th October to Monday 13th November we will have 10 games in 24 days… We also now have a Cobh/Cork/Cork/Cobh stretch of 4 games in 8 days at the end of this month/start of October. At least we have Shamrock in the League in a relatively calm period of just 3 games in 13 days. FC Porto up in 3 days.

The other 3 Quarters went as expected.

We’ve had our first Porto Scout report – interestingly they are in a non-playable league – they look better than Salzburg but not by much…

The FAI Cup Semi Final Draw has happened.

The hardest draw left again – Waterford, if we can get past Cork.

Shamrock only 3 points behind now – but we do have 2 games in hand.

And this is a biggie…

Our U19’s beat Porto U19’s 3-1 in the UCL Youth Group!! Goals from Tommy Carlin & a brace from Martin Kenny!!! Good signs for the future!

19th September 2023 – FCP (POR) (H-Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Group D

We welcome FC Porto to Dublin this evening for Dundalk’s first European match at this level in the clubs history. Roma are at Old Trafford in the other game in our group.

Early games done – Lyon & Benfica coming out on top. And we get to game time.

Going with the formation from the 2nd half of the Salzburg game that ground out the 2-1 – Collins up top on his own, Usual midfield with Holloway in his preferred DM role. Corrigan is suspended for yellows so McCabe playing at left back again, and we welcome Gannon back at right back. Porto going Positive 4-2-3-1 Wide.

FT Dundalk x FCP x (Lyanco 11, Silva 22) Att 7,197 (3,182 Away)

Porto kick off in their Yellow away strip. We last 11 minutes, Lyanco flicking a deep free-kick in off the crossbar. 1-0 Porto. Big moment in the 21st minute though, Porto down to 10 men! Luis Diaz scything down Gannon. But almost straight away it’s 2-0, Fabio Silva with a tap-in. We don’t look too bad going forward, but it’s 2-0 Porto at the break.

Should have been 2-1 in the first 30 seconds, a lovely Dundalk move, Collins’ shot saved from 3 yards… 60 minutes, going 4-4-2, Jordan Kelly on for Taylor, Holloway up to Central Midfield as a CM(D). 70, Dan Kelly on for Connolly, IW(A). Last 10, McGarvey on as a winger for McGrath. 2-0 it finished.

Man U win 4-0 versus Roma in the other game in the group. Big wins for Barcelona, Real Madrid & Sporting CP! Actually thinking of fielding weaker teams in the UCL – we’re not qualifying but we need to make sure we win our league so we can qualify again next year and get that Β£13M!!!

League Cup Final next up on Saturday versus Cobh, going to definitely put a first team out for that.

Another massive point for the Ramblers – now 7 points above Longford with 8 games left.

Big wins for Schalke & Arsenal.

Injuries becoming a real problem:

Robbie Benson – Gashed Lower Leg – 8 days – 2 Weeks

Ryan Corrigan – Pulled Groin – 5-9 Days

Training dialled back intensity-wise (Not that it was that intense to begin with).

Big wins for Longford & Waterford, Shelbourne now look like they should be going down.

23rd September 2023 – Cobh Ramblers (N – Actually Oriel Park) – League Cup Final

The League of Ireland Cup (EA Sports Cup)

We face Cobh Ramblers today in Ireland’s secondary domestic cup competition. It’s at Oriel Park, so a bit of an advantage.

First team less Duffy (Who’s back in training), Taylor (Who’s being a bit of a twat, unhappy we didn’t strengthen in the transfer window and training like a dick as a result) & Corrigan. Cobh go with a Defensive 4-4-2.

FT Dundalk 5 (McGrath pen 16, Collins 25, Jordan Kelly 38, 43, Connolly 67) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 4,500 (465 Away)

Good open start to the game. And we get a penalty (For what looked like a perfectly good tackle by Keaney on McGrath) in the 16th minute. McGrath takes it himself… and scores, almost through the Keeper. 1-0 Dundalk. Dundalk now in charge. 2-0 in the 25th, but only after an amazing double save by Higgins, keeping out Dan Kelly twice, but Tommy Collins was on hand to bust the net with an amazing volley from close in. 3-0 in the 38th, lovely defensive working leading to a Jenks through ball to Jordan Kelly, who does what he does, finishing the 1-on-1. Might be able to rest a few players here before the FAI Cup replay versus Cork… 4-0 in the 43rd, really simple, a lovely Rea through ball, Kelly on hand to do the same as 5 minutes ago. 4-0 at the break.

McCabe on for White (just back from injury) at Half Time. Rea hits the crossbar in the 53rd with a lovely curling effort. Connolly on for Dan Kelly on 60. McGarvey for Collins with 25 left. but not before possibly the most audacious goal I’ve seen on FM!! Connolly with a scissor kick from a Gannon ball from all of 25yards, out towards the left corner of the box. An absolute madness!! 5-0. Cobh have the ball in the net from Ayoola, but he was well offside. 5-0 it finished, just the 8 bookings for Cobh!!

League Cup Winners 2023 – Dundalk

Β£22k prize money, Β£19k paid out in bonuses πŸ™‚

Youth Intake – 3 players, maybe.

Our U19’s get another good win, 8-2 versus Sligo, goals from David O’Callaghan, Dan Cross & a Double-Hat-Trick(!!!) from Tommy Carlin.

FUCKING INJURIES!!!!!!

Andy Boyle – Bruised Ankle – 2-3 days

Joe Holloway – Sprained Ankle – 4-5 Weeks

Just getting absolutely hammered by the sheer number of games – need an even bigger squad.

Big result in the League – Shamrock still 3 points behind, we still have 3 games in hand… Just had a look and they drew against CSKA Moscow in their first Conference League group game – worth Β£55k to them!!

26th September 2023 – Cork City (H) – FAI Cup Quarter Final Replay

We welcome a Cork side who since the replay have lost twice, so we will be looking to make that 3 in a row with a stronger side than we put out in the first game.

McGarvey starts for Collins, McEleney for McGrath. rea had a superb game in the Cup Final so keeps his place. Cork go with their Cautious 4-4-1-1.

FT Dundalk 3 (McGarvey 33, 90+1, Connolly 51) Cork City 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

The Cork central-defenders both looking a bit tired as we start the match. Not much of note in the first half-hour. But the deadlock is broken not long after – McGarvey with a cracking header from a McEleney corner. 1-0 Dundalk. Same at the break.

Taylor on for Rea at the break, Davenport for Jordan Kelly, 4-4-1-1, try to nullify their Number 10 Stokes. And it’s not long before it’s 2-0, Connolly finishing off after his forward movement and a tackle on McGarvey gives him a tap-in. Lovely play. 25 left, McCabe for Gannon. Killing the game now. And we make it 3 in injury time, McGarvey again with a lovely back-post header from a Jenks free kick. Professional 2nd half. 3-0 it finishes, we’re into the Semi Final versus Waterford.

Β£30k in the kitty for that one. Semi-Final 8th October. October is now a 10-game month…

Longford drag Cobh back into the fight for 9th with a 2-0 win. 1 point in it, 6 games left. We have a league game in 3 days, our first in over a month – Cork & Turner’s cross before Cobh just 48 hours later – think we will stay down there πŸ™‚ There are some nice hotels πŸ™‚

Just the 2 Youth Candidates worth signing…

29th September 2023 – Cork City (A) – Irish Premier Division

Our first League game in 5 weeks today, and our last of September as we travel to Cork.

4-1-4-1 worked really well in the 2nd half in the Cup so we go with that. Tommy Collins up top today, Duffy back for at least a half on the left, McEleney as the DLP, Corrigan back at left back. Laera & O’Shea partner at the back. Cork keeping with their 4-1-4-1 so we go man-for-man.

FT Cork City 0 Dundalk 0 Att 4,339 (157 Away)

FFS, Tommy Collins, pulled hamstring early on, this is brutal. McGarvey on. Very quiet game. McGarvey has the ball in the net in the 24th minute, but was offside on the run. 0-0 at the break.

60 Dan Kelly on for Duffy. 75, Davenport for Taylor. Having chances but no quality. Wow, that was shit. 0-0.

Just 1 point ahead of Shamrock now, but we do have 3 games in hand.

That’s it for games for the month – Really starting to struggle with the sheer volume of games played now.

Just the 10 games so far next month… Shamrock is the key game, we’ll definitely have the strongest team that I can put out for that one. Might even be a FAI Cup Final in there as well if we can see Waterford off.

Last bits before the end of the month.

The U19’s beat Derry 3-0, 2 goals from Youth Candidate Joe O’Brien (16yo STC) and 1 from another candidate, Nathan Grogan.

I leave you with the key Highlights from the month. See you soon.

Key Highlights – September 2023

Astana – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS5 C2 S1 – Part 45 – Dundalk – August 2023

Welcome back to Dundalk for an action-packed August 2023 – Potentially 10 matches if all goes (really) well.

If(No, When!) we get past Astana there will be a 3rd round tie versus either Dinamo Zagreb or Molde, and if we can get past that a big club awaits in the 4th Qualifying Round.. Put 4 league games and 2 domestic cups, 1 a semi-final and it becomes the busiest month of the save by a long shot. Initial start of months stuff first.

We’ve done it πŸ™‚ A clean sweep of the IPD team of the week following the 10-2 versus Longford πŸ™‚

Manager of the Month.

Β£1M out of the door last month with the transfers (Β£600k) being most of it. Still an A- with the board, Dynamics Good, Very Good, Very Good.

2nd August 2023 – Astana (H) – UCL Champions 2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg

We welcome Astana to Oriel Park knowing we need to win, and a very winnable 3rd Qually Round will await us versus either Molde or Dinamo Zagreb.

4-4-2, lets get after them on the back of the 10-2 last game. Astana go with their 4-2-3-1 2 DM formation, and are without Romanian Rotariu. Let’s do this!!

FT Dundalk 2 (Collins 19, Jenkinson 68) Astana 0 Att 4,314 (26 Away) – Dundalk wins 2-0 on Aggregate

Raining cats and dogs in Dundalk this evening. Quiet start, Collins going close in the 12th minute. But Collins comes good, 1-0 Dundalk in the 19th minute, and it’s a worldie of a pass from jenks on the break that puts him in, easily making an angle to score past the Astana Keeper. Tommy Collins involved in most of our forward work. We look dangerous every time we go up the pitch. Then a kick in the gut – Duffy injured in the 32 minute – potential foot injury πŸ™ Dan Kelly – your time to shine!! And he nearly scores in injury time, his header beaten away. 1-0 at the break.

Would quite like that second goal ASAP. 65 gone, 14 shots on target!!! Benson for Taylor. And then a real highlight, Jenks with a 25 yarder after we peppered the Astana back line with crosses. A simple ball from McEleney, and Jenks tees it up and leathers it. 2-0, 22 left. And now it’s 10 left. McCabe on for Gannon. Astana pushing on a bit now, they have to really. But we get to the final highlight, and it’s all over πŸ™‚ 2-0, dominating from the lads, who are playing some lovely football.

And we will be playing Dinamo Zagreb, who snuck past Molde 2-1. They beat Dundalk 3-0 on Aggregate in the 3rd Qualifying Round last year, time to show them how much we’ve grown!

Michael Duffy – Pulled Ankle Ligaments – 2/3 Weeks. Could have been worse, though he’ll miss the 3rd Round I think.

Also Jenks gets banned for Yellows, meaning he’ll miss the 1st leg versus Dinamo.

The Dinamo matches will be over the next 2 Wednesdays with a League Cup Semi in the middle – Currently a 9 game month!!

Big win for St. Pat’s versus rivals for 3rd Cork City, and Waterford keep themselves in the picture with a win against Shelbourne.

Our U19’s beat Monaghan Cavan 5-0, goals from Pierce Andrews, 2 from Martin Kenny & 2 from Brian Stapleton.

5th August 2023 – Sligo Rovers (A) – Irish Premier Division

We make the trip to Sligo this afternoon, kicking off 100 hours less time difference before our massive UCL Champions 3rd Qually Round tie in Zagreb, 1,800km to our south east. Not as bad as travelling to Kazakhstan but still it will have an effect. Sligo are LDWDL last 5, Shelbourne the win, Derry & Shamrock the draws, Cork & St. Pat’s the losses so they won’t be a Longford.

Jenks & Collins keep their places, Collins because of the run he’s on, Jenks because he’s banned from the first leg so will get a week off anyway. Going to play exactly the same as we did against Longford. Sligo going 4-4-2.

FT Sligo Rovers 1 (Brilly 36) Dundalk 5 (Connolly 29, McGrath 45, Jordan Kelly 70, 71, 80) Att 1,712 (231 Away)

The lovely Irish rain πŸ™‚ Sligo looking good going forward, we look good on the break. The breakthrough comes in the 29th minute – Brian Connolly intercepting a horrible cross-field clearance, lashing the ball in from 22 yards with the keeper badly positioned. 1-1 in the 36th, a Direct Free Kick from 25 yards… “Show some Passion” – 2-1 Dundalk just before half time πŸ™‚ McGrath finishing a lovely Connolly cross. 2-1 at the break.

Sligo still look pretty dangerous – they pass the ball around well. 65 gone, Jenks & McCabe off for Benson & Gannon. And we get the crucial 3rd in the 70th, Jordan Kelly at the 2nd bite of the Cherry after a good pass by Rea and lovely holding play by Collins. Kick Off highlight… 4-1 πŸ™‚ Jordan Kelly again, profiting from a bungled clearance, Johnny-on-the-spot. 2 in 2 minutes. And it’s a 10 minute hat-trick! Rea again spraying the ball to Collins, quite the outlet as the TM, who runs on before picking a beautiful low cross to Jordan, who side-foots home from just goal-side of the penalty spot. 5-1 πŸ™‚ McGarvey for Collins. And it finishes 5-1, a beautiful performance in the 2nd half again.

11 games left, 9 points clear. Ball in Shamrock’s court tomorrow.

8 points gap after the lads at Cobh do really well to get another point. really hope they can hold on to 8th over these last 11 games.

We’ve had a scout report on Dinamo – Similar to Astana, maybe a bit better, but another non-playable league so I hope our dynamics will trump their ability.

And we have the draw for the Playoff – the last round before the League stage proper and all that potential cash :). Who will we play – when we get past Dinamo :)…

HJK Helsinki (OK – Playable League, players on similar wages to us) or Red Bull Salzburg (Moneybags…. They have Adam Traore & Takumi Minamino amongst others currently… but non-playable)

4 players in the IPD team of the Week – Wingers Brian Connolly & Jamie McGrath and both forwards, Tommy & Jordan.

9th August 2023 – Dinamo (CRO) – UCL Champions 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg

Maksimir, Zagreb, Home to Dinamo, Capacity 35,123

We arrive in Zagreb knowing we need to play out of our skins over the next two legs to get that Playoff spot (Which I think comes with a guaranteed Europa League Group Stage spot). Dinamo slight favourites with the bookies. 33yo Joselu (Newcastle & Stoke amongst others) starts up top.

Dan Kelly in for injured Duffy, Benson for suspended Jenks. Going to keep on doing what we do. Dinamo going 4-1-2-3 DM Wide (Attacking)…

FT Dinamo 1 (Joselu pen 41) Dundalk 2 (Collins 39, 86) Att 23,122 (30 Away)

Dinamo start with their DM, Ademi (North Macedonian International) as an Orange injury – looks like he’s been brought back early. Good early chance, Collins tackled as he was about to shoot. And Dan Kelly hits the cross-bar from a McEleney free kick in the 6th minute… Great start. Dundalk very much on top. Dinamo with their first highlight in the 34th minute! But a massive moment in the 39th minute. BPD Ray Moore with a 50-yard ping, Collins muscles Orban (Hungarian international) off the ball, runs in and scores beautifully. 1-0 Dundalk. Next highlight is a Dinamo deep free kick. Penalty…Gojak apparently shoved by Ngoy… 1-1, Joselu. First goal conceded in the UCL this season, Game 5. 1-1 at the break.

No highlights until the 64th minute, ending with McGarvey dragging a shot wide. McGrath for McEleney. 70th, hat-trick man Jordan Kelly on for McGarvey. Last 10, Holloway on for Taylor, BWM(S). Dundalk still looking good going forward. And that man Collins gets in to puts us 2-1 up in the 86th, getting to a header from a Gannon cross in front of both Theophile-Catherine (had a couple of years at Cardiff 2013-15) and Orban again. This boy is a beast! We enter stoppage time, and from a Dinamo corner in the last minute nearly get our 3rd on a counter, but we end the game 2-1 winners – a famous day for Dundalk football club πŸ™‚ Same again in a week’s time please πŸ™‚

HJK get a really good draw versus Red Ball Salzburg. Djurgardens beating Dynamo Kyiv a bit result too. League Cup Semi on Sunday before we host Dinamo next Wednesday…

Jake Taylor gets a ban for yellows so will miss the 2nd leg – Jenks will be back though!

Interestingly Derry played the above on the Thursday night – 1 day less rest before the Semi.

Taken a look at Shamrock – They only lost 2-1 at Vitesse Arnhem in the Conference League Best Placed 3rd Qual Round 1st Leg so take an away goal back to Tallaght Stadium. They beat Odd 4-3 on Aggregate in the Last Round – Andrew Moore with the winning goal.

Longford get a big 3 points versus Sligo on the Friday. Shelbourne have 10 games to avoid the drop.

Our U19’s beat Drogheda 2-0, goals from Tommy Carlin & David O’Callaghan.

We’ve had a DM youth poached by Marseille!!! He better be good!

