Category: Match Reports

MUCFP v Finn Harps U15 SSE AIRTRICITY U15 LEAGUE GROUP 1

MUCFP 0-2 FINN HARPS

The Cavan/Monaghan boys made a great effort today against the top team Finn Harps but unfortunately lost out in the end. The first half was tough on the locals, Finn Harps put the Monaghan backline under a lot of pressure, focusing on their lightening wingers to make headway down the flanks. The Donegal outfit got two goals in the first half thanks to some slick play down the right hand side. The physicality and pace of the opposition forwards made it a very tough half for the Partners’. The Harps right full back also pushed forward at every opportunity meaning the blues wide midfielder Ben Kavanagh spent much of his time tracking back rather than going forward. Connor Smith pulled off an outstanding save and made a number of other crucial interventions to help his team keep the Donegal men from adding any more goals.

The Partners’ had one very good chance in the first half, some good inter play from Nathan McNally setup Dean Carroll who came charging into the box from midfield but unfortunately his shot was well saved at the near post.

Richard Ayodele came on for the second half and made a big impact especially in the attacking phase of play. His physicality and ability to run with the ball pushed the home team forward and he was involved is a lot of the home teams good play. Nathan McNally threatened in behind and worked very hard to regain possession as always, Conor Fitzpatrick had 2 good chances to score but was stopped by two good saves from the Harps’ goalkeeper. Donnacha and Cian came on for Aidan and Brian, both contributing to some good attacking play in the second half. Brian Oghene then hit the woodwork from a Ben Kavanagh corner, While the away side had the line share of possession, the Cavan/Monaghan boys pushed hard and were unlucky to come away with nothing in the end against a very strong opponent. Despite the result, there are many of positives to take away for the boys,

Subway Man of the Match: Connor Smith gets the award for a very good day between the sticks. There was nothing he could do about either goal. His shot stopping and distribution were excellent overall.

MUCFP Squad: Connor Smith, Tiarnan O’Rourke, Aidan Leonard, Keith Farnan, Brian Oghene, Conor Shanley (C), Flynn Holland, Dean Carroll, Ben Kavanagh, Conor Fitzpatrick, Nathan McNally, Evan Brady, Cian Brennan, Richard Ayodele, Donnacha McNamara, Nathan Lavery, Alex Prior, Mark McDermott.

Derry City 1 MUCFP 1, The New Brandwell Stadium 26.05.2018

MUCFP u19s came away from the impressive new Brandywell stadium with a well-earned point on Saturday. With the sun shining the game was played in a very rare 22 degrees on a fantastic new 4G pitch, despite the warm conditions both teams served up an excellent display of football throughout the 90 minutes.
it was an open game throughout, Derry started well, passing the ball sharply and testing the partners back line. The visitors had young Adam Boyle making his first start for the U19s after a lengthy injury kept him side lined since preseason, Adam had impressed the previous week coming on for the last 20 mins against Athlone. The partners weathered the early storm from the home sides attacking play and soon found time to play their own neat passing game, Tim Mc Cann at right back combined well with Eli Ward in midfield and along with Tristan Knowles managed to create some penetrating passes to Tav Semelevicius up front.
With just 15 mins of the game gone the visitors were forced to make a change as center back Shane Kierans had to come off with an ankle injury, recent injuries to our defensive unit has reduced our options for cover so the team needed to reshuffle with players dropping into unfamiliar positions, Tim Mc Cann dropped into center back while winger Shane Hickey took up the right back position, Callum Lynch came on to play up front while Tav moved into the wide right position.
Great credit has to go to the MUCFP players at this point as they adjusted very well to the changes, Shane Hickey put in an excellent performance at right back while Tim Mc Cann also adjusted extremely well at center back, Lorcan Murnaghan organised the back line and was exceptional again as he has been all season, putting his body on the line and making last ditch tackles to deny the Derry striker every time.
The first half continued to be an even affair with the bulk of the play in a tight midfield battle, Derry pressed high and the partners countered very well so the game ebbed and flowed with both sides unlucky not to score, Mark Byrne in the partners goal had a solid game making a couple of good saves, however the best chance of the half fell to Tristan Knowles, following a great passage of play through midfield he ran onto a through ball but his blistering point blank shot was brilliantly saved by the Derry netminder, the half finished deadlocked at nil all.

