UCL Quallies – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS6 C2 S2 – Part 54 – Dundalk – June/July 2024

Welcome back to Dundalk – This post will be the games after the European Championships 2024, which means our first game in June will be the Leinster Senior Cup Final on the 28th.

3 tough league games in July (& Longford) plus a UCL Qually every week (Hopefully).

Michael Duffy was 3rd in the IPD Player of the Month for May, I win my 10th Manager of the Month (Best in the Business achievement).

A+ with the board!!!! Dynamics Very Good/Excellent/Excellent.

Chelsea win the UCL 2-0 over Inter – Goals from newgen Mischa Kuipers & Mason Mount.

£2.755M received for UCL TV & Coefficient pots. Requests in to improve all the facilities. Cost of £3.4M, completion April 2025

Two-and-a-half year contract extension signed 🙂

I had 6 of the lads get in the IPD Team of the Week following the 6-1 win over Finn Harps.

Our Young loanee Karl Harmon has broken his leg whilst playing for Limerick versus Wexford 🙁 5/6 months, plus majorly stunted development. Bugger.

Nine international call ups.

Our U19’s beat Longford 3-1 – goals from Alan Brady, Martin Kenny & Jim Collins.

We played a couple of friendlies during the period. The first was an 11-0 versus Monaghan Cavan (Goalscorers Rubarth(4), Reilly(5), Jenks, & O’Shea)

We’ve had a few players involved in internationals – Ray Moore & Joe Holloway came on a s subs in Ireland U21’s 2-0 win versus Kosovo. Barry Reilly (GK) played 23 minutes for Ireland U19’s in their 3-1 win over Slovenia, and Tommy Carlin played in N. Ireland U19’s 1-1 draw with Iceland.

We (Dundalk) are now placed 88th in Europe (Up 19 places!!) – 1 place below Wolves and 1 place above Torino 🙂

12 places!!! Next season should be even better. Now the Conference League teams start in the 2nd Qualification Round instead of 1st. I’d expect us to get up to 16th or so next season, all going well!! 15th would give us a 2nd spot in the UCL Qualification Rounds & a Europa spot!

Our U19’s beat Sligo 3-0 – goals from Alan Brady & a brace from Martin Kenny.

Tommy Collins scored his maiden senior international goal in N. Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Iceland.

Michael Duffy got 9 minutes versus for Ireland in their 2-0 loss to Denmark in Group C of the Euro 24 (France & Kosovo the other teams).

More internationals – Mazeed Ogungbo played in Nigeria U23’s 4-1 loss to Canada. Joe Holloway played in Ireland U21’s 3-1 win versus Czechia. Barry Reilly (GK) played in Ireland U19’s 2-0 win over Slovakia and Tommy Carlin played in N. Ireland U19’s 3-1 loss to Turkey.


Dara O’Shea forced a move to England – Mansfield in League 1 – £6.25k/week!!!! (He was on £1.4k here) – 1 of 3 players on that amount at Mansfield, which looks like the cap there.

We’ve had the First Qualifying Round draw of the UCL – we were 4th seeds. 2 teams who we beat last time round, RB Salzburg & Dinamo Zagreb are 1st and 2nd.

We make the trip to Armenia to play Urartu Yerevan. 1 real player, £45/wk 🙂 Linfield from the North get RB Salzburg, who have a 31yo Danny Ings… Tough Draw. The 2nd Round is drawn at the same time:

Fehervar from Hungary or Dudelange from Luxembourg. Fehervar are a strange one – decent wage bill, most of their players are 33yo or older… Dudelange have a few real players. Neither should cause any real problems.

Of the other Irish teams (All conference League Best Placed 1st Qual Rnd) Shamrock get another Armenian team, Gandzasar Kapan, St. Pat’s get Maccabi Haifa (Tough draw) and Derry City get Glacis Utd of Gibraltar.

Our 2nd Friendly, versus Odd from Norway finished 2-0. Goals from Rubarth & Reilly. A good performance against a tough team – a step-up from anything in the IPD.

Michael Duffy played 25 minutes in Ireland’s 2-0 loss versus France at Euro 24 – Both they and Kosovo will play out a dead rubber with Denmark & France already through.

We’ve had an early assessment of the youth intake – Not great…

Our U19’s drew 0-0 with Derry – Their first dropped points of the season.

28th June 2024 – Shelbourne (A) – Leinster Senior Cup Final

FT Shelbourne 1 (Giurgi 34) Dundalk 3 (Benson 12, O’Malley 41, O’Connor o.g. 60) Att 3,711 (1,502 Away)

Full strength for the final – No game for a week afterwards. Then Fuck – Jenks with a pulled groin after 19 fucking seconds… We go 1-0 up in the 12th minute – Robbie Benson in inside-out left foot finish from 25 yards. 1-1 in the 35th, Giurgi with a similar shot to Benson, just on his right. “Show some passion you dickheads”. 2-1 Dundalk in the 41st minute – O’Malley with a lovely shot across the Shelbourne Keeper. 3-1 in the 60th minute – an O’Connor o.g. – he didn’t know anything about it, looks like McGarvey got on the end of a free kick, his header hit the crossbar, straight off of O’Connor’s face and in. 3-1 it finished. More silverware 🙂 Just under £13k for the win. £6.5k paid out in bonuses.


Aidan Hamilton arrives from Glentoran on a Free. Natural DLP, 12 Passing, 15 Vision. 20yo, so time to develop.

Looks like the fans need to have a word with themselves – Steve Seddon will be in competition with Ryan Corrigan for the left-back spot, Kevin & Stephen are definitely for the future.

26yo Steve Seddon arrives from Birmingham on a free, and is very solid indeed and a natural CWB.

19yo Kevin Noakes is a DM with a decent bit of potential, and was worth a punt on a free from Kettering, after starting his career at Man City

19yo Northern-Irish MC Stephen Andrews arrives on a free from Union Berlin(!) needs a fair bit of work. I’ve put him up for loan and 3 German teams have come in for him straight away, which makes me think he has potential.

A- with the board, Good/Excellent/Excellent Dynamics.

We’ve been making some Staff contract renewals – will be keeping about 70% and looking for better replacements for the other 30.


Barney leaves for Crusaders at the end of the season – we wasn’t going to make it at Dundalk (2* CA, 2.5* PA).


Zech Medley

  • 23yo DC
  • 6ft 5in
  • Ex-Arsenal & Chelsea, comes in from Brentford on loan until the end of the season

Zech Medley comes in as a rotational centre-back after O’Shea’s move to Mansfield. Solid and great physicals 🙂 Welcome Zech.

5th July 2024 – Derry City (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Derry City 0 Dundalk 1 (Connolly 78) Att 1,403 (269 Away)

We make the trip up to Derry with the Derry side in good from, only the 1 loss in the last 8 games, but that was last time out versus St. Pat’s, 5 weeks ago before the Euros (Which are at the QF stage – France knocking England out 2-1, a Pogba brace enough for them to advance). And they nearlt go ahead in the 3rd minute – O’Malley with a wonderful save from Burrows whilst 1-on-1. We go in at the break 0-0 – not happy!! Really quite poor, hardly any highlights. And Duffy pulls up lame with a pulled hamstring (Will be off for 10 days or so), Connolly on. But that is a blessing – Connolly breaking the deadlock with 2 minutes of his arrival – a lovely header from a Jenks ball over. 1-0 Dundalk. Lawlor in the Derry net has had a superb game as well. 1-0 at Full time, we continue our winning run (20 now in the League)

13 points clear as Shamrock drop points versus 3rd-placed St. Pat’s. Sligo win a cracker in Donegal – 4-3 at HT!

Our U19’s beat Monaghan Cavan 6-1, qualifying for the U19 National League playoffs. Goals from Jordan O’Keefe (18yo DC), ALan Brady, Martin Kenny & a hat-trick from Jim Collins.


Stephen Andrews goes straight out to Bohemians on loan.

Brian Connolly got in the IPD team of the week after his header versus Derry.

And so we make the 3,400 mile journey to Yerevan for our opening Champions League qualifier, where we play Urartu Yerevan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FC_Urartu) at Unknown Stadium 🙂 Their home stadium holds 4,860 so I should imagine we will be in the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium, which holds just over 14,000.

10th July 2024 – Urartu Yerevan (ARM) – UCL Champions 1st Qual Rnd 1st Leg

FT Urartu Yerevan 0 Dundalk 6 (McGarvey 16, 54, 65, O’Malley 32, Reilly 52, Taylor 79) Att 965 (42 Away)

We’re playing in one of those stadiums with the floodlights in the way!!! Dundalk on top early on, Urartu defending for their lives. But we take the lead in the 16th minute, McGarvey with a near-post volley from a nice O’Malley low cross. We hit the post soon after. O’Malley heads in his 14th of the season from a lovely Connolly cross in the 32 minute after a great team move. 2-0 at the break. Barry Reilly makes it 3 in the 52nd minute – tie over? Another header, this time from a Freddy Barton cross. Kick-off highlight… 4-0, McGarvey with the finish after a bit of ping-pong in the Urartu area, Torosyan in the the Urartu net not doing enough to keep it out. Urartu go down to 10 men in the 60th minute – Sinyavskiy with a lunge at Ngoy. McGarvey gets his hat-trick in the 65th minute to make it 5-0 – yet another header, this time from sub Steve Seddon’s cross. Domination. Goal of the Season candidate for the sixth – Josh Taylor with his first goal of the season – a volley from outside the ‘D’ from a Jenks lofted pass. Banger. We keep going until the very end. 6-0 it finishes – 52 shots, 22 on target 🙂

Lots of one-sided ties; looks like we will be playing Fehervar as expected in the 2nd round. Linfield get an amazing draw with RB Salzburg. TNS also doing well with a 5-1 win over the Kosovans Trepca 89 Mitrovice.

Longford next up in 3 days – not much of a turnaround with a 3,000 mile plus return journey… And it’s my 100th game in charge of Dundalk 🙂

One of our youth players, Derek Cashman, has joined Athlone Town on a free.

Before our Longford game there were a couple of league games. Cobh getting a brilliant 3 points away at Sligo.

New boy Kevin Noakes goes out to Bristol Rovers of League 1 until the end of the season.

13th July 2024 – Longford (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 5 (Collins 4, 69, Holloway 15, Stevie Moore 21, 47) Longford 0 Att 3,341 (126 Away)

Longford come into this in 9th – 1 Win and 6 losses in the last 7 games, and we tend to score against them. And yet again it doesn’t take long – Collins with a tap in after being played in by Williams, who dispossessed a Longford player deep in the Dundalk half and strode forward. Joe Holloway made it 2-0 – a nice low shot from outside the ‘D’ after a pass from new-boy Aiden Hamilton. Defender Stevie Moore makes it 3 soon after; his first goal for Dundalk, a crashing header off the underside of the cross-bar from a Joe Holloway free kick. Deja-vu for Longford. And he gets his 2nd in the same manner, 2 minutes into the 2nd half. 4-0. Tommy Collins makes it 5 in the 69th minute, a weird goalmouth scramble ends with him heading it in at the back post after Barry Reilly somehow headed against the post from a yard out.

16 points clear, 14 games left.

The day after Shamrock drop more points, this time versus a spirited Derry side. 15 points clear. Looking at the European games played mid week in the Conference League qualifiers Shamrock beat Gandzasar Kapan (ARM) 3-0, St. Pat’s got a really good 1-1 draw versus Maccabi Haifa (ISR) and Derry beat Glacis Utd (GIB) 2-0. Would be good for the coefficient if we could get at least 2 of the sides into the Conference League this season.

And our U19’s beat Freebooters 5-1, goals from Stapleton (2) and McShane (3).

Seven of the lads made the IPD Team of the Week.

17th July 2024 – Urartu Yerevan (H) – UCL Champions 1st Qual Rnd 2nd Leg

FT Dundalk 6 (McGarvey 30, Collins 42, Jenkinson 50, pen 58, Kelly 78, McGrath 87) Urartu Yerevan 0 Att 4,298 (16 Away) – Dundalk win 12-0 on aggregate.

6-0 up from the first leg, this should be a cake-walk. Connolly has the ball in the net in the 11th minute but was offside. Lots of possession, but Urartu are defending really narrow so our usual crossing style isn’t working too well. However we go ahead in the 30th minute, McGarvey with a nice finish close in after sustained pressure. Assist from Freddy Barton. The wide players getting most of the ball. Collins gets his 11th of the season in the 42nd minute, a lovely volley from an O’Malley cross, his 17th assist of the season 🙂 Monster. Jenks scores in the 50th minute – A long-range header from a clearance after an O’Malley cross. We got a penalty in the 58th minute, after McGarvey was pushed trying to connect with an O’Malley free-kick – he takes the penalty… 4-0. A lovely goal for the fifth. Jenks sprays the ball to Neco Williams, who’s first time volley pass puts in Jordan Kelly for a really nice finish. 6-0 in the 87th – a McGrath header back across the keeper from a Williams cross. 2 Assists in 9 minutes, playing on the right wing for Williams. It finished 6-0 – 12-0 on aggregate. A nice start to our European campaign. And our 30th win in a row 🙂

Our was only the joint 4th highest aggregate win – HJK putting 19 past Hamrun Spartans of Malta. Linfield lose 1-0 to RB Salzburg, a really creditable result. We will play Fehervar of Hungary next week in the 2nd Qualification round after their 6-0 aggregate win over Dudelange (LUX). And now the fixture rearrangements start…

A quick look at the other Irish clubs in Europe. Shamrock through to the 2nd Qual Round of the Conference League (v Slaven Belupo, a Loki Doki Journeyman club in FM20) after a 5-0 aggregate win versus Gandzasar (ARM). Derry City also through, with a 4-0 win over Glacis Utd (GIB). They will be playing Vitesse Arnhem (NED) next, really tough. Lastly St. Pat’s go out 2-1 on aggregate to Maccabi Haifa (ISR).

Two one-sided games in the league – Longford with a really good 3 points versus Sligo, making that battle to stay out of 9th and the play-off really tight.

Another one of our youngsters off to Athlone Town on a free – Pierce Andrews (19).

Our U19’s beat St. Pat’s 2-0 Jim Collins & 18yo MC Josh Donnelly with the goals.

21st July 2024 – Shamrock Rovers (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (Kelly 21, 90+3) Shamrock Rovers 0 Att 4,474 (300 Away)

We face a Shamrock Rovers side also playing European games for the last couple of weeks (And will be for at least another couple), who haven’t lost since Limerick beat them in the League Cup Quarters early in May, but have drawn 3 of their last 5 league games. We win today and we go 18 points clear with 13 games left. I expect a tough game as usual. We start off well, with Keeshan making 3 saves early on. They do look a bit knackered from their Conference League game on Thursday though. And we open the scoring in the 21st minute, a lovely break, Jenks passing to Rubarth, who slips Jordan Kelly in for his 19th of the season. Keeshan keeping them in it, a remarkable save from a Rubarth acrobatic scissor kick. Massive pressure from Dundalk. But we can’t get a second, Keeshan having a wonderful game (6.8, 12 saves…). We put it beyond doubt in the 3rd minute of injury time, Kelly with a superb finish across the Keeper, his second following a Neco Williams long-bomb, setting him free. It finished 2-0, a professional performance from the lads.

A superb win for Cobh versus St. Pat’s put them 4 points clear of 9th place – St. Pat’s could have closed to within 2 points of Shamrock with a win. Right, Fehervar next up in the UCL Champions 2nd Qual Rnd – the toughest game of the season so far (Possibly).

We’ve had the draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round – We’re not seeded (Should be next season I think) so may get a hard(er) draw…

Yep, most probably Dynamo Kyiv. They went out in the 3rd Round to Djurgardens last season. Will be a tough one, they have a huge wage bill compared to us. Lose there and you are in the Europa League Playoffs.

Neco & Jordan made the IPD Team of the Week.

UCL game day his here – we welcome Fehervar FC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feh%C3%A9rv%C3%A1r_FC), previously Videoton FC from Székesfehérvár in Hungary. As I’ve turned on a lot of these leagues now so these European matches mean a bit more they have made a number of signings recently, so their dynamics should be pretty low. We shall see. At the same time last season we played Astana – I’d say this should be a bit easier…

24th July 2024 – Fehervar FC (HUN) (H)UCL Champions 2nd Qual Rnd 1st Leg

FT Dundalk 5 (Kelly 5, O’Malley 17, 28, Williams 51, McGarvey 85) Fehervar 0 Att 4,317 (29 Away)

Slightly nervous about this – don’t really know what to expect. The Bookies have us favourites though, which is a good sign 🙂 Hoping tho press them into submission. ANd it’s 1-0 Dundalk in the 5th minute, Jordan Kelly with his 21st of the season, a finish I see a lot where he’s 10 yards or so out, across the Keeper hard into the bottom corner. O’Malley with the assist. Great start lads. O’Malley himself makes it 2 in the 17th minute – a fine header from a Corrigan cross – Taylor was scythed down in the build up, a good advantage played by the Turkish Ref – a few Fehervar players on thin ice I think. O’Malley is an absolute nuisance, 3-0, 28th minute, a beautiful left foot shot top bins from the edge of the area from a Jenks pass. Big game players! I knew it was going too well, O’Malley with a tight hamstring.. Williams coming on. A banger of a header at the far post by Neco Williams makes it 4 – Jenks with the free-kick. Williams now becoming one of our best players. Ryan Corrigan now with a bruised thigh… Pretty much encamped in the final third, playing some gorgeous football. ANd McGarvey makes it 5 with 5 minutes left, a nice finish after a good cross from Duffy and head-down by Williams. 5-0 it finishes. Levels.

