A battling second half display from 10-man Letterkenny Rovers earned a point in last Friday night’s Airtricity U-19 League clash against Fanad United at the Aura Leisure Centre.
Letterkenny Rovers 1
Fanad United 1
With the sides level at one apiece, striker Jason Doherty was shown a red card by referee Ronan Floyd for dissent towards his assistant Paul Duddy just five minutes into the second half.
Earlier, Doherty had won his team a penalty – converted by Shane Porter – which cancelled out Kennedy Boachie’s first minute opener for Fanad.
Overall, it was a disappointing spectacle with neither side able to impose any sort of fluency to their play and although both sets of players battled tenaciously, a cutting edge was largely absent.
Rovers will probably feel the slightly happier having had that numerical disadvantage for such a long period.
The league standings remain unaffected as Rovers continue to hold a three point advantage over Fanad entering the final series of matches while, on the same night, Finn Harps’ 1-1 draw at Derry keeps them in third place.
The visitors could not have asked for a better start to the game. Daire McDaid floated a free-kick towards the back post and with home defence dozing, Boachie crept in at the back post before smashing a low drive past the hapless Jason Quinn in the Rovers’ goal.
From that point, Fanad remained in the ascendancy until about the mid-point in the half by which time Rovers eventually got to grip with the play and started to dictate the tempo.
Their adventurous play finally reaped reward five minutes before the break. Jason Doherty wriggled his way into the box showing exceptional balance before being tripped by Kevin Murray leaving the match official with no option but to point to the spot.
Defender Shane Porter drilled home the resulting spot-kick to send the sides in level at the break.
To be fair to Rovers, they picked up where they left off and they were denied by woodwork minutes after the re-start when a superb delivery from Eunan Doherty evaded everybody only to rebound off the post and eventually to safety.
Doherty’s sending-off shortly after forced Rovers to alter their approach but for the most part Fanad found it difficult to find a way through.
In the closing minutes, they did pile the pressure on with a number of corner kicks and one particular effort which Quinn did exceptionally well to tip over the crossbar.
In the end, both sides were left to settle for a share of the spoils.
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn, Kieran Doherty, Noah Mailey, Liam Blaney, Shane Porter, Jack Blake, Eunan Doherty (Simon McGlynn 75) , Kevin McGrath, Ryan McCloskey, Jason Doherty, Kevin O’Donnell (Marty Vance 68).
Fanad United: Sean Deffan, Aidan Sweeney, Caolan McDaid, Kevin Murray, Glenn McNulty, James McCahill, Oisin Hassett, Daire McDaid, David Edwards, Kennedy Boachie, Conor Mathewson.
Referee: Ronan Floyd.