SHANE BYRNE’S PARTING message in the dressing room to his players – ‘I don’t ‘mind if we win 1-0, so long as we win’ – came true as Letterkenny Institute of Technology booked their place in the CUFL quarter-final.
Letterkenny Institute of Technology 1 IT Tallaght 0
Paul McVeigh’s 27th minute strike was the only goal of the game and it was as comfortable a 1-0 win as could be expected, even if the longing looks at the timepieces got lengthier by every passing second of the six minutes that were added at the end, just to increase the volume of the nerves.
McVeigh pounced for what proved to be the winner when he fired in at the second attempt after good work by Liam Doherty.
Centre-back Michael Kusigbagbe hit the bar in the second half but the Port Road scholars didn’t look under cosh although their inability to put the game to bed did make for some anxious moments.
Not even the tactical nous of Pat Scully, the former League of Ireland star now managing IT Tallaght, could forge a breakthrough for the Dubliners.
It was a tit-for-tat opening with LyIT marginally on top. Dean Larkin carved out the first chance of the game, but saw an effort deflect into the arms of Darren Brennan in the Tallaght goal.
Kusigbagbe went close when a glancing header from McDaid’s corner flashed wide, but the home side edged in front just shy of the half-hour mark.
Peter Doherty’s diagonal pass from left to right found Liam Doherty ghosting in on the left channel. His first-time cross was measured perfectly for McVeigh. Denied at first by Brennan, the Letterkenny Rovers striker slammed in the rebound to continue his good scoring form of late.
Darren Gallagher sailed an effort up and over the crossbar after a tame Larkin shot was saved with Liam Doherty again the architect.
LyIT upped the ante after the re-start with Daire McDaid shooting wide and Kusigbagbe headed onto the bar from McDaid’s corner.
12 minutes from the end, sub Brian McVeigh was denied by a block from Dan Devine after getting on the end of a cross from his brother, Paul.
The minutes ticked and then ticked some more, but Byrne’s men held out for that 1-0 win he’d mentioned nearly two hours previously.
Letterkenny Institute of Technology: Peter Burke; Caolan McDaid, Michael Kusigbagbe, Peter Doherty, Fergal Harkin; Liam Doherty (Keelan McElwaine ’90), Darren Gallagher, Daire McDaid, Anthony Appiah (Ryan Connolly ’70); Paul McVeigh, Dean Larkin (Brian McVeigh ’67).
IT Tallaght: Darren Brennan; Ganiyu Ola, Karl Malone, Dan Devine, Mark O’Hagan (Aaron Doyle ’61); Ruairi Fortune (Phil Akinade ’52), Eddie Ekofo, Adrian Grossie (Kieran Rafter ’70), Ian Tuohy; Rob Mearns, Jamie Mulhall (Henrik Sletas ’75).
Referee: Vincent McLoughlin.Tags: