Drogheda United 1-1 Dundalk MU17

Jake Hough’s 88th-minute goal secured our MU17 team a hard-earned point in the Louth Derby with Drogheda United at a very wet Drogheda Institute of Further Education on Saturday.

Victor Akinbola’s 79th-minute opener looked to have given the Drogs all three points but Dundalk showed plenty of heart and Hough’s left-footed drive maintained Dundalk’s unbeaten start and their five-point lead at the top of their EA SPORTS LOI Academy section.

Next up for Conor Woods’ men are back-to-back away games against Derry City and Bohemians before they entertain Finn Harps at Oriel Park.

DUNDALK FC MU17: Graham Dooner, Luke Povall, Jake Hough, Tom McLoughlin, Luke Mulligan, Jack O’Flaherty, Markuss Strods, Aidan Russell Vargas, Hugh Smith, Conall Alfred, Samuel Case. Subs: Thomas Brady (GK), Ben Miller, Cian Spaight, Scott Brady, Aaron Donnelly, Nico Lovrekovic, Callum Doyle Travers, Fionn McNamara, Sean Keogh.

The Dundalk FC MU15 team that drew 4-4 with Bray Wanderers

Bray Wanderers 3-4 Dundalk MU15

Jack Martin helped himself to a hat-trick in our MU15 team’s thrilling 4-3 win over Bray Wanderers at Ballychorus on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas McShane’s side started the game on the front foot and they made the breakthrough when Dapo Annuniopo fed Cian Markey and he found the top corner with an early finish.

The same two players combined for Dundalk’s second goal, with Martin applying the finishing touch to Markey’s first-time cross with an Evan Ferguson-type backheel.

“We were really on top of the game at that stage and we had loads of chances to go further ahead,” said McShane. “At the end of the first third, the referee awarded Bray a penalty. They missed the original effort but he asked for it to be retaken and they scored that to get themselves back into it.”

After losing Jay Madigan to an injury, Dundalk lost a bit of their shape and the hosts roared into a 3-2 lead to leave the young Lilywhites reeling.

“We made a few changes going into the final 30 minutes and Alex Gaughran’s corner was met by a great Jack Martin header to put us back on level terms with 15 to go,” said McShane.

Dundalk pushed for the winner and they got it when Martin chased a ball from Shea Casey, put a Bray defender under pressure, and took advantage to slide the ball under the ‘keeper.

“Nathan Keenan had to make a few saves towards the end but we got over the line for a very good win,” said McShane. “Jack was a real threat and he could have had five or six so he can be delighted with his display, as can all of the lads.”

DUNDALK FC MU15: John Markham, Conor Patterson, Ronan Hickey, Vincent Leonard, Jay Madigan, Jack Martin, Shay Casey, Oisin Smyth, Cian Markey, Dapo Annuniopo, Lee Casey. Subs: Nathan Keenan (GK), Fahd Nii Monney, Liam McCabe, Max Halpenny, Joe Smith, Alex Gaughran, Tadgh Gorman.

Dundalk MU14 2-2 Derry City 

Our MU14 side drew 2-2 with a well-drilled Derry City outfit in the penultimate game of phase one at Oriel Park on Saturday afternoon.

After a tight first period, the visitors opened the scoring through Ethan Deane but Dundalk showed great character to get back into it and they equalised through TJ Molloy, who sped away from the Derry backline to make no mistake.

Shane Grimes’ young side pulled ahead less than two minutes later through a superb Noah Boylan header but they failed to take the chances that came their way for a third and Daire Herron secured the Candystripes a draw late on.

“We controlled the game for the first 20, 25 minutes but, to be fair to Derry, they were really disciplined and set up with a mid block. We moved the ball well but found it tough to penetrate them,” said Grimes.

“When we went 1-0 down, the heads didn’t drop and we rallied. It’s something we have been doing all season. No matter what happens, they always keep going which is a great trait and when we went 2-1 ahead, we were really in the ascendancy.

“The final 25-minute period was similar to a basketball game,” he added. “There was nothing really clear cut in the way of chances so we were a bit disappointed to concede the equaliser but a draw as probably the fair result.

“From day one, the attitude and application of these lads has been top class,” he added. “No matter what the result is, we are always back in the following week looking to develop and improve further.”

DUNDALK FC MU14: Aaron O’Donoghue, Michael Cummins, Pauric Maguire, Michael McDonald, Ryan Campbell, Shaun McGeary, Jordan Vocella, TJ Molloy, Shaun Platt, Calum Woods, Mateusz Wróbel. Subs: Sean Spaight, Hugh Martin, Adam McGrane, Ross Browne, Daniel O’Brien, Shea Savage, Noah Boylan, Gevorg Amirkhanyan.