- Tough task for firsts as in-form East Hampton visit St Michaels
- Reserves aiming to topple Zum Schneider
- Champion Over 30s hosting Long Island’s Integral
- Geraghty targeting advance to Division A League Cup decider
The Rocks will be up for the cup this weekend with four State Cup games on Sunday combined with a League Cup showdown for the women’s team in what should be an exciting day of action.
The Manning Cup quarter-final clash between Kevin Grogan’s first team and top Long Island Soccer League outfit East Hampton is arguably the biggest game of the weekend across all competitions (St Michaels – Sunday at 1pm).
The CSL Division 1 league leaders welcome an East Hampton outfit which boasts an almost identically impressive record in their own campaign with the Long Island men having only lost one game on their way to a 7-1 record which has them out in front at the top of their conference.
Stu Colbert (left) and Cónall McGrandles are cup tied for the reserves.
Photos by Dennis Schneidler
East Hampton arrive into this one on the back of two 1-0 wins – both at home – over CSL sides, Zum Schneider and NYAC. But their trip to Queens will be a step-up in class and although Grogan won’t be able to count on cup tied duo, Cónall McGrandles and Stu Colbert, confidence in the camp is high as the winter break approaches.
“We are very excited about this big State Cup quarter-final,” said Kevin Grogan.
“I keep saying that game day is the best day of the week and it is. Those game day butterflies through anticipation for the kick-off and then the rollercoaster of emotion during a game.
“And of course knowing that if everyone does their best in terms of work ethic that we have a chance of winning because we have so much quality in the squad.
“We need work ethic to be our foundation. We can’t forget why we are doing well this year. It starts with hard work, discipline and concentration levels.”
RESERVES SEEKING REVENGE
The curtain raiser at the Astoria venue is the D’Arpino Cup Round of 16 clash of Shamrocks Reserves and Zum Schneider Reserves (St Michaels – 11am).
John Riordan’s men are hoping to avenge a remarkable league game between the teams back in late September when the Rocks relinquished a 3-0 lead, ultimately downed 5-4 by the top flight newcomers. However, the German side have failed to win a CSL game since with their only highlight throughout October and November being a 3-0 success over Cedar Stars in the previous round of the cup.
McGrandles and Colbert will offer the reserves a solid presence through the middle while the return of Brendan Lane, Mike Stone and Johnny Hayes all ensure this will be the most competitive reserves squad of the season.
“We’ve put together a nice run – four wins in a row – so the players are enjoying themselves,” said Riordan. “It will be a big headache picking the team on Sunday but moving on to the next round is a major target so that’s more important than anything this weekend.”
CHAMPS TAKE ON INTEGRAL
Marth Cup champions, Shamrock Over 30s, will host Long Island’s Integral at Randalls Island 70 on Sunday and the 12pm kick off is sure to produce a hard fought tussle.
With four wins and four losses, Integral are second from bottom in the West Conference of the Over 30s Division in Long Island but they are in a good run of form, winning three of their last five league games while also securing an impressive 3-0 victory over Lansdowne in the previous round of this competition.
In spite of all that, coach Paddy Mc Carry is confident that his cup holders can march on to the quarter-finals.
“We have an extremely strong 16-man squad to chose from,” he said.
“It’ll be great to welcome back both Johnny Keogh and Eugene Reynolds from injury. We are defending champs and we know we have a huge target on our backs – everybody wants to beat the holders. But all our boys take the State Cup very seriously and we want to be back in that final in June. Integral will have to bring their A game on Sunday. I expect a battle – they are a good side – but we are raring to go for this one.”
LEGENDS VISIT GLEN COVE
Meanwhile, Integral’s conference rivals, Glen Cove, will host the Legends in the other Marth Cup clash involving a Rocks team (Brookside Jr HS – 9.30am).
“The State Cup is a competition we are taking very seriously and we would like to continue this cup run for as long as we can,” said player-coach Emmett Harvey. “Although we are missing a few key players such as John Riordan, Tyrone Kent and Randall Friedman, we have put together a really good squad and we are looking forward to this next challenge.”
WOMEN EYEING ENTRY TO FINAL
Elsewhere, there will be a double header for the women’s teams at East 6th St on Sunday afternoon with a Metro Women’s League Division A Cup semi-final against Fuel FC (1pm) preceding a Division B league make-up game between the Rocks and NYC United (3pm).
“It’s a big game for us on Sunday,” said coach Paddy Geraghty of the first match-up.
“We have a chance to make it to the cup final and also finish the fall season unbeaten. We have a very strong squad for the game so we have a great chance. We are starting to create more chances and be more patient in possession.”
It will also be the final match-up before the winter break for Keith Perez’s B team and the coach’s aim is to be in a solid position to fight for a share of top of the league when play resumes in the Spring.
“We are expected to be at full strength and look to continue to build off our team dynamic and hard work ethics,” said Perez. “The ladies will be prepared to put on a great performance which will hopefully lead to another victory before we break for the winter.”