The second half restarted as the first had ended, both sides playing good football at a high tempo, Derry seemed to have more desire in their attacking play and became more dominant in the early stages of the half, the partners dropped off a little and this played into the home teams game plan, the visitors make shift back 4 needed to defend very well as the home side laid siege to the penalty area and despite the onslaught the partners defence remained solid and unbreakable.
With the hard working Lynch up front the partners were always a threat, counter attacks with the pace of Lynch were always an option and became more frequent as the game opened up, partners captain Cianan Kelly had a great game in midfield as he continued to break down the opposition play and move the ball to the front line, the creative Scott Prendergast out wide also created a couple of half chances for Lynch but the partners couldn’t seem to carve out a clear goal scoring chance.
The visitors made some changes on 65 mins with Ify Nzewi and Chad Mc Eneaney coming on in place of Semelevicius and Knowles to give fresh legs in attack.
Mid way through the half Derry had a great spell of possession, their patient midfield play led to a great opening for Shane McNamee to fire a cracking shot past Byrne to give Derry the lead on 71mins.
Derry almost doubled their lead minutes later when a bullet of a shot crashed off the cross bar, with Derry now on top the partners needed to respond, Nzewi,s physicality in the middle along with Mc Eneaneys creativity behind Lynch the visitors then enjoyed their best spell of the game, Mc Eneaney almost equalised however his snap shot on his weaker side was easily dealt with by the keeper, Lynch managed to get in behind the center backs on a couple of occasions but any effort to score were taken away by some frantic defending from Derry.
With less than 10 mins remaining the visitors were well on top and pushing for an equaliser, the Derry defence became nervous, under pressure one of the defenders kicked the ball high into the stands for a throw in however as they waited for the ball to return Mc Eneaney cleverly resumed play with another ball to catch the Derry defence off guard, the well placed throw in found Lynch in behind the home defence and as he drove into the penalty area with just the keeper to beat he was taken down by a Derry player, the referee awarded a deserved penalty. Lynch stepped up to calmly slot the spot kick into the net.

The final 10 minutes were a nail biting mix of excitement, the partners pressed for a winner and had some chances towards the end of the game, Derry also had a couple of free kicks in injury time but neither side could find the winning goal. After 6 minutes of injury time the game ended in a 1 all draw.
On balance of play a draw was a fair result for both sides, neither deserved to lose.
Stand out performances on the day, Murnaghan,Knowles, Boyle and Lynch.
Subway Man of the match , Eli Ward.
Team
Mark Byrne, Adam Boyle (Michael Mc Cann 75mins) Shane Kierans (Callum Lynch 15mins) Lorcan Murnaghan, Tim Mc Cann, Shane Hickey, Cianan Kelly, Eli Ward, Tristan Knowles (Chad Mc Eneaney 65mins) Tautvydas Semelevicius (Ify Nzewi 60mins) Scott Prendergast (Jack Drumm 88mins)

MUCFP U19 0 – 2 Athlone Town U19 20.05.2018

MUCFP 0 Athlone Town 2

Monaghan/Cavan Football partnerships U19s came away with a dissappointing result on Sunday after their clash with Athlone in Cootehill.
The partners were looking to bounce back following a poor performance and defeat away to Shelbourne the previous week.
The game started at a blistering pace with Athlones direct play testing the partners back 4, Tim Mc Can stepped up to right back for the injured Dylan Garrigan and was excellent in the opening exchanges, Ify Nzewi led the line up front in place of the injured Callum Lynch and had an excellent start to the game combining well with Tristan Knowles in midfied to create some early half chances.
The partners played really good football, maintaining possession and pressing the Athlone back line, Eli Ward and Cianan Kelly controlled midfield with Scott Prendergast and Shane Hickey working tirelessly out wide. It looked like the partners were in control of the game until a good attacking move broke down,Athlone countered quickly and a well struck cross found the right winger unmarked at the far post for a tap in to give Athlone the lead.
The home side responded well and continued to play good football, with composed patient build up play creating some chances, however they just couldnt seem to find the back of the net.
On the stroke of half time Athlone doubled their lead when a well placed corner kick was unfortunately volleyed into his own net by Cianan Kelly.

The second half was much the same as the first, played at a high tempo with the partners really turning up the heat to get back into the game, on 55 mins the partners changed their shape and introduced Callum Lynch and Chad Mc Eneaney to go with 2 up front, both lads have been in great form this season and instantly created problems for the visitors, Lynch had a great chance on 60 mins but his headed effort went over the bar, Mc Eneaney had a well hit shot go just wide soon after, this was the case for the remainder of the half as both could have had a couple of goals each but had to watch their efforts go narrowly wide.
As the half progressed the visitors went down to 10 men and again the partners reshuffled with Tautyvdas Semelevicius coming on to play up front along with Mc Eneaney and Lynch.
With the home side on all out attack it led to a very frantic and exciting finale to the game with chances at both ends, unfortunately the clock was against the partners and despite having played so well came away with nothing to show for their valiant effort. Very positive performance despite the result, great to see players with long term injuries now returning, Tav and Adam played their first minutes since the season opener against Longford and Seosamh Sheerin is now back training after serious ankle ligament injury has kept him out of the squad since preseason.
Subway Man of the match Ciaran “Tim” Mc Cann.

Team
Luke Perkins, Tim Mc Cann, Dylan Molloy (Adam Boyle), Lorcan Murnaghan, Shane Kierans, Cianan Kelly, Eli Ward, Tristan Knowles (Chad Mc Eneaney), Ify Nzewi (Callum Lynch), Shane Hickey(Tautvydas Semelevicius) Scott Prendergast.

Subs Unused, Jack Drumm, Oliver Clerkin, Michael Mc Cann.

MUCFP U15 vs. ST. PATRICKS ATHLETIC U15 SSE AIRTRICITY NATIONAL UNDER 15 LEAGUE 19.05.2018

SSE AIRTRICITY NATIONAL UNDER 15 LEAGUE
GROUP 1
MUCFP vs. ST. PATRICKS ATHLETIC
On a warm and humid Saturday afternoon the Partners’ met the high flying St. Pats who sit joint top now of Group 1 in the SSE Airtricity League U-15 section. From the start the Cavan/Monaghan boys knew it would be a tough 80 minutes in store as the Dubs started very quickly. They stormed into a 2-0 lead with 2 excellent finishes. The Partners’ rallied slightly over the next 15 minutes but the onslaught continued with Pats’ playing some lovely high tempo football. However the Dublin side scored another 3 goals before half-time, the home side feared a big scoreline was on the cards if they didn’t up their level in the second half.

Indeed the second half showed a completely different side to the Partners’ U-15’s as they fought tooth and nail to make for an entertaining 40 minutes. Nathan McNally, who has been in terrific form recently harried and ran the Pats’ centre halves constantly and eventually reaped his reward. The Reds left sided centre half took too much time on the ball and Nathan nipped the ball from under his feet, bore down on goal and coolly slotted his shot home. This was the Carrick strikers 3rd goal in as many games and he may have had another shortly afterwards. Emmanuel Shehu slalomed down the left wing and crossed into Nathan who took on a spectacular volley which ended up in the net, however the cross was adjudged to have went out of play.

Tempers rose as Emmanuel and the Reds striker were both sent off for violent conduct. Nathan Lavery made some crucial saves including several brilliant 1 on 1 stops to keep Cavan/Monaghan lads in the game. The backline of Tiarnan, Brian, Keith and Ben held a good line and stopped a lot of promising St. Pat’s attacks. Flynn, Richard, Conor Shanley and Conor Fitzpatrick ran tirelessly to press and harrass the Red’s midfield giving them little room to play the neat passing game they had in the first half. Conor Fitzpatrick had to be taken off due to injury and Donnacha McNamara came on and acquitted himself well on the right flank.

Pat’s scored a late sixth as Nathan Lavery superbly saved the first effort, another Pat’s forward was first to the second ball to fire home. Although the scoreline shows a heavy defeat, the second half should give the young lads some sense of hope and pride in their performance. If they can play like this from the start, they should feel they can compete against these top teams going forward.