Yep, we’ll be playing Kyiv, after they beat the Moldovan Champions Sheriff 7-1. Maribor with a great win over RB Salzburg.

Let’s have a quick look at Shamrock & Derry’s European results. Shamrock beat Slaven Belupo (CRO) 2-0 in their 2nd Round 1st leg tie. Derry City lost 2-0 to Vitesse (NED).

The FAI Cup 1st Round draw has been made.

A trip to Co. Wicklow as we are drawn against Bray Wanderers (8th in the 1st Division).

Cobh get another win, this time at bottom team Finn Harps. Now 7 points clear of 9th with 12 games left.

Youngster Jiri Capek is off on loan to Kladno for the season – Czech first division so will be getting some good experience.

27th July 2024 – St. Pat’s Athletic (A) – irish Premier Division

FT St. Pat’s 1 (Osadebe 34) Dundalk 2 (Collins 12, Rubarth 37) Att 1,645 (332 Away)

We go to Dublin to play a St. Pat’s side with just 1 win in 5 games. They are usually quite tough though, and I’ve rotated. Just got an odd question at the Tunnel interview saying this might be the last time Jenks may play in a Dundalk Shirt… I’ve got him until 31st December… Wonder if Leicester are looking to recall him? St. Pat’s looking quite good early on. Quite an open game. And we go 1-0 up in the 12th minute, Tommy Collins with an assured finish after so pinged passes. Headed assist from Michael Duffy. We have been very loose today, and St. pat’s draw level, Osadebe with a nice shot from the edge of the area. Poor. But it only takes 3 minutes to regain the lead. Tommy Collins’s cross-cum-shot comes off the post, straight to Rubarth, who taps in his first goal for the club. And almost straight away Glen Rea gets himself sent off for a 2nd yellow – what’s going on!!! Rubarth off, Holloway on. And just before half time Williams picks up a knock. 2 subs before half-time. This could go either way. Bossin is keeping St. Pat’s in it – he’s made a number of quality saves from Collins. Jenks on for the last 20. Can we hold on? Yes we can. 2-1. Terrible performance, but we knick it.

12 games left. 21 points clear.

20 points clear as Shamrock draw with Cork, who we have next in the League. Sligo also pull away from Longford with a brilliant win at Derry City.

Our U19’s beat Manulla (Sounds like it should be an Australian team) 13-0 – goals from Colm Mcshane, 2 from Dan Kelly, 4 from triallist Chris Wood (ex-Burnley & NZ) and 5 from triallist Will Russ (21yo STC, ex-Leicester)


33yo Sean Gannon goes to Waterford for £20k. Happy to let him go, he wanted the move as he could see Williams and Barton ahead of him in the pecking order. Wishing him all the best.

Tommy Collins made the IPD Team of the Week.

31st July 2024 – Fehervar FC (HUN) (A)UCL Champions 2nd Qual Rnd 2nd Leg

MOL Arena Sosto, Székesfehérvár, Capacity 14,201

We make the 1,200 mile journey to central Hungary to play Fehervar in the 2nd leg. Looking for another professional performance away from home.

FT Fehervar FC 0 Dundalk 1 (Kelly 27) Att 2,966 (14 Away) – Dundalk win 6-0 on aggregate.

An open start – I’d expect a harder game away TBH. We are doing well on the break – O’Malley is a real threat every time he gets the ball. And he sets up the opener, a nice team move, O’Malley gets a delayed pass wide from Taylor, and his near post cross from the byline is clipped in by Jordan Kelly. A lovely goal. Perfect positioning from Kelly again. Fehervar getting a few chances. And the rest of the game passes by quietly. 1-0 it finishes. 3rd Round here we come. And that’s 34 wins in a row now!

Maribor put RB Salzburg out on away goals, Kyiv lose in Moldova but win easily on aggregate and we play them in the next round. Win that and the playoffs beckon for a second season.

Not a bad month 🙂 just the 1 goal conceded. Just 13 goals conceded in the 35 games this season so far…

That rounds off July 2024. Back next time for (hopefully) another £13M for qualifying for the Champions League 🙂 See you soon.

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