Keadue Rovers defend a Donegal Town FC corner during the U-16 Schoolboys Champions League semi-final in Donegal Town Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Keadue Rovers just got the better of Donegal Town in the first leg of the semi-final of the U-16 Champions League at the Hospital Field.
Donegal Town 4
Keadue Rovers 5
It was a real rollercoaster of a game with the home side edging the opening half, but Keadue always carried a threat.
Then they struck for two goals in quick succession inside the final ten minutes and even though Donegal Town threw everything at them, they just held on for the win.
Keadue Rovers started the game well with big full-forward Orrin Burges a real threat, but it was Donegal Town who took the lead on 17 minutes. Darragh Geary made the opening and Alex McCalmont's shot-cum-cross got a touch off a Keadue defender.
Joe Leape almost created a goal for McCalmont a minute later and the No. 9 should have scored on 25 minutes when one-on-one with the 'keeper.
Both sides had long range efforts before Keadue got on terms following a corner. The ball broke to Dermot Doherty and he found the corner of the net with a clinical finish from the edge of the box.
But Donegal Town were back in front straight from the kick-off as McCalmont fired at goal and the Keadue 'keeper Caelan Bonner wasn't able to keep it out.
Donegal Town should have been further ahead at the break as McCalmont was taken down going through for what looked a clear penalty but referee George Clinton waved it away. Just before the break Burges was almost in for Keadue but hit the sidenetting.
The Keadue centre-forward didn't have to wait long for the equaliser as he scored just after the second half kick-off, getting in behind and firing home.
Richard O'Rourke had an effort just over for Donegal and then had a header wide from very close range.
Jay Doherty had a shot deflected just over the crossbar at the other end before the same player was sent through by Burges and he put Keadue ahead for the first time 14 minutes into the second half.
Donegal got back on terms 24 minutes into the half with Christopher Gallagher driving them from midfield, when Richard O'Rourke got in behind to cross and Joe Leape touched home off the post.
Keadue were back in front seven minutes later when a Donegal free kick was cleared and Keadue broke for Dom Doherty to score. Joe Leape had a free saved by the Keadue 'keeper before Dom Doherty scored direct from a corner for Keadue, his effort going in off the back post.
Donegal didn't give up and almost immediately Alex McCalmont got in to touch home the fourth and they were camped in the Keadue half, forcing a couple of free kicks, in the final seconds, but just couldn't get the equaliser.
Given the penalty decision in the first half, maybe a draw would have been a fair result, but overall this was a very entertaining game.
DONEGAL TOWN: Rory Kennedy, Darragh Geary, Shay Travers, Joe Campbell, Kyle Campbell, Mark Jordan, Christopher Gallagher, Richard O'Rourke, Alex McCalmont, Joe Leape, Jamie Gorrell. Rest of panel: Caelen Doherty, Aidan Thomas, Paul Langan, Liam McLaughlin.
KEADUE ROVERS: Caelen Bonner, Kevin Laughlin, Damien Duddy, Maurice McGee, Eoin Martin, Jay Doherty, Michael Greene, Aaron Ward, Orrin Burges, Dominick Doherty, Lwen Boyle. Subs., Denis Wallace for Boyle. Rest of panel: Anthony O'Donnell, Conan Boyle, Pauric Neely, Kevin Gallagher.
REFEREE: George Clinton