For most teams, this will be the final weekend of 2018. Before we get together for our Holiday Party next Saturday at the Courtyard, there will be five CSL games up for contention tomorrow in Randall’s Island and New Jersey.
Kevin Grogan has targeted a win for the Shamrocks first team when they head to Randall’s island for a clash with struggling CPR Whites (kick off 2pm).
Notwithstanding a growing injury list, he has a strong squad to choose from as they aim to bounce back from two tough losses in a row against Pancyprians.
The Rocks are sitting well in third and will look to consolidate that going into the Spring.
“I’ve said for weeks that this is the big game for us,” said Kevin Grogan.
“A win gets us into the winter break where we set out to be at the start of the season. If we work as hard as we did the last two games, we will give ourselves a great chance.”
The curtain raiser will see the in-form reserves take on a team they have already beaten twice this season – once in the league and once in the State Cup.
“We are coming off a dramatic State Cup Quarterfinal victory over NYAC and we want to keep this excellent run of form going,” said coach Dan Meola.
“CPR always present a challenge and will be out to avenge two losses to us earlier this season. We have a full squad again this weekend and we hope to end this half on a high note.”
Shamrocks 1960 will also be at Randall’s Island at the same time as the first team for a top of the table clash against FC Sandzak.
This will be the first of two games against the same opponents in a week for Robbie O’Neill’s men as they play Sandzak against next Sunday in a make-up game.
“These are the games you want to be playing in,” said O’Neill.
“It’s been a long lay-off between games but I am full of faith in our squad’s ability and we will be pushing for three points against a strong Sandzak team.”
Sunday will start with Over 30s action – an 8am kick-off against Central Park Rangers Grays at Randalls 74.
“We’re looking forward to the break but we most finish the season off with three points,” said coach Sean Mc Mullan.
“It’s very important to get the win.”
The Legends will make the trip to New Jersey’s Phil Rizutto Park for their final game of 2018 to take on America FC 1927.
“We have had a couple of tough results lately but we have performed beyond expectations,” said coach John Riordan.
“The key is to be in play-off contention once the spring comes around and a win helps us do that.”
A Manchester United Legends XI will visit New York next summer to take on a selection of NY Shamrocks Legends in a historic fundraiser for the Queens-based soccer club.
This thrilling once-in-a-lifetime event will double up as the annual Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game and will take place on Saturday June 22, 2019 at Gaelic Park.
There will also be an exciting curtain raiser with a League of Ireland Legends selection coming to town to play a Shamrocks Over 30s line-up.
The double header in the Bronx will be followed by a banquet in Queens which will gather together all club members and supporters for an evening of season awards and entertainment.
Welcoming the announcement, Shamrocks club president Teresa Brink said, “We are very proud to welcome former Manchester United players to take part in the Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game next summer. It should be a really historic day.
“Robbie was a big Manchester Utd fan and so it will be a huge honor for our club to put on this event in his memory. We are all looking forward to the day and we are very much committed to making it an occasion to remember.”
Paddy Geraghty, who has steered the 2019 Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game Committee, paid tribute to everyone who had worked with him to make the event a possibility.
“Our current crop of Shamrocks Legends will welcome some former Legends back to pull on the jersey one more time,” said Geraghty.
“They’ll have the opportunity to play against their heroes and in some cases, join them as guest players for Manchester United. We will announce full details in the coming months including the Manchester United Legends team, ticket information, sponsorship opportunities, and special events that will run all weekend.
“We would like to thanks Colin Telford and Tony Browne at Legends XI for making the event possible, Manhattan College for the use of Gaelic Park, and the Shamrock’s Committee for all their hard work behind the scenes.”
The Shamrocks first team coach and technical director Kevin Grogan, who began his professional football career at Manchester United in the mid 1990s, said he was looking forward to the historic event.
“Obviously Manchester United has a spot in my heart from my playing days,” said Grogan. “It’s a club with an amazing history and it’s fitting they are coming over to play the NY Shamrocks who also have an amazing history. Two great clubs playing in a great city.”
Robbie Walsh was a former Shamrocks stalwart who, as captain, led the Rocks to back-to-back CSL League Cup victories, and, as coach, helped keep them together in hard times. Walsh, a County Kildare native, died in Queens in November 2016. He was 44.
Meanwhile, the Shamrocks first team bowed out of the Manning Cup after a 2-0 loss to Pancyrpians at St John’s.
“It was a good effort by our players,” said Grogan. “I cant knock their dedication to the cause. All focus now on our massive league game next week against CPR.”
The reserves team won 2-1 against NYAC after a last minute winner from James Hudson secured the win after Joey Aronovsky had opened the scoring.”
Not only are Shamrocks Green unbeaten after the Fall portion of their season ended on Sunday, they are through to two cup semi-finals and they will go into the Spring when play resumes in March as league leaders of Division A.
