Progression – #FM20 OS9 C2 S5 – Part 83 – Dundalk – Post Season 2026/ Pre Season 2027

Need to start kicking on

Welcome back to Dundalk for the 2026 post-season and usual teams of the season etc plus the pre-season for a 2027 where we really need to start progressing. I think I’ve got 3 more seasons here – i’d really like to get Ireland to a good spot in the coefficients (looks like we will be 15th in the 28/29 season, so another european place) but I need other clubs to start kicking on as well.

Firstly the end of season news items.

Of the Best 11 Ray Moore has played 47 games for Hull in the Championship in 2 and a bit seasons, Nathan Ngoy has only played 6 games for Thun in the Swiss Super League in a season and a half, Jamier McGrath is going to Shamrock on a free and Ryan Corrigan has played 13 games for MK Dons in the Championship this season. Aaron McCarey is an unemployed GK Coach, Patrick McEleney is Chief Scout at Institute in the Danske Bank Prem, Jordan Kelly is getting sub appearances for Wrexham in League 1, Sean Gannon has retired after 35 games for Waterford and Patrick Hoban is an unemployed Director of Football.

Neil Hanna is player of the season and gets the goal of the season. Col McGarvey young player of the season (At 24…) – How is Neil not young Player?

In the “Where are the Players of 2019” Michael Duffy is the only player left at the club from then.

As mentioned above Jamie McGrath is going to Shamrock on a free on 1st Jan.

Oriel Park getting a 2,250 capacity expansion for free (£210k grant) – we will play most of next season at the Aviva 🙂 And the work to upgrade the Youth facilities has begun – should be ready in May 2027.

And the last set of Group games in the UCL has been completed – missing result Liverpool 3 Lok. Moscow 0. We get £230k for the unallocated draw monies from the group stage.

We’ve signed Geoff Astler until the end of 2030 – his contract had a £1.2M foreign club release clause, had to get rid of that 🙂


Irish international Ryan Johannson comes in on a free after leaving Werder Bremen. He started his career at Metz, then went to Bayern (He’s now at Sevilla IRL). At 25yo he’s a little on the older side for my normal signings, but I disagree with the board – he’s a decent BBM and also a good right CWB with experience at the top level in the Bundesliga. Welcome Ryan.

I’ve updated a few deals for some of our high-potential youngsters. 20yo Midfielder Josh Donnelly has signed on £700/wk until the end of the decade, and goes straight out on loan to Limerick for the season. 20yo ML Tim Foulkes also signs until 31/12/2029 – £1.1k, and goes straight out to Shamrock on a season’s long loan.

NEW SIGNING (1/1/2027)

19yo DC Shaun Beck signs from Man City for £225k – 78 rated by the scouts, 6ft 2in and very solid indeed, with some lovely Physicals.

Also Midfielder Gerry O’Halloran signs until 31/12/2029 (£750/wk) and goes to Cork on loan for the season.

Lastly Brian Stapleton also goes out on loan, this time to Waterford. Hoping these lads (Except Tim Foulkes at Shamrock) will get some European Football in the Summer.

19yo Left Back Dom Kiene has signed until the turn of the decade – £2.6k/wk, and 19yo MC Sean Brennan (5* PA) has also signed until 2030 on £650/wk. Lastly Danish 20yo GK Geoffrey Mpande sings until 2030 also – £900/wk.

19yo Sean Brennan is off to Shelbourne for the season. – Will be really good to get these kids a good season in the IPD.

Apparently I’m being linked with the Leicester job as Zizou is sacked – 16th in the Premier Division – No thanks. Funnily they own Jenks – They’ve paid £44.5k/wk of his wages for these past 3 seasons, we’ve paid £4.9k 🙂

Tommy Carlin is off to Cork as well for the season.

Getting towards the end of the year we get a £2.1M tax bill, and the commercial summary is looking OK.

Sponsorship up by 60%, only decline is the broadcast revenue, down by £20k.

Jim Collins, Dom Halford & Martin Kenny have all extended their loan at Waterford for another season – again, European football this summer for them.

Leicester offer an interview – 18 points from 20 games, no you’re fine thanks.

Steven O’Malley comes 3rd in the Irish Player of the Year & Jim Collins gets the U21 Player of the Year & the League of Ireland Player of the Year, with Brian Connolly 3rd in the LoI Player of the Year.

22yo MC Ger Ryan is now a free agent after leaving the club. Jamie McGrath has joined Shamrock.

We’ve had a small reputation boost (It’s 2.5*, National now – will need European honours to improve any more I think)

Our 19 year-olds have arrived.

Our Serbian left-winger Ivan Milunovic has come 2nd in the Serbian Superleague Player of the Month for December – 7.93 Average and 4 goals!.

We have £52.5M in the bank, not too bad! And I’m a B with the board…

Cork the biggest overachievers – Agreed, they did really well.

We’ve had the league fixtures – we are away to Athlone on the 1st day of the season. We get £82k for the league TV rights.

Our link with Cobh has been terminated as they are back up in the IPD – will try and get Bohemians as I feel really sorry for them, as I’m partly to blame for them being in the 1st Division for the past 5 seasons…

Average attendances up above 5,000 due to the European games at the R.D.S. – As we are at the Aviva until at least the first UCL Group game (If we can qualify for the 5th year in a row) this could rise dramatically next season. And we always sellout for the Cork & Shamrock games as they are classed as rivals.

Our Lithuanian U21 international Rimvydas Romanovas goes off to Longford for the season in the First Division.

Colm McShane has signed until 2030 – his contract was in it’s last year.

We’ve had the 4th round draw for the mighty Leinster Senior Cup!

Away to Cabinteely of the First Division.

Russell Watts, now 21, is 5 games away from getting to 50 appearances for Mansfield in League 1, netting us £50k.

NEW SIGNING (1/7/2027)

Arsenal’s 22yo Utility player Marvin James joins in the Summer on a free – An 87 rating with the scouts! Stamina & teamwork for days – he’s ickle but I see him as a nuisance of a BBM or potentially a left CWB. A great signing, even though he’s never played in the Premier League.


Right back Vetle Dahl is off to Preston for £1.2M – He’s a current scout 57 so I think that’s a good sale.

Potentially just shy of 4,000 season ticket holders this season – with the expansion plus having the Aviva to ourselves we could get a lot more over the next few seasons, which would help the balance a bit when our wage bill is over £100k/wk.

We’ve had the affiliate link proposals back – Bohemians weren’t on it so I’m going with Wexford – lets see if we can help give them a leg-up. Plus they are managed by ex-Dundalker Chris Shields 🙂


One of the biggest signings of the save, Frenchman Jacky Marchand joins from AS Monaco for £1M until the end of the Decade and is our first £10k/wk player. A two-footed CWB, I’ll be training him on the left side. Just really solid, he’s played top-flight european football in France, Turkey and Belgium since his teens.

And with that we have arrived at our first friendly – Windmill Stars from Armagh.

15th January 2027 – Friendly – Dundalk 5 (Dallas 5, O’Malley 10, Burrows 15, Collins 30, McShane 90+2) Windmill Stars 0 Att x (x Away)

Just 5 weeks since our last game of the 2026 season we go again. A nice showing in the first half, and with a rotated side in the 2nd half it looked a bit disjointed but as first games go that was fine. Five different scorers as well.

Aidan Hamilton, 22yo MC, is off to Waterford for the season on loan.

19th January 2027 – Friendly – Wexford 0 Dundalk 3 (Connolly 4, Behrenbeck 47, Duffy 48) Att 1,120 (398 Away)

An OK performance, 3-0 versus our affiliate, but two injuries to both 2-meter-plus poachers – Jamie Robinson with a tight groin – Tommy Collins with a Red Potential Knee Injury…

Tommy Collins – Sprained Knee Ligaments – 5/6 Weeks – Could have been worse. Jamie Robinson only out for a few days.

Dom Kiene (19yo CWB DL) goes to Ternana for the season in Serie B to continue with his development with (hopefully) plenty of first team football.

New Boy Jacky Marchand out for a couple of weeks with a pulled hamstring.

22nd Jan 2027 – Friendly – Montreal Impact 0 Dundalk 2 (Burrows 67, 74) Att 4,320 (7 Away)

We make a trip over to Canada to play a Montreal Impact side who are a middling MLS side. We played them in a friendly last year, and they asked for this one so I said yes, a trip to Canada would be a nice change of environment for the lads. And its the first time I’ve played in snow in FM20 🙂 It was 3-1 Dundalk in disallowed goals at half-time, but 0-0 in reality. We ground them down over time, and 2 Matty Burrows goals were enough. A decent win.

With teams sniffing around Colin McGarvey he’s been given a contract more befitting of his role as captain – £4.5k/wk until the end of 2030.

Our U19’s beat Cabinteely 5-0 – goals from Brian Smith, Kieron Hillman and a hat-trick from Barry O’Leary.

26th Jan 2027 – Friendly – Dundalk 4 (Robinson 15, Dallas 29, 38, Laing o.g. 63) Chester 1 (Loughlan 44) Att 1,167 (108 Away)

Chester are currently in Tier 6 in the Vanarama North in game. An OK game, disrupted by injuries to Steven O’Malley (Red Lower Leg) and Dan Haworth (Orange Upper Leg). Dan out for 5 days, Steven out for a couple of weeks with a pulled calf…

30th Jan 2027 – Friendly – Cobh Ramblers 0 Dundalk 2 (Behrenbeck 25, Burrows 84) Att 533 (79 Away)

We go to Cobh to play the newly-promoted Ramblers. Big Col McGarvey get his marching orders in just the 15th minute – didn’t look like anything in the animation. 75 minutes with 10 men then. So 2-0 was a really good win. It was a dominant performance regardless of only having 10 men for most of the game.

3rd February 2027 – Friendly – Dundalk 4 (McGarvey 5, Moore 37, Duffy pen 53, 88) Tranmere 0 Att 1,237 (174 Away)

Tranmere are in the Vanarama National in 2027, and I’m just hoping for more cohesion building. And it was a good performance – McGarvey’s opener was one of those weird Keeper clearances straight at the opposition player and in.

One more friendly before the season opener at Athlone Town.

17yo DC Cian O’Shea is off to affiliate Wexford for the season.

And our 17yo promising winger Brian Smith (ML) has signed until the turn of the decade.

Our U19’s beat Athenry 6-2, goals from Cathal Wilson, Brian Smith and 4 from Kevin O’Toole.

And 20yo STC Jim Collins has signed until 31/12/2029. Hopefully he can continue his form for Waterford from last season and get them to the Conference League group stage this summer.

7th February 2027 – Friendly – Dundalk 10 (Dallas pen 23, Robinson 28, Burrows 37, 45, Taylor 45+3, Behrenbeck 47, Andrews o.g. 48, Sam McCabe 50, 81, Holloway 71) Sheriff Y.C. 0 Att 1,108 (43 Away)

A final tune-up friendly, and a nice win against a non-league side.

And with that pre-season is done. See you next time for the first 5 games of our 2027 Season.

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