Dundalk U19s made it two wins from two in the league with a flattering 4-1 home victory over a young Sligo Rovers side.
The Lilywhites opened the scoring on the stroke of half time and added a second shortly afterwards before the visitors pulled one back but two late goals added some gloss to the scoreline for Martin Connolly’s men.
“I felt that another win was important after victory in our first game,” said the man in charge.
“It was a great win against one of the favourites in Shelbourne but after one game, you have your doubts about getting them on a bad day or getting lucky and there is sometimes a danger you can get a little carried away.
“From our point of view, we had to come out and put another three points on the board and thankfully we did.”
By his own admission, his side were slow to start as Darren Kilcawley shot into Darren McGarry’s arms for Sligo before Ryan McManus blazed over when he should have done better while Cathal Carney also saw two efforts fail to hit the back of the net.
But Dundalk settled and steadily found their rhythm with the outstanding Craig Doherty twice going close but he was thwarted by a combination of good goalkeeping and heroic defending before, with the first-half almost up, Alex Barry curled a superb free kick around the wall to the back of the net.
“We started slowly and we gave possession away cheaply but we came into more and then that goal, well it changed my whole team talk for sure,” laughed Connolly.
“Sligo did have some players away involved with the first team, and that is the hope we have for a few of our lads in seeing them make that progress.
“I think then in the second half we were more convincing and made the most of the chances that came our way although I certainly wouldn’t say we were comfortable winners, or not as comfortable as the scoreline would perhaps suggest but definitely a game we deserved to win.”
In the 57th minute, Dundalk stretched their lead when captain Georgie Poynton threaded the ball through for Michael O’Connor who turned brilliantly and hammered the ball home.
The Bit o’Red pulled one back immediately when Ryan McManus spectacularly lashed the ball over the head of McGarry from his own half with a Beckham-esque effort.
Just moments after that though, The Town’s two goal lead was restored when a pinpoint cross from Doherty was headed to the back of the net by O’Connor for his second, certainly picking up where his brother Ciaran left off with the U19s last season.
In injury time, Dundalk added a fourth when substitute Calvin Murphy broke down the left and sent a shot nestling into the far corner of the net to complete a fine victory.
“The standout players for me were Michael O’Connor, who was really excellent and has did very well since coming back from Bristol and Georgie Poynton and Paul Finnegan who you can really see the benefits of being involved with the first team in, Stephen Kenny’s influence is certainly paying off,” added Connolly.
Next up for his side are Bohemians this Sunday at Oriel Park at 2pm as two sides with 100% records so far this season put those on the line.
“It is another big game for us, Bohs have won their first two games so it won’t be easy at all but hopefully we keep doing things right and come out with another victory.”
DUNDALK U19: Darren McGarry, Alan McQuillan, Paul Finnegan, Anto Reilly, Carlton Ubanozou, Georgie Poynton, Dylan O’Reilly (Nathen Noone-Garland 65), Alex Barry (Paraic McGowan 70), Dylan O’Hanlon (Calvin Murphy 75), Craig Doherty (Nathan Seery), Michael O’Connor. Unused subs: Cormac Boyle, Conor McCoy, Martin Kowalcyz (GK).
SLIGO ROVERS U19: Adam Chambers, Kyle Harrigan (Ryan O’Donoghue 59), Mark McCallion, Oisin Connolly, Ross Taheny, Mark Hannon (Gary Anderson 87), Ryan McManus (Keelan Kennoy 70), Liam Flatley, Darren Kilcawley (Paul Doyle 59), Gary Armstrong, Cathal Carney (Martin Walsh 67). Unused subs: Shay Doherty, Jack Burke (GK).