Dundalk FC U19 1-2 Longford Town U19

EA Sports U19 National Underage League Group B

Dundalk FC U19s were defeated by Longford Town on Sunday afternoon in a tight affair at Oriel Park. 

The Lilywhites got off to the better start, with their first opportunity arriving on ten minutes, when Brandon Holt’s through ball found Ebuka Kwelele, but he fired his effort over the bar.

The hosts were particularly dangerous down the wings, with Mark Hanratty causing major problems down the left all afternoon.

It wasn’t all positive for Dundalk in the early stages, as Stephen McDonnell was forced to make a change on 17 minutes when Ryan Kinahan replaced Matthew Thomas-Smith, who was injured a few minutes earlier when going for a loose ball.

It didn’t take long for Kinahan to get involved in proceedings, and he very nearly engineered the opening goal of the game 25 minutes in, when his clipped ball into the box found Kwelele, but his effort was well saved by the opposition goalkeeper.

A chance fell to Hanratty just two minutes later, as he darted inside with the ball before drilling a strike wide of the post.

Longford soon began to create some chances of their own, and with Longford Town’s senior head coach Daire Doyle watching from the stand at Oriel Park, the visitors took the lead against the run of play on 41 minutes. A corner into the box was misjudged by defender Enda Douglas, and his header landed at the feet of Longford’s centre back, who took advantage to give the visitors the lead.

Dundalk had an opportunity to level things up before the break, when Hanratty’s cross found the unmarked Kwelele in the box, but his effort once again missed the target.

Longford took control in the early stages of the second half, forcing Niall Brady into action on more than one occasion.

Dundalk had their first opportunity of the second half just before the hour mark. It was another excellent opportunity for the Lilywhites, as Enda Douglas failed to direct a free header on target from a corner kick.

The game began to open up as the clocked ticked into the final 30 minutes, and it was the visitors who took advantage. Brady failed to hold onto the ball from a corner kick, and it fell to a Longford attacker, who made no mistake in doubling their lead.

McDonnell’s side seemed to lose confidence for a period after the goal, but they got back into the game in the final ten minutes as they tried to pull a goal back.

Ryan Kinehan manufactured a brilliant chance on 86 minutes as he weaved his way into the box, but his effort smashed off the bar and was cleared away.

Any chance of a goal looked to have gone with that chance, but the Lilywhites were awarded a penalty in stoppage time for a handball in the box, which was subsequently converted by Holt.

However, there wasn’t enough time to find an equaliser as Dundalk were left to rue missed chances in what was an improved performance from the Lilywhites.

DUNDALK FC: Niall Brady, Fionn Kenny, Jack Kavanagh, Enda Douglas, Mayowa Animasahun, Ronan Kilkenny, David Doyle, Brandon Holt, Ebuka Kwelele, Matthew Thomas-Smith, Mark Hanratty. Subs: Jamie Barry, Ryan Kinahan, Liam McNamee, Michael Keyes, Jack Watters, Jeff Nwodo.