Letterkenny Rovers hammered Fanad United by four goals to nil in the FAI Intermediate Cup on Sunday afternoon to dump the two-time winners out of the competition.
Letterkenny Rovers 4
Fanad United 0
Letterkenny Rovers produced a splendid display to stun Fanad United and send the two-time winners crashing out of the FAI Intermediate Cup at Leckview Park last Sunday.
A rampant Rovers were 3-0 up at half-time courtesy of a brace from man of the match Josh Mailey which followed Jamie Doherty’s opener while Mark Harkin added a fourth against his former club in the second half. It was arguably their best performance of the season as Eamonn McConigley’s new look side continued their rich vein of form which has seen them finish the season strongly - and they can now look forward to a third round tie in early December.
For Fanad, they must re-group quickly ahead of next weekend’s crunch league fixture away to Cockhill Celtic. Indeed, it was the visitors who had the first real sighting on goal after 16 minutes - Seamie Friel’s back post header hit the upright before the ball was cleared from danger.
It was a decisive miss and a possible turning point early in the game because within 60 seconds Rovers hit the front. Jamie Doherty broke clear down the left flank before cutting inside and his delicate chip over goalkeeper Oisin Barrett nestled in the far corner of the net.
It proved the catalyst for a resounding Rovers first half performance. Dan O’Donnell - who worked tirelessly up front in the absence of regular striker Darren McElwaine - shot narrowly wide as the home side’s pressure showed little sign of abating. The second goal arrived on 23 minutes with Mailey surging down on the Fanad defence he unleashed a superbly executed shot from 25 yards curling the ball beyond Barrett’s reach.
And the former Finn Harps man added a third and a real killer blow to the visitors hopes five minutes before the break with a wonderful free-kick from the edge of the box. Rovers lost their captain Conal McGonigle through injury just before half-time to be replaced by Anthony Gorman.
The second half was a real war of attrition with the Rovers rearguard showing no let up spearheaded by John Doherty and Glenn Hamilton while Gareth Boyle and Oisin Grant worked tenaciously in the centre of midfield.
Eamonn McConigley’s men further increased their lead on 75 minutes when substitute Mark Harkin ghosted in behind Arthur Lynch to blast home the fourth and complete a memorable afternoon for Rovers.
Letterkenny Rovers: James Gallagher, Conal McGonigle (Anthony Gorman 43 ), Jonathan Minnock, John Doherty, Glenn Hamilton, Joshua Mailey, Jamie Doherty, Gareth Boyle, Dan O’Donnell (Mark Harkin 74 ), Oisin Grant, Odhran McMacken (Kieran McPherson 87 )
Fanad United: Oisin Barrett, Sean McElwaine, Eiphrim McFadden (Aidan Sweeney 45 ), Seamus Friel, Arthur Lynch, Seamus Friel, Christy Connaghan, Paddy McGrenaghan, Eunan Kelly (Eric Roberts 70 ), Eamonn Cannon (David O’Herlihy 84 ).
Referee: Paul Duddy.
Cockhill Celtic 1
Kildrum Tigers 1
(Kildrum won 3-2 on penalties)
Kildrum progressed to the next round of the Intermediate Cup thanks to a narrow 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Cockhill with keeper Marty McGinty the hero for the Tigers.
The home side started the brighter and had a Paul McKinney goal disallowed for offside on three minutes.
Kildrum’s keeper McGinty then saved well from Garbhain Friel after eight minutes. Then, on 12 minutes, Kildrum’s lively winger Kenny Doran had a shot over the bar from 20 yards after cutting in from the wing past his marker. The visitors playing with the breeze then had a Ronan Coyle effort cleared off the line by William O’Connor. Cockhill’s Derek Doherty then had an effort just wide from distance on 22 minutes with the keeper scrambling. The visitors broke the deadlock on the half hour mark when Doran latched onto a ball over the top and coolly converted after a one on one with Stephen Conroy in the home net and this is how it stayed till the break.
The second period was a midfield battle with little in the way of chances for the front men on both sides; both keepers had little to do aside for goalkicks and marshall their defence. Kildrum were happy to sit back and hit on the break with Matthew Crossan and the speedy Doran causing problems for the home defence. As the clock approached the final quarter Cockhill’s manager Donal O’Brien went three at the back to try salvage something from the game, it almost worked on 75 minutes when Garbhain Friel played in substitute Aiden O’Donnell but McGinty was smart off his line to save with his legs and Kelly cleared the danger. The home side scrambled an equaliser on the stroke off fulltime when Aiden O’Donnell shot to the net from two yards after a Friel header was deflected onto the post after a Bradley free on the edge of the box.
Extra-time was played with Cockhill creating the better chances off the first period but McGinty saved well from a Malachy McDermott shot and then McKinney headed over from inside the six-yard box. As the referee blew for the end off extra-time it was to be decided on penalties. McCready missed for the visitors before two smart saves from Marty McGinty either side of a good penalty from Johnny McGinty had Kildrum 1-0 in front; successful kicks from Kildrum’s Crossan and Cockhill’s Mark Moran made it 2-1. McLaughlin then missed for the Tigers before Friel converted to make it 2-2 after four penalties. Neil Llyod then scored and the pressure was on Cockhills Paul McKinney to take it to sudden death but the striker hit it over the bar sending the S. Johnston side through.
FAI Intermediate Cup second round
Letterkenny Rovers 4-0 Fanad United
Bonagee United 0-7 Drumkeen United
Cockhill Celtic 1-1 Kildrum Tigers AET
Kildrum win 3-2 on penalties
Ulster Senior League
Cockhill Celtic v Fanad United S Toner Assistants T McAree and J CollKillea AFC v Bonagee
United D McCafferty