- Grogan: “biggest game” since joining the Rocks
- 1960 and Over 30s bid to keep control of league leads
- Rocks Women aiming for ninth league win in a row
A season-defining weekend lies in wait for the Shamrocks with valuable CSL Division 1 league points on the line at the Met Oval on Sunday evening (kick-off 8pm).
The NY Greek Americans will host Kevin Grogan’s fourth-placed charges with a four-point gap separating the two sides after the Greeks comprehensively beat NYC Rovers on March 20.
This will be the first of two important visits to their Queens rivals inside a week with the April 10 League Cup quarter-final meaning the teams face each other two Sundays in a row.
The season started brilliantly for the Shamrocks against the Greeks back in September with a 1-0 win at St Michael’s thanks to Chris Uy’s late strike.
“This is by far the biggest game we’ve had since I have come to the club,” said Grogan.
“We have a great opportunity to compete as our squad and the team is maturing all the time. We need everyone available and ready to perform. The great players perform in these big games. The average ones don’t.”
The Greeks’ reserves are also nipping at the heels of the Shamrocks and will attempt to avenge September’s loss in the reverse fixture when the curtain raiser kicks off at 6pm.
Stevie Doyle’s men are confident after a fine 3-1 win at Pancyprians almost two weeks ago while the Greeks scraped past NYC Rovers, 3-2.
“It was a really good performance against Pancyprians,” said coach Stevie Doyle. “It was brilliant to have Sean (Steed) and Pierre (Meloty-Kapella) back in the fold and with Sean Doran added to the squad and Andrew Efren making his league debut, we are finally getting a very good outfit together which is capable of pushing all the way.
“I was very glad to see Colum McCommish back from injury and hopefully Brendan Lane will make a much anticipated return. We’re still missing our captain Shane Moore but hopefully he can get fit for the final push. It’s a battle between third and fourth but we need a win to really put pressure on the leaders.”
Meanwhile, in Metro 2 East, division leading Shamrocks 1960 will take on last-placed NYC Afghanistan at St Michael’s in the second of two games at our Queens home field (3pm).
Coach Andy Connolly, who returns after a four-game suspension, will hope to repeat the win achieved over Afghanistan back in September as they aim to maintain a five-point gap ahead of second-placed Gotham City.
“This is a big game for the 1960s and is the start of a pressurizing run-in of games,” said Connolly. “But as Neil Mannion so eloquently stated the other day, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. He also said something about vegan lasagne but I’m not sure whether it pertained to our efforts to win the Metro 2 league.”
The first game of the day will see the league leading Over 30s take on Brooklyn Gunners at Randall’s Island 75 at 8am. Paddy Mc Carry’s men will carry with them the brilliant 4-3 win over Dinamo almost two weeks ago while 11th-placed Gunners will be keen to recover after a 6-0 reverse at CPR Grays.
“Sunday is another chance for us to close in on the league,” said coach Paddy Mc Carry.
“But we will not be taking Gunners lightly for a second. We must get the three points. That’s what it’s all about – picking up enough points to retain our title. We have three players out injured but our squad is strong and they are all fighting hard to get into the starting 11.”
The Legends will visit SC Gjoa on Sunday morning for 9.30am kick-off at Dyker Beach Park. Gjoa are third after their recent 2-1 at CPR Legends Legends and were very narrow 1-0 winners at St Michaels back in November.
“After another tough loss last week we are hoping to bounce back this weekend against last year’s champions, SC Gjoa,” said player-coach Emmett Harvey.
“We have a good team with great team sprit and belief. We are building a team and the right results will come again soon.”
In the Women’s Metro League, Division B leading Shamrocks will take on Phoenix in the curtain raiser at St Michael’s (kick-off 1pm). The Rocks hold a two-point lead over Sirens while Phoenix are sixth with a 3 wins-6 losses record.
“We are missing a number of starters this week but that is why we have a big squad,” said coach Paddy Geraghty. “It’s a chance for others to step in. We play Phoenix who gave us a very tough game earlier this season so we are ready for a battle.”