Shock first defeat for Dundalk U-19s
DUNDALK U19's suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Mervue Utd last Saturday in Oriel Park.
The young Lilywhites had been undefeated in their quest to win the Under-19 Elite Division promotion play-off.
However, defeat on Saturday coupled with a win for Derry City means that both clubs now sit level at the top of the group with 10 points.
Dundalk welcomed back Georgie Poynton from a very successful international trip where he captained the Irish U17 team in Austria.
The Oriel Park outfit started the game brightly and almost took the lead in the second minute but Dylan O'Hanlon couldn't keep his shot on target and it never troubled the Mervue 'keeper.
Despite the early pressure it was the Galway side that opened the scoring - somewhat against the run of play - following a smart finish from Padraic Cunningham after almost 15 minutes.
Dundalk pressed for an equalizer but failed to create any real dangerous chances as the game moved towards halftime.
It was the home side that started the second half on the front foot and Irish international Poynton was leading by example as he urged his teammates forward.
In spite of the positive early start it was the visitors who once again found the back of the net despite being under pressure when Cunningham doubled his tally for the day just before the hour mark.
Much like the first half Dundalk found themselves conceding when on top but attacked the Mervue goal straight from the restart.
Lively winger Marifide Mantondo rattled the Mervue crossbar with a stinging effort on 62 minutes following great build-up play by Manuel Kaguako.
Dundalk pulled one goal back through a neat Craig Doherty finish as the game moved into its final quarter.
The goal really spurred on Dundalk and they proceeded to lay siege to the Mervue goal in the closing minutes. To their credit the Connacht side defended well and held on to pick up their first win of the season.
Dundalk: Ryan Davis, Manuel Kaguako, Calvin Murphy, Paul Finnegan, Anto Reilly, Kevin Nolan (Craig Doherty), Craig Pentony, Georgie Poynton, Dylan O'Hanlon, Conor McDonald, Marifide Mantondo.