Derry City U15 3-2 Dundalk FC U15

National League U15 Cup first round

Despite a gutsy display on their travels, Dundalk U15s were knocked out of the National League Cup on Sunday afternoon by a quality Derry City side, who have enjoyed an excellent start to the season. 

Conor Woods’ side came flying out of the blocks and controlled the early stages of the game. The Lilywhites’ start clearly took Derry by surprise, as they struggled from the off, and Dundalk soon capitalised, taking took the lead through a long-range strike from Damien Balsic.

The goal seemed to wake the Candystripes up and the balance shifted in their favour as the half wore on. They soon took advantage of their dominance to equalise, when a looping ball into the box managed to wrongfoot goalkeeper Thomas Brady and sailed into the net to make it 1-1.

Dundalk came back into it after the concession and they enjoyed a sustained period of pressure but it was the hosts who scored the next goal, executing a slick counter-attack to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Woods’ side didn’t let the goal affect them, showing great togetherness and resilience towards the end of the half, which resulted in an equaliser before the break. Sam Case received the ball and embarked on an excellent run before producing a quality finish to send the sides in level at 2-2.

The second half began with more of the same from both sides but clear-cut chances were few and far between, owing to some excellent defensive displays from both teams.

Dundalk’s best chance of the second half fell to Jake Hough but his effort thundered off the bar after a good period of attacking play.

With 20 minutes to go, both teams began to push on in search of a winner but it was Derry City who found it with less than 20 minutes to go. The referee blew for a questionable free-kick as Dundalk attempted to counter and the ensuing free-kick was scored by the hosts, who held on to secure the win and advance to round two of the cup.

Despite the disappointing result for Dundalk, it was another high-quality performance from Woods’ side, who will go into next weekend’s league meeting with Athlone in high spirits.

DUNDALK FC U15: Thomas Brady, Luke Povall, Tom McLoughlin, Ben Miller, Luke Alison, Damien Balsic, Ryan Kelly, Jack O’Flaherty, Dino Costin, Jake Hough, Sam Case. Subs: Daniel Ivenchenko, Cathal Corcoran, Kuba Layton, Jack O’Neill, Kevin Teather, Jack McLaughlin.