- Second championship in three years
- Reserves through to Saunders Cup final after penalty shoot out
Shamrocks Over 30s coach Paddy Mc Carry paid tribute to his league title winning team on Sunday after a penalty shoot out victory against Dinamo brought the championship to the Rocks for the second time in three years.
It was a day of penalty drama for the club as the reserves advanced to the Saunders Cup final against NY Ukrainians in Williamsburg after a shootout of their own.
For Mc Carry and his team, it was a just reward for a remarkable season which delivered 16 wins out of 18 games.
Had it not been for a world class save from Sean Mc Mullan in the second half, there could well have been a different outcome but the scoreless deadlock set up penalties in which the Rocks players proved flawless.
The winning team celebrate victory. Back row, from left to right, Sean Mc Mullan, Anton Diver, Alex Berne, Keith Buckley, Danny Parkin, Ali Reza, Sean Riley, Pablo Graham, Thomas Maher, Richie Brennan. Front row, left to right, Bingo O’Driscoll, Tayfun Gokmen, Adrian Morrissey, Brendan Donoghue, Paddy Mc Carry, Ruairi Lavery.
Picture courtesy of Eoin Sweeney
“I could not be prouder of this bunch of players and the effort they have put in all year,” said Mc Carry.
“They deserved this championship – they have been top class, every single one of them.
“I have to say this was one of the tightest games I have ever been involved in either as a player or manager. Both teams did not want to give an inch and fought tooth and nail for every ball.
“It was no surprise that the game ended 0-0 at half-time. I felt that we were the better team in the first half. Our defence once again held strong. Richie Brennan who was in at right back for injured Anton Diver, Bingo O’Driscoll, Pablo Graham and Keith Buckley.
“In the second half, we came out strong but could not break down the Dinamo defence then they started to get on top of the game.”
The captain O’Driscoll led the way with the first penalty and Tayfun Gokmen, Sean Riley, Pablo Graham and Danny Parkin scored each of their efforts while Mc Mullan saved Dinamo’s third attempt in what proved to be the decisive moment of the shootout.
“It’s very hard for me to pick stars in this final,” added Mc Carry. “They were all great but without our keeper Sean we would not have won today. He was fantastic and has been all year. Not only is he our keeper, he is the president of our club and my assistant manager. The amount of work the man does is unreal and none of this would have been possible without him.
“I’d also pick out Keith Buckley at left back – in my mind, he is the best left back in the league.
“Our captain and center half Bingo is a top class footballer and has a heart of a lion and he led this team the whole way to the title.
“The whole club committee is behind this victory – they have supported me all the way. This club is on the up big time.
“Our record as a team speaks for itself – we played 18, won 16, drew one and lost one. Without a shadow of a doubt, this year is the biggest achievement in my football days as either player or manager and I would just like to thank all players and committee members for that.”
Meanwhile, in McCarren Park, the reserves fought out a 1-1 draw that was decided by an incredible shootout in which all 11 players on both teams took a penalty.
A competitve first half ended scoreless and it was midfielder Anthony Carrabotta who broke the deadlock after 65 minutes when Daniel Cano laid it on to the right for the midfielder to slot home to the far corner for his second goal of the season.
The Shamrocks controlled the game from there but a late equalizer from the Ukrainians set up a tense penalty shoot out.
All 11 players on both teams stepped up and it fell to Michael Kumaresan to win it in sudden death.
The reserves team which overcame the Ukrainians at McCarren Park. Pictured back row from left to right, Eddie Gilmartin, Brian Wolohan, Nick Meola, Colum McComish, Neil Mannion, Issac Hidalgo, Emeka Ike, Anthony Carrabotta, Mike Murphy, Dan Meola, Paul McDaid, Stevie Doyle. Front row left to right, Andy Connolly, John Riordan, Ryan McKinley, Glen Wrafter, Cathal Monaghan Michael Kumaresan, Braden Ruddy, Kevin Farrell, Daniel Cano. Picture courtesy of Dayana Hidalgo.
“It was exactly what we deserved,” said coach Stevie Doyle. “I felt we controlled the game and all of our players put in a huge effort. We can look forward now to a final and try to win some silverware. We’ll train hard this week and prepare the right way.”
The details of the final are to be confirmed.