ULSTER SENIOR LEAGUE

Semi-final pairings decided in USL League Cup

BJ Banda scores as Letterkenny Rovers beat Derry City Reserves

Chris McNulty, USL PRO

Reporter:

Chris McNulty, USL PRO

Email:

Sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Ulster Senior League

BJ Banda who was on the mark for Letterkenny Rovers against Derry City Reserves in the USL League Cup

The pairings have been decided for the semi-finals of the Donegal News USL League Cup after Sunday's action.

Wins for Letterkenny Rovers and Fanad United confirmed their places in the last four, where Cockhill Celtic will host Fanad and Bonagee United will be at home to Letterkenny.


GROUP A

Letterkenny Rovers 3 Derry City Reserves 1

A competent and assured display from Letterkenny Rovers saw them defeat Derry City Reserves 3-1 to qualify for the League Cup semi finals on a blustery afternoon at Leckview Park.

Rovers came into the game knowing they needed a win to qualify from the group while a draw would have done Derry but in the end it was a comfortable afternoon for Eamon McConigley’s side who will be away to Bonagee in the semi.

It was the home side who almost went in front after just four minutes but Matty Harkin just failed to get on the end of a teasing Johnny Bonner free kick while City's Jack Malone  had a super effort well saved by Rory Kelly in the Rovers goal after six minutes as the game got off to an explosive start.

That set the tone for what was an enjoyable footballing spectacle despite the windy conditions. It was Rovers who were on the front foot throughout with Declan Sharkey shooting straight at City netminder Nathan Gartside on 17 minutes after being teed up by Harkin.

A neat free flowing move on 22 minutes between Conor Tourish, Sharkey and the lively Kevin McGrath ended with Odhran McMacken smacking a cracking effort off the top  of the crossbar while McMacken spurned another chance minutes later following a quick breakaway move.

Jack Malone then tried his luck with a free kick but shot straight at Kelly before Rovers took the lead on 39 minutes when Conor Tourish headed home a superbly delivered Jonny Bonner corner.

Adrian Delap came close for City with a tame shot while Jonny Bonner shot just wide but Rovers were content to go in at the interval ahead.

Rovers doubled their advantage on 56 minutes when McGrath capped a fine display with a goal when shooting low to the corner after being teed up by Sharkey.

Sharkey had a couple of chances to extend the lead but failed to convert while City came closest when Kian McGarvey flashed one just wide on 73 minutes.

That may have changed the game but it was Rovers who added the insurance goal on 73 minutes when BJ Banda - on his return from Finn Harps - scored at the second attempt  when netting from close range.

Derry did try to stage a comeback and got one back with a fine Ronan McKinley goal on 79 following some good work by McGarvey, but it was Rovers who saw the game out well with the defence well marshalled by the impressive  Tourish and Ryan McConnell book their last 4 spot while also giving senior debuts to late subs Gavin McGee, Jonathan Coady and Kealan Dunleavy.

Both sides have a free weekend next week due to the Intermediate Cup while the league proper gets going in a fortnight.

Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Chris Flanagan, Jonny Bonner, Conor Tourish, Ryan McConnell, Kevin McGrath, Odhran McMacken, Chris Malseed, Matty Harkin, Christy Connaghan, Declan Sharkey. Subs used: BJ Banda, Darren Mcelwaine, Gavin McGee, Johnathan Coady, Kealan Dunleavy.

Derry City Reserves: Nathan Gartside, Rhys McDermott, Conor Gormley, Conor Doherty, Kieran Farren Jack Malone, Evan Tweed, Sean McBride, Shane McNamee, Adrian Delap, Kian McGarvey. Subs used: Mikey Friel, Ethan Harkin, Ronan McKinley, Odhran Kennedy, Liam McFadden

Referee: Marty Quinn.

Cockhill Celtic 3 Finn Harps Reserves 1

In blustery conditions in Cockhill, a youthful Harps side matched their more experienced opponents for long periods.

On two minutes, Cockhill threatened when James Bradley's hooked cross was headed back across goal by Bart Wesolowski but Harps scrambled clear.

Harps responded and had their first chance when a teasing Jordan Gallagher cross from the right narrowly evaded Luke Rudden before Jason Breslin cleared the danger.

The corner was cleared to Gerry Gill who advanced through midfield. He found James Bradley who released Marty Doherty on the right. Doherty's pinpoint cross was converted by Wesolowski from close range.

It was 2-0 on 19 minutes. Mark Moran's cross from the left appeared to be over Wesolowski but he adjusted and fired home an acrobatic volley.

Harps were still in the game and had a great chance. Cockhill keeper Jason McCallion did well to smother a Karl McGinley effort. The ball broke to Rudden whose well hit shot was brilliantly parried by McCallion before Breslin completed the clearance.

Any hopes of a second half comeback from Harps were dashed on 50 minutes when the home side went 3-0 up, Gerry Gill's free kick squirming past Joe Boyle.

Harps did pull a goal back on 58 minutes when a cross from the left was volleyed home by Niall McGinley.

Cockhill were sitting in, conceded possession and playing on the break. They almost had a fourth when substitute Aaron Nash squared for Daniel Doherty who dragged his shot wide.

Harps had the final chance if note when Keelan McGill headed wide from a McGinley corner.

Cockhill Celtic: Jason McCallion, Paul McDermott, Jason Breslin, Peter Doherty, Ethan Canning, Gerard McLaughlin, Gerry Gill, James Bradley, Mark Moran, Marty Doherty, Bart Wesolowski

Finn Harps Reserves: Joe Boyle, Corey Lee Bogan, Pat Loughrey, Keelan McGill, Keenan Diver, Niall McGinley, Jordan Gallagher, Stephen Doherty, Luke Rudden, Timmie Subawale, Karl McGinley

Referee: Marty McGarrigle

GROUP B

Fanad United 1 Swilly Rovers 0

Fanad United secured a semi final spot in the Donegal News League Cup with a 1-0 victory over Swilly Rovers at a blustery Traigh-a-Loch.

The first chance of note in the game came after 10 minutes. Dean McCarry flicked on a ball from the back to Davitt Walsh who cut inside but his shot rolled just wide of the far post.

Two minutes later Matthew McLaughlin fired over form 20 yards for Swilly.

On the half hour mark, Brandon Wilkie swung a very dangerous ball into the Fanad box but the in-rushing Ryan McDaid just failed to make contact.

Five minutes later Wilkie fired over after being sent through by Tony McNamee.

The second half started in similar circumstances with both sides struggling with the strong cross - wind.

In the 55th minute, Conor Blaney sprayed an excellent ball out to Edward O'Reilly and when he showed good skill to cut inside, his left footed shot went just wide.

On the hour mark Fanad did have a half chance to open the scoring when Shaun McElwaine volleyed over the bar after a corner.

With 15 minutes remaining, Fanad made the breakthrough. Paul Bradley found space in mid-field and he hit a superb defence splitting pass out to Marty McAteer on the left, McAteer then beat his man before playing the ball across the box where Dean McCarry was waiting to fire home from six yards.

Swilly pushed froward looking for an equaliser and with five minutes remaining, Tony McNamee just failed to make proper contact with the ball on the edge of the area.

Fanad United: Shane Graham, Declan McGarvey, Conor Blaney, Oisin Langan, Shaun McElwaine, Ryan McFadden (James Gallagher 80), Paul Bradley, Dean McCarry, Paddy Carr, Davitt Walsh (Peter Curran 88), Edward O'Reilly (Marty McAteer 62)

Swilly Rovers: Gareth Muldoon, Ciaran McHugh, Shaun Crossan, David Fisher, Dylan Hegarty, James McCahill, Ryan McDaid (Frankie McBrearty 75), Tony McNamee, Kennedy Boachie-Ansah, Matthew McLaughlin, Brandon Wilkie (Jordan Nugent 70)

Referee: Vincent McLaughlin

RESULTS

Donegal News USL League Cup Group B

Cockhill Celtic 3 Finn Harps Reserves 1

Letterkenny Rovers 3 Derry City Reserves 1


Donegal News USL League Cup Group B

Fanad United 1 Swilly Rovers 0

FIXTURES

Sunday, September 16, 2pm

FAI Intermediate Cup, First Round

Cockhill Celtic v Fanad United