1 Team, 2 Cups – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS5 C2 S1 – Part 48 – Dundalk – Nov/Dec 2023

FAI Cup (Top), Irish Champions Cup (Bottom)

Welcome back to the end of the 2023 season for Dundalk. It’s been a pretty good one so far:

Premier League tick, League Cup tick, Leinster Senior Cup tick, final of FAI/Senior Challenge Cup & All-Ireland Challenge/Unite the Union Cups, lost the President’s cup (Like the Community Shield) at the start of the season and got to the UCL Group stage (And got over Β£13M for it).

We have 7 games left:

One league game to finish the league season, 3 cup final matches and 3 UCL Group games.

Some usual month-start stuff to do:

1/2/3 for the IPD player of the month πŸ™‚

Bless him πŸ™‚

Manager of the Month.

And unfortunately our U19’s lose their first game of the season in the U19 National League Playoff Final.

Finances – Β£15.8M in the bank, Dynamics Very Good, Excellent, Excellent. Board B(Fucking B!!!!!).

And now to our first game of the month – Our last League game, at home versus Waterford. When we finish, c. 9:45pm we will be just over 41 hours until the FAI Cup Final versus Finn Harps at the Aviva in Dublin.

2nd November 2023 – Waterford (H) – Irish Premier Division

Celebration at Oriel Park

We welcome Waterford to Dundalk this evening for our last league game of the season and hopefully a celebration of all that we’ve achieved. Nothing really to play for, but I’d definitely like to keep our unbeaten run in the league up – 34 games currently!

Trying to keep the best players back for the cup final – not taking any chances, even though Finn Harps are First Division. A few of the kids, hoping we have enough about us to get the win (And with it the points record for the IPD). Waterford (Hopefully are shattered) go Cautious 4-4-1-1.

FT Dundalk 3 (Duffy 18, 31, Jordan Kelly 23) Waterford 0 Att 3,808 (99 Away)

Good play early on by the Dundalk lads – very much on top, but I think we play so much better in a 4-4-2, so having 4 quality strikers will be important next season. And we go 1-0 up in the 18th minute – Michael Duffy after a nice nice pass by Jordan Kelly – if he’d have missed that one I’d have given him a free transfer on the spot!!! 2-0 in the 23rd – Hanratty really unlucky, he shot hammering the post, Jordan Kelly on hand to hoover up the rebound – 24th goal of the season. They are shattered, 4 guys in the 60% range for condition. 3-0 in the 31st, that man Duffy again, scores 1 and it opens the floodgates πŸ™‚ a nice finish, gotten from his own hard work. 3-0 at the break, it’s a party here in Dundalk this evening πŸ™‚

Tommy Collins on for 35 minutes, McShane off, 4-4-2. Rea for Holloway for the last 25, Change to BBM. Last 10 – Dan Kelly for Hanratty, swap with Duffy. That’s the League season done πŸ™‚ 3-0 it finished.

Just the 1 match left in the League Season – Sligo v Cobh tomorrow.

A nice message from the board.

The Scouts aren’t too bothered about the Harps – best player is our own Ger Ryan, 18yo, with Harry Durham 5th and Paddy Keane 6th – all players that won’t be able to play.

Cobh round off the season with a win – comfortably in 8th. Longford in the relegation playoffs.

Just shy of Β£300k for the IPD Title.

4th November 2023 – Finn Harps (@ The Aviva, Dublin) – FAI Cup Final

2nd trip to the Aviva in 2 years for me

We travel to Dublin 4 this afternoon to face a Finn Harps side who’ve had a really good season in the 1st division, winning it by 7 points from Bohemians. They are our Junior affiliate and have 4 of our kids playing for them. They’ve not lost since July – 12 games – so regardless of the scout report I won’t be taking them lightly.

Pretty much the first team there – Maybe just Duffy missing, Jordan Kelly for McGarvey as well… Finn Harps going with a 4-2-3-1 Wide – Not seen that much at all this season in Ireland.

FT Dundalk 6 (Ngoy 21, Moore 33, McGarvey 38, 77, Connolly 39, Jordan Kelly 69) Finn Harps 0 Att 12,871 (8,619 Dundalk fans, 4,252 Finn Harps fans)

Playing on a carpet here today at the Aviva. First real chance in the 17th minute, simple fare to get the ball up the pitch, Collins’s shot saved well as the November rain starts to fall. Jenks with a free kick saved well soon after. Seemed like it was only time, and it was, 1-0 Dundalk, 21st minute, Ngoy with his 4th of the season, a lovely back-post header from a Jenks free-kick out wide. 2-0 in the 33rd, and up pops our other centre-back, Ray Moore, for his first of the season – a lovely near-post/central header from a Connolly corner. Big-team set-piece bias again. And it’s getting silly, 3-0, 38th minute, McGarvey, far post header from a Jenks deep free-kick. 4-0 almost straight away, Connolly finishing a lovely passing move, assist from Taylor the BBM. Demolition. 4-0 at the break.

Jordan Kelly on for McGarvey on 60. Jenks hits the post with a free kick soon after. And Kelly gets on the score sheet – set-piece number 4 for goals, heading in what looks like a knuckled Jenks deep free-kick (his 3rd assist). 5-0. Gannon off for McCabe on 70. 6-0 in the 77th, McGarvey with his second, too strong from the Finn Harps defence, heading home a McCabe reverse cross. Rea for Taylor for the last 15. It finished 6-0.

FAI Cup Winners 2023 – Dundalk

So that’s 4 wins – Leinster Senior Cup, League Cup, Irish Premier Division & now the FAI Cup πŸ™‚ Just under Β£92k for the win, Β£85k paid out in bonuses πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ 29 cup-winners medals given out.

Our U19’s lost 3-1 to Roma U20’s, Martin Kenny with the goal.

Five of the lads made the last IPD Team of the Week of the season.

Decent result early on Match Day 4 of the UCL – Leipzig beating Real Madrid 1-0 at the Bernabeu after playing 72 minutes with 10 men!! Juve win 6-1 versus AEK, 38yo Cristiano Ronaldo with one of the goals – he now has 201 caps for Portugal – 108 goals!!

7th November 2023 – Man Utd (@ Tallaght Stadium, Dublin) – UCL Group D

We welcome Man Utd to Dublin fielding a strong side – many of who were in the FAI Cup win 3 days ago. Just want to give them a good game.

Duffy & McEleney in on the wings, Jordan Kelly in for McGarvey. Laera in for Ngoy. Man Utd with their 4-2-3-1 Wide, Lautaro Martinez up top.

FT Dundalk 2 (Duffy 4, Jordan Kelly 18) Man Utd 1 (Martial pen 90+4) Att 8,000 (4,000 Away)

Fuck me, we’re 1-0 up πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Michael Duffy, almost brought down by Milenkovic (Currently with Fiorentina IRL), but finishes from close-in at the far post after a Jenks cross drops straight at his feet. Don’t poke the bear!!! De Gea tips a Taylor header over in the 8th minute. Gannon has Rashford in his pocket! And it’s fucking carnage, 2-0 Dundalk!!!! Jordan Kelly with a thunderbolt after a lovely team move and slipped-ball from McEleney. He left Skriniar (Inter Milan IRL) for dead. 18 minutes gone!!! “Man Utd Need a rethink, they’re being carved apart too easily”. Ancelotti going crazy with the shouts. Time ticking down towards half time. Martinez scores a thunderbolt of his own in the 44th minute, but it’s going to VAR… Offside – About a foot or so… Wow, 2-0 Dundalk at the break!!!!

They don’t like the Counter Press, the lads pushing them back most of the time. And it’s so close to 3, Tommy Collins set free by Duffy after good work by Jordan Kelly to receive the ball deep. We’re in better condition than Man U definitely. Sancho & Martial on πŸ™‚ We get to 60 – engine room change – Rea for Taylor. Coming up to 70 Jordan kelly gets put in by a peach of a Jenks ball, just takes it too close to the byline. 70, Dan Kelly for McEleney. Tommy & Jordan keep forcing their defenders to pass back to De Gea. 12 minutes left, Jenks sent off for his 2nd yellow, just a little bit late. Bollocks. Jordan Kelly off, Robbie Benson on, Tommy left on his own up top. 5 minutes of normal time left. Stoppages, 4 minutes… Last minute. Possible penalty to Man Utd… Fuck, Skriniar pushed by Moore. DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE GAME!!!!! BUT WE SEE IT OUT!!!!!! 2-1 Dundalk, what a game!!!

