GOALKEEPER AND CAPTAIN SEAN FRIEL saved two shoot-out penalties as Letterkenny Rovers defeated Gweedore Celtic to retain the John ‘Gorey’ Curran Cup.
Letterkenny Rovers 0 Gweedore Celtic 0
after extra time; Letterkenny Rovers win 4-1 on penaltes
Friel saved the penalties of Liam Wiggins and Neasán Mac Giolla Bhríde, both having dived low to his left-hand side for the stops.
With Conor O’Donnell, Eoghan Kelly, Michael Gallagher and Shane Doherty – who slammed the winning penalty high to the Gweedore net – converting, it was Rovers who took the win, with Michael Roarty the sole Gweedore man to hit the net.
Rovers lost their League crown to Drumkeen United this season, with the Leckview Park side having won the title in each of the last four seasons.
Last season, they won all before them winning the quadrouple of the Dick Duffy Youth League, John Gorey Curran Cup, Colin Breslin Cup and Ulster Youth Cup, but Anthony Gorman lost almost an entire squad to a combination of Finn Harps and Derry City..
Only the goalkeepr Friel, who now wears the captain’s armband, remains from last season’s starting XI, but Rovers still managed to reach the quarter-finals of the FAI Youth Cup.
Rovers were reduced to ten men when Igor Arriel was sent off twelve minutes from the end of normal time.
A foul on Wiggins, the Gweedore Celtic right-back drew his second yellow card from the pocket of referee Liam McLaughlin.[adrotate group=”37"]
From the subsequent free kick, Daniel McLaughlin headed wide from Roarty’s dangerous deliver with what was, at that point, the best chance of the game.
In extra time, Gweedore centre-back Conor McCafferty headed off the crossbar and Letterkenny substitute Gallagher drove over after breaking in on the right channel.
Rovers lined out here without the likes of Zach Gorman and Ruairi Friel, mainstays of that FAI Youth Cup sojourn, but it was the Cathedral town side who went closest early on.
Defender Ciaran Daffan tried his luck from 20 yards, but was just over the top.[a[adrotate group=”38"]p>Friel had to be alert to save a fine attempt by Ciaran McHugh.
The Rovers netminder gathered from Michael Coll, who should have done better when he was played in by Liam McFadden, who fashioned the opening thanks to a neat swivel that took him away.
Coll, though, shot tamely at Friel and the chance was gone.
In between times, the busy and energetic Dylan Laird could have popped Rovers in front, but the ball somehow stayed out amid a frantic scramble in the penalty area.[adr[adrotate group=”61"]David O’Donnell tried his luck twice from distance, but his first was directed at Gavin Sweeney and the second, a daisy-cutter late in the half, was off target. [adrot[adrotate group=”12"]ances were at a premium after the break, with Shane Doherty firing and Laird stabbed into the palms of Sweeney from close range.
The deadlock remained intact for the duration of normal and, then, extra time, before Friel stepped up to seal the deal in the shoot-out.
Letterkenny Rovers: Sean Friel; Calvin O’Brien (Conor Lynch 90), Ciaran Daffan (Michel Gallagher 57), Eoghan Kelly, James Tourish (Daire Crossan 100); David O’Donnell (Conor O’Donnell 67), Sean Curran, Shane Doherty, Igor Arriel; Dylan Laird (Tarlach O’Boyle 78), Codey Brogan.
Gweedore Celtic: Gavin Sweeney; Liam Wiggins, Conor McCafferty, Daniel McLaughlin, Conor Duggan; Michael Roarty, Neasán Mac Giolla Bhríde, Ciaran McHugh, Michael Coll (Micheél Cutliff 105); Liam McFadden, Kyran Glennon.
Referee: Liam McLaughlin.Tags: