A Beautiful Game for a Beautiful Shamrock
NY Shamrock SC graced Randall’s Island with the best game of football ever seen, since Pele and the Cosmos. Fitting that Icahn Stadium was the backdrop of this wonderful display of Shamrock elegance and genius. The sheer magic that players and coaches conjured up saw the rebirth of the beautiful game in the ROBBIE WALSH TRIBUTE MATCH.
The Enchanting NY Shamrock SC
Eoin Sweeny described the event. “It was a beautiful game for a beautiful person. It’s fitting that we played our best game ever. The passing was exquisite throughout the 100
minutes. Things were going so beautifully well that we were ecstatic we made it two 50-minute halves. It was irresistible stuff,” said Sweeney.
A vicious corner dipped onto the edge of the box when Sean Riley latched on to a volley as he leaned back. In the ball flew low and hard. It was a sign of things to come.
A sophisticated battle for possession developed in midfield as the teams built out from the back. There was tiki taka everywhere sprinkled with mesmerizing dribbles alongside some uncanny first touches. Just as noticeable was the incredible agility and stamina of every single player in the game. The referee admitted afterwards.
“The athleticism was so graceful it was spell bounding. At times I couldn’t keep up with the speed of play. Other times I found myself in awe of the technical ability of the players. I was a fan by the time the game was over,” the ref said.
Between the posts there was also some amazing goalkeeping. However, the gloved ones had no chance in every one of the 8 goals scored. It was a 4-4 game of football that will go down in the history books as the best display of football ever seen in NY, if not in the US. While millions of Americans watched the 2018 World Cup little did they know that the greatest game on the planet was underway right under their noses on New York’s Randall’s Island. It happens, fans can’t be in two places at one time. Although it didn’t seem that way in Walsh’s Tribute Game as players appeared to be everywhere with some sublime movement off the ball.
Walsh’s Wonderful Wizards
“Unfortunately, the World Cup clashed with our game,’ said Shamrock scorer Emmett
Harvey. “We will be back next year to play Robbie’s Tribute Match but I’m not sure we can produce the World Class performance we produced today. It’s a tall order. I’ve never scored a goal like the one I scored today. It just swerved all over the place and I couldn’t believe the power I generated after sprinting 55 yards to latch on to a superb chip over their back line. I could see it coming all the way, but it was a team goal even though I felt great as the ball rolled down the back of the net,” admitted Harvey.
Some of the goals were magnificent shots, there were great combinations and finishes, breakaways and volleys. The dead ball frees did not disappoint either with balls curling around walls and headers banged home from corners. Robbie’s brother Kevin who flew from Ireland to represent the Walsh family remarked. “Just an overwhelming experience across the board.”
Towards the end of the game Donal ‘Ducky’ Kelly said. “We are blown away. Everybody is on their A game. Robbie is very proud of us right now. I don’t know what has come over us. I’ve never seen a better game in my life,” said a bewildered Ducky. “So far, I haven’t made one bad change throughout the 95 minutes of coaching, it’s going well for both teams to be fair, but I think Sweeney will feel the pressure in the last 5 minutes. It’s a coach’s dream to be involved in a game of this magnitude. It had everything we could have hoped for. We even had a fight and I can see Robbie right now breaking his bollox laughing and saying, “A hear lads, leave it out.”
On the side line Kevin Grogan was rubbing his leg. The ex-Man U and Irish International admitted the game speed was too much. “Yea, I pulled my hammy,” Grogan said. “I played a one two and was unable to keep up with the pace of the return ball. It was just too quick for me. But after watching this game I realize how far behind the World Cup is. I’ve never seen so many great goals in one game,” Grogan said.
The final whistle blew. A PK shootout was the only way to separate these two outstanding World Class Shamrock teams. “What a beautiful game it was,” Sweeney said. “We can’t wait for next year.”
Dave Harvey Upper 90 PK as he collects Robbie’s Tribute Trophy from Kevin Walsh.
That’s Grogan in the background holding his hammy.
The Shamrocks bridged an 18-year gap on Sunday night when they clinched the
Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s John Kilby Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot
out victory over NYAC at Randall’s Island.
There hasn’t been a Rocks first team success of this nature since the
Robbie Walsh led team claimed a memorable repeat in this same competition
in 1999 and 2000. But they were made to work for it by their Division 1
rivals in a tense game that ended 1-1 after normal time.
