The Letterkenny Rovers team pictured before Sunday's FAI Intermediate Cup semi-final with Firhouse Clover. Photo: Stephen Doherty
Letterkenny Rovers and Firhouse Clover will meet again in a fortnight after Sunday’s FAI Intermediate Cup semi-final ended goalless at Leckview Park.
Letterkenny Rovers . . . 0
Firhouse Clover . . . 0
Neither side managed to find a winning goal in what was a closely fought encounter, although on chances and overall quality, Letterkenny probably shaded this tie.
That said, they must go to Dublin for the replay without Pajo Rafferty who was sent off in the dying minutes of Sunday’s game.
The striker was red carded for dissent after reacting angrily to a yellow card issued by match referee, Marty McGarrigle.
Rafferty is likely to face further punishment because before leaving the field of play, he went back and physically confronted the match referee. It was an unsavoury end to what had otherwise been a hugely enjoyable match.
Before the final whistle was blown after six minutes of injury time, Firhouse were also reduced to ten men when their captain Darren Forsythe saw red for a second bookable offence.
Letterkenny will be disappointed not to have made home advantage count but while they will miss Rafferty next time out, they can still travel to Dublin with plenty of confidence.
They played well for much of this contest and even though Firhouse ended the first half on top, Letterkenny always carried the greater threat.
Rafferty and Darren McElwaine had early chances as Rovers started well and with Chris Malseed and Christy Connaghan very impressive at midfield, Eamonn McConigley would have been content with his team’s first half display.
But Firhouse, who have yet to concede a goal in this year’s cup competition, did cause Letterkenny plenty of moments of worry and Rory Kelly produced a class save to tip away Patrick Brophy’s header following a free-kick on 28 minutes.
Then just before half-time, substitute Nika Arevaoze was only inches away from connecting with Michael Doyle’s inviting cross.
Rovers however, got back on top in the second half and while Kelly saved again, this time from Conor Byrne, Letterkenny began to turn the screw. Rafferty was close to breaking the deadlock but his effort from a Garbhan Grant delivery drifted just wide.
McElwaine was also denied by a defensive block after a neat pass from David Shovelin.
However, Rovers, for whom Conor Tourish again excelled at centre half, couldn’t manage a goal that could have decided this tie and instead, they will go again on Sunday, April 8th.
LETTERKENNY ROVERS: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan (Chris Flanagan 86), Ryan Gildea, Ryan McConnell, Conor Tourish, David Shovelin, Paul McVeigh (Garbhan Grant 20), Chris Malseed, Darren McElwaine (Kevin McGrath 83), Christy Connaghan, Pajo Rafferty.
FIRHOUSE CLOVER: Ian Molloy, Peter O’Donnell, Craig Farrelly, Luke Walsh, patrick Brophy, Michael Mcloughlin, Carl Forsythe, Michael Doyle, Rory O’Connor (Nika Arevaoze 25 (Lorcan Paten 75)), Conor Byrne, Darren Forsythe.
REFEREE: Marty McGarrigle.
ASSISTANTS: Packie Coll, Vincent McLaughlin.