Eamon McConigley's side are into another final
Letterkenny Rovers are through to the final of the Donegal News USL League Cup - but don't know whether their opponents will be Bonagee United or Finn Harps Reserves as the semi-final between the latter two clubs was abandoned on Friday evening.
Letterkenny Rovers 1
Derry City 1
(after extra time, Letterkenny win 3-2 on penalties)
Letterkenny Rovers booked another final date in the Donegal News League Cup after a gritty and determined display saw them overcome the challenge of a decent Derry City Reserves side on penalties after the game had ended 1-1 after extra time.
Rovers are the holders of the Cup and showed great to survive the final minutes of an extended second half injury time and extra time with ten men after the dismissal of Joel Gorman for receiving a second caution.
It was an absorbing encounter which caught fire on 25 minutes when City captain Mark McFadden fired a right footed effort into the corner of the net to hand the Foylesiders the lead and that was the first real opportunity of note for either side.
Rovers almost levelled straight away when Gary Merritt’s cross just was inches away from being turned in by Davitt Walsh.
The Candystripes - many of whose players were watched by Republic of Ireland Under-19s boss Tom Mohan - then wasted a great chance to double their advantage on 44 minutes when Caolan McLaughlin blasted over from 8 yards out.
That proved to be the turning point as Rovers levelled at at the start of the second when a probing run from Merritt saw the ball fall to Kevin McGrath and when his shot was parried by Jack Lemoignan in the City goal veteran Davitt Walsh pounced to fire home.
The game was then held up for a long period following an injury to City midfielder Ronan McKinley and the game was in the melting pot with both sides showing plenty of endeavour and industry without really troubling the respective net-minders.
Caolan McLaughlin twice shot just wide for City while Gary Merritt fired wide for Rovers before Connor Gormley had a chance to win it for the Cathedral Town men on 89 but saw his header fail to find the target when he looked set to score.
Rovers were reeling when Joel Gorman was given a second yellow by referee Michael Connolly two minutes into added time but saw the remaining time out well showing a dogged tenacity to bring it to extra time.
City, as you would expect, had plenty of possession in the additional periods and twice came close through whizzing Jack Parke and McLaughlin efforts while Tiernan McKinney almost won it in the dying stages but his effort was well saved by Rovers goalkeeper Rory Kelly who had a commanding afternoon between the sticks
Penalties ensued and it was Rovers who prevailed 3-2 with Kelly, Lee Toland and Connor Gormley hitting the successful spot-kicks for Eamon McConigley’s men who now have two cup finals on successive weekends to look forward to in the coming weeks while City’s Airtricity underage campaign is looming large on the horizon.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Jonathan Coady, Lee Toland, Rhys McDermott, Connor Gormley, Chris Malseed, Joel Gorman, Zach Gorman, Kevin McGrath, Davitt Walsh, Gary Merritt. Subs used: Leon Doherty, Jordan Gallagher
Derry City Reserves: Jack Lemoignan, Caoimhin Porter, Matty Walker, Jack Parke, Brendan Barr, Dean Corrigan, Ronan McKinley, Mark McFadden, Patrick Ferry, Evan McLaughlin, Caolan McLaughlin. Subs used: Ronan McAleer, Tiernan McKinney, Shaun McDermott, Jack Dwyer, Dominic Dunne.
Referee: Michael Connolly
Bonagee United 1
Finn Harps Reserves 0
(Match abandoned after 70 minutes)
Friday’s Ulster Senior League Cup semi-final between Bonagee United and Finn Harps Reserves was abandoned.
An unsavoury fracas that spilled out to the car park at Dry Arch Park led to the curtailment of the game.
Finn Harps midfielder Jack Doherty and Sean Hume had each been shown red cards following an incident on the pitch.
Referee Vincent McLoughlin called a halt and the matter will now be referred to the Ulster Senior League’s disciplinary committee to adjudicate.
Five minutes beforehand, Bonagee took the lead thanks to a superb finish by Gareth Breslin.
The goal had energised a previously flat Bonagee, who had played second fiddle for much of the night.
The night began with a real zip and Harps were a whisker from the lead when Ronan Gallagher pounced on a mistake only to drill a powerful shot off the base of Eugene Ferry’s post.
Dylan Woods might have opened the scoring for Harps but his header, from a deep Jack Doherty free, looped over the crossbars
Deano Larkin had a big chance for the home side five minutes before the break.
The ball fell invitingly, but his attempt from outside the box was was off target.
In first-half injury time, Luke Rudden tried his luck from distance but failed to trouble Ferry.
Harps burst from the blocks in the second half and Ferry did well to hold onto a testing header by Rudden.
Woods caught sight of the target after being fed by Doherty, but he fired narrowly wide.
Rudden thought he’d opened the scoring when he connected with a superb cross by the ever-dangerous Lee McLaughlin, but Bonagee gasped with relief as the ball flew past the post.
Bonagee United: Eugene Ferry, Jamie Lynagh, Mark Harkin, Gareth Breslin, Michael Funston, Dan O’Donnell, Ryan Rainey, Deano Larkin (Sean Hume 59), Jordan Armstrong, Garbhan Grant (Niall Grace 59), Micheál Doherty.
Finn Harps Reserves: Adrian McLaughlin, Lee McLaughlin, Darragh Ellison, Stephen Black, Joel Bradley-Walsh, Jack Doherty, Nathan Logue, Dylan Woods, Luke Rudden, Ronan Gallagher, Conor Black.
Referee: Vincent McLoughlin.
Wednesday, August 5
Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup semi-final
Cockhill Celtic v Derry City Reserves
Sunday, August 9, 2pm
bmcsports.ie Ulster Senior League
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