League Cup groups take shape

Derry City took a giant step towards the semi-finals of this year’s Donegal News League Cup following their 3-1 win over visiting Bonagee Utd. on Sunday afternoon

Derry City took a giant step towards the semi-finals of this year’s Donegal News League Cup following their 3-1 win over visiting Bonagee Utd. on Sunday afternoon

Derry sit a top of Group A needing one win from their final two games to guarantee themselves semi-final berth, meaning at least one if not both of Cockhill Celtic and Kildrum Tigers – two of the pre-competition favourites may not qualify from a very tight Group A. Drumkeen played out yet another draw this season, drawing all 3 of their games in this season’s Cup competition to date and they still have to face table toppers, Derry City in their final group game. Bonagee look to have their work cut out to make the semi-finals with both Kildrum and Cockhill to play in their final two games. Last season’s Runners-up, Cockhill travel to The Showgrounds in Bonagee on June 6th knowing nothing less than a win will keep their hopes alive. If they can win there, they will take on leaders Derry in their final game while the Tigers take on Bonagee with goal difference possibly deciding who moves on to the semi-finals.

In Group B, the picture looks a lot clearer – if Fanad can continue their good start to the season by winning at home against the visiting Swilly Rovers on Monday night in Trialough.

On Sunday, Letterkenny got the better of Buncrana Hearts by virtue of a Darren McElwaine brace that should see the Leckview Park outfit joining the holders Fanad in this year’s semi-finals. In this group of original USL members, Fanad and Letterkenny began this years competition as favourites to progress and bar Jason Gibson’s men upsetting the apple cart on Monday down in the Kingdom it will be those two that progress.

Donegal News USL League Cup Results

Group A

Derry City 3 Bonagee Utd. 1

Drumkeen Utd. 1 Kildrum Tigers 1

Group B

Letterkenny Rovers 2 Buncrana Hearts 1

Fanad Utd. v Swilly Rovers

(playing Monday 23rdApril)

Group A

P W D L F Ag +/- Pts

Derry City 2 2 0 0 5 2 3 6

Kildrum T 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 4

Drumkeen U 3 0 3 0 4 4 0 3

Cockhill C 2 0 1 1 4 5 -1 1

Bonagee U 2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 1

Group B

Fanad Utd. 2 1 1 0 8 4 4 4

Letterkenny R 2 1 1 0 5 4 1 4

Buncrana H 3 1 0 2 4 7 -3 3

Swilly R 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0

Drumkeen Utd. 1

Kildrum Tigers 1

Drumkeen played out their third draw in as many games on Sunday at St. Patrick’s Park against Kildrum Tigers to keep the Group A table wide open. These teams played out a draw just two weeks ago in the Knockalla Cup with the St. Johnston men progressing on penalty kicks to a meeting with Kilmacrennan Celtic this Wednesday evening. Played in good, dry conditions there was never going to be much in this one and so it proved once again.

Kildrum started brightly and forced a few half chances but found a resolute Drumkeen rearguard too hard to breach early. The Tigers best early chance fell to Darren McCready but he blazed over when well placed. Drumkeen had a chance shortly after, on 20 minutes when the ball fell to Sean Ferry but he dragged his shot wide. Drumkeen began to get the upper hand in midfield with the influential Phillip Whyte and Gary Patton combining well with the industrious Ferry. Ferry missed the best chance of the first half when Whyte put him through one-on-one with but Marty McGinty in the Tigers goal was equal to the task to see the sides turn around all square.

Drumkeen were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal just five minutes into the second half when the impressive Ronan Coyle slid a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the inrushing Kevin Doran and the Kildrum substitute finished neatly past McCauley to give the visitors the lead. Drumkeen responded by introducing veteran Justin Deasley for Patton and he was involved in setting up the home side’s equaliser on 65 minutes when he blocked a Kildrum shot and fed Raymond Sweeney, Sweeney then found sharp shooter Richard Moore inside the box and he made no mistake firing past McGinty. The home side now had the momentum and once again it was Ferry who had a chance to give the home side the lead but once again he just failed to add the finishing touch. Drumkeen then forced a series of corners and in one goalmouth scramble, Kildrum full back Dermot Kelly cleared off the line with the home side appealing the ball had crossed the line, referee Con McLaughlin waved play on and despite more pressure Drumkeen couldn’t find a winning goal to boost their hopes reaching the semi-finals and now sit one point behind Kildrum with just one game remaining. Both these sides will lokk forward to the FAI Cup Rd. 2 draw next week and fingers crossed will be hoping for a home draw. Best for Drumkeen were Phillip Whyte, Raymond Sweeney, Shaun Gallagher and Justin Deasley with Paddy McLaughlin, Johnny McGinty and Darren Cassidy impressing for the Tigers.

Drumkeen Utd.: Paul McCauley, Gavin Reilly, Ryan Gildea, Ray Quinn, Shaun Gallagher, Raymond Sweeney, Phillip Whyte, Gary Patton, Sean Ferry, Richard Moore, Benny Bonner. Subs used: Lee Guthrie, Justin Deasley.

Kildrum Tigers: Marty McGinty, Dermot Kelly, Neil Lloyd, Paddy McLaughlin, Johnny McGinty, Gary Crossan, Darren McCready, Gavin Doherty, Ronan Coyle, Cormac Carlin, Darren Cassidy. Subs: Damian Crossan, Glen Bovaird, Kevin Doran, Ryan McGarvey.

Referee: Con McLaughlin.

Derry City 3

Bonagee Utd. 1

A very good game of football was produced today at Oakgrove between a young Derry team and a hard working Bonagee team. Played in good conditions Derry dominated the first half with Connor Harkin and Ciaran Villa dominating midfield. The goal finally arrived in the 40th minute, a great header from Kevin Barr who beat the goalkeeper.

The second goal arrived in the 60th minute, a shot from 25 yards from Conor Harkin, gave the goalkeeper no chance. Bonagee replied in the 70th minute when Seamus Cusack scored at the back post with a header.

Bonagee also had some good chances to level the match but Derry finished the match with a well taken goal from Matt Henry. Bonagee deserved a lot of credit for their second half performance in an entertaining game.

This result sees the young Derry team requiring just one win from their final two games to claim a spot in this years semi-final. They will begin thier league campaign next week with an away trip to Buncrana while Bonagee will play derby rivals Letterkenny Rovers in the Knockalla Cup quarter finals.

Letterkenny Rovers 2

Buncrana Hearts 1

Two goals from Darren McElwaine gave Letterkenny Rovers a 2-1 victory over Buncrana Hearts at Leckview Park on Sunday last. The visitors arrived in Letterkenny knowing a victory would see them through to the semi-finals and although they provided a much sterner test than when the two sides met in the Knockalla Caravans Cup at the start of the season, Rovers still had enough to take all three points from this League Cup group encounter.

Rovers had McElwaine to thank for his two goal burst with the in-form striker having netted in each of the sides three fixtures so far this season. It took just evelen minutes for him to find the net when his curling effort took a deflection to beat Shaun O’Donnell in the Buncrana goal. However, the home sides lead was short lived. Two minutes later, a clumsy challenge from Josh Mailey on Liam McCarron just inside the box saw referee Packie Coll award a penalty. Gerard McLaughlin drove the resulting spot kick low into the corner of the net.

After a patchy first half performance, Rovers showed a vast improvement in the second half and McElwaine restored their lead on 55 minutes diverting Jonathan Minnock’s inch perfect free-kick into the net from close range. Indeed, ‘Macca’ twice came close to a hat-trick but for some fine goalkeeping from O’Donnell while left winger Jamie Doherty had a stinging effort superbly tipped over the crossbar as the hosts continued to force the issue. Buncrana had a chance late in the game to grab a share of the spoils but Chris Patton produced an excellent save to deny a McLaughlin header from six yards.

Letterkenny Rovers - Chris Patton, Conal McGonigle, Jonathan Minnock, John Doherty, Glenn Hamilton, Graham Cullen (Odhran McMacken on 65 minutes), Jamie Doherty, Gareth Boyle (Ryan Carlin on 77 minutes), Darren McElwaine, Joshua Mailey, Mark Harkin. Buncrana Hearts - Shaun O’Donnell, Padraic McLaughlin, James Quigley, Gary Duffy, Darren Coyle, Ben Holly, Kieran McDaid, Liam McCarron, Gerard McLaughlin, Darragh O’Connor, Robbie Fullerton. Referee - Packie Coll


4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League

Saturday, April 28th

Fanad Utd. v Drumkeen Utd. 12noon P. Coll (Ref.)

Cockhill Celtic v Swilly Rovers 6pm P. Duddy (Ref.)

Sunday, April 29th at 2pm

Buncrana Hearts v Derry City D. McCafferty (Ref.)

Knockalla Caravans Cup Q-Finals

Wednesday, April 25th at 6:30pm

Kilmacrennan Celtic v Kildrum Tigers TBC (Ref.)

Sunday, April 29th at 2pm

Letterkenny Rovers v Bonagee Utd. C. McLaughlin (Ref.)

Ulster Senior League Results and Fixtures are now available on Aertel page 436 on RTE 2.