Letterkenny Rovers enjoyed a comprehensive 5-0 win over a depleted Illistrin side to keep their very slim Donegal Youth League title hopes alive in a game played in super conditions at the Aura on Saturday.
Letterkenny Rovers 5 Illistrin United 0
Rovers started the better but apart from a Shane Doherty shot well saved by goalkeeper Rhys Nugent never troubled the visitors in the opening 20 minutes as Niall Hannigan was excellent in defence for Illistrin.
For all their workrate and endeavour the visitors never really threatened Rovers goal in the opening period either as the game took time to settle down after a helter skelter opening.
Picture caption: Ruairi Friel who came off the bench to score for Letterkenny Rovers on Saturday afternoon. Picture courtesy of Stephen Doherty.
That all changed on 22 minutes when Rovers took the lead. Tarlach O’Boyle found Conor Scanlon and his cross into the box wasnt properly dealt with by Illistrin and in stepped Daire Morrison to fire home from close range.
Zach Gorman then forced Nugent into another fine stop while Morrison should have done better with a header before Anthony Gormans men doubled the advantage on 42 minutes from the penalty spot.
Sean Curran found Gorman and he was upended by Ben Fleming. Gorman brushed himself off to fire a convincing spot kick giving Nugent no chance.
Illistrin were facing an uphill task but they stuck gamely to their gameplan although creating very little and Nugent was called into action again to deny Gorman before Rovers finally scored the insurance goal on 69 minutes.
A finely worked effort saw sub Eoghan Kelly break free down the right hand side and his inch perfect cross found Morrison to score his second of the game with a cushioned placed effort into the corner.
That seemed to deflate the tiring visitors and Rovers were able to introduce a raft of changes which had the desired effect for their side when young Conor O’Donnell got the biggest cheer of the afternoon when he finished superbly on 81 minutes while another sub Ruairi Friel waltzed through with a fine run and shot to complete the scoring just three minutes later.
Aaron Deeney who is now playing outfield had Illistrin’s best chance of a late consolation but saw his header go just wide
Illistrin worked hard throughout but with limited options off the bench found it difficult to cope with a relentless Rovers attacking line although Rovers boss Anthony Gorman will be hoping his side can lift the tempo as his side face into a busy period of Cup action in early 2016.
Letterkenny move to within 3 points of leaders Drumkeen but it is the Shaun Gallager managed Drumkeen who will win the league if they can secure one point from their remaining two games.
Letterkenny Rovers: Sean Friel, James McSharry, Conor Scanlon, Jerome Angel-Atahuene, Ryan McLoughlin, Sean Curran, David O’Donnell, Shane Doherty, Daire Morrison, Zach Gorman, Tarlach O’Boyle. Subs: Eoghan Kelly for McSharry (58), Conor O’Donnell for O’Boyle (65), Ruairi Friel for Doherty (69), Kiki Hassan for Angel-Atuahene (71), Cody Brogan for David O’Donnell (75).
Illistrin United: Rhys Nugent, Aaron Deeney, Jack McGarvey, Ben Fleming. Niall Hannigan, Louis Hassan, Myles Mulgrew, Max Dunnion, Ethan McLaughlin, Rian Walsh, Matthew de Cook.
Referee: Marty Quinn