- Shamrocks return to last place legend played
- Andy Connolly pays tribute to his assistant coach
- First team welcome Doxa to St Michaels
- Divisional Cup games for Rocks Women
The number 14 jersey will be retired by the Shamrocks Legends after their game at Barnstonworth Rovers Veterans on Sunday, a move that will honor the memory of the late, great Robbie Walsh, former club captain and inspirational coach.
The recently deceased and widely respected Kildare man was part of September’s 4-1 win over Manhattan Celtic Masters and the legendary defender played his final game for the Shamrocks on October 2, a 1-0 win over Barnstonworth Old Boys.
That latter victory took place at the venue for this weekend’s game, Bush Terminal Piers Park, adding further weight to what will be an emotional day for Emmett Harvey’s men.
“It’s very fitting that we will be able to retire the Legends number 14 at this venue,” said Harvey.
“Robbie would be extremely proud. Eoin Sweeney will wear it during the game which is even more appropriate. It’s been a tough week for everyone but we will go into this game with the passion, belief, confidence and team spirit which the Legends are defined by. This will be a difficult game but each and every single one of our players know what they have to do.”
Meanwhile, the club team that meant just as much to Robbie, Shamrocks 1960, will honor their assistant coach and mentor before their late CSL Metro 1 game at Croatia (Randalls 70 – 9pm).
“Robbie Walsh was and still is the great inspiration behind the tremendous renaissance of the New York Shamrocks over the past 15 years,” pointed out 1960 coach Andy Connolly.
“He rescued the club when it was facing very difficult times and his tremendously generous spirit and roaring enthusiasm still emanate throughout the vibrant scene of the club today. He was a true gent and kind soul who gave a lot to others.
“He was an excellent player, demonstrating great strength in tackling and marshaling defenses. He had a great sense of humor and he made me laugh at the most unexpected times, even when the conversations got down to serious stuff about the team and organizing players.
“Myself and the old guard at the 1960s are going to miss him terribly. I’ll continue to think of him when running the team and I hope that his influence on me and the great influence that he had on the players that he knew so well can continue to help us win games. My heart goes out to Robbie’s family in Ireland and his Shamrocks family in New York.”
There will also be minutes of silence held at Saturday’s first team game and Sunday’s Over 30s game.
The CSL Division 1 clash with Doxa at St Michaels will be a renewal of an old rivalry from when the two teams met routinely in Division 2.
Newly promoted Doxa will be a dangerous proposition for Kevin Grogan’s men with the Greek side having begun life in the top flight of New York soccer with five draws in a row, including notable results against Cedar Stars and Lansdowne in September and October.
“It’s the biggest game of the season for many reasons,” insisted Grogan.
“It’s been a tough week for the club with the passing of a true Shamrocks legend. People like Robbie have made it possible for us to be where we are today. There was a tremendous turnout at the wake on Tuesday and that’s testament to the fact that the Shamrocks are more then a football club – it’s a family. People like me and the first team players are extremely lucky to be involved and accepted by the club.
“From a football point of view, we are playing an exciting style and we’re winning games. We are top of the table but our mentality all year has been that it’s all about the next game. One game at a time, literally.”
The Shamrocks reserves have won three games in a row and they’ll be looking to continue that good form against their Doxa counterparts (St Michael’s – 6pm). Joey Aronovsky and top scorer Alex Wasilewski return to action, adding pace to an attack which has scored 23 goals in three games.
“This is a good chance to improve on last week’s performance,” admitted John Riordan. “We need to lift the standard a lot if we’re going to be able to prevent Doxa cause us problems.”
Paddy Mc Carry’s champions of the Over 30s Division face a Sunday afternoon clash away to Brooklyn Gunners who currently lie at the wrong end of the East conference (Randalls Island 52 – 3pm).
Mc Carry has a full 18 man squad to chose from with his team aiming to secure their eight league win of the season.
“We’re going into Sunday’s game looking for three points,” said Mc Carry.
“We have set a goal to win our last three games because Manhattan Celtic are going to push us all the way. Lately, we are playing very well defensively. We have been excellent and the three boys up top are in great form. We are playing very well as a team and competition for a starting spot is fierce at the minute which is great to see.”
Shamrocks Women are back in action having not played since the end of November and they’ll be returning to the fray with the toughest test possible; a Division A Cup game against talented league title rivals CPR White (St Michaels – 1pm).
“We are looking forward to this weekend after a few weeks off,” said coach Paddy Geraghty.
“It gave us a chance for some injuries to clear up and we have a strong squad to choose from. Hopefully that translates to the field with a strong performance.”
And the curtain raiser at St Michaels will also be a League Cup game with the Division B showdown of the Rocks and Appletown FC offering Keith Perez’s charges a chance at silverware after last week’s unlucky State Cup exit.
“We will be looking to rebound from a hard fought, heartbreaking loss,” said coach Keith Perez.
“It will be another tough battle but the ladies have been up to all the challenges presented so far this season. I expect another strong performance at home and hopefully our continued excellent effort along with Shamrocks home support will lead us to back to our winning ways!”