Subway Man of the Match: This award goes to the superb Nathan McNally who epitomized what work rate and effort looks like. He scrapped and worked for the entire 80 minutes and took his goal confidently.
Final Score: 1-6

MUCFP Squad: Nathan Lavery (C), Tiarnan O’Rourke, Richard Ayodele, Keith Farnan, Ben Kavanagh, Conor Shanley, Flynn Holland, Mark McDermott, Conor Fitzpatrick, Emmanuel Shehu, Nathan McNally, Donnacha McNamara, Connor Smith, Evan Brady, Aidan Leonard, Brian Oghene, Cian Brennan.

Dundalk U15 v MUVFP U15 22.04.2018

Dundalk FC 2-0 MUCFP U-15’s
This was by far the Partners’ best performance of the season thus far as they pushed Dundalk to the very end. 2 first half goals meant Dundalk take the spoils, it was a competitive game through but Dundalk just had the cutting edge. The second half was much improved defensively and offensively, they were just not able to create the clear cut chance they needed to get back into the contest.

Nathan Lavery had an impressive game in goals and made some fine saves and catches for MUCFP. Flynn Holland had some chances from set-pieces, his freekick was well blocked by the Dundalk wall. Emmanuel and Richard worked tirelessly up front trying to work an opportunity for the Partners, coming close on occasion but just lacking a little luck at vital moments. The second half saw the introduction of Keith, Donnacha, Dean Carroll, Conor Shanley, Brian Oghene and Evan Brady. Keith Farnan went into centre-back as Tiarnan shifted to right-back to deal with Dundalk’s winger who was very strong in the air. Dean and Keith had a very good game at centre back in the second half without conceding a goal. Donnacha picked up the ball in some promising spaces between Dundalk’s defence and midfield but he didn’t have the movement in front of him to hurt the opposition backline. Alex, Conor and Flynn martialled the middle of the park well dealing with both Dundald wide players who drifted infield.

Brian came on up front for the tired Emmanuel, he asserted himself and made life difficult for the Dundalk centre-backs. Evan, Nathan, Ben and Conor Fitzpatrick all had stints on the wings but had to work back hard to track Dundalk’s adventurous full-backs.

All in all, all the lads acquitted themselves excellently. Just need to find that first goal to kickstart our attacking play.

MUCFP Squad: Nathan Lavery, Aidan Leonard, Tiarnan O’Rourke, Cian Brennan, Ben Kavanagh, Alex Prior, Flynn Holland, Richard Ayodele, Emmanuel Shehu, Nathan McNally, Conor Fitzpatrick, Dean Carroll, Conor Shanley, Evan Brady, Brian Oghene, Donnacha McNamara, Keith Farnan.

Drogheda United v MUCFP 14.04.2018

SSE AIRTRICITY U19 League, Northern Elite Division, match report.

Drogheda Utd 1 MUCFP 2

Goals, Callum Lynch, Shane Hickey, Half time score 0-1

Game played in United Park Drogheda

The U19 partnership team picked up another 3 points on the road when they put in a battling performance against a tough Drogheda side recently.

The game was played on a very warm Saturday afternoon in United park, with the partners coming off the back of a great result at home to Bohemians confidence was high going into the game.

The home side started well and had the best of the early exchanges but came up against a strong partnership defence with our back 4 of Dylan Garrigan, Lorcan Murnaghan, Martynas Pilvinis and Dylan Molloy in very good form. We struggled to find form in the first half and the performance seemed to lack some energy, giving the fact that this was our 3rd league game in 6 days the lads had to dig deep to raise their game. Callum lynch worked hard up front and showed great quality every time he got on the ball. Midway through the half Lynch capitalised on a poor clearance from the Drogs goalkeeper and quickly dribbled past him to slot the ball into an empty net to give the Monaghan/Cavan lads the lead.

Drogheda responded and rallied with some good attacking play however this provided the visitors with some space to start playing themselves and the game soon opened up into an even end to end exchange, Ciaran Mc Cann, Cianan Kelly and Ify Nzewi came into the game more as did Chad Mc Eneaney and Scott Prendergast out wide as they looked to add to their goal tally before the break.

