NW FOOTBALL: Coyle’s first half strike enough to see off Rovers

Ian Walker from WE Stitch pictured presenting a match ball to Matty Hamilton, Roe Rovers Captain.
Ian Walker from WE Stitch pictured presenting a match ball to Matty Hamilton, Roe Rovers Captain.

At the fourth attempt Roe Rovers Matt Morrison North West Junior Cup tie against Kilrea United finally took place on Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Roesiders they suffered a narrow 1-0 lost and maybe had hoped the bad weather had intervene again.

The pitch wasn’t in great condition and stopped the two teams playing a lot of their more attractive football but it was still a dog eat dog cup tie.

Rovers on a decent run five wins on the bounce knew they would be up against it against a good Kilrea team.

The visitors started as favourites but with Rovers on a good run and at home they where still optimistic.

The loss of Loughlain Toland, Ciaran Deery and Chris Doyle where big selection blows for Rovers hopes but still a strong 14 took to the tie with energy and endeavour.

In the 20th minute Rovers had their best chance of the game when Chris McInnes won a ball in midfield and played a great through ball to young Jack McGonigle who quickly adjusted his feet and curled a shot to the back post but the ball drifted inches the wrong side of the post.

Kilrea followed that up minutes later a shot from distance well over and close range effort that was tame and straight at the impressive Cain Breslin Rovers goal.

On 29 minutes Kilrea crafted an opening with a good passing move on the right and Breslin was again in the right place as he gathered a tame shot.

Jack McGonigle then had another great effort this time going for the other post with a snap shot on the turn from the edge of the box but again the shot beat the keeper but went inches wide.

In the tit for tat attacking style Kilrea went straight up the pitch again and had their best chance of the half but fired well wide.

Finbar O’Brien then made a powerful overlapping run from right wing back and combined with McGonigle his cross that beat everyone including the keeper but struck the crossbar but McInnes fired the loose ball wide.

Minutes before the break and Kilrea scored the only goal of the game.

A flowing move ended with Stephen Coyle firing home despite Breslin’s best efforts to try and keep it out.

Rovers were the better side in the first half and didn’t deserve to be behind but Kilrea edged the second and showed why they are going so well with a sterling battling performance to hold onto their lead.

After the break Tommy Hassan and Jack McGonigle played a neat one two on the left before finding McGonigle but he fired over from a tight angle.

The home side brought on three attackers to freshen the goal threat. Breffni King had just entered the game and immediately had an impact sliding in to win a ball in midfield, he got quick to his feet to slot in Darrel Mulgrew who’s deep cross just evaded Conor Mullan.

Mullan was pushing more forward as Rovers searched for the deserved equaliser but Kilrea killed the game in the last ten minutes by keeping the ball well and breaking well.

In they almost made it 2-0 in the last minute but Breslin, who was commanding throughout, wasn’t going to be beaten again.

Kilrea go into the next round but it was a credit to both teams on a difficult pitch how much of entertaining game it was. Credit to referee James Doherty who got most of the decisions right in a difficult cup tie to officiate.