Letterkennny Rovers - U-14 Champions League winners. Photo Stephen Doherty
It was a unique occasion in the Champions League as two teams from the one club contested the u14s final and it was Letterkenny Rovers who defeated Letterkenny Crusaders 6-2 at the Aura Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Letterkenny Crusaders 2
Letterkenny Rovers 6
This was a tighter contest than the scoreline may have suggested with a pulsating first half ending level before quick goals at the beginning of the second period saw Rovers to go on to record a comfortable victory in the end.
Crusaders were forced to line out without their chief talisman Brandon Ndlovu due to injury but it was they who started the brightest and deservedly took the lead on 18 minutes when a well delivered corner from James Lenty Gallagher was superbly headed home by the inrushing Sean McVeigh and his powerful effort gave Johnny Pearson in the Crusaders goal no chance.
Rovers then came close to an equaliser but Cormac Mulraine did well to block Rory Pypers goalbound effort but they did restore parity on 25 minutes when David Boyle made no mistake when heading home Jack Dwyers well weighted corner kick.
Remarkably though Crusaders retook the lead just two minutes later and again it was McVeigh who delivered when he again scored with a header from a Kenny Alum free kick and it looked like they would take that lead to the interval but after Leon Doherty came close with a mazy run and shot just over it was Rovers who struck for a vital second goal just before the break.
It was a wonderful goal when Joel Gormans throughball was taken down expertly by Nathan Plumb and he made no mistake firing home.
The timing of that goal was all-important and Crusaders were dealt another blow early in the 2nd half when marquee defender Gerard Casey was forced off injured and Rovers upped the ante in the chase of a domestic treble and took the lead just 5 minutes into the half when Gorman again was the provider for Plumb to score with a classy header.
The celebrations had barely died down when Rovers were celebrating another goal as Rory Pyper slid in to fire home Jack Dwyers centre to make it 4-2 before Plumb completed his hattrick and copperfastened the Man of the Match award when neatly dispatching home after a long throughball from Conor McDaid.
That was the game more or less ended as a a contest before David Boyle got his second of the game with just 8 minutes remaining to make it 6-2.
The win for Rovers under the management of Michael Boyle, Derek Plumb and Noel McGinley means they win the treble of League, Cup and Champions League in what has been a wonderful campaign while the Crusaders gaffers James Bonner, Rory McMorrow and Nigel Teape may reflect tonight on what might have been and can look on a number of key moments in todays game although they will also take great pride in how their charges have performed in what has been a long and arduous season.
It was a strange day for the Rovers club but a proud one also and all energies in the age group will now be focused on the SFAI National Cup area final when the club faces Bonagee in a couple of weeks time.
LETTERKENNY CRUSADERS: Cormac Mulraine, Gerard Casey, James Lenty Gallagher,Josh Patton, Kenny Alum, Peadar McGeehin, Jake Kelly, Nathan Bonner, Sean McVeigh,Sean McGinley, Odhran Galvin, Conor McMorrow, Ibrahim Olayode, Danny McLaughlin, Sean Freeburn, Oisin Teape, Mohammed Khan.
LETTERKENNY ROVERS: Johnny Pearson, Killian Gribben, James Barlow Gallagher, Leon Doherty, Liam Hannigan, Conor McDaid, David Boyle, Joel Gorman, Nathan Plumb, Rory Pyper, Adam Yisau, Sean McGinley, Toby Akinyimika, Sean Pascual, Lorcan Harvey, Corey McCarron, Fouad Bashar,
REFEREE: Liam McLaughlin