Sligo Rovers 7 Letterkenny Rovers 2
A scintillating second half show from Sligo Rovers condemned Letterkenny Rovers to a big defeat in the last 16 game of the Enda McGuill League of Ireland under 19 cup in perfect conditions at the Sligo Showgrounds Astro on Saturday afternoon with the westerners emerging 7-2 victors.
There was no hint at halftime of what the final outcome would be as the sides went in level 1-1 in what can be viewed as fair reflection of the opening 45 minutes play.
Letterkenny started the better and could have opened the scoring just 2 minutes in when Dylan Sweeney and Adrian Delap combined to set up Gavin McDaid who somehow blazed over from a very good position.
McDaid then had a good effort well saved before the hosts took the lead against the run of play on 11 minutes.
A Sligo corner found the impressive centre half Gary Boylan at the far post and while his initial effort was blocked he slammed home the rebound past hapless goalkeeper Jason Quinn.
Letterkenny raised their game after this and had their brightest period midway through the half. Gareth Doherty had a couple of efforts just clearing the wrong side of the upright before they got an equaliser on 28 minutes.
Oran Hilley did well to win possession before finding Delap and his pinpoint cross was finished neatly by McDaid to the bottom corner.
Sligo did come close through promising star Gary Armstrong while Tristan Ferris should have scored for the visitors on 43 minutes but he just failed to get on the end of a Doherty free kick to ensure the sides went in level at the interval.
The tone for the second half was very much set with two goals from the hosts in the opening three minutes.
Letterkenny were not switched on and were shellshocked on 4 minutes when again from a set piece were outdone when Boylan again popped up to fire a blistering shot home with the aid of the post from 12 yards.
Anthony Gormans team were stunned again just 2 minutes later when Armstrong-who has played for Sligos first team and is cross channel bound-produced a fine solo effort weaving a mazy run before shooting high past Quinn.
Armstrong was a joy to watch and he set up goals number 4 and 5 which arrived on 65 and 69 minutes when Paul Doyle and Mark Walsh fired home some wonderful deliveries,
Letterkenny got one back on 78 minutes through a Jason McGee effort from a Conor Blaney assist and went close just after through Adrian Delap but any hopes of a miraculous recovery were shortlived as Sligo made it 6-2 on 80 minutes through substitute Gary Anderson with his first touch.
Sligo were rampant at this stage and had further efforts just wide from sub Darren Kilcawley while Quinn was at his best to deny Eoin O’Donoghue and Armstrong.
Goal number 7 arrived on 89 minutes when Armstrong scored the goal of the afternoon beating goalkeeper Quinn and then another defender and tucked the ball effortlessly home under little pressure.
A sharp lesson for the Donegal club who came up against a second half blitz from a superb footballing side but will go into the Christmas break with time to reflect and will hope to get back to the form that saw them go 4 games unbeaten in late October/early November.
Sligo Rovers; Jack Burke, Eoin O’Donoghue,Ryan Donnellan, Gary Boylan, Ross Taheny,Ryan McManus, Martin Walsh, Mark Hannon, Ryan McCarrick, Gary Armstrong, Paul Doyle
Subs;Cathal Carney for McCarrick 62mins, Keelin Kennoy for Taheny 67 mins, Gary Anderson for Doyle 71, David Kilcawley for MArk Walsh 77)
Letetrkenny Rovers; JAson Quinn, Tristan Ferris, Conor Blaney, Ciaran Kelly, Noah Mailey, Oran Hilley, Dylan Sweeney, Gareth Doherty, Gavin McDaid, Adrian Delap, Kevin O’Donnell
Subs; BJ Banda for O’Donnell 57 mins, Jason McGee for McDaid 71 mins
Referee; Thomas Egan