Chloe Wheeler and Georgia Frost each scored a goal in a 2-0 win over Rovers, their third victory in the space of two weeks over their formidable opponents.
“It was a good finish to a solid first half of the season,” said coach Paddy Geraghty.
“We have a lot to look forward to in the spring and we’ll start again in February. We had standout performances from Chloe Wheeler and Erin Cullen and we are especially happy not to have conceded a goal.”
Shamrocks White battled hard but came up short against Magic, losing 1-0 in the second of two games at St Michaels.
The most impressive result of the weekend was the first team’s demolition of NYAC at Randall’s Island on Saturday night.
A team goal of the season contender and Pax Ballard’s first for his new club opened the scoring in fine style after 17 minutes when Kwesi Mill-Odoi’s deft back heel allowed Barna Mako tee up Ballard who stroked up skillfully from just outside the box.
Five minutes later, Mills-Odoi found the same corner with a brilliant free kick to make it 2-0 at the half. NYAC pulled one back early in the second half but Travis Blair scored another nicely constructed goal just after the hour mark to hand the momentum back to the Rocks. In the dying minutes, two Dan Giorgi penalties punished NYAC ill-discipline.
“That was a very important win,” said Kevin Grogan.
“Three wins in a row gives us some momentum. Excellent work rate and discipline. Onto the next game.”
The reserves hammered NYAC 7-1 in the curtain raiser, a result that saw the second-placed Shamrocks open out a seven-point lead from the Greek Americans who lost 3-2 to leaders Cedar Stars.
James Whyte and John McAleenan both scored twice while there were also goals for Mike Fernandes, Micky McGreevy and Paul McDaid.
“We knew that NYAC were playing at less than their best this year and took the game to them,” said Dan Meola.
“Our squad has played well in both League and Cup action this year – getting better with each game. We will have the upcoming week off to recover from some niggling injuries and come back fresh for our remaining fixtures before our extended break. I want to wish all the lads and their families a Happy Thanksgiving.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, the Shamrocks Legends failed to protect a 3-0 lead against Manhattan Celtic Masters at Pier 40, conceding a late penalty which allowed the home side level it at 3-3. Paul Bradshaw had scored twice before his pinpoint inswinging corner found the head of midfielder Antoin O Duibhir.
“It was very tough to concede so late but it was a fair result,” said Riordan.
“We started brilliantly and there is a lot to be positive about. Celtic will be in contention in the Spring and we are fourth with a game in hand going into December. We fought hard so it’s disappointing and it felt like a loss but we have to be content with the draw.”
The Over 30s drew 2-2 at Pancyprians with goals from Amar Daved and Bingo O’Driscoll.
“It was a hard game,” said Sean Mc Mullan. “The draw was a good result for us with missing seven starters. We will get the better of them the next time in the return game.”
Not only are Shamrocks Green women’s team unbeaten after the Fall portion of their season ended on Sunday, they are through to two cup semi-finals and they will go into the Spring when play resumes in March as league leaders of Division A.
The Shamrocks first team will be bidding to head into the Thanksgiving break maintaining their top four position when they face NYAC at Randalls Island on Saturday evening (8pm kick-off).
Confidence is high after a memorable State Cup victory over the Greek Americans last Sunday and with the return of Barna Mako from suspension, Kevin Grogan’s hand has strengthened considerably.
“Our last two performances have been disciplined and we have demonstrated a great level of work ethic,” said Grogan.
“We need to maintain that standard this weekend in a very difficult game against NYAC.”
In the curtain raiser, Shamrocks Reserves will aim to keep pace with Cedar Stars at the top when they take on the NYAC Reserves. Dan Meola’s men bring a six-game winning streak into this one (6pm kick-off).
“NYAC are the current league champions and aren’t to be taken lightly,” said Dan Meola.
“They haven’t been in a good stretch of form but that can change at any time. The worst thing any team can do is take their opponent for granted. We are playing our most complete football of the season and want to continue that this Saturday.”
The Shamrocks Women’s teams play their last game of the fall on Sunday at St Michaels where a pair of Division A League Cup encounters with Green playing Rovers at 11am and White playing Magic at 1pm.
“The players have been brilliant so far staying unbeaten,” said Green coach Paddy Geraghty.
“A win Sunday will leave us top of the league and in two cup semi-finals in the Spring. So it’s a big game for us and hopefully we can finish the first half in style.”
The Shamrocks Legends return to action with a crucial clash against second-placed Manhattan Celtic Masters (Pier 40, 7.30pm).
John Riordan’s men have not won since October 7 and will be aiming to stop the slide this weekend against in-form Celtic.
“This will be a very tough game for us,” said Riordan.
“They are on a great run of form and their results have been hugely impressive. We are missing a couple of important players so it’ll be tricky but we need to get back in winning form so everyone will be focused on that.”
The final game of the weekend will see the Over 30s take on Pancyprians at Randalls Island 74 (kick-off 8pm Sunday). Shamrocks 1960 have a bye week.