Reserves: Dundalk 1-1 Fanad United
Nineteen-year-old striker Mark Griffin scored a superb goal to rescue a point for an under-strength Dundalk Reserves as they preserved their unbeaten start to the 2011 Newstalk A-Championship with a 1-1 draw against Fanad United at Oriel Park on Saturday afternoon. The Lilywhites fell behind before the midway point of the first half after an error from goalkeeper Alex Reilly, but they responded well and grabbed a well deserved equaliser on 66 minutes when Griffin fired in. Dundalk should have gone on to win the game, but the visitors held firm to take a point back to Donegal.
Speaking afterwards, manager Darius Kierans felt that his side should have taken maximum points, but overall is content that they are “heading in the right direction”. “We were the better team and should have won the game,” Darius told dundalkfc.com. “Their goal was a mistake from Alex Reilly, under no pressure from a high ball he dropped it into the net, but to be fair to Alex he has done well for us. We had chances; Johnny Breen had a great shot wide from 20-yards, it was very unlucky, and Mark Griffin had a great chance. We probably should have had a penalty in the first half as well; Mark was fouled in the box. We played well. We had a lot of changes to the team that played last week. The U17s are playing in a semi-final tomorrow, so they are at full-strength for that, and Michael Hector didn’t play.
“It was an opportunity to get a look at some other lads,” Kierans, who also assists first-team manager Ian Foster, added. “Darren Meehan did very well at centre-half, and Chris Kerr and Philly Duffy were good in the middle. It was pleasing enough. We’re still unbeaten. We had a lot of young players playing, we were missing a few bodies, so it’s nice to give other lads a taste for it and see them doing well. Fanad are a strong, physical team, and it was a different test than last week. They’re a team that we would expect to beat. We should have won, but we showed a bit of character to get back into it and get the draw. We dominated the second half and had numerous opportunities to win the game. They were hanging on for dear life at the end.”
Kierans was again pleased with the contribution of strike duo Griffin and Johnny Breen, who scored the winning goal against Bohemians last weekend. “They played quite well and linked up very well together,” he said. “Between the two of them they could have had two or three goals each, but their work rate and link-up play was very good, so it was pleasing.” The result follows last Saturday’s fine win over Bohs at Dalymount Park, and with four points out of a possible six, the 31-year-old admitted: “We’re happy enough. We should have had six, but at the same time we’ve only conceded one goal in two games which is pleasing. The goal today was more a mistake than anything else. A lot of them are young and they’re learning, and there’s an awful lot of work to be done with them, but we’re heading in the right direction.”
Sligo Rovers are next up for the Reserves as they continue their A-Championship campaign on the weekend ending Sunday 1 May. Tomorrow (Sunday), the Youths take on Saint Joseph’s Boys in the Taaffe Cup (League Cup) semi-final in Dublin.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Alex Reilly; Brian Begley, Darren Meehan, Conor Gorman, Stephen Hutchinson; Anto Hewitt, Philip Duffy, Chris Kerr, Gatis Logins (Conor Macken 80); Mark Griffin, Johnny Breen.
Goal: M Griffin (66).
Unused Subs: Paddy McShane, Martin Murphy.