- Record seven Rocks teams begin their seasons
- Zachary Gosse named Shamrocks captain
- Firsts set to unveil new signings at Zum Schneider
- Historic day in Division A for Rocks Women
- Metro 1 debut for Rocks 1960
- Over 30s champs begin title defense at Celtic
Zachary Gosse has been named captain of the Shamrocks first team in just his second season at the club.
Rocks coach Kevin Grogan made the announcement at Thursday’s final pre-season training session before Sunday’s hotly anticipated opener away to Zum Schneider in Randalls Island (Icahn Stadium, 8pm).
Gosse, player of the year for the 2015/16 season, was a rock at the heart of the back line throughout a difficult campaign but having survived the drop to Division 2, Grogan is now looking to push on with a more open style of football.
“It’s been a very busy recruitment period for us,” the Rocks coach admitted. “We feel very satisfied with the balance between last season’s players and this year’s new ones.
“Last year was survival but now we are prepared to play a more expansive type of football in line with my true philosophy. Every game at this level will be very hard and as always it’s one game at a time. We will have good and bad days this season. That’s football. We will give 100 % and respect the amazing traditions of the Shamrocks.”
Gosse said he was “honored” to be handed the captain’s arm band.
“Moving to the Shamrocks last year has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he said.
“The club has a true family atmosphere, but they take a very serious approach when it comes to football and winning matches. ”
Gosse added that this weekend’s clash with Zum Schneider was a good opportunity to make up for June’s loss in the League Cup final.
“I believe they will have a very strong team, but we’ve added a number of high quality players over the summer who can have an immediate impact on our starting eleven.
“At this point we have a very deep squad which will help keep us competitive in both training and matches throughout the season.”
The newly installed reserves team captain Paul McDaid will lead out his team mates in the curtain raiser on Sunday as new coach John Riordan faces into his first game at the helm.
The Rocks reserves were semi-finalists in last season’s league, unlucky to lose out on penalties against eventual champions Lansdowne. With Stevie Doyle stepping up to assist with first team duties after three successful seasons in the reserves job, the opportunity arose for Riordan to take the reins.
“Stevie did brilliantly last season and he has been pivotal in the club’s overall success,” said Riordan. “We have retained a core of quality players with a lot of experience and there are a couple of very good additions to the squad. But Zum are an unknown quantity so we won’t be looking past them. I’m sure they’ll benefit this season as their first team strengthens.”
OVER 30s CHAMPS BEGIN WITH IRISH DERBY
Coinciding with the action in Randalls Island will be a highly anticipated Irish Derby over in Manhattan’s Pier 40 where Manhattan Celtic Bhoys will host the league and State Cup champion Shamrocks at 7.30pm.
“The Over 30s goal this year is to retain our league title and defend our State Cup,” said coach Paddy Mc Carry.
“We have lost two players that started the State Cup final and we have reduced our squad from 30 to 26. But we have a lot of quality in that 26. We have cover for every position this year and we have added five new players to the squad who are excellent. Two will go straight into the starting 11 and the other three will push the starters all the way.
“There is real competition for places this year and that was the goal of the tryouts. We are double winners and everyone will want to beat us so we must be on our toes from game one. We are very much looking forward to the Irish Derby on Sunday now!”
METRO 1 DEBUT FOR 1960
Meanwhile, newly promoted Shamrocks 1960 begin their Metro 1 campaign at home to Ridgewood Romac in St Michael’s at 1pm on Sunday,
Ridgewood finished fourth last season but 1960 coach Andy Connolly is under no illusions about the step-up in standard his talented and experienced team faces.
“Our ambition from the outset was to get this team up into Metro 1 and test ourselves against these teams,” pointed out assistant coach Neil Mannion.
“It just shows the resolve and dedication of our players that we are here at the first time of asking. We have trained very hard and the players are buzzing.
“We have heard good things about Ridgewood but we are out to prove what we can do and we are looking forward to the task ahead. We have added some very good new players and we have kept almost all of the players that got us here.
“And we are delighted to welcome Robbie Walsh on to the coaching team. It was he who moved the club through the Metro divisions almost a decade ago and it is truly fitting that he is back to offer his experience on the sideline.”
BRENNAN BACK TO LEAD LEGENDS
The curtain raiser at St Michael’s will see Emmett Harvey’s Legends host Eintracht at 11am.
Last year’s player of the year, Richie Brennan, will also retain the captaincy of the team as they bid to build on last year’s inaugural season.
“The Legends are excited to start our second season,” said Harvey.
“We finished last year’s league campaign unbeaten in our last four games and hope to continue that good run of form against what will be tough opposition this Sunday.
“The team has added a few quality players and we are all looking forward to the season ahead. With a good management team of Eoin Sweeney and Donal ‘Ducky’ Kelly, there is plenty of experience to guide the players along.”
ROCKS WOMEN READY FOR MAGIC TASK
It’s a new dawn for the Shamrocks women who won the league and cup double last season, catapulting Paddy Geraghty’s charges to the top division in Metropolitan Women’s Soccer League.
That success has also heralded a brand new reserves team, Shamrocks B, which will compete in Division B guided by their new coach, Keith Perez. Welcome to the Rocks Keith!
Boasting several impressive new signings and retaining almost all of last year’s title winning squad, the Rocks will take on the might of NY Magic on Sunday in East River Park (East 6th St) at 3pm. The B team will face fellow newcomers Beyond FC at 1.30pm in Brooklyn’s New Utrecht Park.
“We are looking forward to Sunday,” said Geraghty.
“It’s taken a lot of work from all the players to grow to where we are now and I think everyone has a lot of pride in how far we have come.
“But the past is the past so we will be ready for both games and the season ahead. We’ve trained hard this summer and we’re ready to go.”
Geraghty confirmed that midfielder Teresa Ferraro will take over the captaincy for the new season.
“We have been very lucky to have Erin Cullen and Sinéad Hennessy as our team captains in our first two years. Erin kept us afloat in a very tough first season and Sinéad led by example last season when things really took off.
“Teresa Ferraro has a great will to win, helps others by being positive when communicating, gives 100% in training and games, and I expect her to take this club to the next level. We have a lot of new signings that we think can help both teams be successful and almost every play from last is returning bar two players who relocated. Roll on Sunday!”