Dodrill’s Verona get fresh look for a fresh start in 1A

by Dave Donnelly
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Verona made it three wins from four to move joint-top of LSL Sunday Senior 1A thanks to 1-0 victory at home to Portlaoise on Sunday afternoon.

Adrian Mihutescu scored the only goal of the game as Verona leap-frogged Inchicore Athletic to take a share of the top spot with fellow division newboys CIE Ranch.

The home side started slowly but found their feet as the first half wore on, and could have taken the lead early on through efforts from wingers Mark O’Connor and Donovan Troy.

And it was Troy whose good work down the left that led to the only goal of the game midway through the first half as he crossed for striker Mihutescu.

The visitors had more of the ball in the second half and pushed on in search of an equaliser, but the young Verona side defended well and limited the Laois side to half-chances.

O’Connor could have wrapped things up on the break in second-half injury time when he ran in one-on-one but he couldn’t beat the goalkeeper.

“It’s a decent enough start,” manager Garrett Dodrill told the Dublin Gazette.

“Any one of those games could have gone either way, so it hasn’t been plain sailing but it’s always nice to get the wins on the board.”

The Blanch side have taken to the third tier well despite a change in manager and a big turnover of the playing squad in the off-season.

After finishing last in Sunday 1 last season, Declan O’Brien stepped down and in stepped Drogheda United Under-19s boss Dodrill.

He’s seen a number of more experienced players move on and recruited young players, players who have dropped out of League of Ireland underage leagues or outgrown schoolboy football.

“Pre-season was tough. I had to come in and find out the players that were there and see who was hanging around and who wasn’t.

“We lost a lot of the players that were there last year, so we’ve had to go after a fresh batch of talent to come in. It was tough to get the numbers in but we’ve 30 or 40 lads up training every day now.

“We’ve gone quite young. We’ve a couple of 16 and 17-year-olds in the starting line-up every week.

“I’d say six or seven of my starting 11 were born in 1999 or after.”

He continued: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Some of the standout players for us this year have been the younger lads. It’s been a good learning curve.

“The boys have come in with good attitudes and they’re buying into what I’m looking to get done. The boys who didn’t buy into it moved on and went elsewhere.

“It’s always good to get a decent start under your belt, it makes things easier, but there’s no trophies or promotions handed out in September.

“We just need to keep going.”

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