Four goals in the opening 25 minutes helped Letterkenny Rovers to a convincing win over Milford United in the Knockalla Caravans Cup quarter final at the Aura Complex on Thursday night.
Letterkenny Rovers 5
Milford United 1
Letterkenny Rovers went into this game as clear favourites and duly obliged with an impressive performance, especially in the first half.
It was Milford however, who almost took a shock lead in the second minute when the ever lively Gary Merritt had an effort which had Jason Quinn scampering across his goal to gather.
Rovers manager Trevor Scanlon fielded an almost full strength side and despite the early scare it didn’t take long for them to get into their stride and it took only eight minutes for them to break the deadlock. Following a foul on Aaron O’Hagan who was magnificent throughout, Jonathan Miinnock put in a trademark free kick which got the deftest of touches off Oisin McMenamin’s head to divert it past former Letetrkenny net minder Caolan McGettigan.
McGettigan was going to get a lot busier making it an unhappy return to his old club when three goals in the space of eight minutes put this game to bed.
On 16 minutes man-of-the-match O’Hagan let fly from 25 yards into the corner of the net when the Milford men only half cleared a Neil Lloyd cross. The home crowd barely had time to admire such a wonderful goal before Rovers scored again when O’ Hagan played Matty Harkin through and his low cross was dispatched by Darren McElwaine.
Rovers scored number four on 24 minutes when an effort from Darren McElwaine somehow found its way to Matty Harkin at the back post and he couldn’t miss slotting home effortlessly into an empty net
Milford did try hard to get something back before half time with Gary Merritt and Gavin Grier both having reasonable chances to cut the deficit. It was Merritt who gave the visitors some hope on 59 minutes. ome hesitancy in the Rovers midfield was seized upon by Joey Cullen and his long through ball found the former Finn Harps winger who finished low to the corner giving Jason Quinn no chance.
This goal seemed to revitalise the Donegal League side and they created a number of chances and laid siege to the Rovers goal going close through young Jamie Heena, Merritt on a couple of occasions and veteran Peter Doherty.
Whilst Letterkenny didn’t really get going in the second half it was O’Hagan who put the icing on the cake scoring from the edge of the box on 82 minutes.
To be fair to Milford they never gave up and forced Jason Quinn into action on an number of occasions with a double save from a Christy McCafferty bullet header and a Merritt shot being the closest they came while also having good penalty shouts waved away by referee Tommy McAree.
Next up for Letterkenny is a home game against Swilly Rovers in their quest for title glory while Milford have a Brian McCormick Cup game away to Glenea Utd.
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn, Kieran Doherty, Neil Lloyd, Jonathan Minnock (Anthony Doherty), John Doherty, Glenn Gallagher, Matty Harkin, Aaron O’Hagan, Darren McElwaine (Steve Okakpu), Stephen O’Donnell (Jason Doherty), Oisin McMenamin
Milford United: Caolan McGettigan, Paul Shiels, Ciaran Gibbons, Mark Flood, P Peoples, Lee Burke (Peter Doherty), Gavin Grier (Christy McCafferty), Joey Cullen, Gary Merritt, PJ Hagan, Jamie Heena (Tommy Sweeney).
Referee: Tommy McAree