After recent excursions to Armagh and Down, the Dundalk Schoolboys League Milk Cup squad headed south to Celbridge to take on the might of this year’s SFAI National Cup runners-up Lucan United.
The home side started brightly and Dundalk were under a lot of pressure right from the kick off. Defenders James Corrigan, Aaron Casey and Shane Breen needed to clear a string of early corners whilst keeper Rory Duffy was kept on his toes.
Lucan thought they had found an opener after five minutes but Dundalk’s defence was relieved to see the referee rule the effort out for offside.
The tables turned after 15 minutes when the visitors stunned Lucan with an excellent goal scored against the run of play.
Eolann Aiken and Fifi Leonard combined well on the wing before Christopher Sweeney whipped in an excellent cross into the path of Matthew Lyons who made no mistake, burying the ball into the back of the net.
The goal gave Dundalk a much needed lift and they went on to impose themselves much more throughout the rest of the match.
Lucan still maintained a constant threat and they were back on level terms after the restart with a low shot that found the bottom corner.
However Dundalk responded brilliantly and were soon back in front through Christopher Sweeney who latched onto a true ball from Vinney Smith before rounding the keeper to score.
Indeed Dundalk were unfortunate not to extend their lead after creating a number of further chances.
Sweeney went close again while Aiken fired just wide on two occasions and was unlucky not to get a penalty after being clipped by the outcoming keeper. Cillian Staunton forced a save at the near post late on while Aaron Khan’s shot went over the bar.
The blistering heat made playing conditions very demanding for both sides but it was Lucan who managed to find a last rally which resulted in a late equaliser scored via a well taken glancing header.
Dundalk U15s will now continue their preparations for the upcoming Milk Cup with another tough encounter on Sunday against SFAI National Cup winners Cherry Orchard.
Dundalk Schoolboys League U15 Milk Cup squad: Eolann Aiken, David Anderson, Dion Conlon (Ardee Celtic), Rory Duffy, Matthew Lyons, Cian McDonald (Bellurgan United), Aaron Khan (Dromin United), Sean Murphy, Danny O’Brien, Cillian Staunton, Vincent Smith (Quay Celtic), Shane Breen, Killian Cunningham, Caoimhin Leonard, Christopher Sweeney (Glenmuir United), James Corrigan (Rock Celtic), Aaron Casey, Eoin McDonnell (Shamrocks FC). Coaches: Gerry Cooney, John McKeever and Barney Connolly.