Letterkenny Rovers pictured before Saturday's cup win over Strand Celtic
Letterkenny Rovers travelled to the scenic Celtic Park on Saturday and came away with a fully deserved win over hosts Strand Celtic and in doing so advance in the FAI U17 Youth Cup in what is a rare excursion into the competition for the Leckview Park side.
Strand Rovers 2
Letterkenny Rovers 6
Strand started the opening exchanges the brighter but created little of note before Brandon Manues did well to fire home on 8 minutes after a neat move instigated by Clinton Ilupeju. And Rovers joy was extended when the lively Manues fired home on 14 minutes when forcing a mistake from the Strand defender as it looked like Rovers would stroll to success.
The Sligo based side though did come into the game and visiting netminder Eoghan Jordan did well to turn a free kick from Geraoid Mulligan around the post but the hosts were not to be denied on 36 minutes when Callum Burns launched an audacious superbly placed lob from 25 yards which gave Jordan no chance.
That goal made things nervy for Rovers approaching halftime and after Strand went close early in the second half through a Leo Doherty header the third goal they so anxiously sought arrived midway through the half when a long freekick from Joseph McGill from inside his own half sailed over everyone including goalkeeper Cian Bassquille and ended up int he top corner after a fortuitous bounce in the penalty box.
Rovers kicked on from that and a quick brace from Alan Stephenson on 71 and 74 minutes with a header and a fine angled finish made it 5-1 before Strand got one back through Kian Harrison.
That goal was a mere consolation and it was Rovers who had the final say when Stephenson did well and his effort was deflected past Basquille to complete a good win for Anthony Gorman's charges who will hope for an extended run in this competition.
Strand Celtic (squad): Cian Bassquille, Dara Muldowney,Adam Higgins, Gearoid Mulligan, Leo Doherty, Adam Lynch, Lee Wilson, Paddy McDermott, Callum Burns, Callum Maone, Sean Coggins, Cian Harrison, Luke Walsh, Conor Cusack, Jack Kenny, Noah O'Kane.
Letterkenny Rovers (squad): Eoghan Jordan, Rhys Mullen, Gerry Obi, Ruairi Dennehy, Alan Stephenson, Joe McGill, Brandon Manue, Conor McKinney, Gabriel Aduaka, Clinton Ilupeju, Conor McKinney, Ryan O'Donnell, Odhran Donnelly, Oran Winston, Gavin Johnston, Oisin McGarvey.