Letterkenny Rovers made it to this season’s Knockalla Caravans Cup final after a 1-0 victory over Drumkeen at Leckview Park on Thursday night.
Letterkenny Rovers 1
Drumkeen United 0
The win came courtesy of a Darren McElwaine strike on 59 minutes in what was a tough physical battle against a Drumkeen side who will consider themselves rather unlucky not to be contesting their second final in successive years.
In what was a low key start it was the home side who almost took the lead on seven minutes. A cross from Stephen O’Donnell was only half punched clear by Drumkeen goalkeeper Paul McCauley and it fell to the head of the inrushing Kevin McGrath and his header brushed the outside of the post from 15 yards.
For the rest of the first half it was all Drumkeen with Conor Carlin and Eunan Kelly always looking lively in attack. Darren McCreadie shot just over from the edge of the box on 11 minutes while Kelly had a glorious header which went just over from an inch perfect cross from Darren Cassidy. Letterkenny were giving away needless free kicks in and around the penalty area and it looked like only a matter of time before Drumkeen would score but with man-of-the-match John Doherty in commanding form, Drumkeen didnt really trouble Letterkenny netminder Jason Quinn.
Drumkeen had their best chance of the half on 43 minutes when Paddy McLaughlin missed the target after a super cross from Darren McCreadie.
The winning goal came on 59 minutes. Darren McElwaine somehow won possession in the box near the dead ball line before cutting back in towards goal. His shot deceived Paul McCauley before hitting off the base of the post and going into the net.
From then on Drumkeen had most of the play and looked dangerous going forward with the pace of Conor Carlin looked likely to be the key to unlocking the defence. But it wasnt until the 77th minute that goalkeeper Jason Quinn was tested when a crisp 18 yard shot from Darren Cassidy brought a good save.
While Drumkeen were pressing for an equaliser Letterkenny almost wrapped the game up on 87 minutes when a Matty Harkin shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Paul McCauley.
Letterkenny now have a cup final to look forward to and their opponents will be known on Sunday when Swilly Rovers entertain Cockhill Celtic in Ramelton while Drumkeen set their sights on getting back into title contention in the League
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn, Glenn Gallagher, Neil Lloyd, Jonathan Minnock, John Doherty, Kevin Deery, Matty Harkin, Aaron O’Hagan, Kevin McGrath (Owen Morrison 57), Darren McElwaine, Stephen O’Donnell (Steven Okakpo 57).
Drumkeen: Paul McCauley, Michael Carroll, Benny Bonner, Ryan Gildea, Paddy McLaughlin, Philip Whyte, Darren Cassidy, Darren McCreadie, Conor Carlin, Eunie Kelly, Gavin Reilly (Brian McGrory 71).
Referee: Paul Duddy
Assistants: Vincent McLoughlin and Stephen Toner