Letterkenny Rovers have had the perfect start to the new Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League season – but Jonny Bonner says they face their biggest test yet on Sunday.
Rovers head for the Charlie O’Donnell Sports Ground on Sunday to face USL kingpins Cockhill Celtic.
Last month, Rovers dumped Cockhill from the Intermediate Cup after a 5-0 trouncing at Leckview Park. Bonner scored twice that day against a nine-man Cockhill, who had Marty Doherty and Gerry Gill sent off.
“They’re out looking for a bit of revenge,” Bonner says.
“You know what you’ll get in Cockhill. They’ll be tough to play against and will have the guns blazing. They know how to win and it’s a tough place to go.
“They’ll be raring to go for this one. Letterkenny will be on their heels and it’s a massive game – even bigger now that we have got one ever them.”
Cockhill were reeling after that loss to a rampant Rovers, who will look on Sunday to show that result at home was no fluke.
Rovers have been in fine form of late, even if they have been a little stop-start to date.
They had to battle for a 2-1 win over Derry City Reserves last Saturday, when Ryan McConnell’s excellent goal gave them the points – and ensured their 100 per cent start to the League season was maintained.
Bonner said: “We’ve won all our League games so far and that gives us confidence. We lost to Cockhill in the League Cup and we’re back to basics since that.”
The former Finn Harps and Wexford Youths player doesn’t see a repeat of the lopsided scoreline again.
He said: “5-0 was harsh on them. The first half was completely even. We snatched a goal in the first minute and the game could have went either way. But getting one on half-time and the sending offs killed their confidence. I don’t think there’ll be another 5-0 between them.”
Cockhill have been League and League Cup winners in each of the last six seasons, but Rovers have narrowed the gap and it took a play-off last season to separate them for the League crown.
Bonner hails from Buncrana and knows all about Cockhill’s penchant for winning. Now in his third term at Letterkenny, having left Crusaders in the summer, Bonner hopes to get his hands on some trophies.
He said: “I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been at Letterkenny a couple of times. It’s good to get in with a squad like Rovers.
“You play football to win. Signing with Letterkenny was about getting to getting back enjoying it and playing regularly. But you want to challenge for trophies.
“It’s tough when it’s been Cockhill getting ahead of them every single year. We’re not too far off.”
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Sunday, October 11, 2pm
Derry City Reserves v Swilly Rovers
Cockhill Celtic v Letterkenny Rovers
Fanad United v Bonagee United