The Pursuit of Excellence – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS6 C2 S2 – Part 51 – Dundalk – March 2024

Welcome back to another month in paradise – A massive fish in a tiny pond here in Ireland with Dundalk.

A relatively quiet month with 5 league games and a regional cup versus a First Division team.

Manager of the Month for February in the IPD!!


Freddy Barton (Incorrectly Burton in FM20)

  • 21yo D/WB/MR
  • 6ft
  • Comes in on loan from Charlton
  • IRL with Charlton

Freddy Barton (Incorrectly Burton in game, now nicknamed) comes in from Charlton on loan (With an £80k optional fee to buy at year end) as our best right back by CA. Very quick, decent crossing. Looking forward to seeing him play. This allows McCabe to cover the leftback position now as well.

B from the Board… Not down with the hoovering up of the youngsters. Dynamics are Good/Excellent/Excellent

Sligo pick up their 2nd win of the season.

Our U19’s win 4-1 versus Mullingar Athletic – goals from new boy Barry Reilly and a hat-trick from MR Martin Kenny.

3rd March 2024 – Longford (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (Jordan Kelly 4, Benson pen 6) Longford 0 Att 3,431 (154 Away)

Another 3 points, another clean sheet, back top of the table, and a good professional performance against a team that had just beat Cork 3-0. Jordan kelly opened the scoring with a good header from aan O’Malley cross, and benson scored a penalty within 2 minutes of the first goal – Tommy Collins pushed by Cleary at the back post, attempting to header a Holloway free kick. I think Collins had 5 headers all directly at Horgan in the Longford net… Good performances from Benson & O’Malley. 5 Days now until an important league game – St. Pat’s away.

Just Shamrock & us unbeaten as they beat 2nd-placed Derry. 3 Players in the IPD team of the week this week – Nathan, Robbie & Colin.

A big 3-points for Cobh Ramblers versus our next opponents St. Pat’s after being 2-1 down with 2 minutes of normal time left. Waterford win to keep Finn Harps rock-bottom.

League games coming thick and fast early on in the Irish season. Longford get a good point at Sligo.

8th March 2024 – St. Pat’s Athletic (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT St. Pat’s Athletic 1 (Henderson 26) Dundalk 3 (McGrath pen 17, Jordan Kelly 39, 75) Att 1,648 (367 Away)

A good win for us, McGrath with a penalty following a push on Ngoy by Henderson. Henderson himself made it 1-1 with a deflected shot, the first goal conceded domestically in over 23 games. Before half time Jordan Kelly made it 2-1 with a simple finish following good work harrying the St. Pats defenders, McGrath picking up a poor clearance, slipping Kelly in. Kelly made it 3 late on with a lovely left-foot finish from a Taylor through=ball, again after pressurising St. Pat’s into a poor clearance. Shamrock get another win versus 9-man Cork, who’ve last their last 3. We play Shamrock next in 3 days. And Cobh get another 3 points with a good win in Donegal.

40 Unbeaten in the League 🙂

Waterford up to 2nd with their 4th win in 6, nicking it in the 90th minute. Derry dropping points at home to Sligo.


Championship, 13th, 11 points above releagtion with 8 games left. Secure financially, wage budget £900k/wk!!! Bigger rep than Dundalk, but Championship football isn’t doing it for me. Decline.

11th March 2024 – Shamrock Rovers (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (Jordan Kelly 15, O’Malley 75) Shamrock Rovers 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

Every win against Shamrock Rovers is a good one, and this was no different. We didn’t play particularly well, on the back of a lots of games in not much time, but both goals were stand-out – Kelly’s a beautifully struck shot from 15 yards from a O’Malley pass, and O’Malley’s was a thunderbastard of a volley from just inside the area from a Fofana cross/pass. Also a lovely penalty save by Conor whilst 2-0 up. Four points clear of Waterford, at least a win ahead of Shamrock. A change of pace at the end of the week – Drogheda in the Leinster Senior Cup Quarters. 7 of the boys get into the IPD team of the week – Conor in goal, Nathan and Roy at the back, Jenks, Jake & Steven in midfield and Jordan up top.

Chelsea turn a 5-2 defeat to an away goals win in the UCL 1st Knockout round versus Real, and Porto fall to an away goals defeat to RB Leipzig.

We’ve been able to get another coach after i went to the board – and CM97/98 players will know him well. Richie Wellens, of Man Utd youth fame 🙂 He floated around the 2nd and 3rd tiers in England as a player and has been manager of Oldham, Swindon & Sutton before coming here. Solid stats, 14 technical (As the players were moaning that tactical training was spread too thin. Welcome Richie.

Richie Wellens (Yes, he will have a training jacket with RW on it…)

15th March 2024 – Drogheda Utd (H) – Leinster Senior Cup Quarter Final

FT Dundalk 2 (Watts 47, Benson pen 75) Drogheda Utd 1 (Walsh 83) Att 3,834 (144 Away)

Almost 11 behind the ball today for Drogheda, and we almost fully rotated. It took an absolute banger to break the deadlock – Russell Watts, 15 yarder from the left corner of the area. Leathered. Robbie Benson scored a penalty late on after a trip on McGrath by Gibbons from a Watts deep free kick. Walsh made it 2-1 with a 25-yarder out of nowhere with 7 minutes of normal time left. But we saw out a 2-1 win – Drogheda currently 4th in the First Division so this was a decent win. Russell Watts with a Man of the Match performance. Athlone sneak by Usher Celtic on penalties, Shelbourne beat Wexford and Longford are still to play Shamrock Rovers.

