It took 114 minutes for a goal to arrive as non-league Letterkenny Rovers overcame a lack lustre home side in a very poor first round EA Sports Cup game at Terryland Park tonight.
Letterkenny substitute Garbhan Grant was only on the pitch 5 minutes when he latched onto a Paddy McNulty flick on to lob the advancing Padraig Lally on 114 minutes.
Mervue manager Tom French gave some of his fringe players a run out in this game as he made five changes from the weekend’s defeat against Derry City.
The visitors started well and John Doherty headed over from a Marty McAteer corner after 4 minutes. Some poor play followed that until Darren McElwaine fired a shot wide from the edge of the box after 32 minutes.
Mervue’s Kevin Barrett had the game’s first shot on target a minute later, but he shot tamely at Caolan McGettigan when in a very good position as the game remained scoreless at the break.
A good move five minutes after the break saw Ollie Keogh, Dan Cunningham and Kenny Farrell involved as the left back’s cross was met by Gary Traynor, but his well struck effort flew just wide.
Letterkenny then had three good chances within as many minutes as Doherty fired over the crossbar and Shane Bradley headed over a Mark Friel cross on 58 minutes. A minute later and Keith Hegarty glanced a header wide in front of goal from a Ciaran Greene corner.
A Dan Cunningham 30 yard effort was well saved by McGettigan while a Noel Varley shot from distance flew the wrong side of the post. Two late headers, the first from McNulty was saved by Lally and the second from Bradley went just wide as extra time was almost spared.
In the first period the best chance fell to Doherty as the ball dropped to him on the penalty spot following a corner kick but he shot over Lally’s crossbar.
Just when it looked like the dreaded penalty shootout would be needed to separate the sides, up popped sub Grant to give the visitors a second round tie against Sligo Rovers.
Mervue did apply some late pressure and it took a brilliant one handed save from McGettigan to deny Enda Curran in the final play of the game.
Mervue United: Padraig Lally; Noel Varley, Kenny Farrell, Mark Ludden, Eric Browne; Mike Tierney (Kevin Crehan 46 mins), Kevin Barrett (Ollie Keogh 46 mins), Gary Traynor (Rory Gaffney 60 mins), Enda Curran, Evan Connolly, Dan Cunningham.
Subs not used: Daniel Waters and Ger Hanley (GK).
Letterkenny Rovers: Colm McGettigan, Conal McGonigle, Ciaran Greene, Marty McAteer, Shane Bradley, Mark Friel (Laurence Toland 91 mins), Terence Shields (Anthony Gorman 72 mins), John Doherty, Darren McElwaine, Paddy McNulty and Keith Hegarty (Garbhan Grant (109 mins).
Sub not used: Hugo Daly, Paddy McDaid.
Referee: Conor Fitzgerald
Terry has been writing for Extratime since 2009 and is based out west in Galway covering Mervue United, Salthill Devon, and now this season the newly formed, Galway FC. Terry has written articles for many publications and websites and is a die-hard Leeds Utd fan for his troubles.