Erne Wanderers who defeated Letterkenny Rovers on Saturday morning.
A late, late goal from Robbie Murphy secured Erne Wanderers a semi-final spot in the u12s Champions League after the Ballyshannon men secured an enthralling 2-1 win over Letterkenny Rovers at the Aura Centre on Saturday morning.
Letterkenny Rovers . . . 1
Erne Wanderers . . . 2
Murphy struck in the last minute and that goal was like a dagger to the hearts of the home side. A 1-1 draw at that stage would have seen both sides advance as Ballybofey Utd had defeated Milford 1-0 in the other group game which was being played simultaneously.
Erne were undefeated coming into this one and a draw would have been good enough. Those hopes received a huge shot in the arm just 2 minutes in when the excellent Murphy fired them in front when finishing neatly past Christopher Diver after a delicate pass from Eoghan Kelly.
Rovers almost levelled straight away when Sam Harvey's effort hit the side netting after being played through by Mark McGlynn . But the home side failed to get a grip on the game and lacked their normal usual fluency going forward in the early proceedings and created very little of note against a well organised Erne defence.
Erne though were indebted to netminder Ryan Daly who pulled off a top notch save from Donal Gallagher on 20 minutes after a corner was only partially cleared. Then Harvey forced Daly into a routine stop as Rovers began to press near the end of the opening half.
Rovers, who had won the domestic double, did get level before the break when a long through ball from Gallagher sprung the offside trap and Kian McGrath nipped in to round Daly before having the simple task of firing into the empty net.
That equaliser galvanised a large home support and left an equally sizeable Ballyshannon support sweating. And it was the Cathedral Town men who started the second half the better and Harvey again went close (twice). Erne had chances too through Maitiu Tierney but his attempt was well smothered by Diver while Murphy and the equally excellent Kelly were causing headaches for the Rovers rearguard and the two combined but Murphy shot just over.
Rovers though went in search of the win they needed and came close on numerous occasions through Mark McGlynn, Reid Kelly, Mandy Kelly and Harvey but found Daly in no mood to give up any easy chances.
With word coming through that Ballybofey had beaten Milford 1-0 and a draw would be good enough for both sides Erne struck in the final minute to sink Rovers when Murphy was quickest to capitalise on a defensive error after a long throughball from Tommy Winters before shooting past Diver much to the delight of the away support.
Rovers though to their credit went on the offensive again and had chances in a frenetic finish through Caolan Plumb, Reid Kelly, Aaron Temple and Sam Harvey and had efforts from Donal Gallagher and Harvey cleared off the line superbly by defenders Aonghus Sweeney and Aidan Sweeney.
But hey could not find the leveler which would have seem them advance after a remarkable tense encounter. On this showing Erne will be very tough semi final opponents for Illistrin in the last four.
Letterkenny Rovers: Christopher Diver, Paddy Donaghey, Caolan Plumb, Ciaran Kelly, Rudi Minnock, Caolan Plumb, Donal Gallagher, Sam Harvey, Mark McGlynn, Aaron Temple, Mandy Kelly, Reid Kelly.
Erne Wanderers: Ryan Daly, Aonghus Sweeney, Aidan Sweeney,Shane Delahunty, James Gallagher, Shane McGloin, Tommy Winters, Robbie Murphy, Eoghan Kelly, Oisin McGlinchey, Kian Duncan, Maitiu Tierney.
Ref: Tony McNamee.
Letterkenny Rovers U-12s, pictured before their game with Erne Wanderers on Saturday.
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