Idy Watt’s brilliant strike in the first minute had NYAC on the back foot
immediately but they rode the storm and equalized early in the second half
through a headed goal.
For the third time in this cup run, Kevin Grogan’s men were forced into
spot kicks with captain Zachary Gosse winning the coin toss and electing to
kick first. Stu Colbert, Gosse and Dan Giorgi scored theirs while
Gianfranco Barone watched the second NYAC kick go over,. He then saved the
third and the crucial fourth, making it a 3-1 win that sparked wild
“I’m so happy for the club,” said Grigan.
“It’s been a long 18 years since they won this trophy and it was well
deserved. Lots of hard work went into things behind the scenes from the
likes of Paddy Geraghty and many others. We couldn’t have done it without
Sean Mc Mullan or John Riordan either. There was tremendous support
yesterday both at the game and also via text and email. The penalty shoot
out was even streamed live in some bars around Queens. It’s been a lot of
hard work over the last three years and we have come a long way. It’s great
to have silverware to show for it. We don’t pay players at this club but we
give them something way more valuable and that’s a family.”
The John Kilby Cup will be make an appearance at this Saturday’s
End-of-Season Awards Banquet where the Guest of Honor will be Joe Behan.
“After all of the hard work and dedication that has been put in from the
members, coaching staff, players, and supporters we earned the right to put
Shamrocks back on the cup,” said skipper Gosse.
“This season has had its periods of ups and downs, including the loss of my
father and role model, Dr. Gerry Gosse, 2 weeks ago. But similar to Dr. G,
who was a major believer in the power of teamwork and perseverance our
squad found a way to remain unified and earn the silverware. I must admit,
I consider myself lucky to be a captain at a club that truly values
family. The support from our members both past and present helps reinforce
that we are all part of something very special. Up the Rocks!”
*match reports for Sunday, June 3
Shamrocks over-30s came up short in their State Cup final, giving away an early lead to lose 2-1. It was a game that was mostly dominated by the Rocks, who scored through a clinical Sean Riley finish about 25 minutes into play. In command of possession and with constant pressure applied, Paddy McCarry’s men were unfortunate not to have a bigger lead by the time their opponents rather fortuitously struck back with two goals in a 6 minute period after the hour mark. Despite having two shots cleared off the line in the dying minutes of the game, the gallant efforts of the Shamrocks lads was just not enough to bring parity. The end result was a hard blow for a team that has been working hard and performing excellently all season. The defeat came on the back of a league play-off loss to a Pancyprian outfit that exploited league rules to field four first team players. Having to play a State Cup final less than 72 hours later did not help and the unfortunate manner of both losses combined is far less than what this great Shamrocks team deserves. However, the club is in no doubt that these boys will be back with a vengeance next season. The ever-effusive Paddy McGarry had this to say after the game: “We just came up that little bit short again. Beat in the league semi-final and the State Cup Final. This group has been excellent all year and I’m very proud of all of them. It was a privilege to be their manager.”
The Shamrocks first team advanced to the John Kilby League Cup final after a dramatic penalty shoot out victory over fellow Division 1 outfit Doxa on Sunday night at Randall’s Island. It was tense and scoreless until Kwesi Mills-Odoi broke he deadlock with a brilliant worked goal that came on an assist from Nick Laurent. But a late penalty, awarded for a handball against Kurt Cameron, Gabe Doxa a reprieve and forced the shootout. Gianfranco Barone saved the third Doxa kick while the Rocks were flawless with the successful strikes coming from Stu Colbert, Kurt Cameron, Travis Blair, Calvin Moyes and finally the winner from the always reliable Dan Giorgi. “I felt it was a good performance in the first half,” said Rocks coach Kevin Grogan. “In the second half we lost our momentum but we produced a very good goal at an important moment. The penalty they got in the last minute was dubious but we held our nerve and won on penalties. All focus on the final now.”
Dan Meola’s reserves had an undeserving end to an otherwise impressive season with a penalty shoot-out loss in their play-off semi-final against CPR Whites. After a deadlocked 90 minutes in which the usually free scoring Rocks were unable to penetrate the opponent’s redoubtable defense, CPR eventually came out on top with a 3-1 penalties scoreline. It’s a hard blow for a Shamrocks team that has fought so hard all year. However, there is a lot more promised by this squad and its manager in the season ahead.
