The Vultures are circling… – #FM20 OS9 C2 S5 – Part 85 – Dundalk – March 2027

The start of trying to keep David Dallas

Welcome back to Dundalk for a busy first 19 days in March, followed by an International break.

Quickfire league games coming up – the Cork game at the Aviva should give a really good attendance.

First up the normal monthly stuff before we go to Limerick.

Big Col gets IPD Player of the Month, Neco Williams 3rd.

Steven O’Malley’s free kick versus Waterford came 2nd in the IPD Goal of the Month.

I win the manager of the month.

We have £50.3M in the bank (We lose about £1M/month in a normal month) but are only a B with the board still…

Dynamics are Very Good/Excellent/Excellent.

Shamrock & Cork play out an entertaining draw, Derry get a late win to break St. Pat’s perfect start and Athlone get their first win of the season, Maloney with the hat-trick.

We had 9 players in the IPD team of the Week after the 6-0 versus Waterford.

3rd March 2027 – Limerick F.C. (A) – Irish Premier Division

FT Limerick F.C. 1 (Nunn 59) Dundalk 1 (Connolly 45) Att 1,867 (331 Away)

Limerick currently sit 7th – P3 W1 D1 L1 – so expecting a decent game. We get a good save out of the Limerick keeper early plus Burrows hits the upright. We take the lead just before the break – McShane hitting the post, but Brian Connolly is on hand to slide in and stab it home. 1-0 Dundalk at the break. The Limerick Keeper has had a good game, keeping them in it, and out of nowhere it’s 1-1, George Nunn finishing well. Not good, so different to the Waterford game just 3 days ago. Limerick down to 10 men with 15 left – Jovanovic with a second yellow. And in the last seconds they go down to 9, ex-Dundalker Dan Cross with a second yellow also. Time to get the winner? Nope. 1-1, poor.

Top by a point but that was horseshit. Cork next up in 3 days.

Our U19’s beat Wexford 5-0 – goals from Jamie Robinson, Maurice Harmon and a hat-trick from Barry O’Leary.

A pretty dour set of games in the IPD – Shamrock getting 3 points versus Shelbourne, remaining unbeaten and Athlone condemn Waterford to their 5 straight loss. Lastly Cobh get their 4th draw in 6 versus Derry.

6th March 2027 – Cork City (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (McGarvey 52, Behrenbeck 63) Cork City 1 (Brennan 73) Att 7,208 (1,338 Away)

We welcome a Cork side, currently 4th, to the Aviva this afternoon. Looking for a much better performance today. A slow start again today. Pretty tight, 0-0 at the break. We break the deadlock 7 minutes in to the 2nd half – Big Col set free by Dave Behrenbeck, actually scoring a 1-on-1!!! 1-0 Dundalk. Also just under 6,000 Dundalk fans in this evening – The new 6,500 capacity at Oriel Park will be just about right I reckon currently. An inspired triple-subbage gets us a 2-0 lead. 63rd minute, David Dallas, now right wing, crosses for Dave Behrenbeck to head home. Much better. But Cork get a goal back 10 minutes later – Brennan with a good volley but he looked yards offside… We see the game out, 2-1 Dundalk.

Feels like the natural order is being reasserted – St. Pat’s and Shamrock back in 2nd and 3rd after a poor season in 2026 for both. Cobh next up, just 3 days again between games.

DECISION POINT

Okay, wasn’t expecting this. Everton offer an interview.

So 13th, 11 points above relegation with 8 games left, with an easy-ish run-in. They got to the Europa League Semi last season, but finished 8th in 25/26 so didn’t have European Football this season, and won’t next (12 points back on 6th). They show as Rich, 8th by way of Salary (£103M/yr, Man City top at £255M), 7th by Average Attendance (38,024).

Lots of underperforming older players on lots of money – Matt Harris (German(!) Regen from Freiburg) and James Errington (Regen from Portsmouth) the top 2 performers at 22yo. Is it worth upsetting the Dundalk dynamics by interviewing… it’s a sleeping giant all told…

Interview attended, all generic, no money discussed.

Back to the humble IPD – Waterford get a vital win versus Shelbourne with Brian Stapleton and Jim Collins both scoring. And Athlone go 3rd with a very nice win away at Derry.

Three of the lads, Neco, Brian and Big Col make the IPD team of the week.

9th March 2027 – Cobh Ramblers (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 2 (McGarvey 10, Duffy 78) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 3,349 (32 Away)

Cobh come into this as draw specialists, 4 out of 6, but find themselves 9th. They have the ball in the net in the 4th minute, but its disallowed for pushing. We take the lead in the 10th minute – Steve Seddon with a quality cross, Big Col with a quality header for his 7th of the season. We have the ball in the net again in the 17th, Tommy Collins after an injury layoff, but he was adjudged offside. About a yard. Very much on top but we only go in 1-0 to the good – always difficult to score against these defensive setups. Much of the same in the second half, with Cobh defending well (Up to 8 yellows though!) until Michael Duffy gets the 2nd, 78th minute, a header of his parried from an Jacky Marchand cross, but he was quickest to the rebound, scoring from an acute angle. 2-0 Dundalk. And that’s how it finished.