13th August 2023 – Derry City (H) – League Cup Semi Final

We welcome Derry to Oriel Park this afternoon for the League Cup Semi Final, with our minds really on the UCL game versus Dinamo coming up on Wednesday. They have been pretty up-and-down form-wise recently, but did beat Waterford 1-0 last time out.

4-4-2 Positive. Tommy Collins gets a rest today, And I’m keeping Jenks fresh – Robbie Benson has been a rock as the DLP. Taylor playing as he can’t in the 2nd leg through suspension, otherwise our 2nd team in full flow. Cobh Ramblers play Longford in the other Semi tomorrow.

FT Dundalk 2 (Jordan Kelly 13, 79) Derry City 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

Looks like a lovely August afternoon in Dundalk for this Semi Final. And we are on the front foot early doors. And we take the lead in the 13th minute – a beautiful counter, Taylor lumping a ball forward wide on the left, McGarvey gets their first, beating Fitzpatrick, leaving a 2-on-1, squaring the ball to Jordan Kelly who finishes well. 1-0 Dundalk. Lots of chances coming our way. 1-0 at the break, 2/3rds possession and 16 shots to 1…

Dundalk still on top in the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half. Davenport on for Taylor on 60. Collins on for McGarvey for the last 20. And we get that crucial 2nd goal in the 79th after absolutely battering Derry – Jordan Kelly again with a fine near-post header from a McGrath cross from the byline. 2-0 Dundalk. Gannon for McCabe for the last 10. And time ticks away. 2-0, we’re in the final πŸ™‚

Big win for St. Pat’s – if we win our game in hand we will be 11 points clear with 10 games left.

We will be playing our old friends Cobh Ramblers in the league Cup Final, after a hell of a Semi Final versus Longford. Cobh were 4-0 up, Longford came back to 4-3 before David Evans finished the game off. The game will be at ours, Oriel Park, on 23rd September.

2nd Leg moved to Tallaght Stadium (8,000 capacity)

16th August 2023 – Dinamo (CRO) (H – Tallaght) – UCL Champions 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg

We welcome Dinamo to Dublin this evening knowing losing 1-0 would be fine, but wanting to keep up this crazy unbeaten streak that goes back 34 matches in all competitions. I didn’t see anything that worried me in the first leg, but we all know how FM can fuck you over, so I’m wary.

Going with Collins and Jordan kelly to start up top – they are both on fire. Holloway starts as a holding CM, letting Jenks do Jenks things. McGrath keeps his place on the left – he fits this formation better than McEleney. Settled back 5 for these big games. Dinamo go with the same 4-1-2-3 DM Wide.

FT Dundalk 2 (Jordan Kelly 7, 12) Dinamo 0 Att 8,000 (19 Away) – Dundalk wins 4-1 on Aggregate

Dinamo kick off in the green of Tallaght Stadium. And we only go 3-1 up on aggregate in the 7th minute!!! Dinamo break and look threatening, but Corrigan puts in a lovely tackle, Dan Kelly gets the loose ball, runs for 30 yards then passes to his namesake, short pass from Jordan to Collins and his 1-2 finds Jordan free off the back of the Dinamo defence. He scores the 1-on-1 from just outside the area. He’s playing like Brian Sammon did for me for Cobh to get us promoted! And I’ve also got Tommy Collins as well!! 1-0 Dundalk. We have the ball in the net in the 11th minute – a McGrath header from a Holloway cross, but he was just off, maybe a foot or so. But it is 2 on the night and 4-1 on agg in the 12 minute – Dinamo defenders at 6’s and 7’s as another beautifull team move leads to McGrath slipping Jordan in, he scores from 9 yards in acres. Collins coming deep was the set-up, lovely play. Kick Off Highlight… Nearly 3-0 – they are so pushed up we are picking them off for funsies. Should have been the hat-trick in the 19th minute, this time Jordan misses his 1-on-1. Theophile-Catherine getting absolutely skinned by the lad. Some of this football is taking the piss πŸ™‚ 2-0 Dundalk at the break – Dinamo need 4.

Glen Rea on for booked Holloway at half time. Quiet first 10, until Dan Kelly rattles the bar with a volley. Connolly on for McGrath on 60, who was looking a bit tired. Last 15, McGarvey on for Collins. The boys are attacking to the end as time ticks down, another famous European night draws to an end. 2-0 Dundalk on the night, Playoff here we come πŸ™‚

We face Red Bull Salzburg in the playoff after they sneak past HJK on away goals. We’ve got to be thinking we can do this, surely???

So we get a 9-game month – 3 fixtures rescheduled, 2 to September, 1 to October.

Right, what’s next? Athlone in the FAI Cup 1st Round, that’s in 3 days, then Salzburg at Tallaght (I should imagine) 3 days after that… The Dinamo 2nd leg was our 42nd competitive fixture of the season… Looking at 60+ games as we are definitely now at least in the Europa League.

19th August 2023 – Athlone Town (A) – FAI Cup 1st Round

We make the trip to the midlands to play an Athlone side currently bottom of the First Division, though they have a Sugar Daddy German Chairman… Old boys Dara Costelloe & Ethan Devine are there currently on silly money. Will be rotating a fair bit with the RB Salzburg 1st leg on the horizon.

Giving Brian Stapleton a game (No. 10), and have a couple of the kids on the bench who will be getting some game time. Athlone go with a Cautious 4-2-3-1 Wide.

FT Athlone Town 1 (Woudenberg 51) Dundalk 3 (McEleney 11, O’Shea 20, Connolly 39) Att 362 (212 Away)

There’s a gulf in ability on show, and we take the lead in the 11th minute, McGarvey getting free, waiting for support, dinks a little cross over and McEleney finishes well on the volley. he doesn’t do well in a 4-4-2, but the moment there’s only 1 up top he pops up with a goal. The rain starts to fall, and in the 20th minute it’s 2, West Brom’s own Dara O’Shea tapping in a McEleney deep free-kick on the half volley. 3-0 in the 39th, Connolly with a nicely placed finish after good work from Davenport & McEleney. 3-0 at Half Time.

16yo Alan Brady (STC-TM(A), 6ft 1in) on for McGarvey, as the rain batters down. Athlone have the ball in the net early, but Woudenberg was offside. He does score in the 51st minute though, getting away from Laera. 3-1. 70, Rea for Benson. Last 10, 20yo winger Sinclair Armstrong on for McEleney. Job done, 3-1 it finishes.

Β£15k for the win. Big upset is Bray beating Shamrock 3-0 – I had a look and they had the kids out as they beat Vitesse Arnhem 2-0 in the Conference League 3rd Qual Round to go through 3-2 on aggregate!! They face AEK Larnakas from Cyprus in the 4th Round, the winner will be in the Conference league Group Stage!!! Come on Shamrock!!! Waterford puts St. Pat’s out on penalties, Cobh beat Shelbourne 1-0. Everything else by the book.

Our U19’s beat Ballina 3-0, goals from Sinclair Armstrong, Anthony Forde and Brian Stapleton.

We’ve had a scout report on RB Salzburg – They’re a good side. Can we do it again? Getting to the group stages of the Champions League would be mental πŸ™‚

We’ve had the FAI Cup 2nd Round Draw.

We face giant-killers Bray Wanderers (8th in the 1st Division). Matches on the 1st/2nd September. Our League game with St. Pat’s moved to 23rd October.

22nd August 2023 – FC RB Salzburg (AUT) (H – Tallaght Stadium) – UCL Champions Playoff 1st Leg

We welcome a star-studded Salzburg side to Dublin this evening, but we can’t fear them – we’ve got to go out and dominate like we did versus Astana. The Bookies have it tight, makes me think we are better than I think in terms of the European opposition (And with Shamrock beating Vitesse as well that’s definitely possible).

Our best first team at the moment – the kids up front doing absolute bits (10 goals in the last 5 games for Jordan Kelly, 9 in 7 for Tommy Collins). Jamie McGrath is on fire on the right wing, and Jenks is doing Jenks thinks as the playmaker. Duffy back from his Ankle Ligament pull – he’ll get 60 or so. The back 5 picks itself. Salzburg going 4-2-3-1 Wide, danger men Traore and Minamino on the flanks.

FT Dundalk 2 (Jordan Kelly 61, Jenkinson pen 78) FC RB Salzburg 0 Att 7,793 (404 Away)

A good start, Salzburg looking good on the ball, Jordan Kelly nearly scoring after a lovely ball from Jenks. Definitely not overawed in the first 10. A massive chance in the 14th, Duffy played in, but he basically passes it to the Keeper…. We definitely look the better team. We’ve missed some absolute sitters. Towards the end of the half Salzburg go a bit more attacking, and O’Malley makes a couple of fine saves, but its a close game. 0-0 at the break.

Duffy off, showing a potential thigh injury…might just have to put him in cotton wool. Dan Kelly on, Inverted. How have we not got a sellout, 207 seats going begging! 61st minute, Jenks with a free kick out wide. He swings it in. The Keeper Stankovic (Austrian international, 8 caps) comes for it, gets nowhere near, and Jordan Kelly is on hand to header home!!! 1-0 Dundalk!!! 70, Holloway for Taylor, CM(D). 78th minute, McGrath hauled over in the box, we go to VAR… PENALTY DUNDALK!!. Giving Jenks the penalty as McGrath is looking Nervous… 2-fucking-0 lads!!!! Bottom corner, gorgeous πŸ™‚ Last 10, McGarvey on for McGrath, going for the 3rd πŸ™‚ Danger in stoppage time from Salzburg, but O’Malley is there – NONE SHALL PASS!!!! 2-0 Dundalk it finishes, would say that’s the best win in Dundalk’s history πŸ™‚

Good win for Kobenhavn over Galatasaray. Slavia Prague play Djurgardens tomorrow in the 4th Champions play-off.

Michael Duffy – Thigh Strain – 5/6 Weeks – Time for Connolly to shine!

Right, Shelbourne in the league in 3 days, followed by a trip to the Tirol to end this crazy, crazy month of football. Regardless what happens in Salzburg this is absolutely mental. And we will get stronger.

Chris McCabe – Pulled Ankle Ligaments – 2 Weeks. A shame for Chris, who has been getting good game time.

Slavia Prague beat Djurgardens 2-0 in their 1st leg tie.

Racking up the cash on the Champions League gravy train πŸ™‚

25th August 2023 – Shelbourne (A) – Irish Premier Division

We travel to Tolka Park 8 points clear and a game in hand over Shamrock Rovers. Shelbourne are bottom, and we are unbeaten in 36 competitive matches. What could possibly go wrong…

This is a good IPD side – McGarvey up top, going 4-1-4-1 to allow McEleney to do his thing. Sheehan gets a start at right wing-back with McCabe out for a couple of weeks. Shelbourne go with a Positive 4-4-1-1. Why do I think this is going to be a tough one???

FT Shelbourne 0 Dundalk 0 Att 1,017 (300 Away)

Plenty of men behind the ball for Shelbourne, feels a bit like the Cobh 0-0 at the moment. And we have wingers dropping like flies – McEleney with a tigh hamstring, Dan Kelly with a twisted knee… Jordan Kelly on, McGarvey to the right. A poor half of football for the first time in a while, 0-0

Mark Hanratty (21yo, 5ft 6in) on for Dan Kelly on the left wing at half time. 4-3-3. Hanratty looking dangerous (16 Pace) early on. 70, last sub Gannon on for Sheehan. FFS, McGarvey’s sent off now, 2nd yellow (A Push apparently). And then we’re down to 9!!!!!!!!! Aidan White injured. Getting the proper FM treatment here. 3 injuries and a sending off. Can we see this out? Just. Shelbourne score in the 6th minute of injury time but Giurgi is offside. 0-0, but what a fucking toll that game has taken…

3 games clear with 10 games left. St. Pat’s pulling up to the back of Shamrock (Who drew 1-1 away in Cyprus in their Conference League game).

Aidan White – Twisted Ankle – 4/5 Weeks. Fuck, lets see if we can get a good loanee as cover. (Stop Press – We can’t get a loanee in outside of a transfer window, so fuck off…). Jacob Davenport can play there, we shall see.

Dan Kelly – Twisted Knee – 5/6 Days. Awkward when we have the 2nd leg v Salzburg coming up. He would have been on the bench, as would have Aidan.

Patrick McEleney – Tight Hamstring – 2/3 days. OK, not so bad.

Our U19’s beat St. Mochtas 5-1 – goals from Anthony Forde, Chris SHields, Martin kenny with a brace & Brian Stapleton.

FUCK OFF GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sean Gannon, Blisters, 8-11 Days. We have no registered right backs for the 2nd leg, all 3 injured… Hoping Dara O’Shea can do a job. Resting the entire 18 now for the last 2 days before the game.

6 points clear with the game in hand after Shamrock see off Shelbourne 3-0. Cobh Ramblers now 6 points clear in 8th after their 4-2 versus Sligo.

Jamie McGrath has signed a new contract until 2026 πŸ™‚ He’s been very useful as the right midfielder in the last 15 games or so.

Djurgardens turn their tie with Slavia Prague around, winning 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate, Luxembourg international Dany Mota with a hat-trick, the winner in the 94th. Shows that we have to be careful here.

Lots of call-ups – Jordan Kelly for the Ireland U21’s and Tommy Collins for the Senior Northern Ireland squads my picks.

30th August 2023 – FC RB Salzburg (A) – UCL Champions Play Off 2nd Leg

Stadion Wals-Siezenheim, Salzburg, Capacity 30,188

We make the 1,500km journey to Salzburg today knowing a good performance puts us in the Champions League Groups, the draw being tomorrow. Injuries have really started to hurt us now, especially on the wings. We need to be solid this evening. But we do know 1 away goal makes things very difficult for RB.

Still pretty strong, main issue is at right back, with both registered players Gannon & McCabe out Dara O’Shea steps in. Connolly starts on the left wing, otherwise we are full strength. Salzburg stay the same, Positive 4-2-3-1 Wide. let’s go make some history…

FT FC RB Salzburg 1 (Traore 40) Dundalk 2 (McGrath pen 57, Collins 60) Att x (x Away) – Dundalk wins 4-1 on aggregate

Dundalk start in their Grey and Black stripes this evening – becoming quite fond of that kit. RB looking dangerous early on. All the highlights are with Salzburg. If we can get to HT at 0-0 that would be superb. O’Malley is keeping us in it. But it’s 1-0 Salzburg in the 40th minute – Traore heading into an empty net after a good break. 1-0 Salzburg at the break.

Jordan Kelly off, Holloway on, 4-1-4-1, Collins up top as a nuisance more than anything. Salzburg hit the bar with a header in the 49th minute… But a massive moment, McGrath getting clattered again, this time by Adama…VAR…PENALTY DUNDALK!!! McGrath has the ball (Didn’t get the option to change him)… GOAL McGrath, bottom right hand corner πŸ™‚ Salzburg need 4. AND THEY’VE FALLEN APART!!!!! 2-1 Dundalk, 2 in 3 minutes, this time Collins scoring beautifully after good all-round team work and a lovely ball by McGrath. Taylor off, Benson on as the DLP, Jenks as a CM(S). McEleney on for Connolly for the last 10, McGrath to the left wing, inverted. Time ticks away. They need 4 goals. AND IT’S ALL OVER!!!! DUNDALK ARE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE!!! We absolutely FM’d them πŸ™‚

Kobenhavn destroying Galatasaray hearts with a 96th minute penalty to win on away goals.

OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD. 5 years worth of wages right there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s see what the board wants to improve! Below Average Training & Youth facilities…

A drop in the well πŸ™‚

Pop that in as well – 12 days to get some new computers and a whiteboard. Nice.

Last day of the month, the Champions League Draw πŸ™‚ We’re in Pot 4 Obvs.

We miss Lyon, Liverpool & Sporting.

Also miss Real, Juve & RB Leipzig. Bayern, Barcelona & Benfica?

No, miss them. I’d like Group E – Think we could take Brugge.

No, Group D it is!! Man Utd, Roma & Porto πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Our first game is at home to Porto on September 19th. And we play all the way up to December 5th – Our League season finishes on November 3rd. Shamrock play AEK Larnakas this evening to see if they can qualify for the Conference League…

And they do!! 3-2 on aggregate! Superb for the Irish League as a whole from a Coefficient standpoint.

So that’s that for the month. And what a month!!!!!

Just that blip versus Shelbourne. 4 goals let in, 20 scored, and we’re now 39 games unbeaten!!!

Bray Wanderers up on the 2nd before an-almost 2 week international break (All the first teamers not involved will be given a week’s holiday) before 3 massive games in a week – Shamrock in the League, where a win would be a big nail in the Shamrock coffin, Porto at Tallaght Stadium (Wish we could use the Aviva) and Cobh ramblers in the League Cup Final. I imagine a win versus Bray will lead to another game in there somewhere as well.

I’ll leave you with the key Highlights from the month. See you soon πŸ™‚

Key Highlights – August 2023

Trip to Iceland – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS5 C2 S1 – Part 44 – Dundalk – July 2023

Looking forward to some Viking Thunder πŸ™‚

Welcome back to another instalment of my FM20 Journeyman, currently loving life at my second club, Dundalk, in my 5th Season of management. This month brings my first participation in the Champions League, with the potential of making either a 2,500km journey to Sofia in Bulgaria or a mad 5,000km+ journey to Nur-Sultan (As far East as Ahmedabad in Pakistan and the Maldives), formerly Astana, to play the Kazakh champions in the 2nd Qualifying Round.

Derry City are first up before we make the 1,500km (930 miles) journey to Reykjavik to play their champions Vikingur in the 1st Qualifying Round (We missed a fair few really tough teams in the draw), with a little League game with Shamrock Rovers before we play the Icelanders in the 2nd leg (Hopefully we will put the tie to bed in Iceland). the Potential then is Cork on the Saturday followed by a long journey to Bulgaria or Kazakhstan for the Wednesday before coming back and facing Longford, hopefully on Sunday 30th, making it potentially a 7-game month.

The transfer window will be very important. We need to push on and make some marquee signings – the possibility of getting to the Champions League group stage is remote but could be so lucrative it’s not even funny.

NEW SIGNING

Chris McCabe joins from Cliftonville as our 2nd best right-back at the club. 20yo, 6ft, 17 U21 caps for Northern Ireland he has fair potential, and he will be training as a right wingback. Love the physicals, plus Teamwork, Work Rate & Bravery all stand out for his age. Welcome Chris.

Manager of the Month again. We have just under Β£4.5M in the bank (Lost Β£340k last month). A- with the board still. Dynamics still Good/Very Good/Very Good.

Our U19’s beat Salthill 6-1 – goals from Brian Connolly, Dan Kelly, a brace from Jamie McGrath and a brace from Jordan Kelly.

NEW SIGNING

Jacob Davenport

Jacob Davenport joins as a solid DM/MC option as a Ball Winner, something we are in short supply of. Looking to him to be a rotational player with all these games coming up, and with nice Mentals he’s a bit of an upgrade on Glen Rea. The fans need to be convinced obviously…

All our our back 5 (Conor, Ryan, Andy, Dara & Sean) plus Aaron & Patrick in midfield made the IPD Team of the Week for their performances in the 4-0 win over Shelbourne.

We have a few contract extensions done. Darragh Cunningham (21yo DC – Β£350/wk) and Sean Gannon (Β£1.2k/wk) have penned new deals.

NEW SIGNING

Jake Taylor

Jake Taylor joins as a very capable BBM – a position I like in a CM – And is better than Glen Rea in all areas apart from Aerial. A nice purchase – Championship/League 1 level players should do well in Ireland. He’s also a passable left back.

Patrick McEleney has penned a new 1-year deal πŸ™‚ How could I not with his contributions so far this season.

7th July 2023 – Derry City (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome 5th-placed Derry to Oriel Park this evening wanting a good win before we go into our Champions League Qualifier next week. I’m sure Derry will want the same as they travel to Luxembourg for their Conference League Qualifier next Thursday. They’ve only the 1 win in their last 5 (Shelbourne) so it may be a tough day at the office for them (Hopefully).

We go 4-4-2 after they way it ripped Shelbourne apart in the last half-hour in the last match, Hoban partnering McGarvey up top. Jake Taylor comes in for his debut as a BBM, Duffy plays as a conventional winger, the wingbacks go conventional as well and our centre-backs Ray & Nathan are back from the Euro U21’s (France beat Wales 3-0 in the final – scouting Welsh youth players now :)). Derry go with a Cautious 4-4-1-1.

FT Dundalk 2 (McGarvey 19, Muinonen 24 O.G.) Derry City 1 (Duggan 51) Att 3,409 (167 Away)

It’s a rainy 24C in Dundalk this evening as Duffy nearly scores in the first 3 minutes – a nice stop by the Derry Keeper. Derry blocking like demons. But we take the lead in the 19th minute – a lovely McGarvey headed finish from a Jenkinson free kick. 2-0 in the 24th – goes against Muinonen as an OG but Duffy’s shot (After a lovely ball over by Jenks) looked like it was in before dribbling over the line off of the Keeper’s head/chest. Derry attempting to get back in the game, but O’Malley is looking exceptional currently. Some lovely play by Dundalk towards the end of the half, we go in 2-0 to the good.

2-1 in the 52nd minute, a belter from Gary Duggan. Derry stepping up their game. 55 – Dan Kelly on for Duffy – losing my patience a bit with him TBH – 6.5… 70, double sub, Rea for Hoban (4-1-4-1), Benson for Taylor. Feels like Derry are going to get something out of this game. Loads of highlights are we go into stoppage time. We do move the ball about the pitch really nicely, a few chances as the clock ticks down. And we hang on, 2-1 it finishes.

5 points clear now as Shamrock drop points at Sligo – bit of a mid-season slump going on for them. We do want them (And St. Pat’s and Derry) to do well in their European games as the Coefficient points are very important for the Irish league as a whole.

NEW SIGNING

4-4-2 means we needed another striker. And what a striker!! Tommy Collins (19yo, 9 U21 caps, 2 goals) comes in from Glenavon as a 1-in-2 striker, even at such a young age. 16 Finishing, 16 Composure is nice, but what sealed the deal is his height – 6ft 8in in old money πŸ™‚ We will be seeing an all Northern-Irish front line with Colin McGarvey πŸ™‚

We’ve had our first scout report of Vikingur – We should be OK πŸ™‚

PLAYER LEAVING

Team Captain Patrick Hoban goes to Wycombe for Β£60k – We will be paying half his current wage (Β£1.5k) until the end of the season. We weren’t going to renew so we’ve gotten a little bit of money for him. Glen Rea now the new Captain.

Our U19’s beat Shelbourne 5-1 – goals from Ger Ryan, Martin Kenny, Alan Brady & a brace from Tommy Carlin.

Registration done – pretty solid 25 there.

Reykjavik gripped by Champions League fever πŸ™‚ 40 hardy souls expected to travel from Dundalk.

Conor O’Malley & Ryan Corrigan make the IPD Team of the Week after the 2-1 versus Derry City.

12th July 2023 – KnattspyrnufΓ©lagiΓ° VΓ­kingur (ISL) (A) – UEFA Champions League – Champions 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg

We make the 1,424km journey to Reykjavik this evening to play Vikingur (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knattspyrnuf%C3%A9lagi%C3%B0_V%C3%ADkingur) in what will hopefully be a successful outing. As I mentioned earlier our scouts are not too bothered by the standard of their team (2-3.5* CA Maximum) but we won’t be taking the Michael, especially with the players unused to making this kind of journey. Our best 11 will be on the pitch.

Tommy Collins makes his debut this evening – hoping for a fruitful partnership with Colin up top. Only other change is Rea as BBM for Taylor, especially as I’ve made him club captain. Vikingur expected to go with a Positive 4-4-2.

FT KnattspyrnufΓ©lagiΓ° VΓ­kingur 0 Dundalk 3 (Jenkinson 9, 90+4 McGarvey 64) Att 1,854 (46 Away)

And it should have been 1-0 Dundalk inside a minute – a beautiful long ball by Moore put McGarvey in on goal, but he tamely passed it to the Vikingur Keeper. We do take the lead inside the first 10 though – Jenks with a Direct FK, bottom left, flicking in off the post, Keeper unmoved. Collins looks like an absolute behemoth against the other players πŸ™‚ This isn’t a push-over by any means though. 1-0 at the break.

Taylor on for Rea at Half Time. Collins should have his debut goal – another 1-on-1 missed. And we finally make it 2-0 in the 64th minute – Collins going on a mazy run, his shot parried straight to McGarvey, who walks it in. Dan Kelly on for McEleney soon after. Jordan Kelly on for Collins for the last 15. Jenks is having a blinder this evening, he’s everywhere! O’Malley tips the ball over in stoppages to keep the clean sheet intact, and then a worldie of a free kick, yep another one, from Jenks makes it 3-0 – This one 30 yards out top left bins!!! Could have been 4 in the last seconds, McGarvey having 2 separate efforts saved. 3-0 it finished. A nice professional outing.

Astana win 2-0 in Sofia, so I’m expecting a trip to Kazakhstan some time soon. A fair few big wins, TNS winning 6-0 versus Tarxien Rainbows of Malta & Djurgardens 8-0 versus Flora Tallinn being 2 of them. No real shocks, except maybe Dinamo Zagreb drawing versus Olimpija Ljubljana.

Shamrock next up in 4 days. They beat Paide LM of Estonia 5-0 – Brian Sammon with 4 πŸ™‚ And we’ve been informed our home game versus Vikingur will be on the Tele πŸ™‚

PLAYER LEAVING

Nathan Tormey goes to Notts County for Β£10k – his contract was up at the end of the season. We will be paying Β£250/wk (1/2 his wage) until then.

A couple of League games played – Cobh with another priceless point as Shelbourne lose. At the same time last year (21 games) we had 30 points and were 6th, after a 1-1 draw versus, of all the teams, Dundalk πŸ™‚

Our U19’s beat Longford 3-1, goals from 18yo MR Dan Cross, 17yo AML David O’Callaghan and 19yo American U20 Striker Harry Durham.

And just looked – St. Pat’s lost 1-0 at home to Valur Reykjavik, Derry City won 4-0 away to Progres Niederkorn in Luxembourg. promising for the Irish teams, St. Pat’s just need to pull their fingers out.

16th July 2023 – Shamrock Rovers (A) – Irish Premier Division

A tough trip to Dublin awaits this evening as we play fellow title challengers Shamrock Rovers. Win and we go 8 points clear, but we also need to not fuck-up our 2nd leg tie versus Vikingur in 3 days. How much rotation?

A fair bit. Back to a safer 4-1-4-1 DM, Collins on his own as a TM up top, Connolly as the left winger, White behind him. Davenport comes in for his debut as the ball winning DM. O’Shea plays, Ngoy rested. Wouldn’t begrudge a draw TBH. Shamrock going 4-4-2. Hopefully they’ve not managed their rest well.

FT Shamrock Rovers 0 Dundalk 1 (O’Shea 69) Att 3,857 (527 Away)

Shamrock looking the better team early doors, but it’s a tight affair. 0-0 at the break.

Duffy on for Connolly at Half Time. Nothing until the first goal in the 69th minute – and it’s to Dundalk! Keeshan in the Shamrock goal comes for a Jenks free kick, misses it completely and Dara O’Shea heads in at the back post. 1-0 Dundalk. I was just about to go 4-4-2 as well…75, Benson for Jenks, McGarvey for Collins. Time ticks down rapidly, stoppages… and that’s that!! Thoroughly professional 1-0 win, 8 points clear with 14 to play πŸ™‚ And as we only play Shamrock once more everything is firmly in our hands.

A nice sight, being 8 clear. Next game is the return versus Vikingur in 3 days.

PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)

Ger Ryan (18yo MC) joins Finn Harps until the end of the season.

Dara O’Shea & Jenks make the IPD Team of the Week following the 1-0 win at Shamrock Rovers.

19th July 2023 – KnattspyrnufΓ©lagiΓ° VΓ­kingur (ISL) (H) – UEFA Champions League – Champions 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg

We welcome Vikingur to Oriel Park (Pretty sure we can’t play here in the 2nd Round if we get there as you need an 8,000 seater stadium) for the 2nd Leg, and we want to put on a professional display.

Back to 4-4-2, Holloway in as a CM(D), McGrath as the winger on the right. Corrigan to CWB(A) and Duffy to IW(S) to see if I can get the best out of Duffy. Vikingur go 4-4-2 Positive as well.

FT Dundalk 1 (Rea 77) KnattspyrnufΓ©lagiΓ° VΓ­kingur 0 Att 4,352 (70 Away) – Dundalk win 4-0 on aggregate.

It’s a rainy summer evening in Dundalk this evening. Dundalk straight on the attack, the Keeper somehow keeping a Collins header out in the 3rd minute. Vikingur look assured on the ball, they are just keeping it too long and we harry them into mistakes. 0-0 at HT.

Gannon looking a bit tired so McCabe comes on for his debut at Half Time. So many headers have gone over this evening. 65 gone, Jordan Kelly on for Collins. 75, Glen Rea on for Holloway. Inspired, 1-0 , 77th minute, Rea from just outside the box πŸ™‚ And we keep on rolling. 1-0 at FT. 2nd Qualifying Round here we come.

We’ll be playing Astana – 9-1 winners on aggregate over Sofia(!). Crusaders of NI nearly did a madness versus Conference League Winners from last season Slavia Prague. Maybe Molde putting Legia Warszawa out 4-2 with a 4-1 win in Poland can be considered a shock? Cork City next up in 3 days before the monster trip to Nur-Sultan, 71 Degrees East, for the 2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg. Going to be very tough indeed, but it would be immense to get to the 3rd Round, where some bigger clubs come in.

Cobh Ramblers secure another draw against a rival at the bottom.

And looking at the other European results Shamrock progress 8-1 on aggregate and face Odds BK (Yes, the same Odds BK I now manage in FM19) from Norway, Derry City won 8-0 on aggregate and face Viktoria Plzen (Czechia), both tough ties. St. Pat’s went out 3-1 on aggregate at the hands of Valur Reykjavik, who face Neman Grodno of Belarus next.

PLAYER JOINING (LOAN)

Augusto Laera (19yo, 6ft 2in, Capped by Italy at U20’s) comes in until the end of the Season on loan. A very solid option indeed, and should get a good few games with our European commitments.

22nd July 2023 – Cork City (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome a Cork City side unbeaten since we put 5 past them at the beginning of May this evening, knowing we will be kicking off our 2nd Qualifying Round tie in the Champions League over 5,000km away in 96 hours. I’ll take not losing, please & thank you.

4-4-2 positive, Collins partnering Jordan Kelly up top, Connolly, benson, Rea & Dan Kelly across the middle, White, debutant Laera, O’Shea & McCabe at the back. Almost full rotation with FK Astana in our sights. Cork go with a Defensive 4-4-1-1.

FT Dundalk 2 (Collins 47, 62) Cork City 2 (O’Neill Pen 56, Stokes 67) Att 4,500 (225 Away)

Almost straight away Brian Connolly gets a tight groin – will see if we can nurse him to HT. A decent start from the boys. Again, we are getting chances, but are too profligate. 0-0 at HT.

Duffy on for Connolly at HT. Slowing the game down, bring the lines together. And a really nice start, with Tommy Collins getting his first for the club – A Dan Kelly cross headed down by Collins to Jordan Kelly, his shot was deflected straight to back to Collins, who slotted home from 10 yards. 56th minute, Penalty to Cork – debutant Laera with an apparent push on O’Neill. 1-1, bottom left. Taylor on for Rea. 2-1 Dundalk in the 62nd, brilliant work from Dan Kelly, winning the ball back in Centre Midfield, slipping Collins in who finished nicely, and is now on for a hat-trick. 66th minute, not seen this in FM20, Laera sent off for a handball for no fucking reason whatsoever… Sheehan on for Jordan Kelly, McCabe moving to centre back, Sheehan as Left Back. 2-2 from the free kick that result – Stokes. Fuck Sake. Cork pushing, but are weak on the counter. And Collins should have won it in the last minute of normal time, his 1-on-1 saved by Ryan. 5 minutes of Injury Time. But we see it out. 2-2. I’ll take it, with what amounts to the 2nd team.

We will still be 2 wins ahead of Shamrock if they win their game in hand – that was a good draw. Had that a couple of times now – young debutant getting sent off whilst playing Get Stuck In. Right, lets go to Kazakhstan!!

Shamrock do indeed win, 4-2 after being 4-0 up. Waterford do their European place credentials no harm with a 2-0 away win at St. Pat’s.

And Our U19’s beat Glebe North 1-0 – Winger Sinclair Armstrong with the goal.

We’ve had our first scout report on Astana – and interestingly apart from 2 players (Dorin Rotariu, ROU, 27yo, 23 caps and Tomas Kalas, 30yo, CZE, 32 caps) they won’t be vastly superior to what we have.

The Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round Draw is today, before any of the 2nd round games. We’re not seeded – TNS are though…

Away in the 1st Leg again – Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia, Non-Playable League, Wage bill substantially less than Astana) or Molde (Norway, playable league but 14th/16 after 15 games, very similar wage bill to us). Definitely winnable, Astana seem to be far tougher than either.

Laera now registered for the Champions League. Brian Connolly not happy that he’s not in the 25. Transfer Listed πŸ™‚

Dan Kelly & Tommy Collins in the IPD Team of the Week following the 2-2 versus Cork City.

PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)

American U19 international Harry Durham goes to Finn Harps on loan until the end of the season.

26th July 2023 – FK Astana (KAZ) (A) – UEFA Champions League Champions 2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg

Astana Arena, Nur-Sultan, Capacity 30,254

We arrive in Kazakhstan after a mad journey (A chartered flight from Dublin for this one, otherwise you’ve got at least 2 changeovers to get there from Dublin) and a game just 96 hours ago to face a very useful FK Astana side – some players on > Β£20k/week, Loanee Tomas Kalas apparently worth Β£7.5M (But he is on loan from Bristol City, so that puts it into perspective a bit). We’re going to give it a good go. Astana are only slight favourites with the bookies, which bodes well.

4-4-1-1 DM, a bit more defensively minded but definitely the best 11 we have in my opinion at the moment. Wondering if playing against a team that won’t (or shouldn’t) be on the back foot could be a good thing for us… Astana go with a 4-2-3-1 2DM AM formation – I note their team is aged – 5 of the back 6 are 30+, youngest is 27… Push the Tempo??

FT Astana 0 Dundalk 0 Att 4,597 (28 Away)

Astana in their Kazakh-flag inspired kit, very light blue and yellow. McGarvey going close in the first 5. Their first highlight ends up being a Dundalk break, looking good so far. McGarvey close again in the 24th, his shot from a corner straight into the Astana Keeper’s hands. iAstana have the ball in the net in the 31st, a hedenstad free kick parried by O’Malley, but Icelander Sigurjonsson was just offside when the free kick was struck. Their Keeper, Askarov, in a non-player but has kept them in it a bit, saving from McGarvey at least 4 times. iThey do look dangerous on the ball though. 0-0 at the break, we are slightly on top.

60 minutes comes up – would be nice to get an away goal – do I go 4-4-2? Maybe in the last 20? 71st minute, Jenks hit the base of the post… then McEleney somehow kept out. White for Corrigan just before 75. Rolling the dice, last 10, Positive 4-4-2, Collins for Taylor, Holloway into central midfield as a CM(D), let see if the big man can cause some problems. 89th minute, Free Kick in the ‘D’ after Collins was scythed down by Kalas. Holloway steps up… straight into the wall. Don’t know how we’ve not one this one. 0-0 at FT. They are nothing to be scared of.

Molde & Dinamo also play out a 0-0 – Again, no real shocks. Just Longford left this month, in less than 72 hours – full rotation expected.

Michael Duffy – Tight Groin – 1/2 days – Yep, no game for him until the 2nd leg. Which is what would have happened anyway.

The FAI Cup (Senior Challenge Cup) 1st Round Draw has happened.

Away to Athlone Town (Bottom of the 1st Division). St. Pat’s v Waterford the tie of the round. At least 3 non-league teams will be in the 2nd Round. This is where we will need 3 squads, with Europe, League and domestic cups all running simultaneously.

The Friday night games see Cork City continue their winning ways. I can see them finishing 3rd.

And a quick check of the European results for Shamrock & Derry City – Shamrock beat Odds BK (NOR) 2-1 at home, a superb result, and Derry City lost 3-1 at home to Viktoria Plzen (CZE).

29th July 2023 – Longford (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome bottom team Longford to Oriel Park this evening, and they will play against our 2nd team, Only Collins and O’Malley can be considered first-teamers.

4-4-2, go get the win lads! Longford with their weird 3-1-4-2 DM Cautious.

FT Dundalk 10 (Ten) (Collins 20, 27, 31, 70, McGrath 26, Jordan Kelly 45+1, 57, Pen 86, Dan Kelly 71, McCabe 74) Longford 2 (Hughes 66, 90+2) Att 3,150 (128 Away)

Looks like a nice evening here in Dundalk. Aidan White picks up a tight thigh early on – lets see if we can get him through the match, or at least to 60. 1-0 Dundalk in the 20th minute, Tommy Collins set free by a Benson pass after good work from Rea winning the ball back, finishing well across the Keeper. And the big man does a cartwheel in celebration :). Should have been 2-0 seconds after the restart, a mad melee in the Longford 6-yard box coming to nowt. Mcgrath makes it 2-0 in the 26th after lovely work by Robbie Benson, McGrath scoring from just outside the 6-yard box. His first of the season. 3-0 just seconds later – Tommy Collins with an easy header from 3 yards from a Benson Free-Kick. Lets see if he can get his hat-trick! I’d say men vs Boys, except Collins isn’t 20 yet πŸ™‚ And he does πŸ™‚ 4-0, 31st minute, Collins with a nice header from a McCabe cross, Steacy could only parry it into his own net. An 11-minute hat-trick from the Lurgan boy. Jordan Kelly makes it 5 in the first minute of injury time, a really nice header from an Aidan White cross. 5-0 at the break πŸ™‚

Corrigan on for White at half time, not worth risking a worse injury than it seems. Jordan Kelly gets his second in the 57th minute, a volley from a tight angle from an O’Shea header from a Robbie Benson Free Kick. Longford get 1 back on the break, Hughes with the finish. Demand More!! And it’s 7-1 in the 70th – Collins with his 4th and 3rd header from a lovely McCabe cross. 8-1 within a minute, Dan Kelly at the back post with a cushioned volley from another McCabe ball over!! Davenport for Rea. 9-1 in the 74th, and McCabe caps a superb performance with a stunning drive from just inside the box from a Ryan Corrigan cross. Been feeling like this has been coming all season. We want 10!! Last 10, McGarvey on for Tommy Collins. 85 gone – penalty – McGrath brought down by Doherty. Jordan Kelly for his hat-trick… 10-1 πŸ™‚ Time for any more? Yes, but to Longford, Hughes on the break again.

Remember, that’s pretty much our second team!! Collins is going to be a monster. McCabe had a superb game as well. And Robbie Benson is a superb stand-in for Jenks. And that sets a raft of records for goals in a game etc.

Aidan White – Tight Thigh – 1/2 days – Might dial back the training a notch, this is becoming regular.

That’s that for an entertaining July. 23 unbeaten now in the league, and we last lost a competitive game on 2nd March – 30 games ago!!

If I were a betting man I would say we potentially could have 10 matches in August with European games! Will need some careful management. We have 12 league games left, hoping that we can have that won with at most 3/4 games left, which will allow for some of the kids to get some game time. As they will in the domestic cups.

With a few days left here are the last pieces from the month.

Shamrock remain two wins back after a good 2-1 win versus Waterford.

And our U19’s beat Usher Celtic 7-0 – goals from Barney McKeown, Anthony Forde, Alan Brady, Brian Stapleton and a hat-trick from Tommy Carlin.

31-yo Robbie Benson signs for another year after a succession of really good performances at playmaker – I can’t see the number of games we have to play decreasing any time soon, so having a player like Benson for Β£850/wk is a no-brainer. 18yo Ger Ryan also signs for another year. And 17yo STC Tommy Carlin (14 goals in 8 starts this season for the U19’s) signs for another year.

And with that the transfer window shuts and we reach 1st August 2023. I leave you with the key Highlights from the month. See you soon.

Key Highlights from July 2023

First Silverware? – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS5 C2 S1 – Part 43 – Dundalk – June 2023

Will we get our hands on the above this month?

Welcome back to another month in Dundalk. last month was pretty good TBH, can we continue on with this form?

4 League games and the Final of the prestigious Leinster Senior Cup versus our main rivals Shamrock Rovers. Plus we lose our two centre-backs for the middle 3 games to the European U21 Championships (Nathan for Belgium, Ray for Ireland), but I’m confident in our backups.

Before our first game the usual monthly stuff.

Colin 2nd and Aaron 3rd in the IPD Player of the Month for May.

Manager of the Month, pipping Alan Reynolds of Shamrock.

A- from the board, Dynamics are Good (Cohesion) and Very Good for the Atmos & Support.

Michael Duffy called up to the Senior Ireland Squad πŸ™‚ He has 8 caps, having been on the periphery of the squad since 2020.

2nd June 2023 – Waterford (A) – Irish Premier Division

We make the trip to the Deise knowing we’ve got to keep winning to stay in front of Shamrock, who’ve not dropped points in the past 4 league games (When we drew 1-1 with them). Waterford are currently 5th, 7 points clear of Cork City and in the mix for 3rd with St. Pat’s and Derry, so they won’t be pushovers.

Only change is O’Shea for suspended (4 yellows) Moore, who is pretty much out for the month as he’s participating in the Euro U21’s for Ireland. Waterford go with a Cautious 4-4-1-1.

FT Waterford 0 Dundalk 1 (McEleney 35) Att 1,202 (179 Away)

Quiet start this evening, Duffy with the first chance, dragging it wide. Waterford doing a good job in keeping us out as we reach the half hour but not long after it’s that man McEleney again, popping up for his 13th of the season, heading home a nice deep Joe Holloway free kick. Just before half time Glen Rea picks up a bruised shin (Shinpads???). 1-0 at the break.

Rea off, Holloway to DM, Benson to DLP, Jenks to BBM. Also going balanced, might draw Waterford out a bit more. A good start from the boys, need them to be more clinical though. Nothing until 60, Duffy off for Dan Kelly. Quiet as we reach the last 15. Jordan Kelly on for McGarvey, F9-ing it. Feeling a potential sting coming… nearly, O’Malley making a good save just as the clock hits 90. But we hold on, another 3 points.

Shamrock sneak a win at Shelbourne – 95th bloody minute winner!. St. Pat’s now 3rd, 11 points back. And Cobh get another point in their pursuit of 8th place πŸ™‚

Ok – International break. We host Cobh Ramblers in our next game in 2 weeks.

Patrick & Colin in the N. Ireland squad πŸ™‚ No injuries please!!!

Our U19’s beat Finn Harps U19’s 4-1, goals from Brian Stapleton, Harry Durham & a brace from Martin Kenny.

And Man City beat PSG 1-0 AET (Aymeric Laporte 103) to win the Champions League.

Didn’t get this at the start of the season I think, but the TV icon is on the schedule (3 of our last 4 games were televised).

Ryan Corrigan made the IPD Team of the Week A 7.0 was enough for Left Back spot. best of any player was a 7.9!

Nathan Ngoy played the last 26 minutes of Belgium U21’s 3-0 friendly win over Serbia.

Michael Duffy played well in Ireland’s 3-0 Euro Qualifier win over Malta – Playing 71 minutes and scoring his first international goal in the process, a 54th minute back post header.

