Arsenal Part 2 – #FM20 OS8 C2 S4 – Part 74 – Dundalk – March 2026

Fortress Tallaght – Our European home until we have an 8,000+ capacity Stadium

Welcome back to Dundalk for March 2026. It is a quiet one compared to what we’ve been used to.

Just the 6 games.

And we start with the usual Monthly stuff.

Loanee Aidan Hamilton gets IPD player of the month for his performances for Cork City. Colin McGarvey comes 2nd in the IPD goal of the month for his effort from 18 yards versus Athlone Town.

We are down to just under £34M in the bank, but will be picking up (at least) £8M this month after the Arsenal 2nd leg. A- with the board.

Limerick getting a nosebleed – up to 2nd, Dundalk old-boy Dan Cross scoring the winner.

We have 4 players in the IPD team of the week, Steve, Neil, Colm and David.

3rd March 2026 – Shelbourne (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Shelbourne 0 Dundalk 3 (Moore pen 36, Duffy 58, Connolly 70) Att 1,238 (695 Away)

We seem to be playing a lot of away games at the moment. Just looked and we will have 6 home games in a row from mid-April to mid-May. Shelbourne have started well, currently 4th with 2 wins and a loss. They have old friend Bosun Lawal playing for them in Centre Mid. Shelbourne tough to break down, but we get a penalty in the 36th minute – Chris McCabe brought down by Kavanagh. Stevie Moore tucks it away nicely. 1-0. Kickoff highlight… no real highlight TBH. 1-0 at the break. Very quiet again until the 58th minute, when we go 2-0 up – Duffy with a good header back across the Keeper, from a McCabe cross. McCabe (Who has been moaning to get game time) has to come off soon after with a foot injury, and his replacement Neco Williams gets an assist, 70th minute, a fizzed cross volleyed home by Connolly at the back post. 3-0. Better. Connolly (Who came on on 65 minutes) sometimes has a game he decides he wants to play up top (He’s ML Winger on Attack), and looks really dangerous but it finishes 3-0. Not bad in the 2nd half at all.

Feels like a changing of the guard – Cork with a comprehensive 3-0 win over a Shamrock side in the relegation spots after 4 games, just 2 points from 12 for them, a perfect record for Cork so far. Limerick next up in 3 days at Oriel Park.

Chris McCabe out for a month with a twisted ankle.

Our U19’s go out of the UCL U19’s on penalties after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes versus Club Brugge. David Behrenbeck got the goal.

6th March 2026 – Limerick F.C. (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 1 (Duffy 76) Limerick F.C. 1 (Cross 67) Att 3,901 (158 Away)

We welcome a Limerick side just behind us in 3rd after 5 games. Dundalk old-boy MR Dan Cross is one of their better players. And 31yo Glen Rea is their DM. We are struggling to break these defensively set-up sides down in the first half at the moment. 0-0 at the break (All 5 league games are 0-0 at half time!!). Hairdryer. Dundalk very much on top but we go 1-0 down in the 67th minute, not able to clear and Dan Cross ends up with a tap in. Show some passion you Dickheads! Duffy and Jenkinson on, and they combine to make it 1-1 – Duffy with a fine back-post header, Jenks with the cross. Limerick get everybody behind the ball and see it out for a 1-1 draw – really very poor. May need to stop rotating so much.

Cork 5 from 5, another 3-0 win, this time away at St. Pat’s! Derry sneak a win versus 10-man Finn Harps and Jim Collins gets a brace versus Shelbourne. Shamrock really struggling – just a draw versus bottom team Athlone.

We now have a week off (Very rare outside of International breaks) before we go to Wexford for the Leinster Senior Cup Quarter Final, where the Kids will be playing, and 4 days after that we entertain Arsenal at Tallaght Stadium.

I’ve got Dom Halford back from his loan at Cork as he’s not had a first team game. Would rather him training here.

Our U19’s beat Mayfield Utd 8-0 – goals from David Behrenbeck, Kieron Hillman, Barry O’Leary, Brian Stapleton and 4 from Ger Ryan.

More IPD football as Cork go 7 points clear with a 5-2 win over Athlone, and Waterford go 2nd with a 2-0 win over an awful Shamrock side, Jim Collins with another brace. Shamrock with just 3 points from 6 games and no wins this season in the League. A bit of a mad start to the IPD this season.

We get 3 of the lads in the IPD team of the week.

Two English Clubs through to the UCL Quarters.

And a boring Wednesday night – PSG sneak through on Away Goals, Schalke see off Juventus.

