BONAGEE UNITED’S HOPES of reaching the Under-16 Champions League got a considerable boost thanks to an enthralling derby win over Letterkenny Rovers at the Aura Leisure Centre this afternoon.
Bonagee United 5 Letterkenny Rovers 2
The win means that Eloka Asokhu’s team are just two points adrift of Rovers, who are in third, and have a game in hand.
The top four teams in the Letterkenny/North-West Under-16 Premier Division will advance and this win certainly hands Bonagee a shot in the arm.
James Carolan netted a brace with Dylan O’Brien, Kealan McGill and Connor O’Reilly also on the mark.
Rovers were given real hope with goals by Gabriel Adouaka and Connor O’Donnell but it was the pick of the bunch, Bonagee’s fifth, by O’Reilly that put the lid on it.
Moments earlier, Rovers goalkeeper Eoghan Jordan had beaten away a penalty by Darragh Ellison, diving low to his left to keep out the spot kick, award after Ellison was taken down by Peter McEniff.
But Jordan was beaten all ends up by O’Reilly’s magical strike.
30 yards out, left of centre, everything from the back lift, the strike from laces of the right boot, the trajectory and the dip were to perfection and Jordan could only watch helplessly as the ball nestled right in the top corner.
It was a goal to savour and one that finally sank the Rovers heads.
3-0 down at the break, Letterkenny did make a much better fist of things in the second half, but O’Reilly’s goal killed the game.
Bonagee had burst out of the blocks in a fixtures that was reversed to the Aura Centre. The Dry Arch Park residents were two goals up inside the opening 174 seconds.
The opener came when right-back Dylan O’Brien burst past Adouaka, kept the head down and fired across Jordan to the far corner.
The sleep was still in the Rovers eyes when Bonagee doubled the lead, this time Carolan holding off PJ Doran, rounding Jordan and applying the finish.
Carolan hit the top of the crossbar and then turned provider for Aaron Wasson, whose shot was blocked. All that came after Kealan McMonagle’s enterprising attempt in the first minute whistled just over.
The best Rovers mustered in the opening half was a chance for Joe McGill, who hit the outside of the post from a difficult angle.
Bonagee were in dreamland when Kealan McGill made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark. Jordan’s punched clearance from a corner was attacked by the centre-back who nodded home at the back post.
55 seconds into part two, Rovers pulled one back as Adouaka finished when Ross Marley, the Bonagee goalkeeper, hesitated in collecting a cross by Brandon Manues.
Bonagee’s response was a fourth goal. Carolan added his second when, from a superb pass by sub Justin McGee, he danced past Jordan and slid home, the ball going through a hole in the bottom of the net, but the celebration confirmed the goal.
When O’Donnell wonderfully smashed home a second for Rovers, there was a sense that they might just creep back into the game, but Bonagee made safe the win when, after Ellison was thwarted by Jordan, O’Reilly saved the best wine for last and bagged the bragging rights.
Bonagee United: Ross Marley; Dylan O’Brien (Justin McGee ‘44), Jack Clarke (Ronan McKinley ’73), Keelan McGill, Jonathan Coady; Connor O’Reilly (Peter Carr ’73), Darragh Ellison, Aaron Wasson (Mark McDaid ’46), Jonah Sarrinha; James Carolan, Kealan McMonagle (Jack O’Donnell ’39).
Letterkenny Rovers: Eoghan Jordan; Odhrán Donnelly (Oran Winston ’47), Peter McEniff, PJ Dorrian (Alan Stephenson ’40), Rhys Mullen (Sean McCrossan ’52); Clinton Ilupejo (Brandon Manus ‘40), Conor McKinney, Michael Gallagher, Gabriel Adouaka (Dylan Doogan ’54); Conor O’Donnell, Joe McGill.
Referee: Marty Quinn.