NEW SIGNING (1st July)

Chris McCabe comes in from Cliftonville of the Danske Bank Premiership as a promising right wing-back. he can play across the back and has had 2 full seasons of football at a good level. He will be Sean Gannon’s protege. I will do a rundown on him when he arrives but i think he will come in at 2.5*CA. He has 16 U21 caps for Northern Ireland. Pretty sure I signed up up to the end of 2024 though… He will cost about Β£90k in compensation.

Colin McGarvey has made his debut, playing the second half of Northern Ireland’s 6-0 loss versus France.

Our U19’s drew 2-2 with St. Pat’s – Dan Cross & Alan Brady with the goals.

Martin Kenny played 29 minutes in Ireland U19’s 5-1 win versus Kazakhstan, making an assist.

One for Loki Doki πŸ™‚ He left Dollingstown (3rd Tier in Northern Ireland – being promoted to the 2nd!) to take the role.

Colin McGarvey gets his second cap – a 4-0 win versus Andorra, getting an Assist in an 8.1 in his 60 minutes. Northern Ireland currently 4th in their group after 4 games (France, Belgium & Russia above them). Ireland are top of their group after 3 games – England and Sweden below them.

Dundalk now ranked 107th in Europe by Coefficient πŸ™‚

16th June 2023 – Cobh Ramblers (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome our old friends Cobh Ramblers to Oriel Park this evening knowing we simply need to keep winning – nothing else will do with Shamrock in the form they are in.

Only one change again – Andy Boyle in for Nathan Ngoy, who is away at the Euro U21’s with Belgium. Cobh go with a Defensive 4-4-2.

FT Dundalk 0 Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 3,068 (30 Away)

24C this evening in Dundalk! And it’s a very quiet game. Not a single highlight (And I play on extended!!!) – 0-0 at the break.

Benson on for Holloway at Half Time, Wingers up. Very odd game, though we are having a few more highlights. And we play against 10 for the last 25 – Jack Keaney sent off for his 2nd yellow. Feeling like one of those games! Rea hits the post bang on 70 minutes. White on for Corrigan. Last 10 approaches, McGarvey cracks the cross-bar with a header… FFS. Last 5, Jordan Kelly on for McEleney, McGarvey to right wing. 30 shots, only 5 on target… Last minute of stoppages, Jenks hits the post with a free kick. Fucking Hell. 0-0 it finished. Look at the Stats!!!

A golden opportunity wasted. Thankfully Shamrock also slipped up, versus St. Pat’s, who we have next. 20 competitive games unbeaten now.

Our U19’s beat Bohemians 1-0 – Tommy Carlin with the goal.

19th June 2023 – St. Pat’s Athletic (A) – Irish Premier Division

A tough one this Monday evening as we travel to a St. Pat’s side in 3rd who’ve not lost in 5, drawing with Shamrock last time out. And we have squad problems.

Sean Gannon is banned for yellows, Seamus Conneely comes in as a defensive wing back, with Colm McShane playing higher up now as a Winger. Duffy, McEleney & McGarvey all rested for Connolly, McShane (As mentioned) and Hoban as they looked pooped last game after their international appearances. White in for Corrigan. Also trying Rea as the ball winner in Central Midfield. St. Pat’s have a good chance tonight, not feeling too confident. They go with a Positive 4-4-1-1.

FT St. Pat’s Athletic 0 Dundalk 1 (Hoban pen 88) Att 1,630 (316 Away)

St. Pat’s start brightly, lots of energetic closing down. Really quiet again though, 0-0 at the break.

Jenks with a bruised shin in the first half, so Benson on, and Duffy on for Connolly. Again, really quiet. McGarvey on for McShane as the right winger, lets see if we can nick something. Another game where the oppo is down to 10 late on – Forrester with a second yellow. And then a huge moment. 87th minute, Penalty to Dundalk! Henderson with a shove on Hoban, who will be taking it. He steps up (Bet it’s saved)… And it’s in, lovely peno by Hoban. 1-0 Dundalk! St. Pat’s pushing for the equaliser in stoppage time (I think we all know what is coming…) And St. Pat’s have the ball in the net… thankfully Walker is offside after an O’Malley parry. Just 5 yards or so. And we hang on. Horrible game, and we nicked it πŸ™‚

That could be a really priceless goal as Shamrock drop 2 points versus Cork City. We face Shamrock in 4 days in the big one – The Leinster Senior Cup Final πŸ™‚

Recalled Mazeed Ogungbo back from loan – Did his cruciate playing for Waterford versus Bohemians. Five Months…

Aaron Jenkinson – Bruised Shin – 2/3 days – Should be fine for the final (Otherwise I’m going to have to give him a steaming mug of Man the Fuck Up…)

Just seen the Champions League 1st Qual. Rnd come up on the schedule – 12th & 19th Jul. We are Away to Shamrock in the middle, just 48 hours after the first leg. Hopefully we get a minnow so I can put a rotated squad out. Plus the Transfer Window opens on 1st July – Can I get anybody in quick enough to register them?

And so, to the Champions League draws. We have been seeded apparently. Conference League winners Slavia Prague are in the 1st Qualifying Round Draw…

And we’re going to Iceland – Vikingur Reykjavik, Icelandic champions and currently 3rd in their league after 7 games. Should be winnable looking at their wage bill.

And to the 2nd Round draw…

Either Slavia Sofia or Astana – Bulgaria or a monster trip to Kazakhstan – Doubt there’s any direct flights from Dublin to there πŸ™‚ Slavia would be tough (Winners of the Bulgarian League, but a non-playable league), Astana possibly tougher (Non-playable, but more players and big wages). Looking forward to it. And the Shamrock game has been moved by 2 days as well thankfully. Now Wed-Sun-Wed.

Our U19’s beat Cabinteely U19’s 1-0 – Sinclair Armstrong (20yo Winger) with the goal.

23rd June 2023 – Shamrock Rovers (A) – Leinster Senior Cup Final

We travel to Tallaght Stadium this evening to face our closest rivals Shamrock Rovers at their home ground. Could be a tough one as we seem to have run out of goals and a bit of form this month. Shamrock have as well to be fair, drawing their last 2 games. I see they’ve drawn Paide LE from Estonia in the Conference League Best Placed 1st Qualifying Round in July (St. Pat’s have Valur of Iceland and Derry City have Progres of Luxembourg in the same competition – No Europa spots)

Full strength apart from the centre backs and Benson in for the injured Jenkinson (On the bench), with Ngoy & Moore still at the Euro U21’s. Taken us off of counter, slowing the game down, going more tiki-taka as Wing Play with just one up top is a difficult sell. Shamrock are going 4-4-2 Cautious – Looks like the full first team as well.

FT Shamrock Rovers 0 Dundalk 1 (McEleney pen 33) Att 8,000 (400 Away)

It’s a rainy June evening at Tallaght this evening – we sport our Grey & Black hoops as the away side. A good long first highlight earns us a corner, but there’s nothing doing. A few corners early on for Dundalk. And just after 30 minutes its another Penalty to Dundalk from a set-piece, this time O’Shea pushed by Pender. McEleney to take (4 from 4 this season). 1-0, beautifully placed in the bottom left, his 14th goal of the season!! 1-0 at the break, nothing much from Shamrock so far.

I see we have a capacity crowd in, but only 400 Dundalkers allowed in – Surely it should be a 50/50 split for a final (Or use the Aviva!!!). Shamrock quickly out of the gate, O’Malley saving well from Moore in the first minute of the half. 60 minutes, Duffy quiet again amd booked – Dan Kelly on. Jenks on for Benson for the last 10. Holding on a bit. Last few minutes, Hoban for McGarvey as a TM(S). Stoppage time… And it’s all over, Dundalk win the Leinster Senior Cup πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Just under Β£13k for the win, Β£6.5k of that paid out in bonuses. 26 medals given out.

3 League games played as well, Cobh getting another point. 17 games left in the season. Our last game of the month is Shelbourne, at home, in the League in a week.

Ray Moore played 90 in Ireland U21’s 2-2 draw with Wales (Group C Euro U21’s). Ireland end their tournament, as do Belgium (Nathan Ngoy) in the same group – Wales & Scotland progress. Ray played 180 minutes in the group, Nathan not a single minute, so both should be pretty fresh on their return.

Our U19’s beat Athlone 2-0, Ger Ryan and Pierce Andrews with the goals.

Got a few irons in the fire now as we reach the transfer window – DM, MC and DL the main ones.

Just one more game for the record πŸ™‚

30th June 2023 – Shelbourne (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome Shelbourne, bottom of the table, no wins in 10. Obvs this will be a tough one…

Hopefully we will have Ray & Nathan back in a few days. That said Dara & Andy have been superb – no goals conceded in 5 games! Trying Jenks as a CM(A) with benson the DLP, Rea as HB at DM and Duffy as a conventional Winger. A few tweaks of the tactic, going for total possession. Shelbourne are going for a Cautious 4-4-2, same as Shamrock did…

FT Dundalk 4 (McEleney pen 40, 67, Connolly 64, Hoban 66) Shelbourne 0 Att 3,127 (96 Away)