Despite battling performances by all three Shamrocks teams this past weekend, two unlucky defeats and a last-gasp draw were the sum totals of a disappointing couple of days on the pitch.
The first team were beaten 2-1 by Tesoro Brooklyn Kings at Octagon Soccer Field on Roosevelt Island Island on Saturday night, missing out on the chance to take advantage of NY UKrainians 1-1 draw with Manhattan Kickers on Sunday afternoon.
The Rocks dominated the early possession but it was Tesoro who took the lead after 20 minutes when the Shamrocks defense needlessly coughed up the ball on the right hand side. Tesoro’s striker #8 cut across three Shamrock SC defenders before fininshing neatly into the bottom left hand corner.
Joey Aronovsky scored the equalizer for the first team. (Courtesy Eoin Sweeney)
Shamrocks rallied and got the equaliser ten minutes before half-time. Paddy Geraghty floated a free kick into the box which missed everyone except Joey Aronovsky, who slotted home from close range.
Shamrocks continued to dominate possession in the second half and created a number of guilt-edged opportunities. However, it was Tesoro who got the winner after 65 minutes. Again, Shamrocks were guilty of surrendering possession needlessly on their right hand side and Tesoro broke and punished with a neat move.
Shamrocks piled on the pressure but were unable to find a way past a stellar Tesoro defense.
“It was an extremely disappointing result,” said coach Glen Wrafter. “Although it was a fine performance with the home team enjoying the lion’s share of possession and clear cut chances.”
The result leaves fourth-placed Rocks four points behind second-placed NY Ukrainians with a game in hand while the fact that Stal Mielec (third) and NYPD (fifth) drew with each other was also somewhat of a consolation for Wrafter.
In the curtain-raiser at Roosevelt, the Shamrocks Reserves were held at home by Tesoro after an agonising equaliser arrived late in the game to deny the hosts what would have been a priceless victory.
The Rocks had held firm for the majority of the game against a talented, free-flowing outfit but looked dangerous in attack when they managed to put pressure on the fragile Tesoro back line.
Midway through the second half, a Tesoro handball gave Paul McDaid a chance from the spot and he rifled home with aplomb to the right hand corner.
But as time ran out, the pressure from the away side told off when a set piece at the edge of the box wasn’t cleared and the ball was knocked to the back of the net.
One of the major positives for the Rocks was the return of inspirational midfielder Keith Cagney while captain Ruairi Lavery and fellow center back Neil Mannion were once again rock solid in defense.
“It was a fair result overall,” said coach Robbie O’Neill who was once again a great presence between the posts. “But it was a shame the way it happened. To go three points ahead of them would have been massive but we still have a game in hand on them and we’ll go into next Saturday evening’s game against Japan with our confidence intact.”
On Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Over 30s were beaten 3-2 by top-of-the-table Manhattan Celtic Legends in spite of a sterling comeback that saw the visitors reduce the deficit from 3-0 down.
The Shamrocks Over 30s side that took on Manhattan Celtic Legends. (Courtesy Eoin Sweeney)
The strong wind coming in off the river was the telling factor and two of Celtic’s three first half goals were helped along by the swirling gusts.
But just before half-time, after a corner was swung in from the left, John Riordan latched on to the breaking ball and slotted home from eight yards.
That sent the Rocks into the break with home and then about a quarter of an hour into the second half, Benny Ljuta’s deft touch sent Riordan running into space through the middle and he finished low to the corner.
The Rocks kept the pressure on the home side for the remainder of the game but could never find that all-important equalizer.
“I was very happy with the fight all the players had in the second half in very difficult conditions,” said coach Paddy Mc Carry. “I believe we deserved at least a point if not all three seeing as we had two stone-wall penalty appeals and got neither but we’ll just have to go again next week and try to pick up points quickly in the battle to stay up.”