Under-17 League Round-Up – Northern Elite Division 

Runaway leaders St Patrick’s Athletic kept up their fantastic season at this level with a battling 3-2 win over Dundalk. Having fallen 2-0 behind before the break, St Pats came back strong in the second half to score three times in 20 minutes to claim all three points. Aaron McGrath, Jake Walker and substitute Alex Aspil were the goalscorers, while Luke Gorman and Jevin Kelly scored for Dundalk. 

Finn Harps scored four goals in the second half to dispatch Drogheda United as they move to join Bohemians in second place. Two goals apiece from Jamie Brown and Niall McGinley gave Declan Boyle’s side a comfortable win.

Finn Harps goalscorers Jamie Browne and Niall McGinley
Finn Harps goalscorers Jamie Browne and Niall McGinley

Harps boss Declan Boyle said, “We were delighted to pick up the 3 points at the weekend, especially after two good performances against Shelbourne and Athlone and only picking up 1 point out of the two matches, so it was imperative that we won this match and scored some goals in the process.”

“The game itself was very competitive with limited chances in the first half and the score was 0-0 at half time.”

“In the second half we raised the tempo of the match and played well scoring 4 very good goals, two from our centre forward Jamie Brown and two from Niall Mc Ginley.”

“Jamie Brown was excellent throughout and his second goal was an excellent team goal and he also provided a turn in the box and assist for our third goal for Niall mc Ginley.”

“We had some very good performers on the day, Niall Mc Ginley, Ryan Cunnigham, Keenan Diver, Lee Mc Laughlin and Jamie Brown.”

Drogheda’s Gerard Gosson was disappointed saying, “Similar to some other teams this weekend, my team was decimated with injuries, holidays and our u19s needing our keeper. We went into the game with 12 players and lost our Captain Sam Byrne after only 25 minutes with a badly sprained ankle.”

“We knew that Finn Harps were playing well so our plan was to keep it tight at the back and smother them in the middle, and let our two strikers pose them as much problems as they could.”
“Our focus was on keeping a clean sheet in the 1st half and then give it a go. We met that objective well with Harps creating little chances and over hitting their long passes from the back, which they were fond of.”

“Physically they were the stronger team but there was nothing in it in the second half.”
“As the 2nd half started both teams lifted the tempo and the game became stretched. An unlucky deflection after some good defensive work from Gregory Akinsanya fell to the feet of Niall McGinley who took his goal well.”

“From the tip off we should have equalised, as Harps switched off and Callum McDonald got in behind their solid defence and the keeper smothered the shot.”

“For Harps second goal we were a little unfortunate, as McGinley got into the box and headed a weak cross up in the air, it went over the keepers head but as it was falling to the ground and heading wide it hit a divot and deflected into the goal.”

“Credit to my players, they worked hard to get back into the game and caused Harps a lot of problems out on the left. Kian Hussey beat the full back and chipped the keeper and with the shot looking like it was going into the top corner, he made a finger tip save to flick it by the post. Hussey broke the lines again and was in but again the Harps keeper smothered the shot.”

“As the game wore on fatigue started to take effect on the team with no fresh legs to bring on, Tom Adyenka up front and Cian Quinn at centre back battled on with dead legs but were courageous in the efforts for the team.”

“We held out ‪till 6/7‬ minutes to go before Browne got harps 3rd and with the last kick of the game Browne added the 4th.”

“Harps have a very good team and credit to them they will be hard to beat this season. I have to give credit to my players though for giving it all as a team and for each other right to the end under difficult circumstances. With the window now open and players returning from holidays things should pick up for us again sooner rather than later.”

Bohemians beat midlanders Athlone Town 3-1 after falling behind to a TJ Cox goal after only four minutes. A brace from Sobe Nwaokolo and a late goal from David Okpako sealed the win for Bohs.

After a positive result in Ballyboffey last week, Athlone were hoping for a solid performance against in form Bohs at Lisseywollen on Saturday.

Athlone boss Brian McCormack said “We had worked hard over the break on our defensive shape and positional play as we were conceding far to many soft goals and looked to have turned the corner against Harps, as our defensive unit was very solid but unfortunately again against Bohs our defending was very poor.”

Athlone took an early lead with another goal from the impressive TJ Cox, but poor defending -although it was a good finish-saw Bohs equalize.”

Acomplete howler by Athlone gave Bohs a half time lead.
Bohs struck very late on to run out 3-1 winners.

“No complaints about the result as we were second best all day.In patches we played well but once again our finishing was poor and our defending was not good. We had a few U-16s with us and they played well. Tom O’Carroll was again our stand out performer. We go again on tuesday against Sligo Rovers so hopefully we can up our game for that.”

Shelbourne FC U-17's
Shelbourne U-17’s

Two goals from Michael O’Keane gave Shelbourne a 2-0 win over Longford Town as they moved into fifth place in the table.
Shelbourne’s Stephen Finn told us, “It wasn’t a brilliant performance from us really. Mikey O’Keane showed his class with two excellent individual goals. The back four was solid with Jordan Walker in goal and all of the defenders putting in a good shift. Longford are a hard side to break down and are well-organised. We play again in the cup on Tuesday at the AUL and I expect that to be another tough game.”

Longford’s James Dermody said, “Disappointed to come away with nothing today, we played well for long periods of the game and deserved more than what we got”

Check out Michael O’Keane’s two goals here;

“It was a great hit by the Shels player for their goal but I really believe some really poor defending allowed the player time to strike, this was the only shot on target in the first half so really frustrated it lead to the goal”

“Although we were trailing 1-0 at halftime we were confident that we could get back into the game as we were well in the game”

“Second half we start really poorly and again poor defending lead to Shels second. After this we really pushed and made a game of it and stayed honest, for that I couldn’t be happier as the players left it all on the pitch, we can see our work rate improving every week”

“Really good game today from two evenly matched teams, take the individual errors out and there was very little to separate the sides”

Sligo Rovers beat local rivals Derry City 2-1 after an early goal from Darren Collins had Sligo in the ascendancy. Niall Morahan doubled the bit o’reds advantage before the break. Caolan McLaughlin did pull a goal back for Derry late on, but it was too little too late.

Photo Credits;

St Patrick’s Athletic

Shelbourne FC

Finn Harps FC

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