The 1960s saw out a forgettable season with a 3-0 loss to Ridgewood Romac in Staten Island. Again performing well and yet failing to make crucial chances tell, the Shamrocks fell once more to a team that showed how to take its opportunities. Yet the fight and spirit remains in the squad, and optimism must prevail as it looks to playing once more in Metro 2 next year.
The age-defying Shamrocks over-38s brought a rollicking finish to their season with a barnstorming 5-1 victory over Barnstonworth Rovers Old Boys. Playing with a sense of relief following the announcement of Emmett Harvey’s impending departure as coach, the Rocks finally came out of their shell after 3 years of playing under great fear and anxiety. This cheerful sense of freedom from worry was fully demonstrated by Eddie Gilmartin, who wound back the hands of time at one stage by bending his stubby legs enough to perform 3 stepovers in a row. This was quickly followed by some River Dance, a few beats of Gangman Style, and a sequence of the hokey-kokey. Afterwards, Gilmartin duly turned around and shouted “that’s what it’s all about ye,” only to see that the action had moved to the other end of the pitch. Eoin Sweeney played like a man off his meds, causing much confusion for teammates and opponents alike. Grumpy Doyle and Sleepy Wilton at the back were not to be dwarfed by Barnstonworth’s attackers, and provided good service from the rear to high-flying Shamrock attackers like Ryan Thompson, whose two excellent strikes made him resemble Arjen Robben with a Beatles wig on. Niall “Ronnie” Corbett scored his first for the Rocks, while Tyrone “in a class of his own” Kent and John Riordan added the others. In a tearful state back at the Courtyard Ale House, Harvey had these bitter sentiments to impart: “I’m really gonna miss ordering people about. What I’ve learned over the past three years is that power is everything and that I get a real rush from being in total control of things. That said, it’s gonna be good to spend more time with the wife and kid at home.” At this point, Christina ran screaming from the bar.
*Shamrocks match reports, 5/19-5/20
The Shamrocks first team rounded out their CSL Division 1 campaign with a 3-1 loss to Manhattan Kickers on Saturday night. Dan Giorgi struck another penalty but the struggling Kickers kept their hopes alive of staying up in Division 1 with an impressive display. “It was a chance to look at a few players in different positions and give some players minutes,” said Kevin Grogan. “Not a great performance but we learned a lot about certain people and their commitment to the club. We are excited for our upcoming League Cup semi-final game and will be well prepared.”
Despite having secured a playoff berth, the reserves still needed a win to lock up second place. On a foggy, damp night, the Shamrocks battled through an up and down encounter to come out on top of a 3-2 scoreline against Manhattan Kickers. The impressive Junior Elleston scored two and set up the third for George Lara. After taking the lead, a resolute defensive display in difficult conditions helped the Rocks over the line. The victory, hard wrought considering the number of player absences on the night, ensured that the Shamrocks reserves ended the regular league fixture list as second in the division. Full plaudits go to rookie coach, Dan Meola and his gang of hardworking lads.
The over 30s saw off their regular season with a 3-2 victory over CPR Grays. Despite fielding a largely weakened side, McCarry’s men showed their strength in depth to recover from a 2-1 deficit to take all three points. Johnny McGeeney scored the Rocks first with his 23rd goal of the season and Dominick McCartan grabbed the winner, with an own goal by the opponents wedged between both of the aforementioned strikes. McCarry was very happy with a result that maintained an unbeaten spring run for the over 30s: “I have said from day one that this is an excellent side and if we play the way we can we will be very hard to beat. We finished the regular season with 12 wins, 3 draws and just 1 loss. Pretty good season so far.”
No lead was safe this season for the 1960’s and it showed again with a thrilling 4-4 draw against the Iranians. The Rocks took a commanding 3-0 lead early in the first half through goals from Danny Meola, Joe Flynn and Joe Connolly. However, the Iranians answered back through a long range free kick and a converted penalty. With the wind in their sails and in their faces, the Iranians tied the game early in second half after some miscommunication in the Rocks defense from a ball over the top. The Rocks kept pounding though and it was Leitrim man Hugo McGowan who gave them a deserved lead with a deft finish after some nice build up play through midfield. Needing the cushion of a fifth goal the Rocks kept pressing but it wasn’t to be as the Iranians drew level once again (I can’t remember how). Victory would’ve rendered moot as in the late kick-off, a Dana Dimon ninetieth minute OG gave Deportivo La Corona a 1-0 win over Gotham Argo which condemned the 1960’s to Metro 2 football next season.
The Shamrocks Legends were caught off guard by an early summer sun that left the likes of Justin Stanford pining for the sodden wet of dreary old Dublin, and which had Eddie Gilmartin agitated to a new level of crazed excitement. Despite the sultry conditions, however, the Rocks performed well and were totally undeserving of a 1-0 loss against a beatable CPR side. “I could do with a bit of CPR myself after those exertions,” bemoaned coach Emmett Harvey. “It was grueling out there and I think it was unfair of the ref to not allow me to use my umbrella. However, both teams had to face the same conditions and …” At this moment, Harvey passed out and, despite Eoin Sweeney’s efforts to revive him with smelling salts, we were unable to get the rest of the statement.
*match reports for weekend of 5/12-5/13/18
The Shamrocks first team pushed national champions Lansdowne close on Saturday night in an entertaining CSL Division 1 Irish Derby that ended 3-1 in favor of the Yonkers side at Tibbetts Brook Park. A brilliant opener in the first half had Lansdowne ahead at the break but the Rocks rallied and deservedly drew level through a scrambled effort from Kurt Cameron. However two late goals denied Kevin Grogan’s men a first win against the Bhoys since promotion and handed the Irish Consulate Cup to Lansdowne for the fourth year running. “Absolutely great effort,” said Grogan “We went toe to toe with them and deserved a point. They pay their players and have some big names in their team. Very proud of the Rocks last night. We worked very hard and had great support from fellow club members. We are very focused on our cup semi-final now on June 3.”
In the battle of the reserves, the Shamrocks showed great determination and character to overcome a 2-0 deficit to claim a draw with only 10 men on the field for the best part of an hour. Following Mick McGreevey’s goal before half-time, the Shamrocks came out roaring in the second half and totally dominated possession against league leaders, Lansdowne. Darren Coleman’s penalty even the game, and a late opportunity from the impressive Larry Slaughter was only kept out by the heroics of the Lansdowne keeper. The point guarantees second spot in the play-off rankings for Meola’s men. The display itself augurs well for the big games ahead, particularly should it go down to a Shamrocks v Lansdowne final.
Andy Connolly’s 1960s suffered yet another setback by losing 3-1 to their perennial bogey team, Gotschee. Despite playing well in the first half and taking the game to well organized and skillful opponents, the Shamrocks conceded two goals from defensive slip-ups. A rally from our metro lads late in the first half saw the score change to 2-1, as Dan Meola showed calm and leadership to slot home a penalty. More Shamrocks’ pressure in the second half was dampened by the awarding of a dubious penalty. At 3-1, Gotschee were hard to break down and constantly threatened themselves on the counter. The loss means things have gone from bleak to abominable for the 1960s in their relegation struggle. However, there’s a Hail Mary of a game coming up this weekend and hope is not all lost for Connolly’s men just yet.
Paddy McCarry’s over-30s fought through their second successive 0-0 game against their divisional main rivals, Manhattan Kickers, at Randall’s Island. The result is a formality as the Shamrocks set their sights on big games ahead in the league play-offs and the State Cup Final. However, the impressive display by the Rocks and their continued demonstration of defensive meanness, especially when added to their flair for scoring, can only further buoy confidence and send a warning to opponents as the big games approach.
Paddy McCarry’s over-30s are into another State Cup Final after they braved their way through a difficult semi-final fixture with Long Island Gaels. With the Gaels playing to strengths that rely somewhat on the awful conditions of a desperate home pitch, the Shamrocks faced a real tough slog throughout the 90 miutes. The game ended 0-0 and the match was then decided on the nail-biting drama of penalties. Thankfully for the Rocks, they had the great Sean McMullen in goals. While there were three penalty misses from a Shamrock team that ordinarily scores for fun, McMullen pulled off a heroic show all of his own by saving four of Gael’s penalties. A top scorer and player of the season for the Shamrocks reserves only a few years back, McMullen’s goalkeeping is also outstanding and his performnace in this game only underlines that fact. McCarry had the following to say: “Sean was the hero of the night and Neil Doran was not far behind in his contributions as center-half during the tough 90 minutes of play. To say I am proud of all these over-30s lads is an understatement. They deserve to be in the final and we had to beat some of the best over-30s teams to get there. It’s a privilege to be the manager of these boys and I’m looking forward to the final on June 3rd against Germina.”
The Shamrocks first team’s play-off chances ended on Sunday night after a hard fought 3-1 loss to the league champions Greek Americans at the Met Oval. Daniel Massey scored twice to punish two mistakes at the back to send the Greeks 2-0 up and the the home side extended their lead with an Andrew Weiner header. The Irish club was rewarded a penalty three minutes after the restart when Mani Walcott brought Aboubacar Kaba down in the box. Giorgi converted the spot kick, picking the lower right hand corner. Kevin Grogan’s men fought valiantly for a second but came up short on a tough night. “Bottom line is we made three mistakes and we didn’t finish our chances,” said Grogan. “I felt we did much better in the second half and got the better of them but we need to be more clinical around the box. We have a massive cup semi-final on June 3rd and we will use the next 2 league games to prepare for that game.”
In the reserve fixture, the Shamrocks let slip a 2-0 lead to allow NY Greek Americans to rescue a 2-2 draw. The Shamrocks took the lead with first-half goals from Brendan Lane and Gil Christensen, who took his finish with an impressive 25 yard strike. Despite remaining 2-0 and dominating by the hour mark, the Rocks allowed their opponents back into the game. Indeed, Meola’s men only avoided defeat when keeper, Kieran McGovern, made up for a personal error that lead to a late penalty for the Greeks by making a superb save from the ensuing spot-kick. The reserves remain strong in second place behind Lansdowne and will hope to build on this strong showing in the lead-up to the all important league play-offs.
The 1960s continue to have little luck in their ongoing scrap at the bottom of Metro 1. In a game that saw the Rocks lead in credible goal chances by about 10-2, Connolly’s men ultimately lost out 2-1 to a highly decent Mr Dennehy’s side. The Shamrocks took a very early lead through a composed finish by Eamon FitzGerald from a penalty, awarded after Dan Meola was taken down by the opponent’s goalkeeper. However, denehy’s scored on both sides of the half and, espite relentless pressure, the 1960s were just unable to find a response. There were strong performances across the field, especially from the likes of James Horan, Athony Carrabotta, Calvin Moyes, and Mick McAnea. Most impressive for the Shamrocks was Amar Daved, who, along with Joe Flynn, pulled the strings in midfield and helped to create a number of good chances.
The leggy Legends continued their impressive, spiked-Bovril-fueled form with an impressive 3-1 victory over Manhattan Celtic. Despite the absence of coaches Emmett Harvey and Eoin Sweeney, who were both spotted skipping down Broadway with shopping bags on their arms and a melodic tune in their throats, the Shamrocks were self-governing in the tidiness of their play and the steel of the team’s efforts. Andy Connolly, as usual, was a constant nuisance at both ends of the pitch, so opponents and teammates did well to ignore his aimless runs, fumbles on the ball, and yelping cries. The Shamrocks took a deserved first-half lead through a cheekily deft finish from the outside of the right boot of Ryan Thompson. Despite the constant pressure from the home side, whose opportunities flowed through the triumvirate of Gilmartin, Doyle, and Riordan in midfield, it wasn’t until 10 minutes into the second half that the Shamrocks advanced their lead. This time the finish came from the head of Connolly, who, in trying to run away from the ball, accidentally met it square on. Connolly’s cry of “ouch that hurts” was barely audible amid the din of praise and cheering from his teammates. The Rocks third goal was an impressive finish from Marcus Nasciemento. Finally, Connolly got his chance to leave an indelible mark on the game when he took advantage of a defensive mistake to help set the opponents up with a late consolation. The Shamrocks were not to be deterred, however, and so Eddie “I’m from Belfast” Gilmartin somehow convinced the ref to blow up early before Celtic got the chance to make a late rally.*
*the last comment was a joke and it should be made clear to all prudish, literalist, and lobotomized readers that the ref played the full 90 minutes.
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