Two goals in the final six minutes cost Letterkenny Rovers a point as they suffered their second consecutive home defeat in the Airtricity Under-19 League Northern Section on Monday night.
Letterkenny Rovers 1
Dundalk came to the Aura Leisure Centre reeling from their opening day defeat to Rovers at Oriel Park but Anthony Gorman’s men appeared on course for at least a point after Jason Doherty’s equaliser before the late concession of a penalty paved the way for the visitors to earn the win.
Not for the first time, Bob McKenna was the key man for the Lilywhites scoring a brace to take his tally to six goals for the season and send his side top of the division.
All four goals arrived in the second half but not before an attacking and entertaining opening forty-five minutes.
Despite the absence of Dan O’Donnell and Dale Gorman, it was the home side, in particular, which created the better chances with James Gillen flashing a 25 yard drive narrowly over the crossbar and Kevin McGrath also unleashing an effort which just failed to find the target.
The best opportunity arrived minutes before the interval when Gillen’s low cross from the left found Doherty whose instinctive first time shot from close range drew a magnificent reaction save from Luke McMahon in the Dundalk goal as he diverted the shot away for a corner.
The visitors were on the front foot, however, minutes after the re-start. The Rovers defence looked hesitant as Kevin Nolan hooked a ball into the penalty area and the predator McKenna was on hand to bundle the ball home.
To Rovers credit, they got level on 56 minutes. Jason Doherty racing onto a through ball from Miller and he calmly slotted the ball into the net for his second goal of the campaign to add to his opening day strike against the same opposition.
Caolan Grant almost had Rovers ahead but his superbly struck shot from outside the box again brought the best out of McMahon in the Dundalk goal.
But the Rovers challenge unravelled in the dying moments of the game. Grant committed a clumsy foul on Kenna inside the penalty area on 85 minutes and the striker duly coolly converted the resultant spot kick.
The game was held up for severely minutes due to a head injury sustained by Rovers defender Noah Mailey before Dundalk added a third goal in injury time when Glen Farrell’s shot slipped through the hands of Jason Quinn and into net.
Rovers’ next outing is at home to Derry City in the Enda McGill Memorial Cup first round at the end of the month.
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn, Conor McGlynn, Aaron Scanlon, Kieran Doherty, Noah Mailey, Kevin McGrath, Michael Miller, Coalan Grant (Ryan McCloskey 86), Odhran McMacken, Jason Doherty, James Gillen (Brandon Wilkie 63).
Dundalk: Luke McMahon, Roddy Collins, Aidan Sheehy, Fergal McMahon, Brian Bird (Kevin Loughran 58), Glen Farrell (Ryan Duffy 50), Conor McDonald, Kevin Nolan, Roy Kierans, Bob McKenna, Caolan Reilly (Ciarán O’Connor 78).
Referee: Stephen Toner