Letterkenny Rovers was originally called Letterkenny Crusaders FC before it was renamed in his present guise in 1962.
The current grounds at Leckview Park were bought for the princely sum of 500 pounds and were officially opened in 1967 when former Celtic legend Bertie Peacock brought a star-studded Coleraine side to play a friendly game while the current stand at the grounds was completed in 2010 well in time to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2012.
The club has had many successful years winning back-to-back Donegal League titles in the 1980/81 and 1981/82 seasons before going on to become one of the founding members of the Ulster Senior League in 1986.
Title successes at the intermediate level has come twice (2005 and 2009) while the club has also won the League Cup and the Knockalla Cup on five occasions each.
National competitions have also provided some great days of excitement none more so than when we were proud to reach the final of the 2016 FAI Intermediate cup and played Crumlin in the final which was held at the Aviva Stadium.
The semi-final replay win over Ringmahon Rangers to book our spot at the National Stadium will live long in the memory.
Games against senior opposition have also been notable with the highlight being a first ever win over League of Ireland opposition in 2010 when defeating Mervue in the EA Sports League Cup while the club achieved a notable draw away to Athlone Town in the FAI Senior Cup in 2016 while also having the honour of facing former holders UCD at Belfield in 2019.
We were proud to be recognised by the FAI when we were facilitated entry to the Eircom u21 league in 2006 and the u19s Airtricity League in 2012.
The club have always had a very active youth section with a number of national finals being reached in the 70s and lost out narrowly in the FAI Youth Cup final in 2004 while the semi-final in 1991 saw us losing out to a star-studded Home Farm team.
Domestically the clubs youth side have also won the Donegal Youth League on nine occasions while being perennial winners in the prestigious Colin Breslin and Gorey Curran Cup competitions.
Our schoolboys section had a number of successful seasons in the D and D league before the formalised structure of schoolboys football in the county run by the Donegal Schoolboys League saw us highly successful at u12s to u16s level from 2007 onwards while there have also been lengthy runs in the SFAI National Cups were we were able to hold our own against some of the elite football clubs in the country.
The club has always had a dedicated group of coaches down through the years and greatly encourage coaches to upskill through the huge volume of coach education modules available through the FAI.
The club has also received full recognition at international level with Eunan Busty Blake, Gerry Meehan, Anthony Gorman, Dale Gorman, Christopher Flanagan and Ryan McConnell all donning various shades of green.
Women's Football at Letterkenny Rovers
Down the years, the club has enjoyed success with our women’s teams at both local and national level. In 1997, just two years after the team was founded, they were crowned Donegal League champions and also reached the final of the Ladies FAI Intermediate Cup under the management of John McLaughlin and Paul Crampsie. Unfortunately, they came up short in the final losing 3-0 to Listowel Celtic from Kerry in front of a big local support at the Ivy Grounds in Dublin.
The following season the team qualified for the Ladies FAI Senior Cup losing 4-3 to Shelbourne.
In 1999, the team made up for their disappointment of two years earlier. Already crowned league champions and winners of the Downtown Cup, they completed the treble clinching a first ever LFAI Intermediate Cup defeating Castle Celtic, Galway, 6-0 in the final played at Milebush Park, Castlebar. The scorers on the day were Maureen O’Donnell, Liz Gordon, Nadine Doherty, Debbie Lee Fox, Ursula Rodden and Leala McCusker. The team were honoured with a civic reception by the Urban District Council.
The full panel of players from that history making year was Bronagh Gallagher, Marie O’Boyle, Valerie McGroarty (captain), Nancy McNamee, Maureen O’Donnell, Dolores Deasley, Suzanne Tinney, Debbie Lee Fox, Leala McCusker, Bridget Clarke, Nadine Doherty, Liz Gordon, Ursula Rodden, Nicola Ponsonby, Claire O’Donnell, Collette Ward, Sharon O’Sullivan, Elaine Mailey, Nicola Harris, Grainne O’Dea, Lynn Crampsie, Liz Gallagher, Stephanie Crampsie, Brid McConnell and Lorrane O’Sullivan.
The 2001 season turned out to be the year of unprecedented triumph winning a clean sweep in all competitions which included the Donegal Ladies League, the Downtown Cup, the Ulster Cup and a second LFAI Intermediate Cup. The team defeated St. James’ Gate 2-0 in the final with goals coming from Maureen O’Donnell and Monica McDermott. In achieving the clean sweep, Rovers scored an incredible 73 goals and only conceded 2.
It really was a golden era for women’s football within the club and they were back on the national stage again in 2006 only this time to lose out narrowly in the final of the Ladies FAI Junior Cup to St. Ita’s from Newcastle West but it was another memorable run this time under the guidance of Johnny Baird.