David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation
Aaron McCarey played a crucial part in Dundalk’s first trophysuccess of the season as the Lilywhites ran out winners on penalties at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium last Saturday night. Derry City and their Louth counterparts have had some fascinating battles so far this season, playing out three two all draws already. This game was no different, again finishing two each at the end of both normal time and full-time.
Goalkeeping rotation is now in vogue. Many clubs have employed using their number one shot-stopper throughout the league whilst the understudy takes the reins in predominantly cup games. McCarey has featured throughout the EA Sports Cup for Dundalk, playing against St. Patricks Athletic, UCD and Bohemians.
It only took three minutes for the Scotstown man to be called into action. Derry winger Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe fired a low shot which was too hot to handle, McCarey could only parry to the feet of Candystripe goal poacher David Parkhouse who made no mistake as he put Declan Devine’s men ahead.
An excellently curled finish before the halftime whistle from Dundalk winger Michael Duffy restores parity. However, only six minutes into the second half a deflected strike from Junior bamboozled McCarey as he could only watch the ball slither into the far corner of the net.
The dismissal of Grant Gillespie for the Derry men resulted in the Lilywhites pouring forward as they tried to draw level. Sean Gannon got the equalizer as he tapped in from 6 yards following a lapse in concentration from the Derry defence.
One-way traffic ensued as Dundalk went to find the winner in normal time. McCarey did have to remain vigilant and concentrated as Derry tried to break on the counterattack, saving excellently from Ciaron Harkin. This demonstrated the belief and concentration levels needed to be a top class ‘keeper.
As the game rumbled on towards penalties, again the former Monaghan minor Gaelic footballer saved well from Derry substitute Michael McCrudden. Dundalk could not find the all-important winner, so the lottery of a penalty shootout proved to be the deciding factor.
Dundalk achieved the first leg of what is hoped to be a domestic treble for the Louth men winning by six goals to five. McCarey did earn some well needed fortune which is always required in a shootout as Jack Malone saw his effort go wide of the upright before Ally Gilchrist saw his effort crash off the crossbar for the Candystripes.
McCarey and his teammates will hope this is the start of special couple of weeks for Dundalk and the ex-Irish youth international will hope to earn more game time as the season reaches its climax.