IT WAS AS UNEASY as they could have imagined, but Letterkenny Rovers rolled their sleeves up to defeat Mountview Boys and book a place in the last 16 of the FAI Youth Cup.
Letterkenny Rovers 1 Mountview Boys 0
Codey Brogan’s goal nine minutes into the second half at The Aura Centre was all that stood between the sides at the conclusion of a strained and tense 90 minutes with a penalty save by goalkeeper Sean Friel every bit as vital.
Anthony Gorman’s Rovers were semi-finalists last season, when they lost 3-1 against Kilreen Celtic from Cork, but a haemorrhaging of players to Finn Harps and Derry City meant that expectations weren’t so lofty this time around.
Picture caption: Letterkenny Rovers’ Zach Gorman in action against Mountview Boys. Picture by Stephen Doherty.
Goalkeeper Friel is the only surviving regular from last season, but workmanlike Rovers are into the last 16 and will host Ballinroad AFC from Waterford next weekend.
They’re dreaming again in the Cathedral town after doing just enough to see off Mountview.
The only goal came on 54 minutes, after Rovers survived a couple of early scares in part two, with Friel’s thwarting of Conor Keogh a key moment in that period.
David O’Donnell drew a foul on the right-hand side of the Mountview box. The free-kick from James Tourish caused panic, the ball richocet back across the face of goal and Brogan managed to steer home at the back post.
After Brogan passed up a chance of a second, when he shot too early and was denied by goalkeeper Ryan Cosgrove, Rovers gave up a golden chance.
Friel was adjudged by referee Patrick Martin to have fouled Dean Ivory, but Ivory’s penalty was tame and Raphoe man Friel got down to his left to make the save.
Friel had been to the rescue in the first half when he flew out to save at Keogh’s feet and as the Dubliners sought a way back the Rovers custodian denied the lively Jimmy Mwanga.
Rovers had the better of the play in the first half, but it wasn’t without its moments of panic either.
On the quarter-hour, full-back Callum McGovern almost caught Friel out with an enterprising effort from the right, but his shot dipped a fraction too late.
Igor Arriel did well to fashion a shot from the edge of the box that was too close to Cosgrove, while a dangerous Tourish free invited a finishing touch that just wasn’t forthcoming.
Another teasing Tourish delivery was only partially cleared, but Brogan’s shot was deflected wide.
Mountview did have plenty of chances and Owen McClean’s cross was headed narrowly over by Mwanga from a good position.
Rovers could have wrapped it up seven minutes from time but sub Conor O’Donnell, who was on the field only a matter of seconds, screwed a shot wide when he might have fared better had he composed himself.
Rovers’ looks at the stopwatch were getting longer and a long, hopeful free from Sebsastien Dobais caught everyone out in the box, bar Friel that is, and the home side exhaled in relief.
Their journey continues.
Letterkenny Rovers: Sean Friel; Calvin O’Brien, Ruairi Friel, Eoghan Kelly, James Tourish; David O’Donnell, Sean Curran, Shane Doherty, Igor Arriel; Zach Gorman; Codey Brogan.
Mountview Boys: Ryan Cosgrove; Callum McGovern, Emmanuel Novhk, Jamie Boyne, Sebastien Dobais; Dean Ivory, Hayden Rodgers, Luke Carrick, Owen McClean; Jimmy Mwanga, Conor Keogh.
Referee: Patrick Martin.Tags: