Letterkenny Rovers U-14s
Letterkenny Rovers U-14s are through to yet another National Cup last 16 clash, but needed extra time to dispose of the challenge of a dogged Clodiagh Rangers side on a lovely crisp January afternoon at the Aura on Saturday.
Letterkenny Rovers 2
Clodiagh Rangers 1
(after extra time)
Rovers will need to improve for the next round but will savour this victory which was sealed with a fabulous strike from Joel Gorman in the 2nd period of extra time and it was a goal which was worthy of winning any game.
Clodiagh were well rested having made the long trip from Tipperary on Friday evening and looked threatening in the opening stages but it was the Rovers faithful who were cheering when taking a 5th minute lead when after Jack Dwyer sent bustling striker Toby Akinyimika through on goal and he made no mistake when brushing off the challenge of a defender before burying the ball past visiting netminder James Griffin.
That goal really should have set the tone for Rovers and Jack Dwyer came close with a header from a David Boyle centre. With the impressive Leon Doherty creating plenty down the left hand side Rovers threatened to cut loose. However, to be fair to Clodiagh they came right back into the game and home custodian Killian Gribben was called into action and made a super stop on 13 minutes when the impressive Stephen Frescombe's shot looked destined for the top corner.
Rovers came out once again firing in the early stages of the second half and had the chance to end the game as a contest just 9 minutes in when again it was Akinyimika who found himself through on goal and looked set to strike but a heavy touch saw that chance go abegging.
It was to prove crucial as the Tipp men levelled just minutes later when a long probing free kick fell into the path of Frescombe and this time he made no mistake when firing high into the net from close range.
Things became scrappy for the remainder of the game with nerves seeming to play a big part but Rovers had some half chances through Dwyer, Joel Gorman and Sean McVeigh but the game ended deadlocked and headed for extra time.
Chances were limited in the additional period but the one chance that did fall went to the home side and it was 2nd half subs Sean Pascual and Corey McCarron who linked up well to tee up Gorman and he caught it well firing over Griffin for a wonderful finish from the edge of the box with just 6 minutes remaining.
Tough lines on Clodiagh who have reached this stage for the first time ever but its Rovers who advance and will be away in the last 16 with their next opponents scheduled to be known on Sunday afternoon as Kells play Belvedere.
Letterkenny Rovers squad: Killian Gribben, Leon Doherty, james Gallagher, Conor McDaid, Sean McVeigh, Joel Gorman, Corey McCarron, Jack Dwyer, Sean McGinley, Tobi Akinyimika, David Boyle, Dermot Slevin, Sean Pascual, Liam Hannigan, Farad Bashar, Johnathan Pearson, Adam Yissau
Clodiagh Rangers: James Griffin, Sean Ryan, Danny Slattery, Jason O'Dwyer, Oisin Treacy, Sean Philips, Stephen Frescombe, Luke Shanahan, Jamie Davern, Charlie Yates, Jack Kennedy, Mike Griffin, Jack Ryan, Jessie Parker, Eoin Bourke, Mike Ryan, Eoin Noonan.
Ref: Marty Quinn.