Roma getting the win in the other Group D game. Zenit, also with no points until today get a great win over Liverpool, not a good day for the English πŸ™‚

Do that twice more and we’ll be in the Europa knockout stages!!!

And that’s crazy money right there πŸ™‚

4 of our Northern Irish brethren called up for the November internationals.

We have Crusaders next up (The Irish Champions Cup Final over 2 legs) – Our scouts are not particularly enamoured.

Celtic beating Man City πŸ™‚ Also more points for Djurgardens & Kobenhavn.

Currently 199 games, W 110 D 43 L 46, GF 382, GA 207, GD +175, Win % 55

Republic of Ireland call-ups.

10th November 2023 – Crusaders (A) – All-Ireland Champions Cup First Leg

Seaview, Belfast – Home of Crusaders FC.

We make the short 55 mile journey to Belfast to play a Crusaders side currently 5th in the Danske Bank Premiership after 14 league games. Crusaders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusaders_F.C.) have a 7 Irish Premierships to their name IRL, and in game won last season to make it 8. They are in an indifferent run of form, alternate wins and losses over the last 6 games. And we’ve just beaten fucking Man Utd πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Decent rotation, giving Ogungbo another start at left back – love that he 19’s natural fitness, 15 Acc/Pac. Jenks is suspended (Hoping this wipes his ban so he can play versus Porto…). Crusaders going with a 4-4-2 also.

FT Crusaders 0 Dundalk 0 Att 3,247 (1,021 Away)

A quiet start, quite the come-down from mid-week. Jordan Kelly went close in the 25th minute. We are breaking well. 0-0 at the break.

Everything a bit off-key this evening, Jordan Kelly would have expected to have had 2 by now. Collins on for him in the 55th. Dan Kelly for Connolly in the 65th. Joe Holloway for Rea for the last 10. 0-0 it finished – lacking a bit of that Jenks magic tonight.

Right, back to ours in 3 days with more first-teamers available. Looking back at the schedule and we’ve not let a goal in in 15 non-european matches now!!!

New Contracts signed.

  • Patrick McEleney, 2 year contract takes him to 33yo
  • Jamie McGrath, 3 year contract until he’s 30
  • Darragh Cunningham, 2 year contract takes him to 23yo

13th November 2023 – Crusaders (H) – All-Ireland Champions Cup 2nd Leg

Winner takes all tonight as we welcome Crusaders to Oriel Park.

The team that beat Man Utd pretty much plays this evening. Crusaders go with a Cautious 4-4-2.

FT Dundalk 3 (McGrath 103, Collins 109, Jenkinson 120+1) Crusaders 0 A.E.T (0-0 at FT) Att 4,358 (308 Away) – Dundalk wins 3-0 on aggregate.

Expecting a better showing this evening. Jordan with the best chance early, somehow heading wide from 5 yards. And we are encamped in the Crusaders half. We’re profligate this evening – just 1 on target out of 7 so far. The Crusaders lads look shattered, and their Keeper is an Amber Injury as well – looks like he’s coming back from an injury rather than just got one. They are defending like demons. 0-0 at the break, very one-sided.

“I’m not happy with this performance”. 65, McGrath for McEleney, McGarvey for Jordan Kelly. It’s like trying to get through a brick wall. Extra Time it is…

Holloway on for Taylor. Thank Fuck, 1-0 Dundalk, 103rd minute, McGrath with a header at the back post from a Duffy cross. And it’s 2 just after half time, Tommy Collins finally with a strong finish from a Duffy through-ball. Collins off, Benson on, 4-1-4-1 for the final 10. Jenks rounds off the performance with a scissor kick from 20 yards from a Corrigan Cross!! Goal of the Season contender. 3-0 it finished. Β£43k for the win.

All Ireland Champions Cup Winners 2023 – Dundalk

Just 2 games left this season, both UCL, Porto away in 16 days, Roma at home 6 days after that. Can we sneak into 3rd and get into the Europa knockout rounds???

There’s an international break now, time for some scouting πŸ™‚

Galway play Bohemians in the First Division playoff final after beating Drogheda 3-0 on aggregate in the semi. The winners will play Longford.

And Bohemians win the 1st leg 2-0 away – the return is in 3 days.

Colm McShane, Joe Holloway & Ray Moore all played in Ireland U21’s 7-0 win over Luxembourg, Mcsahne with a goal in his 45 minutes, Holloway with a 9.0 for his 90 minutes πŸ™‚

Tommy Collins and Colin McGarvey both came on late in Northern Ireland’s 4-1 win over Andorra.

And Michael Duffy opened the scoring in the Ireland senior team’s 3-0 win over Georgia. His 2nd goal for the First Team.

Chris McCabe got 13 minutes for N. Ireland U21’s 2-1 win versus Iceland. The 3 Ireland U21’s Colm, Joe & Ray all got some game time in their 3-1 win over Israel.

Colin McGarvey – Twisted Ankle – 3/4 Weeks. Season over, he twisted his ankle after 78 minutes playing for N. Ireland versus Kazakhstan. Tommy Collins got 38 minutes in their 1-0 win.

A very strong Dundalk U19’s put 11 past Mt. Merrion in a friendly, goals from Glen rea, Brian Stapleton, Anthony Forde, Sinclair Armstrong, Dan Kelly, Brian Connolly and 5(!) from left winger Mark Hanratty.

Bohemians have seen off Galway 4-2 on aggregate, and play Longford in the Relegation/Promotion playoff. Longford win the 1st leg 2-0!!

Longford remain in the IPD after their 3-1 aggregate win over Bohemians – Finn Harps are the only new boys, Shelbourne drop back to the 1st Division.

Β£180k has been paid out in bonus for winning the League.

Dundalk are now the most successful IPD team in history. This is their 18th title, surpassing Shamrock Rovers.

Patrick McEleney sets an IPD Average rating record – 7.92 from 19 appearances.

Conor O’Malley sets the Clean Sheets record with 22 out of 35 – his own record prior to this was 21.

Jenks gets the IPD player of the year, Colin McGarvey 3rd. He also wing young player of the year, where we get a clean sweep with McGarvey 2nd and Ryan Corrigan 3rd.

Patrick McEleney is golden boot with 16 goals, O’Malley Goalkeeper of the year, conceding just 16 goals in 35 games.

Conor O’Malley was 2nd in the Irish Personality of the Year(!) to Johnny Dunleavy of Sligo. Would be interested to see how that is dolled out.

Six of the lads in the IPD team of the year – Conor, Sean, Ryan, Jenks, michael Duffy & Colin McGarvey.

Less in the way of upsets today, maybe Valencia sneaking one versus Arsenal.

29th November 2023 – FCP (A) – UCL Group D Match Day 5

EstΓ‘dio do DragΓ£o, Porto, Capacity 50,035

We’ve been luck to play in some amazing stdia this UCL campaign, and tonight we make the trip to Portugal knowing a win could put us in the prime seat for a bit of Europa League fun after Christmas. Play like we did versus Man Utd and we have a chance.

Come on lads!!! FCP going with an attacking 3-4-3 – Will look for wide overloads.

FT FCP 3 (Otavio 7, Gustavson pen 28, Diaz 41) Dundalk 0 Att 47,777 (248 Away)

Porto take the lead in the 7th minute, Otavio with the placed finished. A bit too easy. Kick-off highlight, and nearly, Duffy with a bit of a tame shot saved by the FCP Keeper. 17th minute, Duffy hits the post from a Corrigan cross. We’re getting chances, but they look so much more dangerous than Man U did. Highlight after highlight. And yet another penalty given against us against the big sides, an apparent push. Referee doing that stupid run to the screen. Apparently Ray Moore pushing Lyanco. Horseshit. 2-0. 3-0 in the 41st, Diaz with a header. Home vs Away making a massive difference. 3-0 FCP at half-time.

Rea on for Tommy Collins at the break as we go 4-1-4-1, Rea as the Half Back. Benson on for Taylor (Booked) on 60. Jamie McGrath for Connolly for the last 20, swapping sides with Duffy, who goes IW(A) on the left. Very quiet second half. 3-0 it finished. We need an away tactic for these games.

