Grant rescues Bonagee against Letterkenny Rovers with late equaliser

Grant rescues Bonagee against Letterkenny Rovers with late equaliser

Letterkenny Rovers

Garbhan Grant rescued a point for nine-man Bonagee as he netted a last-gasp leveller against his former club in a dramatic derby in the Ulster Senior League

Bonagee United 2

Letterkenny Rovers 2

It seemed as if BJ Banda’s second-half goal was set to hand Letterkenny Rovers all three points in the Cathedral Town derby - until Grant struck.

With a minute remaining, Michael Funston beat Emmet Friel in an aerial tussle and his flick on sent Grant through. With the space closing around him, Grant tucked home past Letterkenny goalkeeper Rory Kelly.

Banda’s 65th minute strike looked to have been enough for Rovers to hand Bonagee a first defeat of the season.

Ryan Rainey had only just cancelled out Ryan Lonergan’s early opener when Banda struck. Banda tapped home from close range after the ball came back off the post into his path following Declan Sharkey’s initial work on the right side.

Bonagee finished the game with nine men after a card-riddled encounter.

Bonagee lost Jordan Armstrong to a second booking in the 44th minute and a similar fate befell Sean Hume 14 minutes from the end.

In all, there were 10 cards, eight of them yellow

Rovers hit the front after only seven minutes. Gary Merritt and Hume contested a cross and the ball landed invitingly into the air space over Lonergan. With the hosts static, Lonergan perfectly placed a neat header across Eugene Ferry into the far corner.

Lee Toland had fired an earlier warning just over the crossbar. The former Finn Harps left back took aim from the left-hand side and saw his attempt zip narrowly past its target.

Toland curled wide with an almost carbon copy later in the half.

Rovers had the better of the play in the first half with Bonagee struggling to create, although Micheál Doherty did signal some intent when his low cross was cut out for a corner.

Darren McFadden - who netted the winner for Bonagee in Monday’s 1-0 win over Derry City Reserves - had a half chance when he met Hume’s delivery, but Rory Kelly was able to easily gather.

Just before half-time, Bonagee were rocked when they went down a man. Armstrong, already booked for an earlier foul, went to ground under a tangle of legs in the area. Referee Michael Connolly showed the Bonagee frontman another yellow for simulation and Armstrong’s afternoon was over as he made the long walk back to the dressing rooms.

Michael Funston and Banda had efforts saved at either end and Bonagee began to have a spell of pressure. Rainey was unable to connect properly with one shot after Doherty’s clever ball around the back played in the scampering Mark Harkin.

On 61 minutes, Bonagee drew level as Rainey smashed to the top corner after Doherty carved out the opening on the right channel. The ball fell a little awkwardly, but Rainey made no mistake as he thundered home.

Within four minutes, though, Rovers were back in the driving seat when Banda pounced.

Hume was on the tightrope from a caution early in the second half and the defender was dismissed on 76 minutes following a foul on Lonergan.

Kelly was forced to claw away, at full stretch, a header from Gareth Breslin, as nine-man Bonagee sought to preserve their unbeaten start to the campaign.

As darkness fell, the floodlights came on and Bonagee saw light at the end of the tunnel with Grant firing home a dramatic equaliser.

Bonagee United: Eugene Ferry; Mark Harkin, Gareth Bresin, Sean Hume; Michael Funston, Daniel O’Donnell, Deano Larkin (Peter Carr 72), Ryan Rainey, Micheál Doherty (Duncan Patterson 78); Jordan Armstrong, Darren McFadden (Garbhan Grant 74).

Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly; Ciaran Kelly, Connor Gormley, Dan O’Donnell (Emmet Friars 57), Lee Toland; Ryan Lonergan (Jack Dwyer 83), Chris Malseed, Jonny Bonner, Declan Sharkey (Kevin McGrath 72). BJ Banda (Davitt Walsh 78), Gary Merritt.

Referee: Michael Connolly.

Finn Harps Reserves 1

Fanad United 0

Corey McBride’s goal after just four minutes settled a keenly-contested Ulster Senior League game between Finn Harps Reserves and Fanad United, which was switched to Traigh-a-Loch.

These two predominately young sides showed plenty effort throughout the game but chances were at a premium.

The only goal of the game arrived in the fourth minute. When Harps were awarded a free kick 25 yards out, Corey McBride stepped up and scored with an excellent shot into the corner of the net.

Five minutes later Ria Aithipitani did miss a chance to extend the lead for Harps when he found room in the box only to see his shot well saved by Oisin Cannon.

Fanad did settle into the game after that and had 2 half chances in the 13th minute when Matthew McLaughlin seen his header well saved by Jamie Bell and when the rebound fell to Dean McCarry on the edge of the box, his shot went well over the bar.

McCarry came a lot closer to an equaliser on the half hour mark when his superb dipping volley from 30 yards went just over the bar.

Five minutes later Corey McBride broke into the Fanad box but he fired into the side netting.

Fanad were left frustrated in the closing stages of the half when Eddie O'Reilly was taken down from behind in the box but the ref waved play on.

The second half continued in the same vain as the first with neither side creating many clear chances.

Seven minutes into the half, Stephen Doherty fired wide of the Fanad post after a flowing move the length of the pitch.

In the 65th minute Corey McBride cut in from the left and his curling right footed effort seemed to be bound for the top corner only for Oisin Cannon to produce a superb full length fingertip save. The last 20 minutes didn't produce many chances although with ten minutes remaining, Martin McElhinney seen his shot in the box deflect juts wide of the Harps post.

Finn Harps Reserves: Jamie Bell, Rory O'Donnell, Darragh Ellison, Ciaran Farren, Joel Bradley Walsh, Jack Doherty, Ria Aithipitani, Darren McElwaine, Gabriel Aduaka, Stephen Doherty, Corey McBride. Subs Used: Ronan Gallagher, Jordan Gallagher

Fanad United: Oisin Cannon, Oisin Langan, Conor Duggan, Peter Curran, Patrick McGinley, Johnny Logue, Matthew McLaughlin, Paul Bradley, Dean McCarry, Keelin McElwaine, Edward O'Reilly. Subs Used: Martin McElhinney, Dylan Dorrian

Referee: Martin McGarrigle

Derry City Reserves 0#

Cockhill Celtic 1

Jimmy Bradley’s first-half goal secured a vital win for champions Cockhill at Derry City Reserves.

Bradley netted 16 minutes into the game for what proved the sole strike.

The experienced midfielder’s goal ensured that Gavin Cullen’s team left with all three points.

Derry City Reserves: Oisin Gibson, Jack Parke, Brendan Barr, Mark McFadden; Kyle McCann, Jack Coyle, Michael Harris, Ronan Boyce, Ronan McAleer, Matty Walker, Adam Curran

Cockhill Celtic: E Jordan, J Breslin, L McColgan, O McColgan, P Doherty, R Doherty, D Doherty, S Duffy, C Farren, B Callaghan, J Bradley


November 17th

Letterkenny Rovers v Finn Harps Res

Cockhill Celtic v Bonagee Utd

Fanad Utd v Derry City Res

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