LETTERKENNY ROVERS GOT the better of derby rivals Bonagee United with a hard fought 3-1 win in awful weather conditions at the Aura Centre today.
Letterkenny Rovers 3-1 Bonagee United
Rovers will look back on a job well done as they move to within one point of leaders Cockhill after their game against Derry City was called off and their manager Eamon McConigley will be satisfied as to how his side adapted to a game which was always going to be difficult after the cup highs of previous weeks.
Goals from Paul ‘Yank’ Boyle, Paul McVeigh and Steve Okakpo-Emeka gave Rovers a 3-0 lead before a consolation from Bonagee’s Anthony Appiah from the penalty spot.
Rovers started by far the better and should have been ahead through McVeigh on seven minutes when he shot straight at Eugene Ferry when well placed while Christy Connagahn also fizzled an effort just wide.
They did however go ahead on 17 minutes when a Johnathan Minnock corner found Boyle at the back post and his header may have taken a touch of a Bonagee defender as it ended up in the net.
Bonagee will rue the concession of such a soft goal but did come close through a Kevin Barr free before Rovers extended the advantage on 25 minutes. Ryan Lonergan’s long throughball was chested down by Darren McElwaine into the path of McVeigh and he made no mistake this time firing home low past Ferry.
Rovers were trying to play fluent football on a pitch which wasnt conducive to good football and came close again when Ferry did well to save from Kevin McGrath on 30 minutes before McVeigh following up on the rebound could not convert.
Bonagee did have a couple of chances to get back into it before halftime with Aidan McLaughlin blazing over on 36 minutes and Daryl Browne made debut goalkeeper Stephen Conroy make a comfortable stop on 43 minutes.
It was the visitors who started the brighter in the second period and Brown’s speculative cross hit the top of the crossbar and while the football was frenetic very little in way of chances were created.
Rovers though got the all important third goal of the game on 66 minutes when Okakpo-Emeka finished from close range after a good move involving Mark Forker, Paul Boyle and McVeigh.
That should have made it comfortable but just like in the cup games Rovers retreated and Bonagee were thrown a lifeline on 72 minutes when referee Michael Connolly pointed to the spot for a foul by Darek Frankowski-palying against his former club – on McLaughlin and Anthony Appiah made no mistake.
Bonagee did press hard and were re-energised but the home defence held firm under a barrage of free kicks and corners and probably themselves should have scored a fourth but Ferry was on hand to deny McElwaine on 84 minutes.
Letterkenny will be glad to get a vital league victory and keeps momentum going after recent intermediate wins while Bonagees chances of trophies will come in the Knockalla and League Cup.
These two sides meet in the semi final of the League Cup around Easter time.
Letterkenny Rovers: Stephen Conroy, Ryan Lonergan, Conal McGonigle, Johnathan Minnock (Darek Frankowski half-time), Paul Boyle, Kevin McGrath, Paul McVeigh, Christy Connaghan (Tommy Bonnar 54), Darren McElwaine,Mark Forker, Steve Okakpo-Emeka (Cathal McDaid 78).s
Bonagee United: Eugene Ferry, Jamie Lynagh (Conor Temple 88), Kevin Barr, Gareth Breslin, Darren Hunter, Chris Moran (Ciaran Maloney 48), Daryl Brown, Ryan McFadden (Barry McGinley 72), Aidan McLaughlin, Deano Larkin, Anthony Appiah.
Referee: Michael Connolly.Tags: