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 🙂 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 🙂
Ok – International break. We host Cobh Ramblers in our next game in 2 weeks.
Patrick & Colin in the N. Ireland squad 🙂 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 £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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂 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 🙂 🙂 🙂
Just under £13k for the win, £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 🙂
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)
Should have been a goal in the first 30 seconds, McEleney not pulling the ball back to McGarvey after a beautiful team move. Shelbourne also going close early though after a long bomb. Lots of chances, just lacking the composure currently. Seems like we’ve forgotten how to score. And Shelbourne will be playing 55 minutes with 10 men, Oscar Brennan off for a lunge on Sean Gannon. And in the 39th minute Gannon draws yet another penalty – Timmins with a rash challenge. McEleney to go for 6 from 6… 1-0, bottom right, sends the Keeper the wrong way. 15 for the season! 1-0 at the break – 13 shots on target in that first half!!!
Changing it up a bit – 4-2-3-1, McGarvey in the hole as a Shadow Striker, Hoban as a TM(A). rea as a BWM(D) and Jenks as the playmaker. Benson off. 60, Connolly on for Duffy, Going 4-4-2, McGarvey as an AF. And almost straight away a goal, Connolly finishing off a move he started after a pass from Hoban. 🙂 2-0 Dundalk. Floodgates now open, 3-0 2 minutes late, Hoban with a powerful header from a McGarvey cross. Kick-off highlight… 4-0, and it’s a worldie, McEleney with a mad volley from a Corrigan cross!! 3 goals in 4 minutes!! Holloway on for Rea for the last 10. McGarvey getting in some decent positions as the AF, and he cracks the bar with a header in the 88th. 4-0 it finishes, mad what going 4-4-2 does!!!
16 games left, 3 points between us and Shamrock still as they win well, 3-1 away at Derry City. 14 points back to 3rd. 19 unbeaten in the league now. That’s it for the games this month – anything in the last few hours…
Another great month, just the annoyance of that bloody Cobh game in there. No goals conceded in over 6 games now. Next Month has at least 6 games, possibly 7 if we can put Vikingur away in the Champions League Qually. All but the Longford games could be tricky. I leave you with the Key Highlights from the month. See you soon.