Welcome back to Dundalk for a mad month of football.
Bayern & Gent away, 7 League games and the FAI Cup Semi Final!
Start of month stuff before we play Bayern (This evening game time).
Five of the lads made the IPD Team of the Week – Our back 4 and Michael Duffy. And Michael’s goal versus Shamrock from just outside the box came 3rd in goal of the month. Brian Sammon’s direct free kick versus us won.
We have £26.3M in the bank. Currently an ‘A’ with the board, Dynamics are Good, Excellent, Excellent.
1st October 2024 – FC Bayern (GER) (A) – UCL Group H Match Day 2
Bayern Munich. Currently 3rd in the Bundesliga after 6 games. They had won the League 11 times in a row until last season, when RB Leipzig beat them into 2nd by 2 points. Top 3 players as rated by our scouts are Leao (Current team IRL Milan), Lucas Hernandez (Munich) and Tolisso (Also Munich). Kimmich rated 4th best. They also have Kingsley Coman (Wanted by Man City) and Serge Gnabry (Wanted by Leicester & Spurs). Good luck boys 🙂
FT FC Bayern 2 (Bergwijn 66, Kimmich 68) Dundalk 1 (McGarvey 23) Att 62,698 (288 Away)
Nothing expected from this at all. They look very very good early doors! We’ve had a chance though, Kelly shooting just wide. Conor keeping us in it with some good saves. Steven O’Malley though gets a good chance after skinning Hernandez(!), shooting wide with options in the middle. 20 gone. But all it takes is one break. And it’s Dundalk’s!! 1-0, 23rd minute, Colin McGarvey with his 29th of the season, slotting it past Donnarumma after being fed-in by Steven O’Malley. Absolute madness 🙂 Zech Medley hit a long ball at McGarvey, his header found O’Malley, and McGarvey got away from Sule to get the return ball. Bear Poked. Conor currently keeping them out though. Half Time, 1-0, Bayern have had 20 shots, us 5 – 9 on target for them, 2 for us, but possession is only 52-48 Bayern. Expecting them to fly out of the blocks in the second half. But it’s nearly us, Kelly with a soft shot after 12 seconds. Conor is having an absolute worldie in goal this evening – as we approach 60 minutes he’s made 13 saves, 8 of which were chances, 4 clear cut! Then big team bias, a ridiculous penalty given against Zech medley against Coman. Fuck off. Stengs steps up… NONE SHALL FUCKING PASS!!!! O’Malley with a low save to his right. Legend. But they do score 5 minutes later, and its Medley getting dispossessed leaving us short at the back, Bergwijn with the tap in. Fuck. 24 minutes left. 2 minutes later its 2-1 Bayern, Kimmich with a beautiful shot. McGarvey played 4 Bayern players onside…. All Bayern now as we go into the last 10. It finishes 2-1. The stas look like we should have been battered, O’Malley was the star of the show (8.3!!!).
Celtic the pick of the results with a famous win versus Real. Ajax beat Gent 2-0 – Hoping we can do the same in 3 weeks time. Cork next up in 3 days in a league game, before the FAI Cup Semi 2 days after that.
And we have 2 new coaches joining. Andy Whing (40) – started his career at Coventry and his last job was Manager of Alfreton in Tier 7 of English Football, and James Slater (48), a Dungannon boy who was at Cobh Ramblers as a coach when I was there. Hoping the sharing of the coaching across the team leads to less oversight and less injuries.
Wednesday night action in the UCL – Liverpool with a great win versus Atletico and how our game versus Bayern could have gone – Man City putting 8 past Bratislava. Shows you what form can do.
A news story has come up – 1 more win in the League and we break Bohemians record from 2008.
Youngster Karl Harmon (At Waterford currently) has signed until the end of the 2025 season.
And we have more staff joining. John Phillips, 43, Fitness Coach, a journeyman having started as a fitness coach with Southampton before time in Sweden, Saudi Arabia, England (QPR’s head of Sports Science) and China. And we have two more scouts, Kevin Houworth, 35, ex-St, Mirren and Barry Symonds, 61, once Caretaker Manager of New Zealand and Chief Scout of Fulham and Norwich.
We’ve had 14 international Callups – Our League games versus Derry & Sligo may be affected.
Longford continue their good run, putting Cobh in a bad spot and Sligo into 9th with their 3-0 win. St. Pat’s doing everything they can to finish 2nd. Finn Harps are now relegated.
4th October 2024 – Cork City (H) – Irish Premier Division
FT Dundalk 2 (McGrath 45+3, 71) Cork City 1 (Knox 90) Att 4,500 (225 Away)
Cork are currently sitting 5th in the IPD, And haven’t lost in the League since St. Pat’s beat them 6 games ago. We are totally rotated with the FAI Cup semi Final, also against Cork in less than 48 hours time. A very quiet first half, with Cork set up to defend. But we get a Penalty in injury time, McGrath harried too hard by Knox. he himself steps up to take the Penalty… Ryan saves, low to his right… But he makes amends almost straight away. Watts takes the corner, its cleared, he ends up back with it, crosses and McGrath volleys home really well. A punch in the gut for Cork. McGrath gets his 2nd in the 71st minute, a nice header from a Duffy cross after great forward movement by Barry Reilly. Knox makes it 2-1 in the last minute with a smart finish after a bit of a defensive miss by Stevie Moore. Cork going for this now, Conor with a great save from Barry to keep us in the lead. We hold on, a 2-1 win by our 2nd team. 28 Wins in a row.
Shamrock beat Sligo to keep up with St. Pat’s – Sligo now 3 goals back on Cobh. We now have the IPD goal scoring record, 94, up from 92 last season.
Darragh Cunningham signs for another year as an emergency backup defender.
Our U19’s are through to the National League Play-Off Semis, beatin Waterford 5-4 on pens, 0-0 AET.
6th October 2024 – Cork City (A) – FAI Cup Semi Final
FT Cork City 0 Dundalk 0 Att 6,438 (256 Away)
Deja-vu – Though today we have our first team playing 🙂 No rotation on the Cork side it seems. Cork defending well again. They take us in 0-0 though. Keeper Ryan has made 6 saves so far. Feels like one of those days – really don’t want a fucking replay… It finishes 0-0, Ryan with 11 saves. FFS. Park the Bus wins.
St. Pat’s get through versus Longford. Replay on the 29th October – Now an 11-game month for us. Derry City next in the League in 48 hours before the short international break.
Russell Watts made it into the IPD Team of the Week.
8th October 2024 – Derry City (H) – Irish Premier Division
FT Dundalk 1 (Hanratty 47) Derry City 2 (Burrows 22, Morrow 60) Att 3,042 (165 Away)
Derry sit safely in 4th, 7 points clear of Cork in 5th, 9 points behind Shamrock in 3rd. Should be a dead rubber. Rotated again for our 3rd game in 6 games. A slow start again versus a very defensive opponent. But they take the lead, 22nd minute, Burrows with a good volley finish. Feeling like a sudden drop off in form. just not able to break down the defence. McGrath off at half time (Had a whinge about not getting enough game time even though he’s been playing most league games, so fuck him) and his replacement Mark Hanratty scores a beautiful goal to make it 1-1 – a wonderful half volley from a Russell Watts pass. Better. Then Derry go 2-1 up, Morrow with a header almost on the line, looked a bit offside… Feels like the run is over. 2-1 Derry.
Our winning run, 28 games, now at an end. And our first league loss in 65 games.
Jim Collins scored in Ireland U19’s 2-1 win over Estonia.
The day after Aidan Hamilton played in Northern Ireland U21’s 4-0 win over San Marino, Alex Rubarth scored in Sweden U21’s 5-0 win over Andorra and Colm McShane, Ray Moore & Joe Holloway played in Ireland U21’s 4-0 win over Russia, Ray with an 8.0.
We have some more staff coming in for our U19’s – Carl Emberson (51, Millwall & Colchester GK), Paul Ellis (28, Newgen, first job) and FM legend Darius Vassell (44, Villa & Leicester, has managed Dorchester in game.)
Four of the lads played in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 loss to the Ukraine – Tommy Collins, Stevie Moore, Barry Reilly & Colin McGarvey.
Our U19’s are through to the National League Final after beating Derry 1-0, the goal from Connor McCann (16yo AMC triallist).
And then we lose Steve Seddon & Jake Taylor to 2 silly little injuries in training, both for a day or two.
Michael Duffy played in Ireland’s 3-2 win over Denmark, scoring his 3rd international goal, helping Ireland come back from 2-0 down.
And we had a goof few players playing on the 14th – Alex Rubarth played in Sweden U21’s 1-0 win over Italy, Colm McShane, Ray Moore & Joe Holloway played in Ireland U21’s 1-1 draw with Spain, Aidan Hamilton played in N. Ireland U21’s 1-0 loss to Bulgaria and Barry reilly, Stevie Moore & Colin McGarvey played in N. Ireland’s 3-3 draw with Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colin scoring twice, his first international goals. Congratulations Colin!
15th October 2024 – Sligo Rovers (H) – Irish Premier Division
FT Dundalk 3 (Kelly 30, 78, Watts 90+4) Sligo Rovers 0 Att 2,650 (282 Away)
Sligo need points – in the relegation play-off place in 9th, level on points with Cobh, 1 point below Longford. We need to get over the Derry City & Cork City blips. Plus we have a number of players out on International Duty (4 strikers!), so are playing a 4-4-1-1, Brian Stapleton getting a game at AMC. Again we are struggling early doors to break down a very compact defence, and a Keeper pulling off some great saves. We take the elead in the 30th minute, Jordan Kelly tapping in his 26th of the season after great battling by Freddy Barton. McNicholas in the Sligo goal having an amazing game – 8 saves, 7.3. Plus Brian Connolly has hit the woodwork twice. Jordan doubles his tally in the 78th minute – A wimbledon from Neco Williams, Jordan too fast and strong for the centre backs, a nice finish. Deep into injury time Russell Watts scores a banger from 12 yards after a Jordan Kelly nod-down. Better. 3-0 Dundalk at Full Time.
Sligo now 6 goals back from Cobh.
Jim Collins played in Ireland U19’s 2-0 loss to Turkey.
18th October 2024 – St. Pat’s Athletic (H) – Irish Premier Division
FT Dundalk 4 (McGarvey 6, 17, 84, Kelly 27) St. Pat’s Athletic 0 Att 3,124 (208 Away)
1st play 2nd – St. Pat’s need to get at least a draw to keep their destiny in their own hands. We have AA Gent in 4 days – a game which if we win is worth £2.3M, plus puts us in the driving seat for a Europa knockout place. And they are in pretty good form. Will be a tough one. But our front 2 have 56 goals between them this season 🙂 Jenks is rested after he got a bruised knee last time out. The boys make a good start, 1-0, 6th minute, a long ball over by Steve Seddon , McGarvey battles for it, finally getting a shot in from close range. His 30th of the season. And it’s 31 in the 17th minute, another nice finish, this time after good battling work by Russell Watts. Jordan gets in on the act with his 28th of the season, a lovely left foot finish from a precise Duffy pass. 3-0 at the break, but it’s closer than that. A quiet second half, with Colin McGarvey hitting his hat-trick with a lovely far-post tight-angle left foot finish from a Duffy free-kick. 4-0 it finishes, a McGarvey masterclass 🙂
Shamrock get pumped by Cork meaning St. Pat’s are still in charge of 2nd. Cobh & Sligo both win, meaning Longford are now back in 9th, after their 5-1 loss to Waterford. That’s also a IPD points record with 4 games left. Right, KAA Gent next at Tallaght Stadium, a massive game in the group, monetarily & for coefficient points.
Our U19’s choked at the final stage again this season, looking the National League Playoff final 5-2 to St. Pat’s. Goals from Tommy Coffey (17yo STC) and Graham Robinson (16yo AMR Triallist).
I’ve also started scouting all the youth from Ireland, Wales and Scandinavia, lets see if we can find some gems 🙂
We’ve had a scout report for Gent (Currently 3rd in the Belgian Jupiler league, W6 D1 L2) and they are decent, but not a great stretch stronger than us player for player, compared to Dynamo Kyiv for instance. Should be an interesting game.
