Welcome back to Dundalk for our 2024 pre-season. Exciting times!! Flush with cash, lets go an try and start building a team that can go toe-to-toe in Europe with the bigger teams (Maybe not the biggest, will need a few years for that).
Right, lots of bits to go through.
PLAYERS LEAVING (LOAN)
Youngsters Tommy Carlin (17yo STC) and Mazeed Ogungbo (21yo DC) go out on loan to Sligo Rovers & Sunshine Stars (Nigeria – Top Division) respectively.
Tax bill – our win over Man Utd paid for that.
Everything going up 🙂
Jordan Kelly 3rd in the Irish Player of the Year – a superb achievement!
He wins the U21 player of the year – beating Troy Parrott 🙂
Sean Gannon 2nd in the LoI Player of the Year. Conor O’Malley was also 2nd in the “Irish Personality of the year” – wonder how that is worked out 🙂
Steven O’Malley (21yo MR, 5ft 9in) signs for £375k from Waterford. 3* CA, 17 crossing (Thinking of the assists for Jordan Kelly & Tommy Collins) he has averaged over 7 for 3 of the last 4 seasons. A very nice signing meaning we have him and Michael Duffy as 3* + wingers. Welcome Steven. Also good to keep the money in Ireland if possible – helps other teams to develop.
Alex Rubarth (21yo STC, 5ft 9in, Swedish) comes in from IK Brage of the Swedish Second Tier on a free. Fast and Agile, he’s a natural False 9, which works with the Advanced Forward/Poacher of Collins or Kelly. 3* CA, we now have 4 3* CA + Strikers at the club, which is superb when we are playing 4-4-2. Welcome Alex.
31st December – The releases have happened – will be interesting to see where some of these guys go. Also Augusto Laera and Jenks have gone back to their parent clubs 🙁 🙁 🙁 Will follow Jenks’ career with interest.
And I get a B from the Board……Dynamics Very Good/Very Good/Excellent
And the baord called me in see if we should increase wage allocation for coaching staff – of course 🙂
£47k received for IPD TV rights.
And Finn Harps are now no longer an affiliate as they are in the same division – will look for another.
Stevie Moore (21yo DC, 6ft 3in) will be signing on 5th January from Glenavon for £110k. He’s a Current N. Ireland International (2 Caps) and is a very solid centre-back (14 Mar, 13 Tac) with very good mentals for his age.
Stephen Andrews (19yo MC, 5ft 11in, Northern Irish, Capped at U19 level) will be signing in the summer from Union Berlin(!) where he new-genned in 2019. A bit of a punt, rated highly by my scouts, 5* PA…
Evan O’Donovan is another scout pick. 18yo GK, 1.5* CA, 3.5* PA, another Irishman capped at U19 level, he comes in from Wexford for £22k. Our best Youth Keeper by a distance.
Kevin Noakes (19yo DM, 5ft 10in) signs in the summer from Kettering. A Irish Man City newgen, he looks very solid as a DM, potentially 20 Teamwork!! Barry Reilly is a bigger signing. 21yo current Northern Irish International (3 caps 1 goal) Barry comes in from Dungannon of the Danske Bank Premier for £69k on 5th Jan, having scored more than 10 league goals a season for the last 4. A poacher in the Jordan Kelly mould he will be his understudy, looks potentially superb. Buying up all the decent Irish youngsters I can 🙂
I have a new Ass Man!! Colchester legend & Irishman Joe Dunne. Good quality, he has managed Colchester, Cambridge & Barnet.
And we have a new Chief Scout – Stephen Harbinson, 38, 13 PA 12 PP. Northern Irish, this is his first staff role.
Calum Wilson (19yo DL, 6ft 1in Scottish U19 international) joins on the 5th January for £725k from Middlesbrough. He will be in direct competition with Ryan Corrigan, and is a natural wingback. The fee may be a bit high, but my scouts have him as a 5* PA player, with amazing teamwork/work-rate and physicals.
5th January – 3 lads arrive.
Stevie Moore comes in as our 4th defender. Very strong mentals for a 21yo, hopefully makes up for a a lack of pace. Barry will be Jordan Kelly’s understudy, solid with 15 finishing, plus a lefty. Calum will be a backup to Ryan Corrigan at left back, and is a natural wingback.
Michael Duffy signs a 3 year contract – £2.4k/wk down from £2.7k, which takes him to 32yo.
Jordan Kelly signs a 2 year contract – £1.6k/wk.
Ray Moore signs a 3 year deal – £1.5k/wk.
Lastly Colin McGarvey signs for 3 years – £1.6k/wk. All bargains, all tieing our best into longer contracts in case clubs come a calling. Plus no silly minimum release fees.
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Jiri Capek (19yo MC/DLP, 5ft 10in, Czech U20 international) arrives from Mlade Boleslav for £75k. My trainee DLP for the future (16 Passing, 15 Vision!!).
Russell Watts (18yo, 5ft 9in MC/BBM, Irish U19 International) joins from Bournemouth for £475k. Natural as a Wide Left Midfielder as well, very solid with some flair as well!!
