Cockhill Celtic were crowned 2014 Ulster Senior League champions after having to come from behind twice to eventually defeat Letterkenny Rovers 3-2 at Leckview Park.
Letterkenny Rovers 2
Cockhill Celtic 3
Cockhill went into the game knowing a win would secure title glory but that victory seemed like a million miles away when Rovers took the lead after only ten minutes. A free kick from the left hand side was whipped in by Neil Lloyd and it found David Shovlin and his cute header deceived Gavin Cullen to put the hosts ahead.
The visitors responded well and equalised on 21 minutes. Oisin McColgan with an incisive pass found Garbhan Friel and as he attempted to round Rovers defender John Doherty, referee Stephen Toner adjudged that Doherty had handled the ball. Friel made no mistake from the penalty spot slotting it past Jason Quinn in the Rovers goal with ease.
Cockhill had a glorious chance to go in front on 27 minutes when Derek Doherty capitalised on a mistake by Aaron O’Hagan. Doherty played a ball through to Conor Carlin who tried to place his shot low into the corner but the ball hit Jason Quinn who managed to retreat and gather the ball.
Rovers never really tested the Cockhill defence but regained the lead on 37 minutes. Stevie Okakpo raced on to along through ball and was bundled over unnecessarily by Gavin Cullen just inside the box. Darren McElwaine stepped up and scored his second penalty in week past Cullen to ensure Rovers held a 2-1 advantage at half time.
Rovers were intent on spoiling the title party and should have put the game beyond doubt two minutes into the second half. Stevie Okakpo mishit an effort while well placed and Johnny Bonner should have done better at the far post but shot wide after a McElwaine cross to the far post.
This seemed to be a turning point as Cockhill went straight up the pitch to equalise on 49 minutes. A wonderful cross from Gerry Gill found Garbhan Friel and his looping header went over Quinn to the sound of huge cheers from the large army of away supporters. Indeed they didnt have to wait too long before what turned out to be the League winning goal arrived just 3 minutes later. A corner from Gerry Gill found Friel at the near post and the ball seemed to come off his knee and bounced into the ground and into the net to spark off scenes of wild celebration from the Cockhill faithful. The Inishowen men did have chances to extend their lead with Conor Carlin again guilty on 68 minutes.
A long kick out from Cullen was expertly taken down by the former Drumkeen man and he had plenty of time but somehow his lob over Quinn went just over. Letterkenny did have a couple of chances to equalise with a Johnny Bonner rasper bring a top notch save from Cullen while a John Doherty header also caused some panic in the Cockhill defence as time was running out while James Bradley should have done better for the visitors but blazed high and wide on 87 minutes
When referee Stephen Toner who was excellent throughout blew the final whistle it sparked scenes of jubilation and ensured that Cockhill defended their title with a game to spare. Celtic are back at Leckview next Saturday when they play Swilly Rovers in the League cup final and are attempting to win the double double having also won both competitions in 2013
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn, Ryan Gildea, Neil Lloyd, John Doherty, Johnathan Minnock, David Shovlin, Gareth Doherty, Aaron O’Hagan, Darren McElwaine, Stevie Okakpo, Johnny Bonner. Subs; Stephen O’Donnell for Shovlin 75 mins
Cockhill Celtic: Gavin Cullen, Kieran McLaughlin, Oisin McColgan, Mal McDermott, William O’Connor, Derek Doherty, James Bradley, Liam O’Donnell, Conor Carlin, Garbhán Friel, Gerry Gill.
Finn Harps Res. 1
Bonagee Utd. 2
Bonagee started brightly with Kevin Barr having a few attempts on goal that were well saved by Shaun Patton. Dean McConnell & Darragh Black had good efforts for Harps that were well saved by the Bonagee keeper. Frankie McBrearty put the away side in front 20mins in as he finished low in to the bottom corner. Ryan McFadden doubled the lead in the 40th min as he headed home from a free kick. The second half was open with both sides having numerous efforts on goal and Harps got back in to the game in the 71st minute as Jack Dean finished well after a great through ball from Jordan Loftus. Loftus then had a free kick come back off the crossbar as Harps pushed for the equaliser, but the Bonagee men held out for the victory.
4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Letterkenny Rovers 2 – 3 Cockhill Celtic*
*Cockhill Celtic are League Champions
Finn Harps Res. 1 – 2 Bonagee Utd.
DPD Div. 1
Drumkeen Utd. Res. 2 – 5 Bonagee Utd. Res.
Letterkenny Rovers Res. 5 – 1 Fanad Utd. Res.
Tuesday, August 12th at 7pm
4 Lanterns USL
Fanad Utd. v Swilly Rovers M. McGarrigle
DPD Div. 1
Drumkeen Utd. Res. v Letterkenny Rovers Res. C. McLaughlin
Wednesday, August 13th at 7pm
DPD Div. 1
Swilly Rovers Res. v Fanad Utd. Res. V. McLaughlin
Saturday, August 16th
Donegal News League Cup Final at Leckview (4pm)
Cockhill Celtic v Swilly Rovers
Ref. P. Coll; Assts. P. Duddy & V. McLaughlin
DPD Div. 1
Letterkenny Rovers Res. v Fanad Utd. Res.* C. McLaughlin
*To be played in Bonagee
Drumkeen Utd. Res. v Swilly Rovers Res. M. Quinn
Sunday, August 17th at Leckview (2pm)
Bonagee Utd. v Drumkeen Utd.
P. Duddy; Assts.: V. McLaughlin & M. McGarrigle
Tuesday, August 19th at 7pm
DPD Div. 1
Bonagee Utd. Res. v Letterkenny Rovers Res. C. McLaughlin
Fanad Utd. Res. v Drumkeen Utd. Res. S. Toner