Roma now qualified with their draw, meaning its a winner-takes-all between Man U and FCP in the last match. Bayern with a good win over Barcelona, both already qualified, Juve with a good win over Real – Real staring the Europa League down the barrel. Chelsea the only team with a perfect record with 1 match left.

Our U19’s though beat FCP U19’s 5-0!! goals from David O’Callaghan, and 2 braces, Alan Brady & Jim Collins! Could potentially qualify for the knockouts by avoiding defeat in the last game.

NEW SIGNING (END OF CONTRACT SUMMER 2024)

Aidan Hamilton (19yo Northern Irish MC, 6ft) Will be joining Dundalk from Glentoran at the end of the Northern Irish season next summer. Rated by the scouts, Good passing, 15 vision, good physicals – trainee first-team playmaker in a few years! We’re not going to be able to get Jenks back as Leicester (They want Β£105M for him) will be giving him first team games in the Premier League, so we need to find our next Jenks TBH.

5th December 2023 – Roma (H – Tallaght Stadium, Dublin) – UCL Group D Match Day 6

We welcome Roma to Dublin this evening for a dead rubber for the both of us – Roma are through, we can’t catch Porto now. We shall try our very best, knowing Β£2.3M is there for a win!

Giving youngster Martin Kenny a start on the right – he’s been on fire for the U19’s, so I’ve moved him up to the senior squad. We’re giving it a go in what will most probably be Jenks’ last game for Dundalk. Roma using a 4-2-3-1 Wide.

FT Dundalk 1 (Collins 26) Roma 4 (Belotti 25, 48, Bergwijn 54, Pellegrini 58) Att 8,000 (511Away)

Roma on top during the early stages, and scored in the 19th minute, disallowed due to a foul on O’Malley. iRoma don’t look too good on the condition front though. But they take the lead in the 25th minute, Belotti with a good header. Kickoff highlight… 1-1 πŸ™‚ Tommy Collins finishing well after a wonderful ball by Jordan Kelly. 10 seconds from kick-off to goal πŸ™‚ 1-1 at the break.

McGrath on for Kenny. 2-1 Roma in the 48th, Moore fucking about with the ball too much, dispossessed, Belotti withe the finish. 3-1 54th minute, Bergwijn with a tap-in at the back post. Rea on for Taylor. 4-1 58th, Pellegrini with a header – Fuck off game. All over, 4-1.

Man Utd in the Europa after losing 2-1 to Porto. Bayern surprisingly beaten by Benfica. Juve also in the Europa after losing to Lepzig with Real winning.

Man City lose again, this time to Ajax, but qualify as they other game between the two teams was 1-0 Man City, so Man City effectively got promoted because of their Leroy Sane goal. Kobenhavn with a mad win versus PSG, Mbappe & Haaland the scorers for PSG!!! Big teams going into the Europa are Juventus, Man Utd & Athletico Madrid. Chelsea look favourites to me. Β£121k unallocated prize money paid to us πŸ™‚

Seriously!! Jordan may not be available at the start of next season.

And Our U19’s have qualified for the Knockout stages of the Champions Cup with a 4-3 win over Man Utd U18’s – 2 braces, Brian Stapleton & Jim Collins!!!

Ray Moore, Colin McGarvey & Ryan Corrigan all promoted to the Best XI. Patrick Hoban the only current member of the Best XI who’s not at the club (Playing a 7.05 in league 1 for Wycombe)

Interesting Team of the Season – no Ray Moore or Jamie McGrath. Aaron Jenkinson run-away fans favourite. Brian Connolly’s goal of the season was the madness of a scissor kick from 20 yards. Some pretty good stats there too.

Won everything we could apart from the UCL and the President’s cup back in February just as we were getting started. 5 Trophies all in all.

Records set were:

  • Goals scored – Jordan Kelly, 26 – was 22, also Jordan back in 2022
  • Assists – Jenks, 19 – was 18, Michael Duffy, 2020
  • Clean Sheets – O’Malley, 40 – was 32, also Conor.

So they guys go off on their break – literally only a month, back 15th Jan. That’s that for the 2023 season. Next post will be Post Season 2023/Pre Season 2024, up until our first competitive fixture. I leave you with the key highlights from the month. See you soon.

Key Highlights – November & December 2023

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