Dundalk FC U17 1-2 Shamrock Rovers U17

U17 Mark Farren Cup

Dundalk FC U17s were defeated by Shamrock Rovers in the first round of the Mark Farren Cup on Saturday afternoon in a game of fine margins at Oriel Park.

Darren McGarry made four changes from the previous league game against Drogheda United as Jamie Ryan, Sean Bannon, Jack Watters and Oisin Coleman all came into the side.

The game got off to a frantic start, with both sides trying to gain the upper hand in the early exchanges. The visitors managed to gain control of the ball and pinned Dundalk back in their own half. The first chance of the game came in the 13th minute when Dara McGuinness’ effort was volleyed just over the bar.

The Lilywhites were struggling to get out of their half during this period, but they defended very well to keep Rovers at bay. McGarry’s side began to threaten on the counter-attack as the half wore on, but it was the Hoops who took the lead in the 35th-minute.

A cross into the box fell into the path of Cian Curtis, who smashed his volley into the corner to give Shamrock Rovers the goal their performance throughout the half deserved.

McGuinness very nearly added a second just two minutes later but his effort was deflected narrowly wide. Rovers continued to turn the screw until the referee blew for halftime, as the visitors went into the break on top.

Dundalk had the better start to the second period, getting the better of the Hoops and starting to open the game up with some quick movement of the ball. Rovers grew into it though and began to take control. They had the first clear chance of the second half as Mikey Raggett found himself in space in the box, but his effort was saved well by Jamie Ryan.

Rovers seemed content to hold onto the ball without really cutting through Dundalk after that, but they lived to regret that decision as Dundalk drew level just after the hour mark. A slick counterattack allowed Honney to break away on the left-wing. His cutback found Anthony Mayo on the edge of the box and the midfielder drilled his effort into the bottom corner to equalise for the Lilywhites.

McGarry’s side took control for a short period after the goal, as the Hoops looked to be shaken up by the Dundalk equaliser, but the visitors soon retook the lead. An excellent ball over the top found McGuinness, who broke through on the counter and slotted the ball past Ryan to bag his and Rovers’ second goal of the game.

Both sides pushed on in search of a goal as the clock ticked into the last 10 minutes, with each side having chances. Dundalk were forced into a change with less than 10 minutes to go, as defender Craig Moore was forced to depart through injury after preventing what looked to be a major goalscoring opportunity for wing-back Pharrell Manuel.

Midfielder Eoin Kenny was introduced to try and add more of an attacking threat but, despite the change, the Lilywhites failed to find an equaliser as they fell to a first-round defeat in the 2021 Mark Farren Cup.

McGarry’s side will return to league action next Saturday, August 7th, as they travel to Bishopsgate to take on Longford Town at 1pm.

DUNDALK FC U17: Jamie Ryan, Nikita Aleksandrovic, Craig Moore, Sean Bannon, Cathal O’Reilly, Tadhg Walsh, Oisin Coleman, Anthony Mayo, Dualta Honney, Josh Hand, Jack Watters. Subs: Ryan Boyle, Cian Walsh, Thomas Galvin, Donnacha McNamara, Eoin Kenny, Senan Mullen, Callum Bonner, Ethan Sousa, Kayle Wajsczuk.