- Mc Carry looks to extend unbeaten run
- Greeks visit Rocks for St Michaels double header
- Geraghty’s sights set on CPR
- Legends looking for second win
- 1960 travel to Mola in repeat of 2015 Saunders Cup decider
Although we’re only getting into October, Sunday’s Over 30s Division Irish Derby is already a significant one.
The top-of-the-table clash between the Shamrocks and Manhattan Celtic Legends at St Michaels pits two 3-0 sides against each other with an outright lead of the East conference on the line.
“This is our biggest game since the State Cup final,” admitted coach Paddy Mc Carry.
“We face a very good Manhattan Celtic side who along with Manhattan Kickers are our main threats if we want to win the East. It’s a must-win game. We will be without Sean Riley and Eugene Reynolds which is a massive blow for us because they are quality players. I am also waiting to hear if Jonny Mc Geeney and Johnny Keogh are available.
“But we’re boosted by the return of our captain Bingo O’Driscoll. We have a good squad and I have no doubt the players will be up for this game but make no mistake about it, this is a severe test for our boys.”
There will be a similarly tough test the night before at the same venue for the first team whose lengthening injury list is already testing the depth of carefully assembled Kevin Grogan squad.
The league leading Rocks welcome the Greek Americans to St Michael’s for an 8pm kick off and must plan without several key players while also hoping others are fit enough in time for what could yet prove to be an important showdown.
Captain Zachary Gosse (toe), midfielders Rafa Carpes (hip flexor), Ibrahim Diaby (glute) and Giuseppe Barone (ankle), defender Laurie Child (rib), top goalscorer Kwesi Mills-Odoi, and both goalkeepers Frankie Tsasse (knee) and Hector Guerrero-Medina (wrist) are all major doubts. And after picking up two yellow cards away to Cedar Stars last week, Jamie Clarke must sit out this weekend.
Laurie Child (above left) and Rafa Carpes are both injury worries.
This is a vital one for the Greeks who failed to win either of their opening games, both against Greek rivals. They began with a 0-0 draw at Doxa and followed up with a 3-1 defeat at home to Pancyprians.
“We didn’t envisage having quite so many injuries,” said Grogan. “Now it’s about injury management and squad rotation. It doesn’t disrupt us to a great degree but it does unsettle the balance of the team.
“It means now that we have to look at improvisation in terms of formation and player positions. This is why we have a big squad. We have quality so we go into Saturday with a winning mentality.”
Last Sunday’s game against Cedar Stars was forfeited in favor of the Shamrocks due to an incident late in the game involving a Cedar Stars player. The Shamrocks Soccer Club was not involved in this disciplinary process at any point and will be making no further comment on the situation.
The Rocks Reserves suffered their first loss of the season away to Zum Schneider on Wednesday night but now have an immediate opportunity on Saturday to recover from a barnstorming 5-4 defeat.
Two Alex Wasilewski goals and a Darren Coleman strike had John Riordan’s side three goals up after 30 minutes but Zum rallied back to 3-2 to steady the ship. However, Joey Aronovsky’s stunning strike from the edge of the box opened out the Shamrocks lead again before the half.
Darren Coleman (above left) and Joey Aronovsky scored their first goals of the season.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half saw Zum take control, scoring three dramatic goals to edge back in front. In spite of their best efforts, the Shamrocks could not draw level and the league leaders secured all three points.
“It was a great effort by all the players,” said Riordan. “We played some fantastic football at times and we were very unlucky that a few breaks went their way in the second half. But they are a good team and it was always going to be a tough game.
“We have a couple of players back from injury on Saturday and the lads are looking forward to getting this loss out of their system.”
Meanwhile, in Metro 1 action, bottom side Mola will host Shamrocks 1960 at the Verrazano Sports Complex, a repeat of the 2015 Saunders Cup final which went the way of the Rocks reserves (kick off 1pm).
1960 go into this one confident after last week’s impressive home win over Deportivo Sociedade but a major setback for goalkeeper Robbie O’Neill (knee injury) leaves the Rocks without their legendary stopper.
“Big game and looking to take momentum from last week forward,” said coach Andy Connolly. “The squad is really developing with the strength of new players inspiring the likes of Harvey, Hughie, Emeka and Kevin Farrell to really up their games.”
Elsewhere, Barnstonworth Old Boys will serve as the opposition for the Shamrocks Legends who also eked out their first win of the season last weekend (Bush Terminal – 12pm).
Barnstonworth are unbeaten thus far, with a win and two draws to their name, but Legends coach Emmett Harvey said his players were looking forward to the game in Brooklyn.
“If we play the way we did against Manhattan Celtic then I’m confident we can get a good result,” he added. “The players are all committed and we are all really enjoying playing together as a team.”
In the Metropolitan Women’s Soccer League, the Shamrocks teams will be hoping to continue their impressive win streaks in games that kick off at the same time in Manhattan and Queens.
Winless CPR Red host the Rocks in a Division A showdown at East 6th St in what will be clash of sides sitting at opposite ends of the standings (kick off, 11am).
However, Paddy Geraghty, who has watched his side rack up three impressive wins without conceding a single goal, is not taking anything for granted heading into this one.
“We face a talented team on Sunday in CPR and we’re missing 5 players so it’s a big test for us,” he pointed out.
“But we’ve built a squad to deal with it and it’s a chance for others to stay in the team with a good performance. Tara Kiernan has been added to the squad after her great performances for our B team and we also welcome new signing Ashley Starks.”
In Division B, the Shamrocks welcome old foe Sirens to St Michael’s for an 11am kick-off. Last year’s runners-up, Sirens, have failed to win either of their two games but will be keen to get one over on the team that outdid them in the league race last season.
“The players are getting comfortable with each other and their roles on the field,” observed Rocks coach Keith Perez. “They’re presenting a strong presence on both sides of the ball. I am expecting a similar performance to last week with continued communication and possession. Come on out and support the Rocks!”