 

The second half continued as the first half ended with both teams playing at a good tempo and trying to break down each other’s well organised defensive shape, Callum Lynch worked tirelessly and covered acres of ground for the team causing the Drogs backline endless problems.

The visitors introduced Shane Hickey and Tristan Knowles, their impact was immediate with Hickeys power and pace out wide and Knowles neat passing game in midfield combining well to cut the home defence open with ease.

Hickey had a great chance on 70 mins to double his sides lead however his shot went wide of target, minutes later he did manage to find the net, following a well struck free kick from Callum Lynch which the Drogs keeper could only parry Hickeys reaction was superb as he raced to smash the rebounded ball high into the top corner to put his side in control of the game.

This inspired the away team to play more and they took control of the midfield battle and dominated for the next 10 minutes. Drogheda were limited in terms of clear chances as they tried to counter attack and relied on set pieces for opportunities to break down a partnership defence that was in terrific form.

As the end of the game approached Drogheda had a good spell and managed to win a wide free kick just outside the box, the resulting cross was delivered with pace to the far post and was volleyed into the back of the net giving Luke Perkins in the away goal no chance.

This inspired Drogheda to a late rally to try and get a point but despite their best efforts the Partners hung on for a well-deserved 3 points.

 

Subway Man of the Match Callum Lynch

 

TEAM

 

Luke Perkins, Dylan Molloy, Dylan Garrigan, Lorcan Murnaghan, Martynas Pilvinis, Cianan kelly, Ciaran “Tim” Mc Cann, Ify Nzewi, Scott Prendergast, Chad Mc Eneaney, Callum Lynch.

Substitutes: Shane Hickey (50) Tristan Knowles (55) Ollie Clerkin (70) Shane Kierans (80) Jack Drumm (83) Michael Mc Cann, Eli Ward

MUCFP v Bohemians FC U19 10th April 2018

MUCFP 2 BOHEMIANS 1

Part 2 from a very busy week for the U19s,on Tues 10th April we hosted last seasons Champions Bohemians in Gortakeegan, a side full of the most talented players in the country and will compete in the European Youth Cup later in the year. It was a very difficult game on paper but it seemed even more difficult in the early exchanges as Bohemians started at a frantic pace, moving the ball around the pitch with ease and testing the partners defensive shape and resilience.

The home team had a game plan and were able to maintain their shape and stop the opposition from breaking their lines, the industrious Callum Lynch playing up front gave Bohemians back 4 some problems and he looked very dangerous in counter attacks.

During the first half neither team created a lot in terms of chances and despite the visitors having the bulk of possession both teams cancelled each other out, scoreless at the break.

The second half continued at a frantic pace, Bohemians pressed and the partners soaked up any attacks and looked to counter attack through the wide players of Scott Prendergast and Chad Mc Eneaney and the pace of Lynch up top.

Indeed it was a quick breakaway that led to the opening goal on 53 minutes, Prendergast found space on the left flank, cut inside on his right foot and delivered a perfect 40 yard cross into the path of Mc Eneaney who expertly guided his headed effort over the keeper into the top corner to give his side a shock lead.

The partners then enjoyed a good spell as Bohemians threw all they had into attack, Lynch threatened to get in behind their defence everytime he had the ball. On 60 mins the partners doubled their lead through a fine piece of individual skill from Lynch, he won the ball back just outside the box, dribbled through both center backs before rounding the full back and his well struck shot beat the keeper from a very tight angle.

Bohemians turned up the heat yet again but they were continually frustrated by the partners who just didn’t want to be broken down, the home side were regimented in their organisationb and defended like spartans throughout, Bohemians tidy short passing game soon turned to long ball tactics as they became increasingly frustrated. With 20 minutes to go Bohs pulled one back when a cross caught out Mark Byrne in the home goal and crept into the net.

The final exchanges were played at a blistering pace with both sides pushing themselves to the limits, in summary the visitors couldn’t break down a resolute partners team who worked tirelessly for each other all night, Lynch had a couple of half chances before the final whistle but the partners were able to see it out and record an historic win against arguably the best team in the country at this level.

