Letterkenny Rovers got their Airtricity U19 League Northern Section campaign off to the perfect start with this highly impressive 2-0 victory away to Dundalk at Oriel Park last Saturday afternoon.
Leterkenny Rovers 2
The League of Ireland Premier Division club were left stunned by two goals late in the first half from Aaron Scanlon and Jason Doherty as Rovers made it a debut to remember in the competition.
Played on the synthetic grass surface at the famous County Louth venue, Anthony Gorman’s side adapted well and having established a 2-0 interval lead, showed little sign of throwing it away during a disciplined and accomplished second half performance.
Dundalk - who just missed out on top spot in the section last season - were left frustrated from a fixture they clearly fancied taking all three points from to get their season up and running.
Instead, it was a two goal blitz from Rovers in the space of seven minutes which ultimately decided the contest.
After a dull opening half an hour - during which Dundalk shaded possession wise without carrying any serious threat - it was Rovers who stole a march with the opening goal of the game.
Over 37 minutes had elapsed when Kieran Doherty powered his way into the opposing penalty area and his ball across the box found Aaron Scanlon. The left winger calmly brought the ball under control before supplying a superb finishing curling the ball over goalkeeper Luke McMahon and into the far corner of the net to earn the honour of scoring Rovers’ first goal in the U19 league.
And things got even better for Rovers. With the home side clearly rattled, James Gillen produced a defence splitting pass into the path of Jason Doherty who side stepped the goalkeeper before sliding the ball home from an acute angle.
Rovers survived the predicted pressure from Dundalk early in the second half with goalkeeper Jason Quinn looking very assured and Michael Herrity and captain Dan O’Donnell commanding in defence.
Jason Gillen came close to adding a third but drove his shot straight at McMahon while Dundalk did have the ball into the net late on but it was ruled out for a push on Herrity.
It’s early days but an encouraging start for Rovers.
Letterkenny Rovers – Jason Quinn, Kieran Doherty, Noah Mailey, Michael Herrity, Dan O’Donnell, Conor McGlynn, Aaron Scanlon (Peter McGlynn on 80 mins), Kevin McGrath (Brandon Wilkie on 75mins), Jason Doherty, Darragh Mulgrew, James Gillen.
Dundalk – Luke McMahon, Ryan Duffy, Brian Bird, Ferghal McMahon, Josh Connell (Jonathan Connolly on 69mins), Roddy Collins, Kevin Nolan, Kevin Loughrea, Bob McKenna, Barry Davies, Rory Kierans (Garret Brady on 55 mins).
Referee – Gerard Tomney