League action – Longford & Sligo losing helps Cobh, where Cork, who beat Shamrock 3-0 last time out, lose to Finn Harps.
Our U19’s lost 3-2 to Gent, goals from Alan Brady & Gerry Butler (16yo DR).
Six of the lads made IPD team of the week.
22nd October 2024 – KAA Gent (A) – UCL Group H Match Day 3
We make the 500 mile journey to Gent in Belgium to play a They lost 2-0 to Ajax KAA side currently 3rd in the Jupiler League behind KRC Genk & Club Brugge. They’ve had a mixed start to the season. A draw would be acceptable, a win amazing.
FT KAA Gent 1 (Rasmussen 86) Dundalk 3 (Kelly 9, McGarvey 39, O’Malley 54) Att 19,142 (142 Away)
Gent starting with wingbacks – will look to overload the wide areas. Heavy rain this evening in Belgium. Gent looking attack-minded early on, but Dundalk had the first chance, Jenks stealing the ball but shooting wide. And Dundalk takes the lead in the 9th minute, a lovely move, ball pinging about-the-place, Duffy surging into the box and crossing beautifully for Jordan Kelly to head home, beating 2 defenders to the header 🙂 A bit quieter after the goal, though Conor has made a few good saves (As usual). And our aerial prowess puts us 2-0 up in the 39th minute, more good team play out wide on the right allowing Jordan Kelly to cross, Colin McGarvey beating the defenders to the header, a bullet low to the left of the Keeper. We go in 2-0 up at the break. Not over yet, but you’d always bet on us scoring. And we do, and it’s a banger, Steven O’Malley beating American International Keeper Ethan Horvath at the near post with a lovely shot after a beautiful team move (12 passes back to front). Freddy Barton with the assist. Kick-off highlight… VAR check… Free Kick Dundalk (Duffy fouled just outside the box after dispossessing Castro-Montes. A coming together leaves Steven O’Malley and WB Jonathan with injuries – Connolly on. Just seen that Ajax are beating Bayern in the other game! We can’t quite keep a clean sheet – Rasmussen gets a nice header from a bullet cross in the 86th minute. The match ends 3-1 Dundalk – another superb performance from the lads!
Ajax throwing the Group up in the air at the halfway stage with the win in Munich.
Eurpoa League football for us if Gent don’t get a point versus Bayern or Ajax. Knockout stage UCL football could be there for us if we can beat Bayern at Tallaght Stadium! £2.3M into the pot 🙂
Another record 🙂 Colin McGarvey top scorer in the competition with 13 🙂 Now into a silly run of games – 5 games before we play Gent at Tallaght Stadium in 14 days time… Sligo next up in under 48 hours.
Wednesday night football in the uCL – Bratislava with an amazing point versus Roma after their 8-0 drubbing by Man City.
24th October 2024 – Sligo Rovers (A) – Irish Premier Division
FT Sligo Rovers 0 Dundalk 5 (McGrath 10, pen 33, Collins 45+2, Connolly 73, 86) Att 1,704 (205 Away)
Four league games left – 8th (Today), 9th & 10th before the end of the month, Waterford on 2nd November. Full rotation. 18yo GK Evan O’Donovan gets a debut. Jamie McGrath makes it 1-0 in the 10th minute – a lovely cross from Corrigan and a fine volley finish at an unattended back post. A quiet game after the goal. We get a penalty in the 33rd minute – DLP Hamilton ‘clattered’ by Brilly (Harsh). McGrath tucks it away for 2-0. Tommy Collins nets in the 37th minute, but was apparently offside when Rubarth hit his shot, which was parried into his path. Yep, a yard off. He gets his goal in first half injury time, a lovely finish from a Williams deep free kick. McGrath lays on number 4, a lovely floated cross to the back post for Connolly to head in. And he gets his second 4 minutes from time, a cracking volley from a Freddy Barton cross. It finished 5-0.
Sligo need at least a point from their last league game to avoid a playoff – Cobh & Longford have 2 games (Longford 1 versus us next in less than 48 hours) to not do worse than Sligo.
The wolves are sniffing around.
St. Pat’s in charge of 2nd with 1 game left after Shamrock lose to Waterford. St. Pat’s need to lose and Shamrock win for that to change. Cobh get a point to move them to 7th.
26th October 2024 – Longford (A) – Irish Premier Division
FT Longford 0 Dundalk 3 (Duffy 38, Barton 45+2, Ngoy 87) Att 1,056 (x Away)
Longford come into this game in 8th, with this game in hand over Sligo in 9th, 1 point ahead and 8 goals so they won’t want to get thumped and lose the goal difference advantage. A few chances early for Dundalk, but Longford are very defensive. Keeper Horgan has pulled off some good saves. We take the lead in the 38th minute, Michael Duffy with a nice shot tucked in the bottom left corner after a Barton cross/pass. Duffy is getting so much space. Freddy Barton makes it 2 just before half-time, a lovely finish from the edge of the area after a cut-back by F9 Rubarth. A really quiet second half, nothing much until the 87th minute, when Nathan Ngoy gets his 2nd of the season, a fine header from a Holloway deep free kick. It finishes 3-0.
We’re one win away from the magic 100pts 🙂 Cork next up in 3 days in the FAI Cup Semi Final Replay.
Our U19’s beat Collinstown 4-0 – goals from Barney McKeown, Jacob Davenport, Harry Durham and Dan Kelly.
Eight of the lads made the IPD team of the week.
29th October 2024 – Cork City (H) – FAI Cup Semi Final Replay
FT Dundalk 2 (Kelly 12, Jenkinson pen 15) Cork City 1 (Madsen 42) Att 4,500 (225 Away)
This is the second season in a row Cork has taken us to a replay – there’s definitely a certain something in these games as we (apparently) are rivals. St. Pat’s await in the final if we can put the Rebels away. We start well, encamped in the Cork final 3rd, and we take the lead in the 12th minute, a powerful Jordan Kelly header from an O’Malley Corner. His 30th of the season 🙂 We get a penalty in the 14th minute – Neco Williams tackled a bit too keenly by Richards. Jenks has the Pen – 2-0, slotted bottom left. A great start. Quiet until the end of the half, when Cork break, and Madsen scores well. 2-1 at the break. The second half is really quiet, with a flurry of highlights in the last 10, but we see the game out. 2-1 it finished, the final awaits. £50k for the win.
Our last league game, versus Waterford is now on 16th November – Waterford will have no game for over 3 weeks… It sort of works for us, keeping the players playing as we have the Irish Champions Cup 2-leg final (v Linfield) before and Ajax 10 days after.
Our U19’s beat Wexford 3-1, goals from Colm McShane, Harry Durham & Dan Kelly.
31st October 2024 – Finn Harps (H) – Irish Premier Division
FT Dundalk 2 (Collins 24, Ngoy 28) Finn Harps 1 (O’Sullivan 34) Att 3,794 (147 Away)
We host Finn Harps for their penultimate game in the Premier Division (At least for a year). Full rotation (4th game in 7 days…). We’re 4 goals away from a +100 GD as well 🙂 We take the lead in the 24th minute, Tommy Collins with a smart finish after a nice Watts pass. Nathan Ngoy gets his 3rd of the season with a toe-poke volley from a Seddon corner. 2-0. O’Sullivan gets one back with a header from a deep free kick in the 34th minute. 2-1. The Harps go down to 10 men with 15 minutes left – McGlynn sent off for a 2nd yellow. It finishes 2-1 – suffereing a bit in these games from complacency.
Cobh are safe as Longford also lose, and St. Pat’s secure 2nd place. Ball now in Sligo’s court – they need a win to not go into the relegation playoff.
That’s that for a crazy month. 11 games.
Our first real form blip in 2 years at the start of October – The Derry loss was very disappointing and is showing a trend of players being complacent because we are so much better than the rest of the teams in the league. We came back well though, with the win versus Gent in Belgium a highlight.
Next month starts with a Cup Final and progresses from there – 3 cup final matches, 3 UCL matches and a league game left, with a potential Europa/UCL Knockout game early next season. Should be an interesting post next time round. See you soon.