Subway Man of the Match Martynas Pilvinis

MUCFP v Finn Harps 8th April 2018

MUCFP 1 FINN HARPS 2

The partners came away very disappointed after their first home game of the season ended in a narrow defeat to Finn Harps on Sunday April 8th. The squad had just returned from a 5 day trip to Barcelona on Friday and their first half performance suggested an element of fatigue after the trip. Finn Harps started brightly and had the home team on the back foot for a lot of the early exchanges, midway through the half the Partners snatched the lead when Callum Lynch pounced on a poor touch from a defender and his quick thinking and vision spotted an opportunity to chip the keeper from just outside the box.

This lifted the home team who almost doubled their lead when Shane Hickeys well struck shot was saved by the Harps keeper, however Harps grabbed a deserved equaliser just before half time to leave the tie deadlocked at the break.

The partners came out in the second half a different side and showed some real class in midfield with Eli ward and Ify Nzewi dominating possession, however there was little in terms of clear chances. As the half progressed the home side lost 3 of the back 4 due to injury, Shane Kierans dislocated his shoulder while Martynas Pilvinis and Dylan Molloy picked up knocks.

The partners failed to turn their dominance into goals and were made pay the price when an 86th minute corner was poorly defended and a Harps player headed home to snatch the 3 points.

A disappointing result but a great lesson and experience for the lads at the end of a terrific week.

Subway Man of the match Ify Nzwei

U19 SSE Airtricity League Opener v Longford Town 28.03.2018

Result Longford Town 1 MUCFP 2, City calling stadium Wed 28th March 2018

 

MUCFP U19s kicked off their season with a deserved win at the City calling stadium in Longford on Wednesday evening.

Following the postponement of the season opener against Bohemians 2 weeks ago due to the bad weather the Partners faced a tough challenge away to Darren Mc Garrys Longford town side. In the same fixture last season, the partners came away with a 1 all draw despite having held a one nil lead for most of the game only to see a victory taken away with a 95th minute penalty.

The visitors started brightly with Tautyvdas Semelevicius and Shane Hickey finding room on the flanks and the industrious Callum Lynch up top keeping the Longford back 4 busy.

The visitors could have taken an early lead but for some excellent goalkeeping from the home net minder, lynch had 2 very good efforts well saved followed by a brilliant save from Ify Nzewi.

As the half progressed the visitors began to press looking for an opener however the home side were dangerous on the counter attack and had a couple of good chances themselves.

A moment of magic from Tav created space on the right wing and his quick thinking led to a superb cross into the box, Lynch bravely out jumped both center backs and his looping header found the back of the net to give his side a deserved lead.

The partners had the home side on the rack but despite their dominance they were frustrated by the woodwork and by the goalkeeper who was in outstanding form, just before half time Ify Nzewi thought he had scored but his well struck shot grazed the bar with the keeper beaten. The partners led 1 nil at the break.

Longford came out in the second half a different side, they pressed the visitors defence and Mark Byrne in the partners goal was called upon to make a couple of vital saves, Longford continued to have a good spell for the first ten mins and they scored a deserved equaliser when a well placed cross was headed in giving Byrne no chance in the visitors goal.

With the home side now on top the visitors needed to regroup and see if they had the character to get back into the game, with Cianan Kelly and Ciaran Mc Cann in midfield they regained their grip of the game and began to play more controlled football patiently building play and getting lynch more involved again. With the introduction of some fresh legs with Eli Ward and Chad Mc Eneaney the visitors began to look like they would score however it was starting to look like it wasn’t their night, a well struck shot hit the crossbar and Nzewi had an effort hit the post while Mc Cann misfired with just the keeper to beat. With less than 10 mins remaining the visitors retook the lead through Lynch who headed a well delivered corner past the keeper.

The partners showed great composure to maintain possession for the remaining minutes and see the game out to secure a well-deserved 3 points and get their season off to a winning start.

Lorcan Murnaghan picked up the Man of the Match award sponsored by SubWay Monaghan.

The lads now have a week off where they will travel to Barcelona and Salou for a training camp and 2 friendlies against Spanish academy sides. Huge thanks to BM Glass coatings & graphics who are the main sponsor for the trip. Following that we have a busy schedule with Finn Harps at home in Gortakeegan on Sunday 8th and Bohemians at home on Tuesday 10th before playing Drogheda Utd away on Saturday 14th in Utd park.

