Letterkenny Rovers succumbed to a heavy 4-0 defeat to a much superior Dundalk side in their opening Airtricity U-19 League Northern Section match at Oriel Park on Saturday.
Letterkenny Rovers 0
Two goals in each half sealed a deserved victory for the promotion favourites as Rovers failed to repeat their opening day win at the same venue last season.
In fact, Anthony Gorman’s men collected four points from their visits to the Co Louth venue in their last campaign but on this occasion found a vastly improved Dundalk side much too hot to handle.
With Dale Gorman departed for League One side Stevenage, Rovers are left with a huge void to fill in centre midfield while Aaron Scanlon was also unavailable although Jack Blake came on as a first half substitute and made an impressive debut.
Dundalk did the real damage in the first half establishing a 2-0 lead through Craig Doherty and George Poynton and further goals in the final quarter from Pauric McGowan and a second from Doherty wrapped up the win.
Rovers need to re-group quickly ahead of the visit of Derry City to Leckview Park next Saturday.
The first goal arrived on the 16-minute mark. Ciaran O’Connor’s ball into the box wasn’t properly dealt with by the visitors defence and the ball broke to Doherty who drilled his shot home past the hapless Jason Quinn.
Rovers had a couple of opportunities from free-kicks in decent positions but Michael Miller failed to test goalkeeper Ryan Davis.
At the other end, Quinn produced a stunning save from point blank range to deny captain Conor McDonald before they did double their lead before the break through Poynton’s looping header from inside the box.
McGowan coolly slotted home a third goal to put the game beyond Rovers’ reach in the 76th minute before Doherty tapped in his second goal of the afternoon late on to compound more misery for the Donegal club.
Dundalk: Ryan Davis, Scott Craven (Vladislav Evseev 75), Paul Finnegan (Caolan Reilly 75), Manuel Kaguako, Marifide Montawdo, Craig Pentony, Kevin Nolan, Conor McDonald , George Poynton, Craig Doherty, Ciaran O’Connor.
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn, Kieran Doherty, Liam Blaney, Shane Porter, Noah Mailey, Michael Miller, Kevin McGrath, Ryan McCloskey, (Kevin O’Donnell 80) Brandon Toye, Marty Vance (Jack Blake 40), Jason Doherty.
Referee: Matthew Farrell.