The Gathering: Report
Dundalk teamed up with the FAI and celebrated The Gathering in style as Oriel Park hosted a round robin U-13 tournament last Thursday.
A Dundalk Schoolboys League team and a Meath and District League team competed with their overseas counterparts of Brighton & Hove Albion of England and Hibernian FC of Scotland.
The four sides played in the NEC grounds in Navan on Wednesday with Hibernian defeating the Dundalk Schoolboys League 6-1 and defeated the Meath and District League team 4-0. Brighton & Hove Albionbeat DSL team 4-0 and the MDL team 2-0.
In the opening encounter, which kicked off at 11 a.m. at the Carrick Road venue, the Dundalk Schoolboys faced off against their neighbours Meath and District League and they played out a highly entertaining match in the morning sun.
The hosts started the better and got into deservedly took the lead when Morgan McCaughey found the net after a good move from the side. They began to dominate and doubled their advantage when Cassito Ekueime punished some poor defending from the MDL team shortly after. The Dundalk side were comfortable and were growing in confidence and duly added a third through Liam O’Callaghan, the son of former Lilywhite Brendan.
In the second half, the MDL side duly rallied and got themselves back into the match when they scored with 15 minutes remaining. Jack McMahon scored from close range as he capitalised on a loose ball in the six yard area. 5 minutes later, the visitors pulled a second goal back. Confusion in the Dundalk defence gave away a free-kick right on the edge of the box.
Up stepped Oisin Smith who curled the ball beautifully to the bottom corner. This gave the MDL team some belief but despite their late pressure, the Dundalk side held out to record a 3-2 victory.
In the second match, it was the contest between the two British teams involved – Hibernian and Brighton & Hove Albion. The crowd were treated to another brilliant encounter between two good footballing sides.
Hibernian had the better of the opening half and scored twice in quick succession through a wonderful strike from Jason Jarvis which rattled the top corner. Hibs fully deserved their lead when Lee Griffen slotted home from close range following a pin point pass from Jarvis. The Edinburghoutfit were full value for their 2 goal lead at the break but the tide turned quickly after the re-start.
Brighton & Hove Albion began the second half in perfect fashion and pulled back a goal immediately after half-time. Harry Forster was the creator as he found Ryan Longman who calmly slotted home from 12 yards. 10 minutes later, the Seagulls were level when Forster hit a sublime free-kick to the top corner from 25 yards.
The match was heading for a draw until two minutes from time Longman grabbed the winner from close range as he took advantage of some poor defending to rifle to the net. The goal gave Brighton & Hove Albion the victory saw the Albion complete their trip to Ireland with a 100% record.
A great enjoyed by many. Supporters were treated to some superb football from all four sides which was an enjoyable day in Oriel Park.