Dundalk FC U14 2-3 Drogheda United U14

U14 National League Cup

Dundalk U14s were beaten in a game of fine margins at Oriel Park as they lost 3-2 to Drogheda United on Saturday afternoon.

A minute’s silence was held prior to Saturday’s game in memory of Drogheda United U14 head coach David Conroy, who passed away recently.

The Lilywhites got off to the better start, and they managed to take the lead just three minutes in, when Runako Sweetman’s header from the edge of the box looped over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Dundalk thought they’d doubled their advantage through Jayden Clarke just five minutes later, but he was ruled to be offside by the referee.

Simon Kelly’s side continued to create over the next few minutes, before they were struck with some bad luck, as striker Jayden Clarke was forced to depart with an injury to be replaced by Niko Lovrenkovic.

Drogheda began to open Dundalk up and create chances of their own in the minutes after the goal, with Boris Biekhou coming to the rescue of the home side on more than one occasion with some excellent tackling in the box.

The hosts went into the break a goal up, but Drogheda took control early in the second half, causing major problems from set-pieces.

The Lilywhites also continued to push forward, and they were denied what looked to be a stonewall penalty on the 50 minute mark, after the Drogs goalkeeper went straight though Cian Spaight to collect the ball.

The visitors eventually drew level just six minutes later, as a slipped ball through the defence was slotted past Graham Donner at the second attempt.

Drogheda continued to control proceedings and they took the lead just three minutes later, as a long range strike flew into the top corner of the net.

The searing heat looked to be affecting the game as the half went on, with both sides looking tired in possession.

Despite the heat, Dundalk continued to push for an equaliser, and they found one on the 68 minute mark, as Runako Sweetman went on an excellent run through the Drogheda backline before drilling home to equalise.

However, the sides weren’t level for long, as Drogheda retook the lead just four minutes later in controversial fashion. A ball was played over the top of the defence and as goalkeeper Donner collected the ball, a Drogheda attacker barged into him, making him drop the ball and allowing Drogs to score what turned out to be the winning goal.

The Lilywhites pushed for an equaliser, but just ran out of time as Drogheda took the win to progress to the next round of the cup. It was a sickening defeat for Dundalk, who could have won it on another day.

DUNDALK FC: Calum O’Reilly, Caimin Hughes, Rhys O’Hare, Lashawn Lombard, Boris Biekhou, Fergal McEneaney, Eanna Curran, Fionn McNamara, Jayden Clarke, Cian Spaight, Runako Sweetman. Subs: Graham Donner, Niko Lovrenkovic, Cian Murphy, Danny Putnam, Conall Duffy, Luke Mulligan.