Letterkenny Rovers scored twice in the final 20 minutes to rescue a point – but a draw with Derry City leaves Eamonn McConigley’s men out of lives in the Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League title race.
Letterkenny Rovers 2 Derry City Reserves 2
Chris Malseed and Conor Tourish scored for Rovers in a six-minute spell after Adrian Delap and Cathal Farren netted for the Candystripes.
But ten-man Rovers, who had Ryan Lonergan red carded, couldn’t summons a winner and the Cathedral Town men are now running out of room.
At 2-0 down, Rovers were 25/1 to stage the comeback and they might well have done so, although Derry, too, will feel as if this was a win that got away.
Rovers are now six points adrift of Cockhill with three games each to play, meaning Rovers will need a favour along the way.
Derry will have a big say in the silverware as they still have Cockhill to play twice and Rovers once before the season’s end, while Rovers and Cockhill have yet to meet again.
Delap had gone close in the first half with a chance that he ought to have converted by the highly-rated Ray man opened the scoring five minutes into the second half.
Shane McNamee offered the chance to Delap with a magnificent pass. Delap kept his composure to slip the ball beyond the advancing Rory Kelly.
Six minutes later, Derry doubled the lead. Delap again sped clear. Lonergan gave chase and brought Delap down inside the area. Referee Michael Connolly reached for the back pocked and drew the red card.
Farren tucked home the penalty and Rovers were shell-shocked.
But they were given a way back when, 20 minutes from time, Malseed powered home a header from a Chris Flanagan delivery.
In between the Rovers goals, Derry might have restored the two-goal cushion when Sean McBride asked the questions of Kelly with a swerving first-timer, but the Buncrana man did well to save.
Delap then got away from Flanagan to set up McBride, who shot over the top.
Within a minute, Rovers were level as Tourish headed in from Luke Nelis’s corner.
Rovers might have scraped the win, but Daniel Houghton brilliantly saved from Declan Sharkey late in the night.
Derry City Reserves: Daniel Houghton, Rhys McDermott, Conor Doherty, Connor Gormley, Ethan Harkin, Shane McNamee, Jack Malone, Evan Tweed, Sean McBride, Cathal Farren, Adrian Delap. Subs: Finn McClure for Malone, Adam Taggart for Tweed, Ronan McKinley for McNamee, Ethan Coll for McBride.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan, Kevin McGrath, Ryan McConnell, Conor Tourish, Odhran McMacken, Luke Nelis, Christopher Malseed, Paul McVeigh, Declan Sharkey, Garbhan Grant. Subs: Christy Monaghan for McVeigh, Chris Flanagan for Grant, Stevie Okakpu-Emeka for McMacken.
Referee: Michael Connolly.
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Sunday, May 13, 2pm
Bonagee United v Derry City Reserves
Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup Final
Sunday, May 13, 6pm
Letterkenny Rovers v Cockhill Celtic
|Finn Harps Reserves||17||7||0||10||35||48||-13||21||*|
|Derry City Reserves||14||6||3||5||29||22||7||21|
|* Letterkenny Rovers awarded 3-0 win after Finn Harps didn’t field|
|** Cockhill Celtic awarded 3-0 win after Swilly Rovers didn’t field|
|*** Cockhill Celtic awarded 3-0 win after Bonagee United didn’t field|