Letterkenny Rovers held their nerve to seal the treble after completing the job in an entertaining Letterkenny & District U-16 Cup penalty shoot-out win over Swilly Rovers.
Letterkenny Rovers 1
Swilly Rovers 1
(After extra-time, Letterkenny won 9-8 on penalties)
After successes in both the U-16 League and Champion’s League, the side managed by Liam O’Donnell were pushed all the way by their close rivals from Ramelton. And even though Letterkenny dominated the actual match itself, it seemed as though Swilly would have the penalty joy, as they scored their first two with Dylan Hegarty and Dylan Quinn on the mark and Letterkenny missed their opening pair, with Chris Flanagan’s effort saved by Caolan Bolton and Kieran Maloney putting his wide.
However, Christopher O’Donnell saved Swilly’s last two regulation kicks from Dominic Hull and then Ronan Curtis and following a marathon in which each of the 22 players that finished the were forced to kick, the Letterkenny goalkeeper denied Vinny Pyper to seal the win.
If Letterkenny had’ve lost the game manager O’Donnell would’ve been pulling his hair out as his side dominated the match itself, certainly the first half. Swilly, who reached the All-Ireland semi-final at the age bracket before losing to St Kevin’s from Dublin, were penned in and eternally grateful to Bolton, for a number of saves, while Michael Millar saw a cross delfect onto the crossbar.
Although Swilly improved to a degree after half-time and Pauric Ferry hit the outside of the post it was still Letterkenny who made the running. Eighteen minutes into the second half they finally got in front when, following a throw-in by Noah Mailey, Kevin O’Donnell neatly lobbed Bolton.
However, with Swilly growing into the game, they got back on terms five minutes from time when Daragh Black got in behind thanks to Ronan Curtis’s flick-on and made no mistake in shooting past O’Donnell. Extra-time was more balanced although Millar thought he had scored a late winner, only to be denied by the offside flag.
Letterkenny Rovers: Christopher O’Donnell; Christopher McDaid, Kieran Maloney, Liam Blaney, Noah Mailey; Cormac Callaghan, Paddy Diver, Chris Flanagan, Michael Millar; Kieran McPherson, Kevin O’Donnell.
Swilly Rovers: Caolan Bolton; Vinny Pyper, Dominic Hull, Dylan Hegarty, Dylan Quinn; James McCahill, Brandon Toye (Adam Serrinha 72), Kyle Burke, Pauric Ferry; Darragh Black, Ronan Curtis.
Referee: Marty McGarrigle.