Rocks ready for Irish Derby at Lansdowne

  • Grogan ‘focused’ on challenge ahead
  • Rocks Women bidding to silence Sirens
  • 1960 aiming to clinch promotion and championship berth
  • Doyle calls on reserves to bounce back from tough loss

SHAMROCKS sunday schedule graphic (1)

April will end on a high note for the Rocks this weekend with an Irish derby and not one but two potential divisional deciders.

The Shamrocks will visit CSL Division 1 champions Lansdowne on Saturday evening for a vital league game with so much at stake for both sides (Tibbetts Brook Park, 8pm).

The game will be preceded by a brief ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and by the end of the 90 minutes, the second annual Irish Consulate Cup will be awarded to the winners.

Irish derby poster deep

Purely a ceremonial trophy, the league points will be the primary concern as the Shamrocks bid to stay in touch with the tight bunch of teams hovering around mid-table. Polonia’s loss last week means they can stay ahead of the Greenpoint outfit no matter what happens this weekend. But with the final post in sight, coach Kevin Grogan is targeting every possible point.

Meanwhile, Lansdowne will be aiming to stay level with Pancyprians who have played a game more than the Yonkers outfit.

“There are many other clubs that want us to fail in our mission to achieve our goal of staying up,” noted Grogan.

“But as always we are very focused on our job and we are a very tight knit group. We are giving ourselves the best chance of achieving our goal and although the new format of the league is very unfair and has punished us for our great start to the season we are still very much on track to achieve our mission.

“Every game now is a cup final and we need to use all our experience on and off the pitch to get over the line. Anything can happen on any given day in football. Concentration and discipline are king now.”

The reserves are under equal pressure to get a result – their dramatic loss last week to Pancyprians allowed the Lansdowne reserves pull level with the Rocks and Lansdowne also have the edge in the head-to-head battle following December’s win at Tibbetts.

“This weekend promises to be a very special one on so many levels,” said Stevie Doyle.

“The commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the Easter Rising and a trip to Tibbetts to take on our Irish compatriots Lansdowne. With both teams level on points, it promises to be tight and tense game. I’m looking for a big response from my team after the defeat last week and I have a full squad to choose from. A win will push us into second place and it will give us confidence going into the last few games.”

Meanwhile, St Michaels will be the place to be on Sunday with the Shamrocks Women facing a season-defining clash with their title rivals, Sirens.

The Rocks have scored 33 goals without reply in the four league games since the winter break but Sirens have been equally flawless and in fact both teams share a similar goal difference, both 49 goals to the good.

“We have our biggest game of the year on Sunday,” said coach Paddy Geraghty. “A win would put us five points clear with two games left so it’s a big incentive for us. We play Sirens who have only lost once all season. They have qualified for the State Cup final as well as the League Cup final so we know it’s going to be a massive task for us. We look forward to the challenge.”

Elsewhere in Metro 2, Shamrocks 1960 can wrap up their division and a June 12 league final if they beat second placed Gotham City at Randall’s Island 74 on Sunday (kick-off 12pm).

Gotham City’s league campaign could effectively end with a loss as a Rocks win would also lock up promotion to Metro 1.

“This is without doubt our biggest game of the season so far,” said assistant-coach and center back Neil Mannion. “It’s in our own hands but we need to be ready to repel the challenge of a team who are in survival mode. The horse is at the water, it’s time for him to drink it!”

The second game at St Michael’s on Sunday is the 3pm kick-off between the Shamrocks Legends and Hoboken’s Over 36 side. A couple of injuries have interfered with Emmett Harvey’s preparations but with the Over 30s enjoying a weekend off, he has some opportunities to shore up the gaps.

“It was a tough loss last weekend and it didn’t help that it included injuries to some key players,”

“We play a Hoboken side who have strengthened over the winter break. So we are expecting a tough match, but we have put together a team which is more than capable of getting the right result.”