There was plenty of action to be seen in the National Leagues at the weekend, when all four Dundalk FC Academy sides were in action.
WU17: Dundalk FC WU17 2-1 Sligo Rovers WU17
In the first action of the weekend, Dundalk WU17s hosted Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park on Saturday afternoon. It was an historic day for Roberto Bonello’s side, as they picked up their first ever National League win. The Lilywhites went two goals up through a Grace Kelly brace to take full control of proceedings. Sligo pulled a goal back in stoppage time, but couldn’t find a winner as the hosts saw the game out to take all three points.
U17: Dundalk U17 4-4 Sligo Rovers U17
Later on Saturday afternoon, the U17s also hosted Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park. The sides produced an eight goal thriller, with the first goal not even arriving until the 39th minute. After controlling the game for large periods of the first half, the hosts finally took the lead, as Hugh Smith pounced to finish the rebound from Markuss Strods’ shot to open the scoring.
The game opened up in the second half, with both sides creating regular opportunities as the goals started flying in. Sligo equalised on 51 minutes, as Michael Clifford headed home. The visitors managed to take control over the next 15 minutes and took the lead just after the hour mark, as Daire Patton rifled an effort off the bar and in from range.
They held their lead for just seven minutes, as Dundalk reaped the rewards of their constant high pressing, with Eoin Kenny winning the ball high on the right before slotting past the goalkeeper to equalise. Four minutes later, Sligo were in the lead again, when Adam Nugent broke through before burying his effort in the bottom corner.
Sligo looked to have the game won in the 87th minute, as Clifford was on hand to capitalise on a goalkeeping error to make it 4-2.
Dundalk continued to work hard in an effort to get back into the game, and they were rewarded in the 91st minute, as an excellent move on the left between Josh Hand and Eoin Kenny was finished off by Cathal Corcoran. The game wasn’t over yet though, and with the final action of the game the Lilywhites secured a point, as Thomas McLoughlin headed home from Eoin Murtagh’s free kick to cap a memorable game.
DUNDALK FC U17: Jamie Ryan, Eoin Murtagh, Luke Povall, Thomas McLoughlin, Ryan Boyle, Rhys Kelly, Aidan Russell, Markuss Strods, Jake Hough, Hugh Smith, Eoin Kenny, Subs: Thomas Brady, Josh Hand, Cathal Corcoran, Ben Miller, Luke Mulligan, Jack O’Flaherty.
U15: Bohemians U15 8-0 Dundalk FC U15
Sunday afternoon was a day to forget for the Dundalk U15s as they were dealt a heavy 8-0 defeat away to Bohemians. The Lilywhites will be hoping to put the result behind them and set things right when they host St Patrick’s Athletic next Sunday, March 10th at Oriel Park.
U19: Dundalk FC U19 4-2 Longford Town U19
In the final action of the weekend, Dundalk FC U19s hosted Longford Town at Oriel Park. The hosts got off to the perfect start, as Ebuka Kwelele capitalised on a defensive error to open the scoring after eight minutes. Tiarnan Mulvenna’s side doubled their advantage on the 22 minute mark, as Ryan O’Kane reacted quickest to Kwelele’s flick-on and rifled his effort into the top corner.
The Lilywhites continued to create chances, and they managed to score a third goal shortly before the break, with Kwelele once again heavily involved, as he crossed the ball in for Jeff Nwodo to hammer home.
Longford started the second half well and pulled one back shortly after the restart, as Matthew Butler pounced on an error from Craig Moore to slot past Jack Harrington in the Dundalk goal.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the second period, and Longford scored a second goal with nine minutes to go to set up a tense finish, with Butler once again scoring the goal as he headed home from a free kick.
It seemed like a comeback was on for the away side, but Dundalk put the game to bed four minutes later, as Michael Keyes rose highest to head home from a corner kick and secure all three points for the home side.
DUNDALK FC U19: Jack Harrington, Sean Bannon, Craig Moore, Mayowa Animasahun, Jack Kavanagh, Emmanuel Adeboyega, Jeff Nwodo, Dualta Honney, Jack Watters, Ebuka Kwelele, Ryan O’Kane. Subs: Jamie Barry, Tadhg Walsh, Fionn Kenny, Ryan Kinahan, Michael Keyes, Michael Soyemi, Hezikah Okirkpo.