CHRISTY McLaughlin scored a late winner as Cockhill Celtic defeated Letterkenny Rovers in the USL League Cup.
Letterkenny Rovers 1 Cockhill Celtic 2
by Charlie Collins at Leckview Park
Cockhill Celtic started well and forced a number of corners, Garbhan Friel headed just over from one of those in the third minute.
Somewhat against the run of play Rovers took the lead in the 11th minute, Matthew McLaughlin’s free from wide on the right wasn’t dealt with by the Cockhill defense and Simon McGlynn pounced to slam home from eight yards.
In the 21th minute Lee McColgan’s free caused problems for Rovers and Peter Doherty blasted over from ten yards out.
Several players picked up yellow cards as the tension increased and Rovers had a big let-off when Lee McColgan’s free-kick came back off the crossbar with Christopher O Donnell struggling to get there.
A minute later the home side had an even bigger let-off when Rian Aktenipinyi fouled Corey McBride in the box but O Donnell saved Garbhan Friel’s effort diving to his right. Rovers responded when Conor Tourish headed Shane McNamee’s corner just over and the half ended with a couple of dangerous runs from Corey McBride which caused some problems but failed to produce a positive end result and the home team led 1-0 at the break.
The opening 20 minutes of the second-half produced little in terms of goalmouth action with one exception. Shane McNamee and Chris Malseed combined and the latter slid Simon McGlynn through, he looked to have done everything right but his shot just flashed past the far post with Daniel Houghton beaten.
Cockhill introduced Jame Bradley and Fionn McClure and shortly afterwards Christy McLaughlin and Mark Moran as they chased an equaliser. And it came in the 75th minute when Corey McBride curled in a 20 yards free-kick which Rovers disputed but to no avail.
Three minutes later Rovers almost regained the lead when Simon McGlynn did brilliantly near the end line and his pull back found Chris Malseed’s who’s goalbound shot was blocked near the six yard line by Oisin McColgan.
Shane McNamee produced super skills before flashing a shot inches wide of the goal frame and then Gary Merritt’s flick from Matthew McLaughlin’s cross was just too high in the 85th minute. Then with the draw looking a save bet , Cockhill grabbed the win.
Ciaran Kelly and Garbhan Friel chased a long ball and although the Rovers defender won that race the loose ball broke to Christy McLaughlin just outside the box and his deflected effort beat Christopher O’Donnell to give Cockhill Celtic the victory.
Rovers will feel a little hard done by but both teams contributed to an excellent season opener. Letterkenny Rovers: Christopher O’Donnell, Matthew McLaughlin, Rian Aktenipinyi, Ciaran Kelly, Conor Tourish, Conor Gormley, Simon McGlynn, Chris Malseed, Gary Merritt, Shane McNamee, Kevin McGrath. Subs: Gareth Doherty for Aktenipinyi (70mins), Davitt Walsh for Merritt (85mins).
Cockhill Celtic: Daniel Houghton, Keegan Hegarty, Lee McColgan, Peter Doherty, Oisin McColgan , Jack Doherty, Corey McBride, Ronan Doherty, Garbhan Friel, Bradley Callaghan, Caolan McColgan. Subs: James Bradley and Fionn McClure for Lee McColgan and Jack Doherty (55), Christy McLaughlin and Mark Moran for Caolan McColgan and Bradley Callaghan (65), Stephen Doherty for McBride (87).
Referee: Packie Coll.