LETTERKENNY ROVERS TOOK SOME time to find their groove before easing past Swilly Rovers to move into the next round of the FAI Youth Cup.
Letterkenny Rovers 4 Swilly Rovers 0
All four goals came in the final half-an-hour and it felt like a trick of the mind that Swilly had stoutly held their own up to the point when their resistance was broken in some style by Zach Gorman.
The coarse black clouds were never far away from the Cathedral’s spire and at times the game was played in a biblical downpour.
When Marty Quinn called time, Anthony Gorman’s Rovers (squad picture above courtesy of Stephen Doherty) were four to the good with David O’Donnell, Shane Doherty and Calvin O’Brien adding to Gorman’s opener.
The scoreline at the end was harsh on Swilly, who had battled gamely and saw Cameron Gormely hit the post only three minutes before Gorman took the stage.
It was some calling card that the Letterkenny midfielder left in the 61st minute.
Cutting inside from the left channel, Gorman was close-on 30 yards out when he looked up and, spotting Dane Dunworth vulnerably off his line, decided to have a crack.
He had work to do, but Gorman, with one wonderful arch of his right foot, sent a stunning effort beyond Dunworth with such power and precision that even the opponents could only applaud.
The pity was it wasn’t captured on camera for a re-run, but the goal sent Letterkenny – semi-finalists in this competition last season – on their way to the next round.
The goal was the cue for the home side – they obtained that title when the game was reversed from Swilly Park yesterday – to take charge.
Gorman was the architect of the second goal, six minutes after his own moment of magic. Gorman did well to create space in a packed elevator and O’Donnell turned across himself and ‘keeper Dunworth to find the bottom corner.
Doherty bagged the third after being set up by O’Brien and the full-back was rewarded for a tireless display when he netted the fourth in the game’s final minute, drilling across Dunworth, who got a faint touch, to the inside of the post from the right-hand edge of the box.
Swilly certainly hadn’t deserved to be on the end of a hammering given that their patchwork outfit had held on for so long.
The list of absentees from Tony McNamee’s team was considerable and it was telling that his only named substitute, Adam Salhi, was flu-ridden and unable to take part. All of which meant that Andreas Afxentiou couldn’t be replaced when he hobbled off injury ten minutes from the end.
Work commitments meant that Mark Wilson couldn’t be called upon, while injury deprived him of the services of Marty Doyle and Ryan Flood, while Duncan Patterson was unavailable.
That’s not to mention the missing trio of Oran Higgins, Derek Edwards and Matthew Stewart.
Their registrations at senior level with clubs other than Swilly means they can’t line out in the National Cup, something that grated at the Swilly contingent, given Higgins’ involvement in the Inter-League competition with the Donegal Youth League.
Letterkenny came within a whisker of edging ahead on the half-hour mark when Gorman’s perfectly-flighted corner was headed off the crossbar by Ruairi Friel.
O’Donnell volleyed over late in the half while Swilly had seen half chances for Stephen Gallagher and Gormley come to nothing.
Letterkenny were showing signs of frustration, but they did well to keep composed.
Shaun Friel, the Letterkenny ‘keeper, turned over a free kick by the excellent Shaun Crossan on the re-start while Swilly were closer still soon after. Crossan’s trickery weaved him past a handful of challenges and he slid the ball left for Gormley, but his shot cannoned off the post.
With the sky darkening by the moment, talk of the game going the distance was doing the rounds at the Danny McDaid Track when Gorman spun his wand and paved the way for what ended up being a comfortable win.
Letterkenny Rovers: Sean Friel; Calvin O’Brien, Ruairi Friel, Rory McCrossan, James Tourish; David O’Donnell, Ryan McLoughlin (John McGranaghan ’75), Paul O’Brien (James McSharry ’68), Igor Arriel (Sean Curran ‘68); Shane Doherty, Zach Gorman.
Swilly Rovers: Dane Dunworth; Lewis Cole, Matthew Sweeney, Ronan Doherty, Brad Patterson; Ciaran Connor, Caolan Murray, Andreas Afxentiou, Cameron Gormley; Stephen Gallagher, Shaun Crossan.
Referee: Marty Quinn.Tags: