Can he do it on a cold rainy night in Zagreb in February? – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS7 C2 S3 – Part 60 – Dundalk – February 2025

The Maksimir, Zagreb, Capacity 35,123

Welcome back to the start of the 2025 Irish season, with a tough few games before the end of the month.

St. Pats, who finished 2nd last season will be a tough test in our 2nd game, and then the 2-legger versus Dinamo to get to the 2nd Knockout Round. I fancy our chances.

We start straight away with the season opener – Waterford at home.

14th February 2025 – Waterford (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 5 (Collins 6. McGarvey 23, 55, 89, McShane 70) Waterford 0 Att 3,664 (155 Away)

The Season Preview has Waterford finishing 4th this season (St. Pat’s 6th!!!) so expecting a tough one, as most season openers are. We lost our season opener in my first season with Dundalk and drew last year versus Cobh so looking for the 3 points today. A good start with a few chances early. And we go 1-0 up in the 6th minute, Tommy Collins with a close range finish from a Neco Williams pass after good work from Colm McShane on the right. It looked like Tommy was offside though, but we’ll take it. A beautiful team goal for number 2, Seddon feeding Connelly, his cross to the back post knocked back by McShane to McGarvey, who finishes well. 23rd minute, 2-0. Dominant so far. And we go into the hut 2-0 to the good. Big Colin gets his second of the night with a header from a Seddon corner. Can’t sub him now with him on a hattie… McShane makes it 4 with a simple finish after a sublime through-ball from Jenks. Finally McGarvey gets his hat-trick – 89 minues gone, a tap-in after 2 parried shots from Collins and good work again from McShane on the right – hopefully he will keep Steven O’Malley honest this season 🙂 5-0. That’s how it finished.

Shamrock dropping 3 points straight out of the gate at home to St. Pat’s, and it’s an own goal from the Shamrock Keeper Lee Steacy that’s the difference between the teams. New boys Shelbourne come from 2-0 down to share the points with Cobh. Limerick v Cork contained 5 loanee Dundalk players (4 starting) and Matty Burrows scored for Derry in their win. Dundalk’s influence flowing through the IPD. St. Pat’s up next for us, big game early in the season.

Just noted I’m now a club Icon with Michael Duffy, and Jenks, Jordan & Colin are all favoured personnel 🙂

17th February 2025 – St. Pat’s Athletic (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT St. Pat’s 1 (Traynor 74) Dundalk 2 (Duffy pen 43, Kelly 45+3) Att 1,771 (441 Away)

Just seen our newly released striker Harry Durham is playing up top for St Pat’s today! Only 3 of the release-ees are with other teams – Paddy Keane and Bosun Lawal are both at Shelbourne. Lots of rain early this season. St. Pat’s look dangerous on the break early on. And their Reserve Keeper Maher (Bossin is injured) has made some fine saves. Just before half time we get a penalty – Big Colin pushed by Osadebe at a corner. Duffy to take. 1-0, slotted bottom left. Kickoff highlight… Should have been 2-0. But it is in the 3rd minute of stoppage time, Jordan Kelly finishing, great movement to get space after a stunning ball over by Captain-Our-Captain Big Colin. 2-0 at the break. The second half is pretty quiet, but from nowhere it’s 2-1, Traynor with the finish after a good ball through by Osadebe. Should have been out of sight. But end up winning 2-1. Happy enough taking 3 points away at last-year’s 2nd placed team.

Good start 🙂 Next up is our trip to Croatia in 4 days time.

Eight of the lads were in the IPD Team of the week following the 2 games this week.

The UCL knockouts begin. A good draw for Lyon and Club Brugge not out of their tie with PSG.

Goals in the IPD as Derry look strong, Matty Burrows getting another goal. Shamrock get their first points and 2 of the goals scored in the Waterford v Limerick games are from Dundalk players – Barry O’Leary for Waterford and Jim Collins for Limerick, who have started the season well with 4 points.

Real Madrid make a statement against Juventus, whilst the Leipzig/Inter tie is all to play for.

20th February 2025 – Dinamo (CRO) (A) – Europa League 1st Knockout Round 1st Leg

Dinamo are currently 2nd in the Croat First League behind Osijek, coming into this on the back of 4 wins, after losing 4 out of 6. They finished 2nd in Group G to qualify here, losing 2-0 to Dynamo Kyiv and drawing 1-1 in doing so. Thinking we should do well over 2 legs.

