Wanderers and Rovers vie for Donegal Youth League title

The Dick Duffy Memorial Youth League will be decided between Erne Wanderers and Letterkenny Rovers at the Hospital Field in Donegal Town on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The Dick Duffy Memorial Youth League will be decided between Erne Wanderers and Letterkenny Rovers at the Hospital Field in Donegal Town on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Both sides will go into the match feeling they have a chance to take the trophy home after good seasons thus far.

Erne’s management team of Charlie Roper and Kevin Gallagher had been sweating on the availability of a number of their Gaelic footballers but have received the all clear to play all that can.

Rovers, on the other hand, produced a fine display when they defeated Swords Celtic 3-0 last Saturday in the last 16 of the FAI Youth Challenge Cup at the Aura Centre.

Anthony Gorman’s team have since been paired with Castlebar Celtic, away from home, in three weeks time.

Erne have a sizeable contingent of the Donegal county minors team who are playing a challenge match against Roscommon in Sligo at noon on Saturday.

That made getting to Donegal Town - which was opted for instead of Inver, the home of Eany Celtic - logistically impossible so now the league decider has been put back an hour to suit.

Jamie Brennan from Bundoran GAA club, is Erne’s leading goalscorer and will make it back from Sligo with teammate Alan Russell.

Eamon McGrath from Aodh Ruadh is in the same boat, as is Naomh Bríd’s Callum Gallagher.

However, Liam Ryan from Kinlough’s Melvin Gaels is away playing with Leitrim and that will leave Erne with a right-back berth to fill.

It’s the same story with the No 3 jersey with Tom Hope, the regular left-back, as he is away on family commitments.

“Look, we’re glad to have got the hour and a chance to get some off the lads back,” joint-manager Gallagher said.

“We’d like to thank Eric White and Letterkenny Rovers and Terry Leyden (Donegal Youth League chairman) for helping us.

“At one stage this week it looked like we wouldn’t have been able to field so we’re delighted to get a chance to take on Letterkenny, who are a fine side and are representing the county so well at national level.”

Erne Wanderers came on top of the southern section, ahead of Drumbar United, Ballybofey United and Cappry Rovers.

Letterkenny, on the other hand, got past Rosses Academy earlier this month after the side from the west of the county couldn’t field.

As a consequence, Letterkenny were awarded a walkover win, something Gorman said “wasn’t ideal.”

First half goals from Jason Doherty and Aaron Scanlon laid the platform for the win before Kieran MacPherson added a third goal in the second half last Saturday against Swords at the Aura.

Dale Gorman is on international duty this week with Northern Ireland U-17’s in Slovenia but will return on Friday as the Letterkenny side look to build on last weekend, a result and performance their manager was full of praise for.

“All in all, it was probably our best performance of the season to date,” Anthony Gorman said. “I was happy with everyone who played.

“But that’s over now and it’s all about Erne, who we’ve seen this season and they’re a fine side.”