- Kevin Grogan praises ‘amazing goals’ as Rocks stay top
- Reserves blow Pancyprians away on a memorable evening
- Johnny McGeeney double secures Irish Derby win for Over 30s
- Women B back to winning ways
Another Jamie Clarke double drove the Shamrocks to victory at St Michaels on Saturday night, helping to seal a memorable 5-2 demolition of Pancyprians on what was a brilliant weekend for the club.
Clarke and Kwesi Mills-Odoi both moved on to four goals each for the season in a game which saw the attacking philosophy of Kevin Grogan find another gear and blow the perennial CSL giants away.
It keeps the league leaders five points clear of champions Lansdowne who have two games in hand while the Freedoms slipped to fourth in the table, eight points adrift of the Rocks.
After the home side conceded an extremely soft early goal inside the opening minute, they took the game to their illustrious opponents and were eventually rewarded with a Damian Lopez header, set up brilliantly by a Mills-Odoi cross from the right.
Clarke made it 2-1 with a composed finish and then a superbly curled Mills-Odoi shot from the left to the far corner proved to be a fitting way to extend the lead.
Incredibly, it was 4-1 by half-time, Alejandro Fritz’s deflected drive deceiving the beleaguered Pancyprians shot stopper.
The visitors reconfigured after the break and just short of the hour mark, they earned a penalty which was cooly dispatched to narrow the lead to two goals.
However, the Rocks found their stride again and Clarke’s second of the evening was the result of a great build-up which broke the Pancyprians resolve once and for all.
Grogan was naturally happy that his message sat well with his players: “I sent a Walt Disney quote to them before the game: ”Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again’.
“I felt we scored five amazing goals and entertained the crowd and did our job ‘so well’.
“A big thank you to our club president Sean McMullan and Eddie Gilamrtin for helping with the signing of our new player Cónall McGrandles (former Cliftonville and Larne). Cónall will start training this week for us and is a great addition to the squad. We have two big league games left and also the quarter-final of the State Cup. We need all players focused for all three of these games before we break for the winter.”
RECORD HAUL FOR RESERVES
Joe Connolly’s first half hat trick set the tone for a dramatically lopsided reserves win which saw John Riordan’s men fire a record 13 goals past their opponents ahead of the two sides clashing once again in the State Cup next Sunday at St Michaels (1pm).
Connolly opened the scoring early before a fortuitous an own goal made it 2-0. By half-time it was 6-0 with the frustrated visitors also reduced to ten men. Top scorer Alex Wasilewski moved on to nine goals for the season with a skillful left-footed shot around the keeper, Connolly scored his second and third and finally George Lara finished off a great move to open his account with the assist from Darren Coleman.
With several half-time changes, the Rocks endured a shaky start to the second half conceding two quick goals including a penalty but they soon gathered themselves and when Coleman made it 7-2, the floodgates opened.
Andrew Scott (above left) and reserves captain Paul McDaid scored two goals each.
Pictures by Dennis Schneidler
Andrew Scott flicked the ball home expertly at the front post, Coleman scored again, Brendan Lane’s cameo up front yielded a goal for him and there was also time for a brace for Paul McDaid which was split by a second Scott goal.
“It got a little out of control but as one of the players said afterwards, we can only beat what’s in front of us,” said Riordan.
“I’m glad they’re enjoying their football and also staying disciplined against teams who are lacking in that department. We have them again next week so we will have to be on our toes in case of any backlash.”
DERBY WIN SENDS 30s TOP
Sunday kickstarted with a vital 2-0 Irish Derby win over Manhattan Celtic Legends that sent Paddy Mc Carry’s Over 30s to the top East, three points ahead of their title rivals.
It was a reversal of last month’s tough loss in the away game, redressing the balance at the top of the table where second place Celtic have a game in hand.
Johnny McGeeney scored twice, the second a goal of the season contender which resulted from a mazy run and a stunning curled finish from 25 yards to the top corner.
“This was a great team performance against an excellent Manhattan Celtic side,” said coach Paddy Mc Carry.
“The boys had to work extremely hard for their victory today. Both goals were fantastic from Johnny – the second being one of the best I have ever seen in person. Defensively we were excellent again but today was all about the team effort. They played for each other because they knew we needed the three points. I’m very proud of every single one of them.”
TOUGH DEFEATS FOR 1960 & LEGENDS
Elsewhere, there were two very hard defeats at St Michaels for the Shamrocks Legends and Shamrocks 1960.
In spite of a goal each from Dave Harvey and Paul McDaid in the first half for Rocks 1960, Gotham Argo rallied from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and leapfrog the home side to fourth in the table.
“That was a tough loss to take,” admitted assistant coach Neil Mannion. “To lose the lead in that fashion is very unlike us. We’ve made life difficult for ourselves now but we’ll regroup and look to finish on a strong note before the winter break.”
And it was a courageous loss for the Legends who conceded late and succumbed 1-0 to league champions Cosmoz, a team which has now won 24 games in a row.
“That was a brilliant and battling performance from the men in green but we just came up short,” said coach Emmett Harvey.
“It’s probably one of our best games in Legends history. It’s a defeat that we can be really proud of. We were superb across the back line and midfield. Every single one of the players were excellent and this team will only go from strength to strength.
“Some outstanding play by John Riordan in midfield and Brendan Donoghue and Eoghan Mc Parland on the wings. There were also some fine saves by Joe Connolly.”
ESPOSITO ON TARGET AGAIN FOR WOMEN B
Meanwhile, in Metro Women’s League Division B, Keith Perez’s charges were great value for their 3-1 win over NYC United B. Goals from Cassie Esposito, Carly Johnson and Emily ‘Edge’ Iwamoto made the difference for Rocks, allowing them to stay in contention with the leaders ahead of next weekend’s State Cup game.
The Division A Cup game against CPR White was postponed.