Ulster Senior League Preview

We have to get our focus back - McConigley

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Ulster Senior League Preview

Walsh Brothers, Davitt and Liam, who were in opposition last weekend.

Letterkenny Rovers manager Eamon McConigley says his side must regain their focus after dropping four points in their last two Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League games.

The season had started with much promise for the Leckview Park men.

After reaching last season’s Intermediate Cup final and getting the chance to play at Aviva Stadium, Rovers got through the group phase of the League Cup and beat Derry City in their opening League game.

Despite exiting this season’s Intermediate Cup at the hands of Cockhill, Rovers went to Buncrana and drew with the defending champions Cockhill, only to undo their good work in the last two outings.

Having let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 against Swilly, Letterkenny lost 1-0 to an Aidan McLaughlin goal for Bonagee on Sunday at Leckview, meaning Cockhill could open up a five-point lead on them should they win their game in hand.

“We have lost our focus in the last couple of games,” says McConigley, who returns to Triagh-A-Loch on Sunday for a clash with Fanad United.

“We need to get back to winning ways again. We’ve had two bad results and we’re now playing catch-up.  We have to take that on the chin and just get our house in order again.”

Rovers will welcome Paul Boyle and Darren McElwaine back from suspension while Conor Tourish should return from injury, although Paul McVeigh – sent off on Sunday – will be suspended for the game against his former club.

For McConigley, too, it is a return to a ground and a club he knows so well having enjoyed success as a player and a manager with his native Fanad.

McConigley says: “Every day I go to put the rigs into the boot of the car, I hope that we play well, that we don’t make mistakes and that we don’t become victims of a bad refereeing decision. You need those three things to be in your favour all the time.

“We have pressed the self-destruct button on ourselves. At the same time, we didn’t get the rub of the green, but we just have to go to Fanad and get a victory on Sunday.

“Having the three boys  back will generate a good bit of confidence in the dressing room and we’d be confident that we can go and get a result.

“There is no doubt that we have the players to get back on track again. I do believe that we’ll come back, but I just hope that it isn’t too late. That’s sad to say this early, but in the League we’re in it’s very true.”

McLaughlin’s early goal gave Bonagee the derby win, although McConigley was content with how his side had played, save for the lack of goals.

He says: “We felt comfortable on Sunday. We had two cleared off the line, we had one goal disallowed and Gareth Wade (Bonagee United goalkeeper) made two brilliant saves.

“The unfortunate thing is, with it being a small League with the small number of teams, you don’t get much of a chance to make up the deficit because there is less scope for teams to take points off each other.”

McConigley’s big disappointment so far, though, was the exit from the Intermediate Cup. Although he missed the game as he was on holiday in Portugal, he sensed trouble when he took a phone call early in the game to inform him that Cockhill had gone 1-0 up.

Derek Doherty’s goal proved the only goal of the game and Rovers were out.

“When you go a goal down early like that in the Intermediate, it’s always so difficult to claw it back,” says McConigley.

“Gavin Cullen had an exceptional game that day by all accounts, though, but you can’t go a goal down so early, not in the Intermediate Cup against one of the top sides, which is what Cockhill are.”

For their part, Fanad are entering this Sunday’s game on the back of their first win of the season on Sunday past, defeating Finn Harps Reserves 4-0.

Sunday’s other game sees Swilly Rovers host in-form Cockhill Celtic at Swilly Park. Cockhill showed their worth on Sunday with a stunning 5-1 win over Derry City Reserves.

Gerard McLaughlin’s hat-trick and goals from Paul McDermott and Gerry Gill gave Gavin Cullen’s men a big win.

“It was a massive result,” Cullen said after his side went joint top of the table.

“We were excellent in possession and out of possession – it was the best we’ve been all season.

“We knew that Derry would be good on the ball so we tried to press them and the players, to a man, did what we asked of them. We could have probably scored four or five more.”


FIXTURES

Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League

Sunday November 6, 2pm

Fanad United v Letterkenny Rovers Referee – Michael Connolly; Assistants – Marty Quinn and tbc

Swilly Rovers v Cockhill Celtic Referee - Packie Coll; Assistants – Vincent McLoughlin and Marty McGarrigle

Monday November 7, 7.30pm

Finn Harps Reserves v Derry City Reserves Officials tbc

RESULTS

Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League

Sunday, October 30

Cockhill Celtic 5 Derry City Reserves 1

Fanad United 4 Finn Harps Reserves 0

Letterkenny Rovers 0 Bonagee United 1

TOP GOALSCORERS (League goals only)

Aidan McLaughlin (Bonagee United) 3

Max Karner (Derry City Reserves) 3

Gerard McLaughlin (Cockhill Celtic) 3

Cathal Farren (Derry City Reserves) 2

Stephen Duffy (Derry City Reserves) 2

Steve Okakpu-Emeka (Letterkenny Rovers) 2

Christy Connaghan (Letterkenny Rovers) 2

AWAY TIES FOR USL TEAMS

THE TWO Ulster Senior League representatives - Bonagee United and Cockhill Celtic - have both been handed away draws in the third round of the FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup.

The draw was conducted on Tuesday afternoon at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown.

Bonagee United will travel to face Edenderry Town, while Cockhill Celtic will make the long trek to Cork to face College Corinthians.

Edenderry Town are third in Senior 1A of the Leinster Senior League, the third tier of that league, while College Corinthians are fifth in the Munster Senior League.

Cockhill overcame Letterkenny Rovers - last year's finalists - 1-0 and then Swilly Rovers 7-0 in the opening two rounds.

Bonagee received a bye through the first round before defeating Fanad United 2-1 in the second round.

The Intermediate Cup holders, Crumlin United, have been drawn away to Swords Celtic.

BROTHERS IN COMBAT
THE WALSH brothers from Kerrykeel, Davitt and Liam, were on opposing sides on Sunday in Triagh-A-Loch.

Davitt lined out for Fanad United and his younger brother Liam was on the Finn Harps Reserves team.

It was Davitt who left with the family bragging rights. Davitt scored the opening goal in a 4-0 win for Arthur Lynch’s team, their first League win of the new season.

Oisin Langan, Shaun McElwaine and Eoghan Rafferty were also on the mark for Fanad in the win.

RESCHEDULED GAME

THE Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League game between Finn Harps Reserves and Derry City Reserves scheduled for Sunday November 6 will now take place on Monday November 7 at Finn Park, kick-off 7.30pm.

NOTES
CLUBS are reminded to submit their weekly reports and club news to the Ulster Senior League PRO, Chris McNulty, at chrismcnulty86@gmail.com