Saturday 20th January 2024 | KO 4pm
FAI JUNIOR CUP FIFTH ROUND
MERVUE UNITED 2
LETTERKENNY ROVERS 3
Letterkenny Rovers edged a thrilling FAI Junior Cup tie against Mervue United at a rain soaked Fahy’s Field in Galway on Saturday evening to progress to the last 16 of the competition.
A minutes silence was observed prior to kick-off in memory of life long Letterkenny Rovers clubman Patsy Collins who sadly passed away earlier in the day.
Adrian Delap’s 50th minute goal eventually settled the tie in the visitors favour as they managed to hold on over the closing stages despite being reduced to ten men following the late dismissal of Joel Gorman for two bookable offences. Gorman, who was instrumental in all three Rovers goals, will now miss the next round.
Having won away to Wexford side North End United on penalties in the previous round, this was another tough draw for the Donegal men against another side fancied to go deep into the competition.
Played in front of a healthy crowd, Rovers got off to the perfect start with a goal after just three minutes. Joel Gorman’s corner was met by a powering header from Lee McMonagle which he directed past debutant Conor Winn in the Mervue goal.
However, the home side settled quickly and drew level on 14 minutes. Colin Kelly with a low free-kick from 20 yards which he curled around the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.
Rovers restored their lead just after the half hour mark. Gorman’s free-kick was met by Dean McCarry who outjumped the former Finn Harps and Galway United goalkeeper Winn and the ball made it over the line despite the best attempts from the Mervue defenders.
But the hosts responded again drawing level on the stroke of half-time. Rovers conceded possession in midfield and the lively Lewis Waweru latched onto the ball before unleashing a low drive from the edge of the box into the bottom corner.
With the rain lashing down, Rovers hit the front for the third time in the game five minutes after the re-start. Joel Gorman’s corner was flicked on by his brother Zach and Adrian Delap got the slightest of touches to steer the ball into the net.
This time Rovers were able to hold on to their lead with goalkeeper Blake Forkan making a number of fine saves in the second half as Mervue piled on the pressure.
Gorman’s dismissal in the 80th minute made for a tense finish along with seven minutes of additional time but in the end Rovers got their reward and a fitting victory in memory of their club stalwart Patsy Collins.
Mervue United – Conor Winn, Luke Gorman, Daniel Brennan, Aaron Finnerty, Tommy Walsh, Darren Collins, Lewis Waweru, Oisin Coyne, Kieran O’Connor, Colin Kelly, Jason Molloy.
Letterkenny Rovers – Blake Forkan, Ryan Lonergan, Caolan McConnell, Michael Gallagher, Dean McCarry, Christy Connaghan, Zach Gorman, Lee McMonagle, Gareth Doherty, Adrian Delap. Subs used – David O’Donnell, Leon Doherty, Nathan Plumb and Rory Gallagher.
Referee – John O’Connor (Galway)
The Goalscorers: Adrian Delap, Lee McMonagle, Dean McCarry