- Shoot out win for Reserves
- Kaba hat trick inspires first team
- Shamrocks White record first victory
- 1960s, Over 30s and Green also advance
Six Shamrocks teams advanced to the second round of their State Cups after an impressive weekend which delivered 43 goals for the club and a dramatic penalty shoot out victory.
The closing game of the weekend was the most thrilling with Dan Meola’s reserves pulling out that shoot out success against CPR White in the D’Arpino Cup at Randall’s Island on Sunday evening.
Having tied 1-1, the 4-2 outcome from spot kicks served as retribution for June’s league semi-final penalties loss against the same opponents.
Andrew Scott had opened the scoring after connecting with a Nikle Guzijan cross and then the penalties were subsequently dispatched with confidence by Darren Coleman, James Whyte, John McAleenan, and Brendan Lane.
“This game was a fight from start to finish,” admitted Meola.
“We knew the quality they had in attack and did well to limit them. Our penalty takers weren’t phased. Special mention to goalkeeper Brian Bush as well. We look forward to the next round of the State Cup. This is a competition the lads and myself would really love to win, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”
At the same venue, Abou Kaba’s hat trick helped the first team record a lopsided 10-2 result over Long Island’s NY Polet in the Dr Manning Cup
For once, it was the first team playing opening act for the reserves and the game was almost over as a contest after five minutes when the Rocks surged into a rapid 3-0 lead thanks to Barna Mako’s first ever goal for the club followed by a Kaba double.
Kurt Cameron scored the next two and Kaba teed up Kwesi Mills-Odoi for the sixth before Kaba rounded out his hat trick. Travis Blair scored the eighth and Joey Zorbo rounded it out with a brace (both assisted by Dan Giorgi) to make it 10-2.
“Good to win,” said Kevin Grogan. “Everyone got minutes. Back to focusing on the league campaign now.”
It was all about hat tricks for Shamrocks Green who advanced to round two of the Ann Rapaglia Cup off the back of a 9-2 victory over Manhattan Kickers at East 6th St on Sunday afternoon.
Jo Belluardo, Elly McGuffog and Mikaela Howell each tallied three strikes in a confidence building game for Paddy Geraghty’s unbeaten charges.
“We had a solid win with another game where our fitness told in the end,” said Geraghty.
“We’ll get back to work on Tuesday and get ready for a massive game next week.”
Meanwhile at St Michaels, Shamrocks White delivered their first win of the season in fine style as they raced to a 14-0 victory over a depleted Harps.
There were four goals from Colleen Cavanagh and Christine Perrella, a hat trick for Lillian Barreto, two for Patty Kweicinski and one for Kim Stagg.
“We put up a lot of goals against our short handed opponents,” said coach Keith Perez. “What’s important is that we really used this game to improve on fundamentals and communication that should prepare us for the remaining challenges of this season.”
On Saturday night, Shamrocks 1960 survived an early second half scare to knock newcomers Laberia out of the Strumpf Cup for Metro 1 and 2 teams at Randalls Island.
Stephen Carlin, Joey Flynn, Ryan Redmond, Amar David and Conor Doherty were all on target for Robbie O’Neill’s men as they recorded a 5-2 victory after having let Laberia back into it after half-time with their Metro 2 rivals leveling it at 2-2.
“Happy to get the win and move on to the next round,” said O’Neill. “We had an awful start to the second half but the boys kept the heads and battled back to dominate the remainder of the game.”
The Over 30s came from behind to win 4-1 away to Oceanside United thanks to goals from Seán Riley, Gene Small (2) and Mark Finn.
And the depleted Shamrocks Legends lost 1-0 at Gjoa in Brooklyn to fall at the first hurdle in the Vargas Cup.
“In some ways this was our most impressive display of the season,” said John Riordan. “We had no subs and the players gave it everything they had. We played better football and had better chances and we were out on their feet at the end of it. That sort of team spirit will really stand to us when we get back to league action in two weeks.”
- State Cup begins on busy weekend
- Rocks ready for Kickers & Harps
- First team welcome Long Island’s Polet
- Tough first round challenge for reserves
- Over 30s travel to Oceanside
- Historic first Over 40s cup game for Shamrocks
It’s State Cup fever this weekend for the Shamrocks with all seven teams embarking on what will hopefully be successful runs towards the Verrazzano Soccer Complex finals next June.
That was where just over a year ago, the Shamrocks Women’s team won a famous penalty shoot out against Rovers to secure their first ever Ann Rapaglia Cup and on Sunday the newly renamed Shamrocks Green will take on Manhattan Kickers at East 6th St (kick-off, 3pm) while Shamrocks White host Harps at St Michaels at 11am.
“Manhattan Kickers are a bit unknown to us,” said coach Paddy Geraghty whose team is unbeaten this season after four league encounters.
“But we’ll treat this game like any other and be ready to go. Our squad is getting better and everyone is contributing so we expect to keep the high level we’ve started the season with.”
When the Shamrocks Women first entered the league in 2014, we had the Harps women’s soccer club to thank for giving us the core of our new team.
Since then, the Harps themselves have been added to the New York Metropolitan Women’s Soccer League and on Sunday, they will face Shamrocks White in a first ever Irish Derby for women’s soccer.
“This is a game we shouldn’t take lightly.,” said coach Keith Perez. “We have been improving every game and I hope that our hard work will result in a win on Sunday.”
Meanwhile in the Manning Cup for men’s first teams, the Shamrocks will look to build on a solid win at Hoboken when they host NY Polet at Randalls Island 75 at 4pm on Sunday.
“Long Island teams have great tradition and some excellent players,” said Kevin Grogan. “We look forward to the challenge this weekend in what will be a tough game.
“Winning is a habit so we always try to win as many games as possible. One game at a time has always been our mentality.”
Up after the first team will be the reserves taking on their counterparts at CPR White at 6pm, also at Randalls 75.
“This will be a tough game against a young team who were runners up a year ago,” said Dan Meola.
“Last season, we lost to CPR on penalties in the league semi-final after a grueling 90 minutes. Hopefully, this time around, we won’t leave it up to the chance of a shootout. The lads are buzzing for this one and so am I. A very good test for us as a unit.”
There will be one Saturday game for the club with Shamrocks 1960 facing newly formed Laberia FC at Randalls 74 in the Strumpf Cup (kick-off 6pm).
“It’s always fun to play knockout tournaments,” said Robbie O’Neill. “We’ve a strong side and have high hopes to have a great run in the cup.”
Former Marth Cup champions, Shamrocks Over 30s will travel to Oceanside United for an 11am kick-off.
“With the draw last week and the return of Bingo to the team this weekend, we are looking forward to the game and to hopefully moving on to the next round,” said Sean Mc Mullan.
Elsewhere, the Shamrocks will launch their first ever Over 40s State Cup game in Brooklyn’s Calvert Vaux Park where the Legends will play SC Gjoa at 4pm.
“This is new territory for us and of course it will be difficult since a half dozen of the squad is ineligible to play,” said coach John Riordan.
“But the decision to enter the Vargas Cup was an easy one. It is an absolute honor to be able to coach this team in what will be a unique first. If we get through Sunday, missing so many players, then we have a very good chance of making a run. Above all, we’ll aim to go out and enjoy the occasion!”
By 1993 a new pool of players would find themselves making the NY Shamrocks their preferred metropolitan team of choice. By December a string of good results pushed the Second Team to the top of their league. Momentum was growing and a classic game out in Sportsfriends awaited the Shamrock leaders. The lads headed off from the club headquarters in a confident yet cautious frame of mind. Sportfriends was the Shamrock’s nemesis for many a year.
The bus pulled out from JJ Gilligan’s on a brisk fall day and ambled towards the Triborough Bridge. The stakes were high with pride even higher. The Shamrocks did not have a good record with their NJ arch-rivals over ten years. It’s hard to sum up the love –hate relationship with this NJ club. SF loved how much the Shamrocks spent at their bar after the games but hated that we always left with plenty of those beer steins as souvenirs.
As the bus climbed across the Tappan Zee Bridge someone commented how the view looked like one of those really difficult jigsaw puzzles with lots of clouds and trees…..nobody tempted a response to that one.
The lads were keen. Some even admitted to having stayed in on the Saturday night.
We arrived at the SF ground significantly early, something that took our foes by surprise. The property was nestled away on a back road and the pitch became visible while getting off the bus. They had a very impressive club house but an underwhelming pitch. A depleted field lacking grass suited SF. Such conditions had formed their style that was tough to beat. The visitors could handle such a surface but emotions and history were at the forefront of Shamrock minds.
The mood in the dressing room was intense while the jokes were not working. Knowing the 90 minutes ahead was not going to be easy enhanced the smell of blood. SF for the first time came into the game as the underdogs and this did not suit the Germans.
The travelling souls approached the dirty field on a bitter grey Sunday in New Jersey. Kevin McPartland, Carlos Granados, Alan Campbell, Sean Duffy, Derek Kierns, Adrian Brendan O’Reily, Barry Gallagher, Sean Campbell, Pete Hamill, Anto May, Dennis O’Boyle and Coach Roddy Clelland received a big cheer from the Shamrock faithful. SF was already warming up on the pitch with a substantial support of their own.
Winning the toss and taking advantage of the elements meant nothing. The game got off to a blistering pace. Tackles were hard and not shy. The tempo favored the home team as they gained momentum with every stride and every pass. A Shamrocks win would prove a turning point for the club but a huge blow for SF egos.
The half time whistle blew and with it no goals conceded by either side. A stern talking by Shamrocks coach Roddy Clelland drove home how close the team was to achieving a stellar victory. “We need to stay calm,” Clelland insisted. “We must seize every opportunity given.”
The second half started much the same as the first although this time the Shamrocks had lost their stage fright. The New Jersey sky was growing dark and the forest beside the pitch started to throw long shadows on top of the proceedings.
The spell was finally broken. A mistake by SF’s midfield and the Rocks intercepted. A pass found Sean Duffy running towards the SF goal and finishing with a deft strike into the net. The home team responded immediately as they upped the tempo. They hit the Shamrocks with everything including the kitchen sink. But it was too late. Shamrocks defended as if their lives depended on it and held on. Time was up. The Shamrocks had won a game of all games. There was cheering on and off the field as fists punched the evening sky.
“It’s a grand old team to play for, it’s a grand old team to know, and if you know your history, it’s enough to make your heart go…” The atmosphere in the dressing room was electric. Banter and conversations spilled out at lightning speed as players re-lived the game. How great it was to be a part of that day. The day Shamrocks beat Sportsfriends on NJ terrain.
There was a Sportsfriends old timer, a World War 2 Vet, who claimed that the takings from the till after a Shamrock visit were always bigger than the takings for the rest of the week. It was a compliment.
The coaching staff had asked the lads not to stroke too many of the glasses, the Rocks had after all, stroked a victory on their turf. The atmosphere it has to be said was always great and credit due, Sportsfriends always treated the Shamrocks well.
When we arrived in the bar the place was heaving and the SF players shook Shamrock hands. It wasn’t long before a sing song broke out and the Shamrocks, not really what you would call a shy group, took over the entire bar with song after song. After the driver threatened to leave for the 50th time the still singing winners headed to the bus. Not all of the glasses were stroked besides we always left a good tip. The German Vet smiled and rubbing his hands he said, “It’s was a great day for the Shamrocks, and a great day for our till.”
Kurt Cameron scored twice to help the Shamrocks first team get back to winning ways with a solid 3-1 result at Hoboken on Sunday afternoon.
A much improved performance had the visiting team ahead 3-0 by half-time even though Kevin Grogan’s squad was missing several key players.
Yannick Diese set up the first for Cameron who shot with his left to the far bottom corner. Cameron turned provider for the second, finding strike partner Kwesi Mills-Odoi who rifled a perfect shot to the top corner. Then Mills-Odoi returned the favor, battling with the defender on a long ball before managing to touch it into Cameron who was able to take a few touches into the box before scoring to the far corner.
“Very important win,” said Grogan. “Man of the match was Steve Hutchison. Also a big thank you to Nick Meola for filling in in goals. Excellent performance by him. Mike Fernandez made his first team debut and came on and showed some good experience up top. All focus now on our State Cup game against Polet next week.”
Fernandez scored in the opener for the reserves in a 2-0 win which was supplemented by a Paul McDaid strike.
“First and foremost, the win is by far and away the only thing that mattered at the final whistle,” said coach Dan Meola.
“I was proud of the way the lads dug in and secured three important points against a stubborn Hoboken side. Everyone knows the level of quality this side has and today, we were below that level. We will keep improving and look forward to a tough test against CPR in the State Cup.”
Meanwhile in Randall’s Island, the inaugural Shamrocks Legends Family Day was marked by a 3-0 win against Banatul.
Marcus Nascimento had John Riordan’s men deservedly ahead at half-time with a neat finish. Newly signed Paul Bradshaw’s first touch for the team was a brilliant left footed volley early in the second half. And after several missed chances by various players, Cris Silva ended the game as a contest when he rounded the keeper and slotted home his first of the season.
“Great win and a very enjoyable morning,” said Riordan.
“We had a makeshift central defense pairing and they reacted so well. Niall Corbett was man of the match back there and Randall Friedman was brilliant alongside him to help us keep our first clean sheet.
“It was fun to have so many of the kids and better halves join us – a really nice club occasion. Special word of thanks to Emily Kirwan who prepared food and to the committee members Teresa Brink, Tricia and Paddy Geraghty and Kailey Walsh for helping out!
“We have the Over 40 State Cup next weekend which will be our first ever involvement so that will be another nice occasion.”
The Legends win was followed by a goal fest for Shamrocks 1960 who remain top of Metro 2 South after a comprehensive 8-2 win over FC Ulqini.
Top scorer Dan Meola scored twice after dashing from the reserves win in New Jersey to enter the field as a second half sub.
The other goals were scored by Joey Flynn (2), Darragh Coates, Conor Doherty and Kevin Curran.
“Delighted with the win and another strong performance,” said coach Robbie O’Neill who also played in goals.
“Any time you score eight, you have to be happy. We’re on to the State Cup next week and thankfully Eric (Doyle) will be back between the posts!”
The Over 30s tied 1-1 against Manhattan Celtic Legends at Randall’s Island with the club’s top marksman Johnny Mc Geeney scoring once again for the Rocks.
“A very hard fought derby game,” said assistant coach Michael Caterson. “Both teams could have won it so a draw was a fair result. We were missing quite a few today but the three new signings played very well in the second half.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s league, top teams Shamrocks Green and Celtic Aces competed well in a scoreless draw in Bay Ridge.
“It was a great result for us against a very strong Celtic team,” said Paddy Geraghty.
“We were missing a lot of players but again everyone stepped up and showed resolve. Special mention to Caroline Carter and Anna Spangler who shared the shutout in goal and to Elly McGuffog who had a brilliant debut.”
Shamrocks White lost 3-0 to United in the late game.
“It was a tough loss,” said coach Keith Perez. “Injuries left us with only 11 early and we left everything on the field. The scoreline doesn’t indicate the effort. It was our best team performance of the season and we will be looking to build on that next week in the State Cup.”