A couple of league games, with Derry winning in the Deise to go 2nd.

Bit of a shock in the Quarters – Shamrock obviously rotating too much, losing 2-0 to Longford, meaning it’s us, Longford, Shelbourne & Athlone in the semis.

Our U19’s beat Longford 2-0, goals from Alan Brady and non-player Adam Power.

We’ve had the draw for the Leinster Senior Cup Semi.

Longford at home, meaning a First-Division side will be in the final.

Call ups for the International break – Nice to see Conor O’Malley for Ireland, and 4 Northern Ireland first teamers! Hoping Jordan Kelly gets a game as well.

19th March 2024 – Sligo Rovers (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 6 (Jenkinson 1, O’Malley 6, 22, Jordan Kelly 27, 28, Duffy 44) Sligo Rovers 1 (Coughlan 48) Att 3,503 (225 Away)

Sligo have been doing OK and were unbeaten in 4 games before today. They have a small squad though – Only 18 players! A Superb start – Jenks scoring in 22 seconds after a great move from kick off, assist from Steven O’Malley. And O’Malley popped up with a headed goal at the far post from a Corrigan cross in the 6th minute. 2-0 very early doors. It was torrid for Sligo in the first 20, and O’Malley popped up with another header in the 22nd minute to make it 3 after wonderful work by Duffy. Jordan Kelly made it 4 in the 27th minute, another header, from an O’Malley (What a buy he is!) corner. 5-0 just a minute later, Kelly again, tapping in a hames of a clearance from the Sligo defence from another O’Malley corner. Demolition. A potential Longford (10-2 last season) incoming… 6-0 just before half-time, Duffy with his first of the season – a direct free-kick. They got 1 back at the start of the 2nd half, Coughlan after slipping an Ngoy tackle. Disappointing 2nd half – 6-1 it finished. O’Malley man of the match with 2 goals and 3 assists.

Finn Harps get their first win of the season at Longford, and our next opponents Waterford lose at Shamrock Rovers. Cork have now lost 4 in a row in the league. Derry still looking good.

Arsenal out on pens versus Lyon.

Jiri Capek has been called up for the Czechia U20’s.

Barcelona knock out Man City on away goals, Liverpool through easily – Big Virg (Now 32) and Paulo Dybala (Now 30) scoring. Ansu Fati still just 21 🙂

22nd March 2024 – Waterford (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Waterford 1 (O’Leary 61) Dundalk 2 (Kelly 3, 56) Att 1,229 (192 Away)

We arrive at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford with them losing their last 2 games 1-0 (Derry & Shamrock, a tough 3 game run). Last game before the international break (10 days). Jordan Kelly opened the scoring with a poachers goal in the 3rd minute 7 goals in 5 league games prior to this game for Jordan! We seem to have hit our straps a bit earlier this season. Waterford really not looking too bad all told. And they nearly drew level early in the second half. O’Leary with an amazing finish on the volley, but there was an offside in the build-up. “Demand More”. And Jordan goes and gets his 2nd of the game with a lovely direct free kick, 30 yards or so!! Waterford get a goal back quickly – a lovely counter, O’Leary scoring a tap-in. It finished 2-1, another win but it looked a bit tired.

Shamrock & Derry keep on winning, and St. Pat’s nick a point in stoppsge time versus Longford. Cork arrest their slide with a point versus Sligo.

That’s it for games this month – not too bad:

6 from 6. 8 games next month – 7 in the league gets us to 15, 3 short of halfway through the season, plus we start the defence of the League Cup. Let’s wrap up the final bits of news from March.

Our U19’s beat Sheriff Youth Club 5-0, goals from Dan Kelly, 2 from Mark Hanratty and 2 from Glen Rea.

6 of the lads made the IPD team of the week – Ryan and Sean at wingback, Michael Duffy, Jenks and Steven in midfield and Jordan again up top.

Ray Moore, Joe Holloway & Colm McShane all played in Ireland U21’s 3-0 win over Kazakhstan. Chris McCabe played in Northern Ireland U21’s 2-1 loss versus England and Jiri Capek played in Czechia U20’s 3-1 loss versus The Netherlands.

Tommy Collins & Colin McGarvey both started in Northern Ireland’s 2-1 Win over Greece. (European Championship Qualifying playoff Semi) – They will play Kosovo for a place at Euro 2024 on March 30th, so we will know if we will be without at least 4 players this summer by the end of this post… Republic of Ireland have already qualified…

We’ve had some more internationals. Colm Mcshane, Jordan Kelly, Steven O’Malley, Joe Holloway & Ray Moore all got game time in Ireland U21’s 1-0 loss versus France. Chris McCabe played for Nortehn Ireland U21’s again, this time in their 1-0 win over Azerbaijan and Jiri Capek averaged 8.3 in Czechia U20’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland, getting the assist.

Our U19’s beat Sligo 6-0 – a brace from Martin Kenny and 4 from Alan Brady. Also just noticed I have 2 Barry reilly’s – 1 a 17yo GK, the other a 21yo STC.

Northern Ireland’s hearts were broken, losing 1-0 to Kosovo to a 91st minute penalty in the Euro Qually Playoff final. Tommy Collins and Colin McGarvey both played.

So that’s that – Next up a busy April 2024. See you soon.

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