FT Dinamo 1 (Daka 88) Dundalk 2 (Duffy 42, Collins 62) Att 25,136 (45 Away)

A good start from the lads with a couple of early chances. An away goal or 2 wouldn’t go amiss. We’re very much on top in the first half and take the lead in the 42nd minute, a fine Duffy finish after a cleared corner was retrieved by Big Colin, passed to O’Malley who quickly slipped Michael in. A lovely goal. 1-0 at the break. 45 intrepid travellers from Co. Louth at the game this evening 🙂 We continue to be on top in the first 15 of the second half, nothing coming back at us. Big Tommy Collins (Lots of Big players) comes on for Jordan and with 3 minutes makes it 2-0 – more lovely passing, a great ball from Jenks to Duffy, who lays Collins ain, and his shot is a thunderbastard. Deserved. Taylor goes off in the 71st minute with a potential foot injury – no warning so hopefully not too bad. Russell Watts replaces him. Dinamo get one back in the 88th, sloppy defending allowing Daka in for a tap-in. Six minutes of stoppage time. We see it out, a good 2-1 win away. Let’s see how they do on a rainy night in Dublin in February 🙂 🙂 🙂

Big wins for Bournemouth, Lille & Olympiakos. Sevilla see off Roma at home, Young Boys looking good for the 2nd Knockout round with their big win versus Zenit.

Jake Taylor – Twisted Ankle, out for a month.

We will be without 4 players in the next leg – Corrigan, McGarvey & Ngoy, all for Yellows, and Taylor for both Yellows and Injury. Not too bad. We have St. Pat’s again in the President’s Cup (Community Shield-a-like) in 3 days.

Liam Morrison – A bit of a try-before-you-buy, Scot Liam Morrison comes in on loan from Bayern for the season. rated as highly as Nathan, Liam, although he’s only 5ft 9in is very quick and has good tekkers and positioning, so a Cover, with one of the bigger lads as a Stopper. IRL he’s at Bayern after joining on a free from Celtic aged 17!

Liam Morrison

We have the League Cup 1st Round draw.

Non-League Crumlin Utd away. Not bad. Would have preferred a bye though!

Cork starting off the season well, they go top with a Derby win versus Cobh, Eoghan Brennan with a 93rd minute goal to steal all 3 points.

Three games played in the Leinster Senior Cup – All as expected, though Shelbourne took 114 minutes to break Bray down.

Steve Seddon out for 2-3 weeks with pulled knee ligaments – I don’t think I have a registered left-back for the 2nd leg versus Dinamo now FFS.

Longford knocked out of the Leinster Senior Cup by non-league St. Paul’s, after being 1-0 up with 1 minute of normal time left.

Our U19’s drew 1-1 with Waterford, Martin Kenny with the goal.

Shamrock through in the Leinster Senior Cup and our League Cup opponents Crumlin come through as well versus fellow non-leaguers Athenry.

23rd February 2025 – St. Pat’s (N – Oriel Park) – President’s Cup

FT Dundalk 3 (Holloway 28, Kelly 60, 73) St. Pat’s 1 (Varion 81) Att 4,500 (225 Away)

Second time playing a tough St. Pat’s side in 6 days. Will be looking to rest a few players ahead of the 2nd leg versus Dinamo in 4 days time. A decent start from the lads, with Jordan missing a sitter after a lovely ball over by McShane. We do take the lead in the 28th minute – Joe Holloway’s strike too hard for Bossin, who parries it into the net. The assist was a lovely pass from Freddy Barton. We’re getting the chances. We have the ball in the net in the 43rd minute, but Jordan was offside… disagree with that one. 1-0 at the break. We make it 2-0 in the 60th minute – Jordan getting his goal, a tap-in after lovely movement off the shoulder of the defender and a lovely pass by McShane. Jordan’s 100th goal for Dundalk 🙂 He gets his second of the game after a lovely set of passes, finishing with Alex Rubarth using the lofted wedge to chip a cross over, Jordan heading in well. 3-0. We gift them a goal in the 81st minute, a terrible pass back by Colm McShane lets Varion in for a tap-in past Mpande. 3-1. Kieran Brilly gets a red for a scything tackle on Jordan Kelly in the 3rd minute of stoppage time – idiotic tackle. It finishes 3-1. Another trophy 🙂

Right – 4 days until we entertain Dinamo at Tallaght Stadium. No more injuries please!!

We’ve had the Leinster Senior Cup QF draw (Not played Bohs yet in the 4th Round)…

If we beat Bohs we will be playing Moneybags Athlone at home (Just under £1M/annum Wage bill, Bohs second in the 1st division with £274k! In fact Athlone have the 2nd biggest wage bill in Irish football after us! We’re at £3.67M, Shamrock are at £914k!!!)

In the IPD Waterford steal a point versus Cobh with a 94th minute equaliser, and Cork and Derry play out a 0-0, both sides looking good this season.

Vetle Dahl – 18yo Norwegian Vetle comes in from Jerv for £125k. 2* CA, 3-4* PA, 6ft Vetle is already has great acceleration & work rate (17) & 16 determination and is competent all the way down the right side of the pitch, but mainly is a CWB (At 18!!). Looking to get him out on loan back to Norway for the season.

More UCL games. Chelsea with a great win away in Madrid, and Bayern (Possibly should have been us!) beating Liverpool at home. Wouldn’t have bet on that at all.

Ajax get their cllective arses handed to them by Dortmund (Again, wouldn’t have bet on that) and the Manc City/Milan tie lies on a knife-edge thanks to a 93rd mint Dele Alli goal.

St. Pat’s get past Wexford in the Leinster Senior Cup 4th Round.

27th February 2025 – Dinamo (CRO)- (H – Tallaght Stadium) – Europa League 1st Knockout Round 2nd Leg

FT Dundalk 4 (Collins 7, 55, O’Malley 10, Duffy 15) Dinamo 0 Att 8,000 (33 Away) – Dundalk wins 6-1 on Aggregate

Dinamo have had 1 game since our meeting last week, a 1-0 away win versus Istra. We are without a recognised left back so Freddy Barton plays there, Neco Williams on the right. They are starting with an injured left winger. A decent start, with Dundalk very much on the front foot, and we make it 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate in the 7th minute, Tommy Collins with a top-of-the-foot volley tap-in after great work by Michael Duffy (Another big game player), advancing into the box and crossing low to Tommy. A great start! And it gets even better within 3 minutes, Steven O’Malley with a tap-in after great work again by Duffy and Collins on the left, Duffy’s shot hitting the base of the post, O’Malley Johnny-on-the-spot to tap in. 4-1 on aggregate 🙂 Nobody will want to play us at Fortress Tallaght 🙂 And Michael Duffy gets due reward with a goal in the 15th minute to make it 3-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate, a wonderful volley on the stretch from an O’Malley cross. That’s Duffy’s 100th goal for Dundalk, just a game after Jordan Kelly got to that mark. The crowd are going wild, it’s a European party 🙂 Highlight after highlight. And then it quietens down as the game settles. 3(5)-0(1) at the break. Dinamo having a bit more of the game at the start of the 2nd half. But it’s 4-0 on the night in the 55th minute, a towering Tommy Collins header from an O’Malley corner. It’s all over, we progress to the 2nd knockout round 6-1 on aggregate 🙂

Reuben Loftus-Cheek puts Bournemouth through with an 80th minute goal versus Arsenal. Roma end up knocking Sevilla out in extra time. Lille progress versus Schalke & Young Boys progress versus Zenit. Young Boys please (Don’t take that out of context!). £430k for getting to this round, £947k for getting to the next!

We’ve had some league games as well – Shelbourne with their 1st win of the season, a good one versus a Cork City side who have been looking strong. Derry go top with a last gasp win versus Waterford, Dundalker Matty Burrows with another goal.

Vetle Dahl is off to Kristiansund in the Norwegian First Division for the season – I expect him to get plenty of first-team experience there.

Geoffrey Astler – We welcome French 17yo Geoffrey Astler from Monaco for £1.2M. 4-5* PA he looks like a really good investment as a natural wing-Back/CWB, already with 17 Teamwork and 15 Determination/Bravery, plus really good physicals for someone who is 5ft 4in 🙂 Welcome Geoffers.

And we have the Europa League 2nd Knockout Draw…

The Europa League Group Winners come in at this stage and we get Bayer Leverkusen… Currently 8th in the Bundesliga. They won a group with Bournemouth, AZ Alkmaar and Hearts in it. Doable 🙂 Will be an interesting tie.

Shamrock continue their poor start to the season – 2 minutes from losing to Longford they sneak a point with a Brian Sammon goal.

That’s it for February as far as games go. Another great month!

It will be the second string out in the Bohemians game in the Leinster Senior Cup with a Europa League 2nd Knockout round 1st leg tie within 72 hours. 3 League games (Was 5 – 2 have been rearranged to April & May) and the 2nd leg, plus (let’s dream) a Europa League Quarter Final somewhere on the horizon 🙂 See you soon.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: