Action from Sunday's game at the Aura where Letterkenny Rovers beat Derry City Reserves. Photo: Stephen Doherty
A commanding first half display from Letterkenny Rovers saw them reach the Donegal News League Cup final with a 4-0 win over an understrength Derry City Reserves on Sunday afternoon at a crisp Aura Centre.
Letterkenny Rovers . . . 4
Derry City Reserves . . . 0
The victory means Eamon McConigley's men will face Cockhill Celtic in the decider which is currently scheduled for June 3rd and that will be the second final the sides will play this season as they meet in the Knockalla Cup decider in just under a fortnight's time.
Rovers were buoyed by a big win over Finn Harps Reserves in midweek and started where they left off in that one and were on the front foot from the outset and took the lead on 4 minutes.
A teasing Luke Nelis corner was met by Ryan McConnell and the towering defender powerfully headed home for his 2nd goal of the season.
City though probed in the search of an equaliser and former Rovers men Adrian Delap and Ethan Coll combined on 10 minutes but Coll saw his effort go just wide. They also had a penalty shout when Delap was bundled over in the box on 13 minutes but those appeals were waved away by referee Marty Quinn.
It was the home side who bossed the remainder of the half though and doubled their lead on 15 minutes when Cillian Morrison squeezed and pressurised a backpass to City netminder Dan Houghton and the ball cannoned off him and into the net for a cruel blow for the Candystripes.
Morrison looked lively throughout and almost made it 3-0 on 23 minutes when he disposssed Evan Tweed and forced a good stop from Houghton. City were limited in chances with the closest a tame free kick from Shane McNamee easily gathered by Rovers netminder Rory Kelly.
Rovers finished the half strongly and Luke Nelis shot just over while Declan Sharkey came close with a bullet header from a sublime Odhran McMacken cross before they added to their lead on 40 minutes. The goal was a beauty when Nelis hit a rasping effort which beat Houghton.
David Shovlin who also had a Trojan game throughout, came close with a cheeky Rabona effort before Odhran McMacken made the game safe in added time in the opening half when he was alert to turn home a Nelis corner.
Rovers began the 2nd half well also and saw a penalty saved when Houghton guessed right to deny Declan Sharkey who had won the penalty when he was fouled by Danny McGlynn.
Christopher Malseed and Steve Okakpo-Emeka also saw efforts narrowly miss the target before Rovers made a number of changes with a view to yet another midweek fixture on Wednesday night.
City to their credit fought very hard to the end and began to create a number of openings with Adrian Delap shooting just over while Conor Tourish made a superb last ditch tackle to deny Ethan Coll. Delap also shot straight at Rory Kelly in the dying moments.
Rovers and Derry will become familiar foes over the next couple of weeks as they have to face each other twice in the closing stages of the League as they aim to get back into title contention.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan, Conor Tourish, Ryan McConnell, Odhran McMacken, Luke Nelis, David Shovlin, Christy Connaghan, Declan Sharley, Cillian Morrison, Christopher Malseed. Subs; Darren Ferry for McConnell 57 mins, Steve Okakpo-Emeka for Nelis 59 mins, Garbhan Grant for Sharkey 70 mins, Darren McElwaine for McMacken 74 mins, Paul McVeigh for Connaghan 80 mins.
Derry City Reserves; Dan Houghton, Liam McFadden, Fionn McClure, Danny McGlynn, Rhys McDermott, Shane McNamee, Adam Taggart, Evan Tweed, Sean McBride, Ethan Coll, Adrian Delap. Subs; Caoimhin Porter for McBride 45 mins, Ethan Harkin for McClure 55 mins.
Referee: Marty Quinn.