Letterkenny Rovers and Cockhill Celtic both had Good Friday wins ahead of a crunch meeting on Easter Monday between the title titans at the Charlie O’Donnell Sports Grounds.
Cockhill Celtic 2 Finn Harps Reserves 1
With the same opposition playing within five days this promised to be a tight affair and so it panned out with Cockhill holding on for a valuable three points.
After a even opening the first attempt on target from from Harps when Michael Doherty’s cross found Zach Gorman who headed straight at Lee McCarron.
On 12 minutes Cockhill took the lead from a set piece. Gerry Gill’s free kick was looped against the bar by Laurence Toland.
Oisin McColgan was first to react and he smashed home. They almost doubled their lead two minutes later when Kieran McLaughlin played in Malachy McDermott whose low shot was brilliantly turned round the post by Joe Boyle.
Cockhill were on top now but spurned a few good opportunities with Ryan Kelly and Toland going close.
Harps were pinned back but went close on 33 minutes when Dylan McCroary went on a fine run on the right before cutting inside and curling a left foot shot narrowly wide.
However it was the home side who made it 2-0 on 35 minutes when McLaughlin released Toland in an inside right position. His pinpoint cross was headed home by McDermott.
The second half started in a similar vein with Cockhill on top. Toland was out of luck on 52mins when he produced an exquisite touch to control a through ball but was denied by a fine smothering save from Boyle.
Harps found a foothold in the game around the hour mark. Firstly Gorman’s ball from the right was dummied by McCroary to Gareth Doherty who fired over.
They deservedly reduced the deficit on 75 minutes when Gorman’s cross again caused problems and was half volleyed in off the post by Stephen Doherty.
Cockhill were denied a third when Boyle made another great save to deny Gill.
This set up a nervy finish with the home side holding out despite a 53-minute second half.
Swilly Rovers FC 0 Letterkenny Rovers 5
Letterkenny Rovers dominated the opening passages of play and went one nil up after 17 minutes, when Christopher Dillon took advantage of some slack Swilly defence to score the opener.
For the next 20 minutes Swilly defended resolutely and limited Letterkenny Rovers to speculative shots from outside the box.
As the first half was closing, the visitors got the vital second goal when Declan Sharkey scored from a nice counter attack.
Within five minutes Letterkenny Rovers made it three-nil when Ryan McConnell jumped well to win a header and put the ball in the Swilly net.
The second half continued in a much the same fashion with the away team hogging much of the possession.
The young Swilly team worked tremendously hard to deny Letterkenny Rovers more goals but Garbhan Grant and Declan Sharkey converted to make it five nil at the end.
Swilly Rovers: Ben Boyle, Ciaran Mc Hugh, Shaun Crossan, Connor Duggan, Rory McCrossan, Oran Brogan, Matthew Mc Laughlin, Daire Crossan, Brad Patterson, Ryan McDaid, Jordan Nugent. Subs: Adam Sahli, Conor O’Donnell.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, David Shovlin, Conor Tourish, Ryan McConnell, Luke Nelis, Ryan Lonergan, Chris Flanagan, Kevin McGrath, Declan Sharkey, Garbhan Grant, Christopher Dillon.
Referee: Vincent Mc Laughlin.
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Cockhill Celtic 2-1 Finn Harps Reserves
Swilly Rovers 0-5 Letterkenny Rovers
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Monday, April 2
12noon Finn Harps Reserves v Swilly Rovers (Reversed to Swilly Park)
2pm Fanad United v Derry City Reserves
5pm Cockhill Celtic v Letterkenny Rovers
|Finn Harps Reserves||13||6||0||7||26||33||-7||18||*|
|Derry City Reserves||11||5||2||4||26||16||10||17|
|* Letterkenny Rovers awarded 3-0 win after Finn Harps didn’t field|