Cork rescue a point late on after Limerick were put ahead by Dundalk old-boy Dan Cross, and St. Pat’s also win late, 3-2 versus a Shamrock side whose 2 goals were scored by another Dundalk old-boy, Jamie McGrath. St. pat’s and us pulling away from the pack already. Shamrock next up in 3 days in the Leinster Quarters.

Real Madrid put Man U out at the First Knockout round stage of the UCL, and that man Mbappe secure an easy passage for PSG.

Man City go through with a nice win in Germany, and Atletico keep Schalke at bay in their tie – That Oesterhelweg looked super against us TBH, £57M, 20 caps for Germany at 21yo with 6 goals!

And our U19’s beat Wexford 4-0 – goals from Jamie Forde, Brian Smith and 2 from Kieron Hillman.

Geoff Astler is out for a couple of weeks with pulled knee ligaments – time for Steve Seddon to get some more game time.

OK, I’ve been approached by Everton…

A bit of a wage rise. The only issue is that the Tottenham Manager Roger Schmidt (I think he was manager at Beijing when the save started, former RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen manager before that) has been sacked a day ago in game, and I’ve been linked. They are 6th, way back from 5th but in the Europa league spots, only OK financially… Delay.

12th March 2027 – Shamrock Rovers (A) – Leinster Senior Cup Quarter Final

FT Shamrock Rovers 0 Dundalk 3 (Collins 8, 40, Holloway 20) Att 3,584 (764 Away)

This potentially is one of my last games as Manager of Dundalk… Shamrock sit 4th in the IPD – 8 points from 5 games. And they play a Narrow 4-3-3 now!! Penalty Dundalk inside of 120 seconds – Matty Burrows bundled over by Simon Power. Collins to take… Saved by Oluwayemi, who guesses right. Dundalk well on top early. And we go 1-0 up in the 8th minute – Tommy Collins making up for the Penalty, volleying home a dangerous Holloway free kick at the far post. Shamrock look dangerous on the break, but there’s acres of space. And Joe Holloway puts us 2-0 up in the 20th minute, a smart finish after a McShane pull-back. Tommy makes it 3-0 in the 40th minute – a fine header from a Ryan Johannson cross. We have the ball in the net in injury time but Hillman was offside. 3-0 at the break, a good half of football. Absolutely pouring down at Tallaght Stadium as we start the second half. And it looks like we’ve settled with the 3 goals margin, Shamrock getting more of the game, but it finishes 3-0. Nicely done.

We join Bray & U.C.D. in the Semi as all the away teams win handsomely.

And we’ve had some IPD games as St. pat’s fall to Cork, playing 77 minutes with 10 men not helping matters. Waterford slip up in Fergie Time to Derry, Jim Collins with the goal for Waterford and Shelbourne get a good win away at Limerick. And we have Shelbourne next up in 4 days in the IPD (Maybe).

Longford beat Bohemians 2-0 in the other Leinster Quarter Final – ex-Dundalker Mark Hanratty on the scoresheet.

Our U19’s beat Sligo 3-0 – goals from Cathal Wilson, Kevin O’Toole & Craig Coyle.

Four of the lads made the IPD Team of the Week – Steve, Liam Morrison, Jacky Marchand & Big Col.

We’ve also had the Leinster Semi Final Draw.

Bray Wanderers at Home.

First 5 players called up for the March internationals – Cathal Wilson already in the Irish U19’s (Just turned 17).

16th March 2027 – Shelbourne (H) – Irish Premier Division

FT Dundalk 5 (McGarvey 2, 17, 78, Behrenbeck 55, 88) Shelbourne 0 Att 3,826 (509 Away)

Shelbourne start the game in 6th – not been a bad season for them so far, though without an injection of money they will be perennial strugglers. We take the lead in the 2nd minute – Big Col heading home a Duffy cross. He makes it 2-0 in the 17th minute – a nice near-post header this time from a Neco Williams cross. Shelbourne looking better at the end of the half, but we go in 2-0 to the good. We go 3-0 up in the 55th minute – Dave Behrenbeck finish well after being set free by Big Col. And Big Col gets his hat-trick 12 minutes from time – a great over-the-shoulder volley from a Connolly cross. 4-0. His 10th of the season (Dave Behrenbeck on 9). Dave gets his 10th of the season to keep up with Col in the 88th minute, a nice header from a Duffy cross after a period of concerted pressure from Dundalk. It finishes 5-0 – a great result.

Cobh get their first win of season versus 2nd place St. Pat’s, Athlone and Cork play out a draw with Tommy Carlin getting a goal for Cork, Derry win at Limerick and Shamrock dispatch a poor Waterford side 3-0. St. Pat’s next up in 3 dyas in most probably my last game as Dundalk manager.

Barcelona see off Arsenal with a 93rd minute Rodri goal, with Arsenal going through on Away Goals at that point. Inter are also through after a good win versus a very decent Benfica.

Eleven more players called up for the March internationals, making it 16 in total. We are monopolising the Northern Ireland setup 🙂

Chelsea see off Porto and Roma do enough to keep Liverpool at bay.

Everton approach again – they’ve declined my Delay. OK, lets negotiate.

Ten times the salary, can’t really so no, can I????

And with that I will see you next time as we start setting up on Merseyside (As a Liverpool fan IRL I’m having to suspend any sense of outrage by this decision). See you soon.

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