PERFECTION FROM THE penalty spot made all the difference for Letterkenny Rovers this afternoon as they progressed to the fourth round of the Intermediate Cup following a bruising battle with Dunboyne AFC at the Aura Leisure Centre.
Letterkenny Rovers 1 Dunboyne AFC 1
After extra time; Letterkennu Rovers win 5-4 on penalties
The teams had finished level at 1-1 on 90 minutes and a further 20 minutes of extra-time was unable to separate them and in the end it was down to the lottery of penalties.
The first eight were all perfectly dispatched the back of the net, but when Rory Kelly dived to his left to save from David O’Neill, it was left to Paul Boyle to send Rovers through with a well-struck penalty.
Picture caption: The Letterkenny Rovers team pictured before today’s game against Dunboyne FC. Picture courtesy of Stephen Doherty.
In the end it was no less than Rovers deserved, having dominated the game from the second half, but Dunboyne certainly were no slouches and having taken the lead as early as the 9th minute, they proved a well-organised unit who were extremely difficult to break down.
That Dunboyne goal had come after a good early start from Rovers, but when the home side failed to clear a Dunboyne corner Niall Cosgrove swept the ball into the bottom corner to give them a dream start.
The goal definitely rocked Rovers and for a long period after that they struggled to find any sort of rhythm. In contrast, the visitors suddenly had a new buzz about them, prompted in the main by an excellent performance from midfielder Cillian Duffy.
But a free-kick from nothing really gave Rovers a lifeline, referee John Coll awarding the free as Gary McCrossan battled with Darren McElwaine for the ball. McElwaine needed no second invitations and from the edge of the box he fired home a superb equaliser in the 29th minute.
The visitors started the second half brightly and David Shovlin had to hook another effort from Alan Cosgrove off the line in the 53rd minute, but the home side really were in control of the second half.
Paul Boyle headed over from a Minnock cross in the 65th minute and a minute later Paul McVeigh, Steve Okapu combined to carve out a chance for McElwaine, but his shot was well saved by Stephen Trimble.
Rovers pressed and pressed, McVeigh’s half volley whistled just past the post and had another goalbound effort brilliantly blocked, but there was just no way through.
McVeigh came close again in the 81st minute following a Minnock corner and when it was returned to the former Harps man his whipped in cross was headed just over by Terence Shields.
After that there were a couple of half chances but nothing to really trouble either ‘keeper and the game headed into extra time.
By that stage it was hard to see where a goal might come from but Rovers thought they had snatched it right at the death when McVeigh headed in from Minnock’s cross.
The offside flag ruled that out and in the end it was down to spot-kicks where Rovers held their nerve to progress – and also get into the first round draw for the FAI Senior Cup.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan, David Shovlin, Tristan Ferris, Paul Boyle, Terence Shiels, Paul McVeigh, Tommy Bonner, Darren McElwaine, Kevin McGrath, Steve Okapu. Subs: Jonathan Minnock for Ferris (55) Christy Connaghan for Okapu (73); Conal McGonigle for Lonergan (79).
Dunboyne: Stephen Trimble, Eoin Hegarty, Adam Jackman, Brian McCrossan, Gary McCrossan, Cillian Duffy, Niall Connellan, Stephen McCrossan, Michael Conliffe, Niall Jones, Alan Cosgrove. Subs: David O’Neill for Conliffe (112)
Referee: John Coll.Tags: