Letterkenny Rovers 3
Swords Celtic 0
By Stephen Doherty
A vintage display from Letterkenny Rovers put them safely into the draw for the quarter-finals of the FAI Umbro Youth Challenge Cup.
The home side put in a performance which simply outclassed their Dublin & District Schoolboys League opponents Swords Celtic and the 3-0 winning margin was a fair reflection on proceedings at a bitterly cold Aura Leisure Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Anthony Gorman’s side – who have yet to concede a goal in this year’s competition – can now look forward to this week’s draw for the last eight with the tie to be played in late March.
In the meantime, Rovers will quickly turn their focus to next Saturday’s Donegal Youth League play-off final against Erne Wanderers where they hold aspirations of claiming back to back titles.
First half goals from Jason Doherty and Aaron Scanlon laid the platform for the win before Kieran MacPherson added a third goal in the second half.
Rovers were certainly chomping at the bit from an early stage but had to wait until the 28th minute before unlocking the visitors defence. Ryan McCloskey worked the ball in well from the right flank before releasing Jason Doherty and although his initial shot was blocked by goalkeeper Graham McConnell, he fired home the rebound.
Within six minutes, it was 2-0. On this occasion, Aaron Scanlon charged at the Swords defence before unleashing a wonderful left foot drive which gave the goalkeeper no chance.
It was a long way back for the visitors who lacked penetration in their play with the front two largely starved of any opportunity to impact on the Rovers goal.
Early in the second half, Dale Gorman was first denied from the edge of the box by a fine save after a well work moved and later saw his thunderous shot smash off the crossbar.
Kieran MacPherson was also an increasing threat with his movement up front and with fifteen minutes to go, the young striker sealed the tie. He raced onto a ball over the top of the defence, showed tremendous composure inside the penalty area and neatly drilled his shot low into the corner of the net.
In truth, Rovers goalkeeper Jason Quinn was rarely tested throughout the game with the back four solid throughout. Greater challenges are certain to follow but it was a job well done.
Letterkenny Rovers – Jason Quinn, John Blaney (Ciaran Maloney 80 mins), Noah Mailey, Kieran Doherty, Shane Porter, Kevin McGrath, Ryan McCloskey, Dale Gorman (Tristan Ferris 80 mins), Jason Doherty, Kieran MacPherson (Brandon Wilkie 77 mins), Aaron Scanlon.
Swords Celtic – Graham McConnell, Ian Kenny, Michael Brady, Darren Graydon, Jonathan Heffernan, Niall Grogan (Adam Mahon 65 mins), David Ryan, Gary Forde (Brian Finnegan 72 mins), Sean Maguire, Andrew Dunne, Andrew Madden.
Referee – Stephen Toner
Donegal Youth League
Saturday 23rd February
FAI Umbro Youth Cup 4th Round
Letterkenny Rovers 3-0 Swords Celtic(Dublin)
Ulster Youth Cup
Drumkeen United 3-2 Cockhill Celtic
Illistrin FC 2-0 Drumbar United
Saturday 2nd March, Kick Off 2pm
Extra Time and Penalties if required
Dick Duffy Memorial Youth League Final
Erne Wanderers v Letterkenny Rovers
Colin Breslin Cup 1/4 Final
Rosses Academy v Ballybofey United