USL – Bonagee’s derby win puts decisive dent in Rovers’ title hopes


Bonagee United pierced possibly a telling blow to the arteries of Letterkenny Rovers at Dry Arch Park tonight.

Bonagee United 3 Letterkenny Rovers 1

By Chris McNulty at Dry Arch Park

Garbhan Grant, Ryan Rainey and Darren McMonagle sealed a deserved win for Jason Gibson’s Bonagee, who move into second spot on goal difference.

The game’s decisive moment after just 23 seconds into the second half, as Ryan slalomed his way in from the left and a low effort from the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man beat Rory Kelly down to his right.

That arrived after Brian McVeigh had cancelled out Grant’s early opener, but Rainey’s was a strike from which Rovers never recovered.

When sub McMonagle drilled home 20 minutes from time, it was curtain’s for Rovers, whose USL title challenge is now in danger of unravelling with champions Cockhill now requiring four points from their final three games to be crowned as kings again.

Bonagee, whose fortunes have drastically improved in Gibson’s first year at the helm, took the lead after three minutes when Gareth Breslin’s through ball found Grant and he fired past Kelly.

Micheál Doherty had a big chance to double the lead, but he shot over the top in the 17th minute.

Rovers drew level when McVeigh shot home at the second attempt.

Most of the attendance at the Dry Arch were still settling into their refreshments when Rainey put Bonagee in front again.

Rovers went close when Ryan McConnell riffled over the top after a free kick fell into his path while Michael Funston’s deflected effort forced Kelly to scramble to safety.

However, there was no denying McMonagle who was put clear on the right channel and an excellent finish gave Kelly no chance.

Bonagee United: Eugene Ferry, Mark Harkin, Gareth Breslin, Tommy McMonagle, Michael Funston, Sean Hume, Chris Flanagan, Jordan Armstrong, Ryan Rainey, Micheál Doherty, Garbhan Grant. Subs: Darren McMonagle for Grant (61), Aaron Wasson for Flanagan (83), Codey Brogan for Armstrong (83), Peter Carr for Hume (88).

Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan, Ryan McConnell, Conor Tourish, Lee Toland, Kevin McGrath, Chris Malseed, Christy Connaghan, Brian McVeigh, BJ Banda, Pajo Rafferty. Subs: Jonny Bonner for Rafferty (62), Darren McElwaine for Banda (62), Luke Nelis for Connaghan (74), Declan Sharkey for Malseed (79), Ciaran Kelly for Lonergan (79).

Referee: Marty McGarrigle.

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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