Dundalk FC MU14 head coach Shane Grimes heaped praise on his players after they made their exit from the LOI Academy Eddie Wallace Cup on penalties at home to Cork City on Saturday.
TJ Molloy, who also scored for our MU15 team on Sunday, put the young Lilywhites ahead and Dundalk hit the woodwork on two occasions before the Leesiders pulled themselves level.
A cagey two periods of extra time followed before Cork City booked their place in the quarter-finals with a win in the penalty shootout.
“The lads were brilliant. We came out the wrong side of things on a penalty shoot and that’s the way it goes unfortunately, but every single one of them, from one to 20, left everything on the pitch which is all you can ask for from your team,” said Grimes.
“It was a good learning experience for them to bring forward. Players will miss penalties throughout their career so it’ll only benefit them in the long run.”
Reflecting on the game itself, Grimes said both teams deserved a lot of praise for the football they produced.
“It was a good game between two evenly matched teams,” he said. “It was the first time we played Cork this season and they are a good side.
“For a game that had to be settled on penalties, it was obviously nip and tuck throughout,” he added. “We went 1-0 up through TJ Molloy and hit the woodwork a few times before they equalled with a good strike which went in off the post.
“Our lads are devastated not to go through but, as I said, I couldn’t be happier with how they played and we’ll come back stronger from this.”
DUNDALK FC MU14: Aaron O’Donoghue, Finlay McCaul, Pauric Maguire, Micheal McDonald, Sean Spaight, Calum Woods, Noah Boylan, Ryan Campbell, Hugh Martin, TJ Molloy, Adam McGrane. Subs: Gevorg Amirkhanyan (GK), Jordan Vocella, Michael Cummins, Shea Savage, Daniel O’Brien, Shaun McGeary, Mateusz Wróbel.