Our MU14 and MU15 academy teams returned from the Norhalne Cup with bronze medals and memories that will last a lifetime after an enjoyable few days in Denmark.
The tournament attracts many of the best youth teams in Europe with clubs from a wide range of countries such as England, Brazil, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Portugal all taking part in this year’s event.
Shane Grimes’ MU14 side was drawn in the four-team EU14 Group Four against IFK Gothenburg (Sweden) and Danish clubs FS Holstebro and IF Lyseng.
They got off to a flying start, putting five without reply past Danish side FS Holstebro on Thursday morning before a 3-1 win over IF Lyseng 3-1 in their second match.
A 3-0 defeat to IFK Gothenburg saw Dundalk finish second in the group and after securing their place in the last four with a thrilling 3-2 win over Danish side Vendsyssel FF on Friday, the MU14s were denied a place in the final after losing to AaB Aalborg.
Dundalk missed a penalty in normal time and the Danish club, who went on to win the competition, took full advantage, booking their place in the decider via a penalty shootout
The young Lilywhites recovered from the setback, however, and they claimed third place with a 3-1 win over Horsens in the playoff with Shaun McGeary, TJ Molloy and Shaun Platt scoring the goals.
Thomas McShane’s MU15 team were drawn in Group One of the BU15A section with Bellevue FC, Ursviks IK (Sweden), IF Lyseng, Randers Freja (Denmark) and Grane Football (Norway).
They opened with a 3-0 win over Grane Football from Norway in their opening fixture. Oisin Smith scored the first before an own goal and a strike from Jack Martin capped a fine display.
A scoreless draw against IF Lyseng followed on Thursday evening to leave the lads top of their group ahead of two matches on Friday.
Day two got off to a bang with a 5-0 win over Bellevue from Sweden. In very hot conditions, Jack Martin, Lee McCabe, Shea Casey – with a volley from 30 yards – Tadgh Gorman and Dapo Annunlop – with a brilliant team goal – all found the net.
They followed that up with a 7-0 win against another Swedish outfit, Ursviks 1K, to book their place in the semi-finals with a game to spare.
After winning their final group game against Randers thanks to Tadgh Gorman’s goal, the U15s were beaten 2-0 in the semi-final by MG 26 BK, Christian Eriksen’s schoolboys’ club.
They bounced back, however, winning the third-place playoff against Sjoring/Koldby on penalties after the game finished 0-0 to deservedly return home with something to show for their efforts!