- First team one win away from play-offs
- Rocks Women on verge of clinching title
- Over 30s grind out victory in Irish Derby
- Last minute penalty keeps Legends in the hunt
The sun shone on six Shamrocks successes on Sunday, setting up multiple intriguing finales as the Spring season finally took off.
With next weekend bringing cup showdowns into play, all six league wins earned over the weekend will ensure the prospect of exciting run-ins after the Easter break
Kevin Grogan’s first team can clinch a play-off spot with one more win after a 3-1 result against Polonia steadied the ship ahead of Sunday evening’s Manning Cup semi-final at the Greeks (Met Oval – 9pm).
Andy O’Connell was on target twice, opening his account for his new club with a majestic first half header and a clinical second half penalty, as the tricky Greenpoint-based opponents ultimately proved no match for the hungry visitors.
Chris Uy’s delightful goal made it 2-0 five minutes before the break, the skillful forward deftly taking the ball past the keeper after beating the offside trap with a clever run.
After Polonia pulled a goal back, O’Connell was fouled in the box, earning the spot kick which he himself scored. Polonia missed a late penalty but there was never a doubt as the Shamrocks closed it out comfortably.
“Most important win of the season,” declared the gaffer.
“It was not a pretty performance but a massive win in our bid to make the play-offs.”
ZORBO, McDAID DOUBLES INSPIRE RESERVES
Earlier, in the reserves curtain raiser, John Riordan’s men comfortably dispatched Polonia’s secondary outfit as the Shamrocks continue to keep pace with the division’s top three sides.
Joe Zorbo and captain Paul McDaid both recorded impressive doubles while there was also a second half goal for the side’s top scorer, Alex Wasilewski.
Cutting in from the right, Zorbo won a 20th minute penalty when he was fouled in the box, rising to convert for his opening salvo. He then doubled his tally with a great strike from 15 yards.
McDaid made it three just before half-time, a wonder strike from 30 yards while Wasilewski fought hard for the fourth. McDaid rounded it off with a tap-in from a Wasilewski cross. The game was long over by the time Polonia notched a late consolation goal.
“This was a great response to the draw at NYAC,” said John Riordan.
“All the players contributed and each of the goals were well worked. We’ll head to Long Island next week for the State Cup quarter-final against East Hampton and that’s where the focus is now.”
30s SURVIVE CELTIC BATTLE
The title defending Over 30s came back from 1-0 down to defeat Manhattan Celtic Bhoys 2-1, Ney de Oliveira and Dominick McCartan helping to clinch what Paddy Mc Carry described as a “very hard earned three points” against a well organized Celtic side.
“We went a goal down 15 mins into the game when we failed to clear the ball away,” he added.
“It was a well taken strike by them. But we hit back through Ney 30 mins in. Great work by Seán Riley with a great pass to find Ney who smashed the ball home. The winner came 20 mins into the second half. It was a great cross by Hatzer who found Bingo. His cushioned header knocked it down for Domnick to finish.
“Three of the back four combining to set up the winner. Man of the match performance by new signing Pat Kelly in center midfield but overall, a real hard battle and the whole squad came through in the end.
HUGHES THE HERO FOR LEGENDS
There was late drama in the Legends game as Emmett Harvey’s men secured a last minute victory at the home of conference leaders Gjoa, a vital 2-1 success which keeps the team’s Over 37 Divisional play-offs hopes alive.
On a day of penalties earned and scored, Karol Hughes was taken down by the Gjoa keeper with a minute to go. He confidently stepped up and rifled the ball to the top corner, sparking wild celebrations for the Legends.
Ducky Kelly had put his team deservedly ahead with just 10 minutes on the clock, pouncing on a Marcus Nascimento shot which rebounded off the post.
But the home side pulled it back to 1-1 late in the second half, a result which would have effectively ended the Shamrocks season.
But they never gave up, setting up an exciting climax which gave a platform for Hughes’ heroics.
“Since the Shamrock Legends were formed last season, this was the best win we’ve had,” said a delighted Harvey afterwards.
“We came up against a very strong SC Gjoa side but after Ducky got us the lead, we pushed on and played some brilliant football, Gjoa’s equalizer was a tough blow but we know we are a good side and the determination and the fight in this team showed. It paid off with a few minutes to go as Karol Hughes converted from the penalty spot.
“Ten points from four games shows how much this team has improved but it is the character and togetherness of this team that pleases me the most. Just a great bunch of lads to manage. Kudos goes to every single one of the players. We have two weekends off which we will enjoy and then our focus will be on the next game against Manhattan Kickers Legends.”
1960 UNDONE BY KORABI
Korabi’s 4-2 win over Shamrocks 1960 was a bruising one in Staten Island with Hughie McGowan and Anthony Carrabotta getting themselves on the scoresheet for the visitors.
The two sides will renew acquaintances this coming Sunday as they face off once again in the Green Belt Recreational Center for a chance to advance to the Saunders Cup semi-final.
“We had some good spells in the game but we didn’t really keep possession of the ball well enough to get a result,” said player / assistant coach Neil Mannion.
“The four injuries we got certainly didn’t help matters but we’ll get another crack at them this weekend and look to build on those positive passages of play.”
BIG WINS FOR ROCKS WOMEN
Meanwhile, in NYMWSL Division A, the Rocks racked up another important victory as they prepare for season-defining back-to-back games against title rivals CPR White.
A 6-0 hammering of Celtic Ladies, earned off the back of goals from Sinéad Hennessy (two), Chloe Wheeler, Georgia Frost, Jarielle Uter and Teresa Ferraro, maintained the league lead for Paddy Geraghty’s charges.
“We had a solid win which keeps us clear at the top,” he said.
“But the real season starts now with a State Cup quarter-final next week followed by a league game against our closest rivals after Easter. Those two games are massive for us.”
Denise Wilson’s superb solo effort midway through the second half was the deciding factor in the last game of the day as Shamrocks B moved joint top of Division B thanks to a 1-0 win over Sirens at Pier 40.
That important win, paired with a 5-2 success for United against title rivals Beyond FC now means that Keith Perez’s team have destiny in their own hands as they prepare to welcome fellow league leaders United to St Michaels on Sunday. Both teams are now one point ahead of Beyond with seven games remaining.
“We put together a solid performance in what is a rivalry match-up against the Sirens,” said Perez.
“Every single one of them worked hard and contributed to putting us in a position to win the game offensively along with stifling them defensively. We’re very happy to be sharing top spot in the league and we are taking that into the biggest game of the season next week. Up the Rocks!”