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Date Time League Season
12 March 2021 7:45 pm President's Cup 2021

Match Report

First Blood Dundalk in Presidents Cup Decider

Alessio Abibi was the hero for Dundalk as the first trophy of the season goes to Dundalk after defeating Shamrock Rovers in a penalty shoot-out in the Presidents Cup at Tallaght Stadium.

Despite going down to ten men after the sending off of Sonni Nattestad who saw a straight red following a foul on Graham Burke.

Shamrock Rovers started the game in earnest with former Dundalk player Sean Gannon crossing into the area for Rory Gaffney ready to capitalise only for Andy Boyle to clear the danger, Rovers continued the early pressure with chances falling to both Sean Gannon and Graham Burke only for Alessio Abibi and his Dundalk defence to hold firm.

Dundalk could count themselves lucky when a corner whipped in at pace was met initially by Liam Scales only for it to be saved by Abibi, the Dundalk custodian had no time to think as it looked as if Joey O'Brien looked set to score only to be denied by the outstretched palm of Abibi once more.

That missed opportunity is one they would come to rue later.

As the half grew Dundalk began to compose themselves in the game and Jurkovskis' cross from the right was nearly met by the onrushing Patrick McEleney and David McMillan both of whom mistimed the pace and placement of the ball and were ahead of the place and the teasing cross evaded them.

Dundalk's continued pressure would pay off as a pinpoint corner delivered by Patrick McEleney was met with height and pace by Sonni Nattestad whose header found the top of the net.

It would be the first step towards making a name for himself on his arrival to League of Ireland football, however this wouldn't be his lasting impact on the game.

The second half saw Graham Burke fire an early warning sign to Dundalk with a low range effort but it was saved comfortably by Abibi. However, Liam Scales would light up the empty Tallaght stadium with a sublime goal that was worthy of the equaliser.

Taking the ball on from his right foot he hooked the ball excellently onto his left before firing a low range effort past the outstretched Abibi. Not long after the game would reach a boiling point.

No hold barred has always been the mantra of games between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk and tonight was no exception, to some a well-timed tackle, others a cynical foul Sonni Nattestad took down Graham Burke and both teams protested both innocence and guilt in equal measure.

The referee trying to diffuse the situation banished Nattestad from the game with a straight red card before adding cautions to both Joey O'Brien and Chris Shields. Stephen Bradley for good measure was booked also for his protests from the sideline.

Dundalk rung in the changes with defensive players Greg Sloggett and Cameron Dummigan deployed to fill the void vacated by Nattestad and despite a late attacking rally from Shamrock Rovers they held firm as penalties decided the fate of this contest.

As the penalties pendulum swung advantage to both sides during the course of the game it was Alessio Abibi who was the hero of the shootout who saved from both Rory Gaffney and Roberto Lopes. The Albanian keeper as the shootout wore on seemed to get a measure and etched closer to denied Rovers with each penalty.

With the game looking to fall in favour of Shamrock Rovers, Graham Burke blazed over before Dundalk's Darragh Leahy despatched his penalty with ease. Roberto Lopes stepped up and despite a well-taken penalty Abibi used every inch of his six foot four frame to parry the ball away and claim the Presidents Cup for his new club.

  • 90'

    And that is our coverage from tonight's game here at FinalWhistle HQ. A dramatic penalty shoot-out sees Dundalk win the Presidents Cup. We will see you next week when the season starts in earnest!

  • 90'

    Roberto Lopes for Shamrock Rovers... Abibi SAVES!!! And it's all over Dundalk win the Presidents Cup. Abibi the hero in the shoot out.

  • 90'

    Darragh Leahy for Dundalk slots it home in sudden death 4-3

  • 90'

    Graham Burke to win it for Rovers...and its over the bar!! We are still at 3-3!

  • 90'

    Andy Boyle for Dundalk and its over the bar!! Still 3-3

  • 90'

    Rory Gaffney for Rovers...ABIBI SAVES We are all square 3-3

  • 90'

    Chris Shields for Dundalk with an excellent penalty 3-3

  • 90'

    Joey O'Brien slots it past Abibi ! 3-2 to Rovers

  • 90'

    Daniel Clarey for Dundalk calmly despatches the penalty. 2-2

  • 90'

    Here is Aaron Greene for Rovers and scores a fantastic penalty 2-1 and advantage Rovers.

  • 90'

    Greg Sloggett for Dundalk he blazes it over the bar! Still 1-1.

  • 90'

    Dylan Watts for Shamrock Rovers and he scores a fantastic goal! 1-1

  • 90'

    Pat Hoban to take the first one for Dundalk....and he strikes it home!

  • 90'

    And here we go! Penalties it is to decide the Presidents Cup

  • 86'

    A good shot from Pat Hoban with a curling effort that Alan Mannus had to gather on the second attempt.

  • 82'

    COMPETITION WINNER Andre Lyder you are the winner of tonight's prize of a footballkitbox jersey and a WATCH LOI pass. Congratulations from all of us here at final whistle!

  • 81'

    And Cameron Dummigan comes on in the last few minutes of the contest, this player really impressed during the latter end of last season.

  • 80'

    We are coming into the last ten minutes of this game, will there be a late winner or will it go all the way to penalties?

  • 64'

    Greg Sloggett has come on and will slot into a more defensive midfield role. This makes sure the defence is covered now they are down to ten men.

  • 64'

    McEleney's night is over and he is set to come off.

  • 64'

    Aaron Greene has come on and will the striker make an impact.

  • 64'

    Daniel Mandriou has come off and its a direct swap.

  • 59'

    Chris Shields has got a yellow card also. So he will need to be careful going forward for the rest of this tie.

  • 59'

    Stephen Bradley has also been given a yellow card.

  • 59'

    Joey O'Brien has been given a yellow for the involvement in the melee that followed the tackle by Nattestad.

  • 59'

    And Dundalk are down to ten! Sonni Nattestad with a rash challenge from behind and the referee has shown a direct red card.

  • 50'

    Dundalk make a direct swap with Patrick Hoban coming into the game, Hoban missed the FAI Cup Final with injury last season so will he make an impact tonight?

  • 50'

    David McMillan comes off for Dundalk's first change of the evening.

  • 47'

    What a goal from Liam Scales, he hooked the ball onto his right foot to tee it up to volley it on his left and it flies past Abibi who was left clutching at the air. Great goal!

  • 46'

    Graham Burke with the first shot on target for the second half but it's a tame effort and is saved by Abibi.

  • 45'

    Just a reminder that we\'re gonna be selecting one lucky subscriber from our newsletter list to win a fantastic package of a WatchLOI Half Season Pass and a Venezia FC jersey courtesy of our match sponsor footballkitbox.

  • 45'

    And the visitors lead here at the interval. Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Dundalk with debutant Sonni Nattestad meeting a Patrick McEleney corner to put the FAI Cup winners ahead.

  • 42'

    And Dundalk take the lead! A fantastic corner from Patrick McEleney and Sonni Nattestad powers a header to the top of the net past Mannus! Dundalk has grown into this game as the half has worn on and they get their rewards.

  • 36'

    A big chance for Dundalk as Jurkovskis crosses in from the right and McEleney was rushing at the back post and the ball just evades him!

  • 31'

    Daniel Cleary enters the book following a foul.

  • 26'

    A foul for the Latvian international sees him going into the referees book.

  • 30'

    Chris McCann with another long-range effort that was well saved by Abibi.

  • 22'

    Daniel Mandriou gets the first booking of the evening.

  • 20'

    COMPETITION TIME: We have teamed up with footballkitbox to give away a jersey and a WATCHLOI pass! All you have to do is subscribe to our FinalWhistle Email Newsletter A winner will be selected ten minutes before full time. Good luck!

  • 18'

    How did that stay out??? Liam Scales met the initial attempt from the corner and Abibi parried it away but only for it to fall to Joey O'Brien which Abibi blocks again and it is hooked clear. Massive let off for Dundalk

  • 15'

    Chris McCann tried his luck on the edge of the area on a half volley but Abibi does well to save.

  • 10'

    Graham Burke with a first long-range shot in anger but it blazes over the bar.

  • 6'

    Another great chance for Shamrock Rovers Rory Gaffney crossed in from the left with the onrushing Sean Gannon coming in but Abibi was equal to the cross.

  • 1'

    The first half-chance of the game when Sean Gannon crossed into the area but as expected Dundalk's defence familiar with the threat were able to block out the cross.

  • And here comes the team! Dundalk is wearing their new away kit inspired by the Great Northern Brewery of gold and black. Shamrock Rovers are in the familiar green and white hoops.

  • Shamrock Rovers line out with two recent former Dundalk players in Sean Gannon and Sean Hoare in the starting line up. Chris McCann and Danny Mandriou also make their competitive start for the Hoops.

  • Dundalk has handed five debuts to its squad tonight: Alessio Abibi, Sonni Nattestad, Raivis Jurkovskis, Sam Stanton and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe. Junior has scored here previously scored for Derry City in a 2-2 draw in June 2019.

  • You're very welcome to this evening's coverage. We're just waiting on the team lineups for this first game of the season in Tallaght Stadium. We'll be with you very shortly.

  • There will be full live text commentary on the website from 7pm on match night with Ciaran Callan. Join us here where we might even be giving away some goodies in association with our match sponsor 'footballkitbox'.

Shamrock Rovers

1Alan Mannus Goalkeeper
2Sean Gannon Defender
3Sean Hoare Defender
4Roberto Lopes Defender
8Ronan Finn Midfielder
10Graham Burke Forward
14Daniel Mandriou 9 Midfielder 22'
15Liam Scales Defender 47'
20Rory Gaffney Forward
26Chris McCann Midfielder 59'
28Joey O’Brien Defender 59'
25Leon Pohls Goalkeeper
7Dylan Watts Midfielder
9Aaron Greene 14 Forward
16Gary O’Neill Midfielder
19Dean Williams Forward
21Adam Wells Defender
24Max Murphy Midfielder
32Cole Omorehiomnan Defender


1Alessio Abibi Goalkeeper
4Andy Boyle Defender
5Chris Shields Midfielder 59'
6Sonni Nattestad Defender 42'
8Sam Stanton Midfielder
11Patrick McEleney 10 Midfielder
13Raivis Jurkovskis Defender 26'
15Darragh Leahy Defender
20Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 23 Midfielder
29David McMillan 9 Forward
21Daniel Cleary Defender 31'
14Peter Cherrie Goalkeeper
9Patrick Hoban 29 Forward
10Greg Sloggett 11 Midfielder
23Cameron Dummigan 20 Midfielder
24Mayowa Animasahun Defender
25Val Adedokun Forward
28Ryan O’Kane Forward
90Jesus Perez Midfielder

Past Meetings

2 - 4
Aviva Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Series 13)
0 - 4
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 4)
3 - 2
Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk


Tallaght Stadium
Tallaght Stadium, Whitestown Way, Tallaght, Dublin 24, D24 XC9W

Ciaran Callan is a part-time sports journalist based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. He has more than 10 year’s experience working with media companies including both extensive radio broadcasting experience along with print and digital media reporting for the SSE Airtricity League as well digital media work with the national sports company eirSport. He joined FinalWhistle in February 2021 as is their main correspondent for Dundalk Football Club.