Lorcan Murnaghan was Subway Man of the Match.

Monaghan Utd Cavan FP Squad V Longford

Mark Byrne, Lorcan Murnaghan, Dylan Molloy, Martynas Pilvinis, Shane Kierans, Tautyvdas Semelevicius, Shane Hickey, Ciaran Mc Cann, Cianan Kelly, Ify Nzewi, Callum Lynch.

Luke Perkins, Chad Mc Eneaney, Eli Ward, Jack Drumm, Michael Mc Cann, Dylan Garrigan, Adam Boyle.

U19 Preseason Friendly 24.02.2018, Bray Wanderers 0 M.U.C.F.P. O

 

MUCFP U-19s travelled up to the home of St Josephs Boys in Sallynoggin on Saturday Feb 24th to play Bray Wanderers in a preseason friendly.
Having done well in a number of recent games against Senior sides from Local leagues including Boyne Harps and Carrick Rovers from the NEFL, Bray was a great test for this seasons squad to see how they stacked up against another U-19 League of Ireland side.

The game started brightly with some good attacking play from both sides, Mark Byrne in the partners goal was called upon to deal with a couple of crosses and through balls in the early exchanges but the back 4 of Dylan Molloy, Shane Kierans, Lorcan Murnaghan and Dylan Garrigan kept the opposition front line quiet for the most part.
Bray played some tidy football during the first half and had the edge in a tense midfield battle as the MUCFP lads took a bit of time to settle into the game. As the half progressed Ify Nzewi and Seosamh Sheerin came into the game more and began to threaten in wide areas however Callum Lynch up front had very little in terms of possession or chances to strike on goal to show what he has been capable of so far in this preseason. Towards the end of the first half the Partners were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, Lynch had a strike on goal but his effort was saved by the keeper.

The second half was much better from the away side as they settled into the game, Cianan Kelly and Ciaran “Tim” Mc Cann started to control midfield and get more quality delivery into the feet of the industrious Lynch however clear-cut chances were few and far between.
Bray stepped up a gear with the introduction of a couple of quality players but the partners defence was more than capable of dealing with any threats from the seasiders.
The partners then proceeded to make some changes with Chad Mc Eneaney coming on for Nzewi and Ollie Clerkin for Sheerin and Shane Hickey adding to the midfield unit. Mc Eneaney has been in outstanding form in preseason and he took the game to Bray with a couple of clever runs into the box and some excellent hold up play to create chances for the forward line.
Shane Hickey impressed with his direct play and physicality and will be a great signing for the Team once he gains some valuable experience at this level.
Further changes included Eli Ward for captain Cianan Kelly who picked up a minor knock, Jack Drumm for Lynch and Adam Boyle for Molloy. With so many changes in a game its normally difficult to maintain composure and shape however the lads made a seamless transition and continued to defend well while pressing the Bray defence. The game continued to be an even contest throughout the half however little remained in terms of clear chances on goal.
Luke Perkins replaced Byrne in the visitors goal for the last 30 mins and continued with a solid performance dealing with any danger in the box and snuffing out any crosses or through balls.
Further changes included Michael Mc Cann, Lewis Gibson, Neilas Barvydas who all gained valuable game time against a very good Bray side.
The game finished at a frantic pace as both sides pushed for a win, the partners had the best of the final exchanges creating a couple of half chances but were unable to find the back of the net.
Bray had some chances of their own but with some really good last ditch defending from the partners back 4 they were denied any chance of snatching the game late on.

The game finished in a scoreless draw but it was an entertaining encounter and a worthwhile exercise for both teams as they face into the new U-19 Elite season in a few weeks’ time.
The partners can take lots of positives from the game, a rare clean sheet and a solid defensive performance from the entire team was great to see.
The depth and quality of this year’s squad is a huge plus, we have strength in positions that we didn’t have last season and plenty of cover for key position too which will be a vital asset through the season as we will experience injuries, suspensions and players unavailable.
We also have a great balance in terms of the age group with 11 players still elegible to play 19s next season plus Adam Boyle who is still U17 this season but has stepped up to U-19 level and has really impressed in preseason so far.