13th March 2026 – Wexford (A) – Leinster Senior Cup Quarter Final

FT Wexford 1 (Travers 70) Dundalk 5 (Carlin 15, 37, Hillman 32, 65, Hanna 81) Att 567 (297 Away)

Wexford currently sitting 9th in the First Division (Cobh in 2nd), and this is our 2nd Friday 13th game in 2 months 🙂 We have a mixture of youth and experience out this evening. It’s an open game early on, and we take the lead in the 15th minute, Carlin with a tap-in after great work by McShane and Behrenbeck. Game after game though we are coming up against Keepers who are making worldies. We finally make it 2-0 in the 32nd minute after constant pressure – Hillman heading home a Seddon Free Kick. 3-0 in the 37th, a majestic header back across the goal from Behrenbeck from a Dallas corner give Carlin a header from 6 inches. Kickoff highlight… Again, not much of a reason for the highlight. 3-0 at the break. A quiet start to the 2nd half, and it takes 20 minutes to make it 4 – Hillman with a back-post header from a lovely Knight left-foot cross. Wexford get a goal backm in the 70th minute; a complete lack of attempts to tackle Travers, and his shot really should have been saved by Mpande. Poor defending all around. Wexford down to 10 for the last 15 minutes, Ellis sent off for a 2nd Yellow. Neil Hanna makes it 5-1 in the 81st minute, a smart finish after good work by Steve Seddon. It finishes 5-1.

U.C.D knock Shelbourne out on Penalties in the other Quarter Final played today, 0-0 after 120 minutes.

Cork are pegged back by Waterford, who move to within 4 points of Cork in 2nd, Jim Collins with yet another League goal. Bot St. Pat’s and Derry dropping more points.

So, Arsenal next up. Will give it a go.

Our U19’s beat Drogheda 2-0 – goals from 18yo Strikers Tommy Coffey and Richie O’Sullivan.

Drogheda & Shamrock make up the Leinster Senior Cup Semi Finalists – Drogheda on penalties after a 0-0 versus Crumlin Utd, Shamrock 4-1 winners versus St. Mochtas. Glad of a win.

OK – Looks like we are playing at the R.D.S in Dublin… Home of Leinster Rugby. 12,000 Capacity, so will hopefully fill it. The Requirements for the First Knockout Round of the UCL is still only 8,000 – wonder if this will be our new European home as we justify 12,000 now over 8?

The RDS Arena, Dublin

More IPD games – St. Pat’s with just their 2nd win in 7 games, ex-Dundalker Harry Durham with a goal.

And we’ve had the Leinster Senior Cup Semi Final Draw…

A First Division side will be in the final as we host Shamrock at Oriel Park.

Eleven players currently called up for the late March international window.

17th March 2026 – Arsenal (ENG) (H – The R.D.S., Dublin) – UCL First Knockout Round 2nd Leg

FT Dundalk 0 Arsenal 2 (Lo Celso 54, Celso 89) Att 12,000 (6,000 Away) Arsenal wins 6-0 on Aggregate

Arsenal arrive in Dublin still 3rd in the Premier League, 8 Wins on the trot in all competitions. We’ve beaten Man Utd in Dublin so we can do the same – a 5-goal swing might be asking a bit much though 🙂 Pretty tight early on, Dundalk with the only highlight in the first 25. A very even half of football. 0-0 at the break. Just 10 into the 2nd half and Ngoy gets a straight red for a professional foul. 1-0 Arsenal from the Free Kick, Lo Celso with the strike. We keep it quiet after the goal, and it takes until the 89th for Arsenal to get their second, Celso with a tap-in. 2-0 it finished, 6-0 on aggregate. Not a bad showing all in all. And another £8.2M makes it feel a lot better 🙂 £41.5M in the bank.

Benfica make it through to the last 8 at the expense of Bayern.

Right, that’s Europe done for a few months before we get back to qualifying for a 4th UCL Group Stage in a row.

More IPD football on the same evening – Cork 6 points clear after their win in Donegal, but Waterford are pegged back by bottom-team Athlone (Though they are only bottom on GD from Shamrock currently!!). Another goal for that man Jim Collins! Cork are next up for us in just 3 days! A big game this early in the season.

A 12,000 sellout at the RDS translates to £300k gate receipts. Our new best. A little while back I also had a new story about Ireland not having any teams in the Conference League (Had that before) – I wonder if that’s a bug when coefficients mean you pop up a bracket – I think we will go into 17th for next season (26/27), meaning we will start in the UCL 2nd Qualification Round, not 1st. Two games less, which is always good. I think we are 3 seasons from the Top 10, 9th will mean an extra European spot for Ireland plus an automatic Group Stage place for the IPD Champions, 10th just the group stage place, which will be huge.

Two more lads with International call-ups.

Man U and Liverpool make it 5 English sides in the last 8 with fine wins – Man U overturning a 2-0 1st leg deficit, Liverpool making it through with an 86th minute goal; 4 minutes from staring elimination by Away Goals in the face. Interestingly Szoboszlai scoring for them – he played against us for Dortmund before Christmas… Thought he would have been Cup-Tied?

And Shamrock get their first League win of the season, sneaking a 1-0 away at Limerick.

20th March 2026 – Cork City (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Cork City 0 Dundalk 2 (Burrows 12, 58) Att 4,207 (177 Away)

Cork have started off the season superbly – 21 points out of 24, so this will be tough. Playing a bit wider, relying on the wingers. Kevin Noakes is in the Cork line-up – he was a free from Kettering who wasn’t up to the grade for us but looks like he’s found his home with Cork. Cork are without Eoghan Brennan, who always tends to do well against us. It’s a bit of a frantic start, end to end. We take the lead in the 12th minute, Matty Burrows with a fine volleyed finish from a Jake Taylor dinked cross. Kickoff highlight, nearly 1-1, Devlin with a great save. Cork look dangerous coming forward. Colm McShane picks up a bruised ankle – will get him off at half time. And we go in 1-0 to the good. Keeper Ryan has made a lot of decent saves today, keeping Cork in it. We make it 2-0 in the 58th minute, a worldie of a free kick from Matty Burrows; a 30-yarder. We have the ball in the net 3 minute later, but Duffy received the ball in an offside position. We see it out – 2-0, a good win versus a team we often struggle against.

Athlone pick up their first win of the season versus a struggling Derry side, and Waterford continue their great form with a win at St. Pat’s. Jim Collins scoring every game at the moment!! Some of the lads now off on their travels – we have 1 game left this month – Derry City on the last day of the month.

Our U19’s beat Sligo 3-1 – goals from Richie O’Sullivan and a brace from Dom Halford.

Shamrock nick another 3 points with an 81st minute penalty versus bottom side Finn Harps and Shelbourne rise to 4th(!) with a good win over Limerick.

Six of the lads made the IPD team of the week.

We’ve had a raft of U21 internationals. Sammy Baird, Sam McCabe and Aidan Hamilton all played in N. Ireland U21’s 1-0 win over Albania. Josh Donnelly, Evan O’Donovan and Joe Holloway plyed in Ireland U21’s 1-1 draw with Belgium. Dom Kiene played all 90 in Austria U21’s 2-0 loss versus England and Rimvydas Romanovas played in Lithuania U21’s 2-2 Baltic draw with Estonia.

The day after we had 5 players involved in full internationals. Jason Knight came on as a sub in Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Colombia and David Dallas, Neil Hanna, Stevie Moore & Colin McGarvey all played in N. Ireland’s 1-0 win over Albania, Hanna with an 8.0.

More U21 internationals – Josh Donnelly, Evan O’Donovan and Joe Holloway playing in N. Ireland U21’s 2-0 loss to Ukraine. Aidan Hamilton, Sam McCabe and Sammy Baird all got minutes in N. Ireland 4-0 loss to Portugal, Rimvydas Romanovas played in Lithuania U21’s 2-1 win over Slovakia and Dominic Kiene scored in Ausria U19’s 1-0 win over Finland.

Our U19’s beat St. Pat’s 6-0 – goals from Sean Brennan, a brace from Tommy Coffey and a hat-trick for Dom Halford.

And we had 5 players iin the N. Ireland side that beat Canada 2-1 – David Dallas, Matty Burrows, Neil Hanna, Colin McGarvey & Stevie Moore (1 Goal, his first in internationals).

31st March 2026 – Derry City (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 6 (Carlin 21, 39, 66, Burrows 30, Taylor 63, Stapleton 88) Derry City 1 (Hughes 73) Att 4,012 (185 Away)

Derry City currently sit 8th – a very average start to the season. We need to keep up the winning. A relatively quiet opening, with just a couple of highlights but we take the lead in the 21st minute – Tommy Carlin finishing well after Jake Taylor won the ball back on half way wide on the left. And it’s 2 just before the half hour, Burrows with a great near-post header after a quick break and a Connolly cross. We look good this evening. And it’s 3-0 in the 39th minute, Carlin with an easy header after a lovely Burrows cross. Nice link-ups. 3-0 at the break. 4-0 is a belter – Jake Taylor from 25 yards. And Tommy Carlin gets his hat-trick in the 66th minute – a superb header across the Keeper from an O’Malley cross. 5-0. Derry get a goal back – a 25-yarder from Hughes. It’s 6-1 2 minutes from time, Brian Stapleton with his first goal for the first team, a nice header at the front post from a Connolly cross.

Lots of dropped points, Cork dropping off a bit, St. Pat’s pegged back by Finn Harps and Shamrock struggling versus Shelbourne.

And with that another month done.

Limerick was a disappointment – they seem to happen once a season and make a perfect season improbable, even for this team. Currently we have 8 games in April, 7 League games, but looking at last season a win versus Cockhill will mean a rearrangement as we should play the 2nd round next month also. Two games against a Waterford side currently unbeaten will be the tough games, though St. Pat’s tend to put up a good fight. See you soon.

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