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.
Congratulations to two of our favorite Shamrocks, Nikle and Leia, who welcomed their son Maverik Francis Guzijan into the world early Sunday.
Leia had graciously delayed her hospital appointment on Saturday evening to make sure Maverik’s dad could line out for the Shamrocks reserves in a brilliant 7-0 win over Doxa at Randall’s Island.
Short on defenders, Guzijan was happy to help ensure a shutout before the arrival of Maverik. Thanks to goals from James Whyte (two), John McAleenan (two), James Hudson, Darren Coleman and Jeff Greenspan, Dan Meola’s men advanced to the next round of the D’Arpino Cup with their sixth win in a row.
“Great all round team performance,” said captain Coleman. “The football we have been playing lately has been excellent and that’s a credit to all the lads! Great to see Jeff Greenspan score his first goal for the club too!
“Special word of thanks to Rob O’Neill for stepping in to coach us while Dan was away.”
Meanwhile, late Sunday evening, the first team moved on to the semi-finals of the Manning Cup thanks to a hard fought 2-0 win over the Greek Americans at Met Oval.
Captain Zachary Gosse scored a superb early opener, connecting with a volley from a perfect Dylan McCabe corner. After a very entertain first half, the Greeks dug in but the Shamrocks held firm and after brilliant work from Kwesi Mills-Odoi on the left wing, his deflected shot rebounded off the post to Travis Blair who finished calmly to secure the victory with ten minutes to go.
“Fantastic win,” said Kevin Grogan.
“The Greeks dominated large portions of the game but to be fair to our players, our work ethic and resilience were excellent. And we ground out a very important win. All eyes on our big league game against NYAC next Saturday.”
Shamrocks Green are also through to the last four of the women’s State Cup thanks to a hard fought 2-1 victory over an impressive Rovers side at St Michaels.
Caroline Carter opened the scoring with a close range finish but Rovers drew level midway through the first half. Georgia Frost then struck back before half-time to set up a tense second half that saw Paddy Geraghty’s charges ultimately survive.
“We had a strong performance considering we were missing so many,” said Geraghty.
“It puts us in the State Cup semi-finals in the spring so it’ll be one we’ll look forward to. Special mention to our defense who stepped up in the second half and made sure of the win.”
Unfortunately, Shamrocks White’s cup run is over after a heartbreaking defeat to Celtic Aces in Brooklyn. Leading 1-0 going into injury time thanks to a Brandi Daniels goal, Celtic dramatically leveled and set up the dreaded penalty shoot out which the Shamrocks lost 6-5.
“It felt like we suffered two losses,” said Keith Perez.
“To give up an equalizer in the 91st minute was very tough. Then to lose in PKs 6-5 was another tough blow. It was another performance of the year by the ladies that unfortunately resulted again in another loss. We remained positive afterwards and we will be looking to build off that for the league cup game next Sunday.”
That was one of three games which ended in a shoot out on Sunday. Shamrocks 1960 tied NYC Afghanistan 1-1 in regular time (Hughie McGowan scoring for 1960) and coach Rob O’Neill saved the day stopping one of the four penalties he faced. His players, meanwhile, were flawless en route to a 5-3 result.
“Happy to win,” said O’Neill. “We were made to work extremely hard for it. It was a tough game and we never got going. But delighted to move on to the next round.”
The Over 30s were not so fortunate in their game against Baisley. Mike Dineen scored a second half breakthrough but their ten-men opponents never gave up and equalized with ten minutes to go, setting up the shootout which Baisley won 5-4.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” said Sean Mc Mullan. “We had chances to finish the game out. Penalty shoot outs are never easy. We’ll focus on the league now.”
In recent seasons, the Shamrocks have enjoyed some incredibly memorable State Cup clashes.
There was the Over 30s success over Baisley in the 2016 decider which achieved the double for Paddy Mc Carry and Sean Mc Mullan’s men. The following season the first team enjoyed a thrilling shoot out decision at the Met Oval over the Greeks and later that Spring, the Shamrocks Women overcame Rovers in the Ann Rapaglia Cup final to secure an unforgettable treble.
In a repeat of each of those clashes, the same opponents will be on the agenda for the same coaches this weekend.
Shamrocks Over 30s have been handed the tough proposition of welcoming Baisley to Randall’s Island on Sunday at 10am and must plan without injured top scorer Johnny Mc Geeney.
“The win last week put us back on track for this week,” said Mc Mullan. “It’s a big clash with the Long Island power house – the team are looking forward to it.”
At St Michaels, Paddy Geraghty will be aiming to repeat last week’s impressive win over Rovers when the team they beat in the decider two years ago arrive for a 1pm kick-off.
“We have a massive game on Sunday as it’s a State Cup quarter final and we are missing a good few regulars,” said Geraghty.
“But we will still have a strong squad out and expect that we’ll play well.”
In the closing game of the weekend, the first team has a tough trip to Met Oval for an 8pm kick-off against the Greeks.
“Our focus is on our bread and butter which is the league and we have a massive game Saturday 17th against NYAC,” said Grogan.
“This week though we look forward to a nice distraction against the Greeks in the State Cup. Of course we will try to win the game but we also have one eye on the NYAC game. I will try a few new ideas on Sunday in preparation for the NYAC game.”
Meanwhile, unbeaten Shamrocks 1960 will travel out to Flushing to take on NYC Afghanistan who are currently sixth in Metro 2 North after three wins and four losses.
“With a break in league games coming up it’s nice to have a cup game to keep us busy,” said O’Neill.
“I’m looking forward to the game against NY Afghanistan and hoping to continue our good run.”
The other Sunday game sees Shamrocks White make the trip to Bay Ridge for a Leif Ericson contest against high flying Celtic Aces (kick-off, 6pm).
“It’s going to be a close state quarter-final match up against a team we played well against in the last meeting,” said coach Keith Perez.
“We have grown and improved since then and a solid performance can lead to a victory for us.”
The opening Shamrocks game of the weekend takes place at Randalls Island 70 where the in-form reserves will play Doxa at 7pm.
“We see this as a very good opportunity to progress in the State Cup,” said Meola.
“We are in an excellent vein of form at the moment and will be hoping to build on recent performances. I sound like a broken record here, but there are no easy games. We need to play the way we know how from minute one.”