Despite the awful weather, our MU14 academy team enjoyed a great day at the very first EA SPORTS LOI Futures Festival at the National Sports Centre last Saturday.
A total of 440 players from 22 League of Ireland academies took part in the event that was organised to highlight the development of the country’s future stars.
Shane Grimes’s side started the day off with a scoreless draw against Bohemians in a high-quality match-up that was a credit to both sets of players, who had to contend with howling rain and heavy downpours.
“As a team, we played some lovely football and really moved the ball well at times,” said Grimes. “Both teams didn’t create too many openings but there was a lot of quality on show.”
Game two saw Dundalk take on the CK United U15 team where the young Lilywhites secured a deserved 1-0 win against a physical outfit.
“To get the win was brilliant,” said Grimes, “even though the purpose of the day was for the players to showcase their development in front of the people that were watching.
“The conditions were even worse for that game and it was hard for young lads to play in it but they adapted very well, showed great workmate and application, and their attitude, as it has been all season, was top-notch.”
The third game of the day saw Dundalk slip to a 1-0 defeat against Shamrock Rovers in a game that was similar to the earlier fixture with Bohemians.
“Again, we played some really nice football and got the ball down and created some good chances, which we should have taken against a good Rovers side. The weather eased off slightly and it was a really good spectacle for the crowd.”
All teams were supposed to play four games but torrential rain meant Dundalk’s final fixture against Treaty United was postponed.
Despite that, Grimes said his players thoroughly enjoyed the event.
“All in all, we had a great day,” he said. “The format and the structure of the day was excellent. The weather obviously took a bit of the sting out of it but everyone enjoyed it and we would love to see it become a regular event in the calendar.”