Letterkenny Rovers won the DPD Couriers Ulster Senior League Reserve Division after defeating Drumkeen United 5-2 in a lively encounter at St Patrick’s Park on Tuesday evening.
Drumkeen United 2
Letterkenny Rovers 5
After a fairly tame opening in which Rovers could have gone ahead through a Ryan Gildea header and a Jason Doherty effort it was Drumkeen who took the lead against the run of play on 25 minutes.
Gildea was robbed of possession on the edge of his own box and Sean Peoples was the beneficiary shooting high past Christopher O’Donnell in the Rovers goal.
Letterkenny reacted well to this setback and equalised just three minutes later. Gareth Doherty found BJ Banda who in turn played a defence splitting pass to Jason Doherty and the young striker kept his cool to cleverly beat Drumkeen netminder Michael Gibson.
Drumkeen were shocked at losing their lead so soon and were stunned again when with Rovers next attack they took the lead on the half hour. The industrious Kevin McGrath set Doherty away with some neat footwork before his goalbound shot somehow squeezed in at the near post despite the best attempts of Gibson.
Letterkenny did have chances to extend their lead with efforts from Banda and McGrath going close before the title chasers were stunned again when Drumkeen got an equaliser on 38 minutes.
Gary Patton played the experienced Peter McNamee through and his lovely left foot cross fell to Kevin Bonner and he had to have two attempts before smashing the ball high into the net despite the best attentions of Dan O’Donnell.
Rovers were well on top for the first half but would have been worried about Drumkeens resilience as they were determined to stop the title party but all the worry disappeared within eight minutes of the second half as Rovers netted twice to put themselves in a commanding position.
A super ball from Luke Nelis found Adrian Delap at the far post on 48 minutes and he had no bother slotting low to the net to put the visitors 3-2 up.
Then on 53 minutes some neat play between Kevin O’Donnell and Jason Doherty set up BJ Banda and he scored easily to make it 4-2.
Jason Doherty completed his hattrick and put the game beyond any doubt on 70 minutes when he finished well after a throughball from Kieran Doherty.
Rovers did have chances to extend their lead through Kevin McGrath and subs Gavin McDaid and Luke Friel while Drumkeen did apply some pressure late with Peter McNamee and Benny Bonner both going close.
Letterkenny were deserving winners on the night trying to play some attractive football but will know that the win was hard earned against a youthful Drumkeen side.
Manager Eamon McConigley will be delighted with another title and will aim to finish the season maintaining a 100 per cent record with a cup final also to look forward to while Drumkeen are due to play Swilly Rovers on Saturday.
Drumkeen: Michael Gibson,L iam McGill, Kevin Boyle, Paul Bonnar, Eoghan Kennedy, Jerome Duffy, Raymond Sweeney, Kevin Bonnar, Peter McNamee, Sean Peoples, Gary Patton Subs: Benny Bonner for McGill (58), Patrick Dolan for Kevin Bonner (74).
Letterkenny Rovers: Christopher O’Donnell, Kieran Doherty, Luke Nelis, Ryan Gildea, Dan O’Donnell, Kevin McGrath, Gareth Doherty, Adrian Delap, Jason Doherty, BJ Banda, Kevin O’Donnell. Subs: Odhran McMacken for Banda (61), Gavin McDaid for Jason Doherty (72), Luke Friel for Kevin O’Donnell (72).
Referee: Con McLaughlin