LETTERKENNY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY’S soccer team take on Waterford Institute of Technology in the CFAI Umbro Cup semi-final in Tallaght on Tuesday (kick-off 1pm).
It’s the first fixture of what manager Niall McGonagle hopes till be a double-header with the final of the third level colleges’ competition taking place 24 hours later at Tallaght Stadium - the home of Shamrock Rovers FC. Tuesday’s other semi-final sees Coláiste Íde take on IT Carlow, the defending champions.
“We’ve not really hit full pelt this season and feel we have it in us,” McGonagle said. “We knew if we can play to our potential then we have a chance of getting past an IT Carlow team that we lost 3-0 to in last year’s final.”
LYIT began the CFAI Umbro Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Sallynoggin College in November with goals from Jordan Duffy with two and also Anthony Appiah.
The Port Road residents were then faced with a tough draw as they had to travel to Cork Institute of Technology in February. Luke O’Farrell gave LYIT the lead after 14 minutes and the goal proved to be decisive as McGonagle’s held on, despite severe pressure from the home side to book their place in the quarter-finals.
The team were then drawn at home to Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Castlebar in the last eight and they proved too strong for the Mayo men, winning comfortably 4-1 with goals from Dean Bonner, Appiah, Duffy and Ryan Curran.
This is now McGonagle’s 10th season in charge of the LYIT soccer players and in that time his teams have been arguably the most consistent of all the third level colleges. They have reached the semi-final stage in eight of the preceding nine years - including five in succession, lost the final in 2009 and 2012, as well as defeating Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in 2006 - a team that included current Donegal substitute goalkeeper Michael Boyle, Finn Harps midfielder Sahun McGowan and former Coleraine midfielder Gareth Harkin.
LYIT squad: Ciaran Gallagher (Finn Harps), Sean Black (Fanad United), Jamie Boyle (Gweedore Celtic), Dylan Ramsey (Cappry Rovers), Corey Gallagher (Keadue Rovers), Oisin Grant (Letterkenny Rovers) Jonny Logue (Institute FC), Luke O’Farrell (Drumkeen United), Eoin Barrett (Derry City), Josh Mailey (Finn Harps), Dean Bonner (Finn Harps), Aaron Harley (Fanad United),
Barry McNamee (Derry City), Ryan Curran (Finn Harps), Ryan Toland (Finn Harps), David Gethins (Lifford Celtic), Jordan Duffy (Finn Harps), Anthony Appiah (Bonagee United), Steve Okakpu (Letterkenny Rovers), Kevin Doran (Kildrum Tigers).