Dundalk FC U14 5-0 Athlone Town U14
EA Sports U14 National Underage League Group B
Jayden Clarke helped himself to a hat-trick as Dundalk FC U14s turned in a second-half performance of the highest quality to beat Athlone Town at Oriel Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Lilywhites got off to a slightly better start, although they weren’t at their sharpest, with some loose passing on display in the early minutes.
Despite that, Dundalk were still creating chances. The first opportunity came on the ten-minute mark, as Danny Putnam’s corner found Luke Mulligan, but his header crashed off the bar. Runako Sweetman then looped a header over the bar a minute later after some good build-up play on the right-hand side.
Simon Kelly’s side eventually capitalised on their dominance to take the lead just after the half-hour mark. Putnam whipped a corner into the box and Jayden Clarke was on hand to head home and give the home side the lead heading into the halftime break.
Dundalk looked much sharper at the start of the second period, opening Athlone up with their passing more often and being much more aggressive with their pressing when they lost the ball. They soon found their second goal of the game, as Putnam whipped yet another dangerous cross in from a corner, and Mulligan thumped his header past the Athlone goalkeeper.
Athlone struggled to keep Dundalk at bay, with chances now coming for the home side at regular intervals. Once the game passed the hour mark, the Lilywhites began to push harder in search of more goals. Putnam hit the bar with a free kick from just outside the box before Conall Alfred fired over with the goal at his mercy just two minutes later.
They soon scored that elusive third goal, as Putnam’s strike from the edge of the box was flicked past the keeper by Eanna Curran, and they would add a fourth just sixty seconds later, as Clarke scored a penalty after being taken down in the box to make it 4-0 on 68 minutes.
Dundalk then made it three goals in five minutes, as Clarke completed his hat-trick with a drilled strike into the bottom corner to wrap up what was a superb second-half performance from the young Lilywhites.
Up next for the U14s is a meeting with Galway United at Oriel Park on Saturday, August 14th at Oriel Park at 5pm.
DUNDALK FC U14: Graham Donner, Caimin Hughes, Rhys O’Hare, Lashawn Lombard, Boris Biekhou, Luke Mulligan, Cian Spaight, Danny Putnam, Runako Sweetman, Conall Alfred, Niall O’Connor. Subs: Calum O’Reilly, Cian Murphy, Fergal McEneaney, Jayden Clarke, Eanna Curran, Conall Duffy