COCKHILL Celtic advanced to the next round of the FAI Intermediate Cup with a hard fought win over Letterkenny Rovers.
Cockhill Celtic 2 Letterkenny Rovers 1
A scrappy opening to the game saw few clear cut chances, the best being a Gareth Doherty shot straight at Daniel Houghton in the home goal and a Stephen Duffy effort saved by Chris O’Donnell.
Mark Moran went close on 28 minutes with a shot from the edge of the box before O’Donnell saved well low to his left from a Duffy shot two minutes later.
Cockhill took the lead on 32 minutes when Friel was released in the inside right channel. His ball across found Moran who controlled but, when he was challenged by a defender, the ball deflected back off Moran to the net.
Cockhill almost doubled their lead just before half time. A Fionn McClure free kick was tipped onto the post before a flowing move involving Duffy and Friel found Laurence Toland in space but his low effort was parried by O’Donnell.
On 47 minutes, the home side hit the woodwork again. Duffy’s clipped from from left to right finding Toland whose first time effort hit the bar.
It felt like Cockhill would rue these missed chances and Rovers came into the match.
Gary Merritt had a one-on-one chance which was brilliantly saved by Houghton before Rovers got their equaliser.
Matthew McLaughlin’s pull back from the right found Chris Malseed who, at full stretch, guided a low shot to the far corner giving Houghton no chance.
The goal seemed to spur Cockhill back into life with Moran being denied by a fine reaction save from O’Donnell before the home side hit what became the winning goal on 67.
Stephen Duffy was again involved. His through ball finding substitute Christy McLaughlin wide on the right, who controlled, cut inside and fired low past O’Donnell.
The remainder of the game saw Letterkenny trying to force an opening but resolute defending saw Cockhill safely through.