ULSTER SENIOR LEAGUE

Letterkenny Rovers close the gap on leaders Cockhill to a point

Leaders are held at home by Derry City Reserves

Chris McNulty USL PRO

Reporter:

Chris McNulty USL PRO

Email:

Sport@donegaldemocrat.com

On a day when Cockhill Celtic lost their 100 per cent start to the Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League season, Letterkenny Rovers closed the margins with a derby win at Bonagee while Fanad United overcame Finn Harps Reserves.

Bonagee United 0 Letterkenny Rovers 3
Letterkenny Rovers narrowed the gap to USL leaders Cockhill Celtic thanks to a comfortable win over Bonagee United at Dry Arch Park.
Christy Connaghan, Kevin McGrath and Sean McCarron netted the goals as Eamonn McConigley’s men took advantage of Cockhill being held at home to Derry City Reserves.
It might have been a different tale had Bonagee midfielder Daniel stolarczyk6 netted a 42nd minute penalty.
With Rovers in front through Connaghan’s 16th minute opener, Bonagee - who minus the suspended Michael Funston and Gareth Wade, as well as the unavailable Mark Harkin - were handed a glorious chance to draw level when Chris Malseeed handled in the area.
However, Stolarczyk spurned his big moment, blazing up and over Rory Kelly’s crossbar.
All of a sudden, Bonagee found themselves two down and staring into the abyss. Right on the blow of half-time, McGrath hit a stunning second for Rovers.
From 25 yards, McGrath’s half-volley was struck as sweet as he could have hoped for, flying beyond the helpless John Carr.
It was a first USL appearance for Carr, Bonagee’s Donegal League netminder and he could be pleased with his display, even if he did concede three.
In the second half, Carr made a fine stop to deny McCarron who was bearing in on goal and also kept out an effort from Connaghan.
Midfielder Connaghan broke the deadlock when he was on the receiving end of a fortunate ricochet. A Bonagee clearance rebounded off one of their own players and Connaghan seized on the chance, rounding Carr before tucking home.
Pajo Rafferty had earlier headed over before he was denied by the post as a first-time shot from a McGrath pass had Carr beaten.
McGrath was involved again when his initial shot was cushioned by Carr and Ciaran Daffan hooked it clear.
Rovers were in cruise control without being at their best in the second half and McCarron copper-fastened the win with a tidy finish from the edge of the box.

Bonagee United: John Carr, Rory McCrossan, Darren Hunter, Caillin McLaughlin, Ciaran Daffan, Dean Larkin, Glenn Gallagher, Daniel Stolarczyk, James Carolan, Matthew Harkin, Jamie Lynagh. Sub used: Aaron Wasson.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan, Conor Tourish, Ryan Gildea, Lee Toland, Kevin McGrath, Chris Flanagan, Chris Malseed, Christy Connaghan, Pajo Rafferty, Sean McCarron. Subs used: Darren McElwaine, Brian McVeigh, Odhran McMacken, Steve Okakp-Emeka, Garbhan Grant.
Referee: Marty Quinn


Cockhill Celtic 1 Derry City Reserves 1
In slick conditions in Cockhill, it was a very even first half with the home team having a one goal advantage at half time, but Derry rallied in the second half and deserved a share of the spoils. 
On nine minutes, a Ryan Varma corner was headed goalwards by Garbhan Friel but cleared off the line. 
Ronan Doherty cut in from the right side but was denied by a brilliant low save from Jason McCallion.
Derry had a big chance on 21 minutes when Caolan McLaughlin sprung the Cockhill offside trap but shot straight at Lee McCarron.
Cockhill took the lead on 28 minutes when great movement and interplay from the Cockhill forwards released Mark Coyle for a shot. Although Rhys McDermott blocked the shot, it fell to Mark Moran who swept home.
Derry continued to create chances and should have equalised when Callum Boyle was through. If anything, he had too much time and his eventual shot was well saved by McCarron.
The second half started in a similarly open fashion with Derry trying to equalise and Cockhill looking for the second goal. 
Moran thought he'd supplied it when his goal-bound effort was brilliantly tipped onto the post by McCallion.
On 61 minutes Coyle worked an opening on the left but chose to cross when a shot looked on.
Cockhill were made to rue these missed chances when Caolan McLaughlin beat McCarron to a long through ball to equalise.
Cockhill huffed and puffed after this looking for a winning goal, looking most dangerous from set pieces.
Indeed they almost snatched the win when another Friel header was hacked off the line.
Derry continued to look to the ever-willing Aidy Delap to fashion a chance on the break but the draw was a fair result.


Fanad United 2 Finn Harps Reserves 1
Fanad United secured a hard fought 2-1 victory over a youthful Finn Harps Reserves on Sunday afternoon.
Harps started the stronger of the two teams having most of the early possession.
In the 10th minute Fanad somehow managed to avoid going behind as Harps hit the woodwork twice in a matter of seconds.
Dylan McGrory struck the post with a fierce shot from 20 yards and from the rebound Luke Nelis crashed his shot off the crossbar.
Five minutes later Adam Duffy seen his lob from inside the box go just over the Fanad bar. Somewhat against the run of play Fanad took the lead in the 20th minute.
When Oisin McMenamin controlled a kick out from Shane Graham, he surged down the right and his ball into the box was met by Davitt Walsh who made no mistake.
On the half hour mark Gareth Doherty seen a well struck free go just over. Fanad were starting to get hold of the game and with five minutes of the half remaining Harps keeper Joe Boyle produced a fine save to deny Kyle Black who hit a rasping shot from 20 yards out.
The second half started at a slower pace with neither side creating any clear chances in the opening 10 minutes. On 57th minutes Fanad were awarded a free 25 yards out and Tony McNamee stepped up but his shot flew just wide.
A minute later Shaun McElwaine sent a superb ball forward to Oisin McMenamin who turned his marker but his shot curled just wide of the post. 
Harps got a deserved equaliser with 66 minutes gone. After some good work down the right, the ball fell to Liam Walsh who emulated older brother Davitt by finding the back of the net.
The goal seemed to spark Fanad back into life and they took the lead with 13 minutes remaining.
A corner swung in from the right caused havoc in the Harps box and eventually the ball broke to Daire McDaid who's close range header went over the line.
Three minutes later Shane Graham produced a fine save to deny Michael Gallagher.
Fanad were reduced to 10 men in the 95th minute when Daire McDaid received a second yellow card.
Best for Fanad were Shaun McElwaine, Keelin McElwaine and Oisin Langan. Best for Harps were Keenan Diver, Liam Walsh and Gareth Doherty.

Fanad United: Shane Graham, Keelin McElwaine, Oisin Langan, Shaun McElwaine, Seamus Friel, Tony McNamee, Marty McAteer, Davitt Walsh, Kyle Black (Darragh Black 68), Conor Blaney (Daire McDaid 45), Oisin McMenamin
Finn Harps Reserves: Joe Boyle, Evan McGrory (Dean O'Donnell 63), Dara Ellison (Keelin McDermot 68), Keenan Diver, Liam Doherty, Ryan Finn, Dylan McGrory, Liam Walsh, Adam Duffy, Gareth Doherty, Luke Nelis (Ciaran Kelly 30)

RESULTS

Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Sunday, December 3
Bonagee United 0 Letterkenny Rovers 3
Cockhill Celtic 1 Derry City Reserves 1
Fanad United 2 Finn Harps Reserves 1

FIXTURES

Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League

Friday, December 8, 8pm
Bonagee United v Derry City Reserves

Sunday, December 10, 2pm
Fanad United v Cockhill Celtic
Letterkenny Rovers v Swilly Rovers