Dundalk U19s manager Martin Connolly could not hide his disappointment following his side’s 2-1 defeat to bottom of the table Letterkenny Rovers in Leckview Park on Sunday.
Connolly’s side led at half-time thanks to a George Poynton goal but they “simply stopped playing” and paid the price as two quickfire goals gave Letterkenny Rovers their first win of the season.
The defeat keeps the Lilywhites in second place of the U19 Northern Division and they are still well placed for a play-off spot.
Connolly, though, admits they will have to improve if they are to secure a top two finish.
“I’m hugely disappointed by that performance”, he said. “We just didn’t play well at all, even though we went in front. Our target is to finish in the top two and we can still do that but we will definitely have to up our game.”
Connolly’s young side - six of the 11 that finished the game are eligible for the U19s again next year - had two good chances to open the scoring early on but the out of sorts Ciaran O’Connor mis-kicked from a good position before Conor McDonald saw an effort hit the woodwork.
They eventually took the lead in the 26th minute when a well worked free-kick routine saw McDonald set up Poynton for a tidy finish.
The attacking midfielder has certainly caught the eye for the U19s this season and his good form has been rewarded with a call up to the Irish U17 squad for the European Championship qualifiers in Armenia next week.
The second-half saw Letterkenny go direct in a bid to get back in the game and they stunned Dundalk with an equaliser from Jason Doherty after Lilywhites goalkeeper Ryan Davis mis-controlled the ball on the poor playing surface.
And the basement side scored a second minutes later when a long throw evaded a number of Dundalk players leaving Simon McGlynn with the opportunity to smash home.
Connolly and co will be hoping for a quick response to the loss when they face Fanad United at Oriel Park on Saturday at 2pm.
DUNDALK U19: Ryan Davis, Manny Kaguako, Paul Finnegan, Leon Keough, Manafed Mantando, Kevin Nolan (Dylan O’Hanlon), George Poynton, Ciaran O’Connor, Conor McDonald, Craig Pentony, Craig Doherty (Calvin Murphy). Unused subs: Jude Carroll, Scott Craven, Pauric McGowan.