- Grogan’s men head to Bronx for formidable challenge
- Top-of-the-table clash for Rocks Women and CPR White
- Mc Carry calls on Over 30s to produce against Kickers
- Robbie O’Neill returns for Rocks 1960
- Legends hoping to ride wave of State Cup win
Division 1 Champions Lansdowne welcome the Shamrocks to the Bronx this Saturday for a hotly anticipated Irish Derby showdown which is sure to be the game of the weekend in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
Table topping Rocks will travel across the Triboro Bridge as underdogs in spite of their unbeaten start to the season and coach Kevin Grogan has told his players that this match-up is no more important than the games that lie ahead before the winter break.
The squad is back to full strength courtesy of a weekend off which was the result of Port Jefferson Fusion’s forfeit in round one of the State Cup, sending the Rocks through to December’s quarter-final.
“It’s a big game because it’s the next game,” pointed out Grogan this week.
“Lansdowne are champions so it’s a good game to bench mark our progress. We anticipate having a strong team and squad. Strength in-depth is key in games like this. We have utilized the squad well so far this season and we will do the same this weekend.”
Due to US Open Cup commitments, unbeaten Lansdowne have two games in hand on the Shamrocks and will be seeking to make up ground on the leaders in front of what should be a good crowd of followers form both clubs.
“It’s genuinely just another game where we will be looking to work hard, play expansive football and try to win,” added Grogan. “Ultimately the league isn’t won or lost this week. It’s a long process and season and if we keep working hard and improving every week we can have a good season that the club can be proud of.”
The curtain raiser should also be an intriguing one with the in-form Lansdowne reserves bringing a perfect record into the 6pm kick-off. Unfortunately for John Riordan’s outfit, a dozen players are injured or away, leaving the squad light on options.
“Their reserves are league and cup champions so we have to go up there bearing that in mind,” noted Riordan.
“We are missing some really important players through injury and other commitments so we have to approach this as underdogs. We’ll enjoy the occasion and hope for the best.”
On Sunday, in Metro 1, Shamrocks 1960 will take on NYFC Iliria at St Michaels in what will be a welcome return to league action after last Sunday’s State Cup exit (kick off, 1pm).
“It’s back to the bread-and-butter now of the league against a side who are going well,” said player/assistant coach Neil Mannion.
“We’ve a few players on the sideline through injury; Michael Kumaresan (calf), Braden Ruddy (arm) and Kevin Farrell (liver) but we do welcome back to the fold from injury big safe hands Robbie O’Neill. We’ve enough talent and character in the squad to bounce back from what was a tough exit in the cup.”
The first of the St Michaels double headers will see the Legends take on their Hoboken counterparts at 11am.
The Legends enjoyed an excellent cup win at Oceanside last Sunday and will be keen to ride that wave going into this game against their New Jersey opponents who have yet to win a game in the Over 37 Division.
“They are undefeated in their last two league games so they’ll draw confidence from that,” insisted player-coach Emmett Harvey.
“We know that we can play some really good football and we all work hard for each other as a team. If we have that attitude going into Sunday we should have a positive result.”
Meanwhile, the early kick off at Randalls Island 75 will see the Over 30s Division champion Shamrocks take on mid-table outfit Manhattan Kickers Premier who come into this one with two wins and two losses
Coach Paddy Mc Carry is waiting on the fitness of center half Eugene Reynolds but is otherwise able to bring a strong squad.
“It’s a very important game for us,” acknowledged Mc Carry. “In my mind, Kickers Premier have been a top side in our league for years, one of the best and we always have difficult games against them. I expect the same Sunday. We have been playing very well since we lost to Celtic – that defeat refocused us. The players know they have to bring it every week.”
Without a doubt, the biggest game of the weekend in the Metro Women’s League is the face-off in New Utrecht between Division B champions Shamrocks and Division A champions CPR White (kick off, 3.30pm).
This top-of-the-table clash pits against each other two undefeated teams locked on 13 points each with four wins and a tie to their names.
“This is a massive game against last year’s league and state cup winners but we’ve wanted this game so we could test ourselves against the best,” said Geraghty.
“We have five players out through travel and injury so it’s a chance for others to do well and stay in the team. CPR are a quality team and we respect them but we don’t fear them and we know all the pressure is on them to get a result.”
Meanwhile in Division B, Shamrocks face NY Skulls at Bushwick Inlet Park with a chance of going top should results elsewhere go their way (kick off, 10am). Unfortunately for Keith Perez’s side, they have had three weekends without competitive action due to two forfeits and a weather postponement.
“It’s been a tough run of games even though it means we still haven’t lost since opening day,” said Perez.
“So we’re really looking forward to this one. We have to keep pace with the other leading teams so we’re aiming to win.”