- 22yo DL (CWB)
- 6ft 1in
- Arrives from Aberdeen in game for £375k
Maybe our first scouting failure (Scouts had him a 4* CA) we welcome Neco Williams to the club as our starting right wingback. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be much better than Sean Gannon, we shall see if he develops. To my eyes he does look decent though, Crossing, Passing, Determined, solid physicals.
We’ve had our first cup draw of the season.
Leinster Senior Cup 4th Round – U.C.D. of the 1st Division at home. 20th February. Our 2nd game of the season.
2,600 Season Tickets expected to be sold this season.
And we are now in partnership with Limerick F.C. I will be using this for some of the players definitely.
And I have a testimonial to arrange for Sean Gannon – Asked Shamrock Rovers as that’s where he started his career 🙂
And we’ve reached our first friendly – 20th Jan 2024 versus Cleary Celtic (Carnbane (Newry & Mourne) Football League). Nothing more than a run-out.
FT Dundalk 6 (Benson 35, Watson 50, Reilly 55, Rubarth 57, 72, 82) Cleary Celtic 0 Att 1,108 (8 Away)
Standard first game, didn’t get into the game until 30 minutes in, then dominated. 50 shots, 25 on target!! Rubarth looked clinical, and Watson came of the bench and showed up with a goal. Not bad.
Jake Taylor – Pulled Ankle Ligaments – 11-14 days. Not too bad.
26th Jan 2024 – Friendly
FT – Dundalk 2 (Reilly 33, McGrath 88) Shelbourne 1 (Farrell 8) Att 1,136 (38 Away)
Disjointed – lots of changes, so thats to be expected really. Dan Kelly MotM with 2 assists.
Our U19’s beat Limerick 2-0, goals from Harry Durham & Brian Stapleton.
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
New boy Calum Wilson goes to Waterford for the season – expecting him to get plenty of game time.
Ryan Corrigan signs for 3 years 🙂
2nd Feb 2024 – Friendly
FT Limerick F.C. 1 (Kavanagh 44) Dundalk 5 (McGarvey 14, Collins pen 23, 26, Reilly 69, McEleney 83) Att 671 (72 Away)
Definitely felt the increase in cohesion – Martin Kenny on the right was very good today and made the 1st and gained the penalty for the 2nd. Nice performance.
Mohamed Dide Fofana
- 25yo MC – CM/BWM
- Guinean – capped at U23 level
- 6ft 1in
- £35k from Sarpsborg in game, IRL a free agent after time with Vikingur Reykjavik.
Mohamed Dide Fofana (Hereto known as MDF – Cheap & Durable) comes in for £35k from Sarpsborg of the Norwegian Premier Division. Potential another scouting fail – showed as a 75, 3.5* CA – but will be very useful in a Ball Winning capacity. Solid.
Our U19’s beat Home Farm 10-1 – goals from DC Barney McKeown, Darragh Cunningham, Harry Durham, Dan Cross, Brian Stapleton, 2 from Jim Collins and a hat-trick from Triallist Glen McAuley (Previously St. Pat’s)
COVENTRY OFFER INTERVIEW
Coventry – Championship, Bottom 13 points off of 21st, 15 games left, Okay finances. I think Not 🙂
6th Feb 2024 – Friendly
FT Dundalk 2 (Collins 26, Rubarth 67) Shamrock Rovers 0 Att 2,464 (35 Away)
The Sean Gannon testimonial 🙂 Lee Steacy playing for Shamrock, ex-Longford. Pretty good showing, looking solid in defence, and like the look of Rubarth – he looks very useful as the F9.
BIG NEWS – JENKS AVAILABLE FOR LOAN!!!
£6.25k/wk… Definitely worth it 🙂
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Right-Winger Dan Cross goes to Limerick for the season.
Karl Harmon (18 – DR) also off to Limerick.
9th Feb 2024- Friendly
FT Finn Harps 1 (Lyons 1) Dundalk 0 Att 528 (99 Away)
Very poor indeed – we let the goal in within 20 seconds and never got going. Time to start getting a settled side.
We’ve had a few more contracts signed for extended terms.
- Conor O’Malley (29) signs a 3 year deal
- Martin Kenny (18) signs a 3 year deal
- Joe Holloway (19) signs a 3 year deal
- Jake Taylor (25) signs a 3 year deal
Our U19’s lose in the Champions Cup 1st Knockout round 2-0 to Apoel (CYP)
PLAYER ARRIVING (LOAN)
Big signing for the season – Jenks comes in on £6.25k/wk!!!! Our playmaker 🙂 He won’t be available for a week or 2 as he suffered a dislocated jaw versus Aston Villa U23’s for Leicester.
Suffering a few injuries – Jacob Davenport for a month (Groin Strain) and Glen Rea for a couple of weeks (Abdominal Strain).
So we get to our first competitive match – Cobh Ramblers in the League. Our squad depth currently sits like this:
Lots of 2* CA plus players in Centre Mid and Defence – 7 decent strikers, a bit lacking at full-back (Which is normal TBH).
I will see you next time for the start of the 2024 season 🙂