Cockhill Celtic moved a step closer to retaining their Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League crown when they defeated Intermediate Cup finalists Letterkenny Rovers at the Charlie O’Donnell Sports Grounds.
Cockhill Celtic 3 Letterkenny Rovers 1
The defending champions didn’t have it all their own way and indeed found themselves a goal down as early as the 3 minute.
Rovers, who later this month contest the Intermediate Cup Final against Crumlin United, worked the ball down their right and after Cockhill failed to win possession in a few challenges the ball fell to Kevin McGrath who chipped in a neat cross for Darren ‘Macca’ McElwaine to head past the helpless Gavin Cullen.
The home side gradually played their way back into the game and had the scores level on 10 minutes. William O’Conner took a short kick-out from keeper Cullen and helped the ball onto Malachy McDermott.
McDermott picked a lovely pass to Garbhan Friel over the head off Jonathan Minnock and when Friel crossed into the box there was Gerry Gill to turn and fire right footed past Rory Kelly for 1-1.
Rovers then had to reshuffle the pack ofter Paul Boyle went off injured on 15 minutes with Christy Conaghan coming on in his place.
The momentum was still with the home side and on 24 minutes Tommy Bonner got in the way off a Malachy McDermott effort that was destined to give Kelly problems in the Rovers net.
Ronan Doherty (O) was growing more into the game for the home side and for the final 20 minutes off the first half he gave Ryan Lonegran a horrid time at right back for the Rovers.
Doherty (O) often got the better off his marker but the final pass was just letting him done on occasions.
Rovers had very little going forward and often relied on the long ball to ‘Macca’ but although the big man did hold it up at times the support was slow in getting to him. The first period ended 1-1
The second period was played in a slight drizzle which gave the newly cut playing surface that bit extra for good flowing football and this helped the home side no end.
On 55 minutes Cockhill took the lead when captain James ‘Jimmy’ Bradley picked up a short pass from Gill on the right edge of the Rovers box to wait and supply a neat pass to the over lapping Kieran McLaughlin inside Rovers left full Terence Shiels.
McLaughlin cut the ball back for Friel to hammer low from 12 yards in the corner pass Kelly at his near post.
Letterkenny responded when McElwaine won a corner on 58 minutes after an aerial challenge with O’Connor; but within two minutes off the corner been awarded Cockhill went 3-1 in front.
Minnock swung a decent corner into the danger-zone but it was well headed clear by Peter Doherty in the Cockhill six yard box the Hoops broke with possession and the ball made its way to Doherty (O) on the right wing.
The young midfielder ran with the ball at Lonegran and the covering Tommy Bonnar before beating both men on the inside and shooting low left footed into the bottom corner past Kelly for a great individual goal and won worthy off winning any game.[adrotate group=”37″]
Rovers huffed and puffed for the remainder off the game with a speculative effort from Bonnar all that Gavin Cullen got his hand two in the second period. Cockhill could well have added to the score line in the final 15 minutes but a few stray passes and good interceptions by the Rovers defence kept the final score to 3-1.
The two side will meet two more times before the season is complete; once in the league and the other in the League Cup Final
Cockhill Celtic: G Cullen, K McLaughlin, J Breslin, P Doherty, W O’Connor, M McDermott, D Doherty (S), J Bradley, G Friel, G Gill, R Doherty (O).
Letterkenny Rovers FC: R Kelly, R Lonergan, J Minnock, T Ferris, P Boyle, K McGrath, T Shiels, T Bonnar, D McElwaine, M Foker, D Shovlin.
Bonagee United 4 Swilly Rovers 1
WITH both teams having nothing to play for, this game was a typical end of season affair, with Swilly ending their campaign on the end of a four-one scoreline.
Bonagee were fresh off a derby win over Letterkenny Rovers on Wednesday and moved level on points with their neighbours after another good win on Sunday.
Bonagee had taken the lead in the 11th minute. Anthony Appiah had an effort pushed wide by Gareth Wade, and from the resulting corner, Ciaran Curran rose highest in the box to break the deadlock.
That lead lasted all of four minutes as Swilly scored in the next attack. Laurence Toland played an excellent cross into the area which was headed home by Michael McHugh at the far post. Bonagee regained the advantage a minute before the break.
Appiah burst into the penalty area to play a ball across the danger area to the inrushing Curran for his second of the game.
The third goal for the home side arrived with eight minutes remaining on the clock. Gareth Breslin, on a rare expedition up front, was bundled over in the area for a penalty, and Appiah made no mistake from the resulting spot kick.
Their fourth and final goal of the game came in the 84th minute, when Conor Temple released Appiah and he used his pace to beat his marker to hammer past Wade.
Fanad United 1 Derry City 3
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