Our MU17 team endured a heartbreaking late end to their season on Saturday as they were pipped to the EA SPORTS LOI Academy title, and the opportunity to play in next season’s UEFA Youth League, by UCD.
The young Lilywhites made the trip to Roadstone to take on Shamrock Rovers sitting top of the table, ahead of Shelbourne – who had to travel to Treaty United – on goal difference, and two points ahead of UCD, who made the trip to Waterford.
The day got off to a brilliant start as two goals in the opening 20 minutes from Markuss Strods and Hugh Smith put Cian Maher and Ciaran Cleary’s team 2-0 up against the Hoops before Cian Dillon’s brace secured Rovers a share of the spoils.
In Limerick, Treaty United also held Shelbourne to a 2-2 draw, turning all of the attention to Waterford, where their game with UCD started late due to the visitors’ bus breaking down on the way to the south-east.
With their game coming to a close almost half an hour before the fixture in Waterford, the Dundalk players had an anxious wait to see if they would be crowned champions and with 25 minutes left to play, it looked good as the game at the SETU Arena was locked at two goals apiece.
Things started to unravel when Hugh Parker put UCD ahead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute and when he hit his hat-trick with 10 minutes to go, it left the Students just one goal away from overtaking Dundalk by virtue of goals scored.
As the Dundalk squad watched their phones nervously in Dublin, the notification they didn’t want to see popped up with seven minutes to play in Waterford as Parker’s fourth goal of the game edged UCD past the finish line by the narrowest of margins.
Everyone at the club would like to thank Dole for the support they have shown our MU17 and MU19 men’s teams this season.