Dundalk FC U17 0-4 Shamrock Rovers U17

EA Sports U17 National Underage League Shield Group A

Dundalk U17s had a bad day at the office on Saturday afternoon as they lost 4-0 to Shamrock Rovers U17s at Oriel Park. 

This was the second meeting between the sides this season, with the previous meeting coming in the U17 Cup earlier this season, when Shamrock Rovers emerged victorious.

There were four changes to the Dundalk side that faced Bohs-SKB last week, as Oisin McBride, Thomas Galvin, Donnacha McNamara and Eoin Kenny replaced Ryan Boyle, Cathal O’Reilly, Ethan Sousa and Josh Hand.

The Hoops got off to the better start, and they very nearly took the lead in the opening minute of the game, as an effort was drilled narrowly wide of the post after a clever free kick routine on the edge of the box.

Rovers controlled possession in the early minutes and it wasn’t long before they opened the scoring. A defensive error allowed forward Mikey Raggett to gain possession and slot home past Jamie Ryan to make it 1-0 just seven minutes in.

The visitors controlled possession as the half progressed, and the intensity began to pick up as the half went on, with the referee producing yellow cards for some strong challenges from both sides.

Dundalk struggled to keep Rovers at bay as the half came to a close, with the away side almost scoring a second on 35 minutes, when Ryan played a pass straight to Raggett, who passed to Justin Ferizaj on the edge of the box, but he curled his effort just over the bar.

The Lilywhites put some pressure on as the half came to a close, but the first half came to a worrying conclusion as Eoin Kenny received treatment after coming out the worse of a strong challenge just outside the Shamrock Rovers box.

Kenny was fit to continue as the second half began in a similar manner to the first, with the Hoops gaining the upper hand early on.

James Toner made a double change five minutes into the second half in an attempt to change the game, as Josh Hand and Ryan Boyle replaced Donnacha McNamara and Oisin McBride. However, they didn’t have time to make any sort of impact before Rovers bagged their second goal of the afternoon.

A corner kick was crossed in right on top of Jamie Ryan, but a Rovers player got a flick on it to take it past the goalkeeper and into the net to double Rovers’ lead.

The Hoops continued to push forward and they added a third just four minutes later, when a reverse pass from Dara McGuinness cut through the Dundalk defence and Raggett took advantage to bag his second goal of the afternoon.

Cathal O’Reilly, Ethan Sousa and Steffen Ugbesia were all introduced in the second period in an attempt to get back into the game, and the Lilywhites had some short spells of quality throughout the half, without creating any major opportunities.

The game looked to be dying out as the game came to a close, but Rovers managed to add a fourth on 87 minutes, when Thomas Morgan latched onto a through ball to strike past Jamie Ryan and wrap the game up for the visitors.

Overall, it was an afternoon to forget for the Lilywhites, who will feel they could’ve done better having run Rovers so close in their previous meeting earlier this season.

DUNDALK FC: Jamie Ryan, Oisin McBride, Craig Moore, Senan Mullen, Anthony Moyo, Tadhg Walsh, Oisin Coleman, Thomas Galvin, Jack Watters, Eoin Kenny, Donnacha McNamara. Subs: Kayle Wajszcuk, Steffen Ugbesia, Ethan Sousa, Callum Bonner, Josh Hand, Cathal O’Reilly, Sean Bannon, Ryan Boyle, Nikita Aleksandrovic.