Paddy McCarry’s over-30s are into another State Cup Final after they braved their way through a difficult semi-final fixture with Long Island Gaels. With the Gaels playing to strengths that rely somewhat on the awful conditions of a desperate home pitch, the Shamrocks faced a real tough slog throughout the 90 miutes. The game ended 0-0 and the match was then decided on the nail-biting drama of penalties. Thankfully for the Rocks, they had the great Sean McMullen in goals. While there were three penalty misses from a Shamrock team that ordinarily scores for fun, McMullen pulled off a heroic show all of his own by saving four of Gael’s penalties. A top scorer and player of the season for the Shamrocks reserves only a few years back, McMullen’s goalkeeping is also outstanding and his performnace in this game only underlines that fact. McCarry had the following to say: “Sean was the hero of the night and Neil Doran was not far behind in his contributions as center-half during the tough 90 minutes of play. To say I am proud of all these over-30s lads is an understatement. They deserve to be in the final and we had to beat some of the best over-30s teams to get there. It’s a privilege to be the manager of these boys and I’m looking forward to the final on June 3rd against Germina.”
The Shamrocks first team’s play-off chances ended on Sunday night after a hard fought 3-1 loss to the league champions Greek Americans at the Met Oval. Daniel Massey scored twice to punish two mistakes at the back to send the Greeks 2-0 up and the the home side extended their lead with an Andrew Weiner header. The Irish club was rewarded a penalty three minutes after the restart when Mani Walcott brought Aboubacar Kaba down in the box. Giorgi converted the spot kick, picking the lower right hand corner. Kevin Grogan’s men fought valiantly for a second but came up short on a tough night. “Bottom line is we made three mistakes and we didn’t finish our chances,” said Grogan. “I felt we did much better in the second half and got the better of them but we need to be more clinical around the box. We have a massive cup semi-final on June 3rd and we will use the next 2 league games to prepare for that game.”
In the reserve fixture, the Shamrocks let slip a 2-0 lead to allow NY Greek Americans to rescue a 2-2 draw. The Shamrocks took the lead with first-half goals from Brendan Lane and Gil Christensen, who took his finish with an impressive 25 yard strike. Despite remaining 2-0 and dominating by the hour mark, the Rocks allowed their opponents back into the game. Indeed, Meola’s men only avoided defeat when keeper, Kieran McGovern, made up for a personal error that lead to a late penalty for the Greeks by making a superb save from the ensuing spot-kick. The reserves remain strong in second place behind Lansdowne and will hope to build on this strong showing in the lead-up to the all important league play-offs.
The 1960s continue to have little luck in their ongoing scrap at the bottom of Metro 1. In a game that saw the Rocks lead in credible goal chances by about 10-2, Connolly’s men ultimately lost out 2-1 to a highly decent Mr Dennehy’s side. The Shamrocks took a very early lead through a composed finish by Eamon FitzGerald from a penalty, awarded after Dan Meola was taken down by the opponent’s goalkeeper. However, denehy’s scored on both sides of the half and, espite relentless pressure, the 1960s were just unable to find a response. There were strong performances across the field, especially from the likes of James Horan, Athony Carrabotta, Calvin Moyes, and Mick McAnea. Most impressive for the Shamrocks was Amar Daved, who, along with Joe Flynn, pulled the strings in midfield and helped to create a number of good chances.
The leggy Legends continued their impressive, spiked-Bovril-fueled form with an impressive 3-1 victory over Manhattan Celtic. Despite the absence of coaches Emmett Harvey and Eoin Sweeney, who were both spotted skipping down Broadway with shopping bags on their arms and a melodic tune in their throats, the Shamrocks were self-governing in the tidiness of their play and the steel of the team’s efforts. Andy Connolly, as usual, was a constant nuisance at both ends of the pitch, so opponents and teammates did well to ignore his aimless runs, fumbles on the ball, and yelping cries. The Shamrocks took a deserved first-half lead through a cheekily deft finish from the outside of the right boot of Ryan Thompson. Despite the constant pressure from the home side, whose opportunities flowed through the triumvirate of Gilmartin, Doyle, and Riordan in midfield, it wasn’t until 10 minutes into the second half that the Shamrocks advanced their lead. This time the finish came from the head of Connolly, who, in trying to run away from the ball, accidentally met it square on. Connolly’s cry of “ouch that hurts” was barely audible amid the din of praise and cheering from his teammates. The Rocks third goal was an impressive finish from Marcus Nasciemento. Finally, Connolly got his chance to leave an indelible mark on the game when he took advantage of a defensive mistake to help set the opponents up with a late consolation. The Shamrocks were not to be deterred, however, and so Eddie “I’m from Belfast” Gilmartin somehow convinced the ref to blow up early before Celtic got the chance to make a late rally.*
*the last comment was a joke and it should be made clear to all prudish, literalist, and lobotomized readers that the ref played the full 90 minutes.