Mixed Fortunes for Shamrocks Men’s Teams

*match reports for Sunday, June 3

Shamrocks over-30s came up short in their State Cup final, giving away an early lead to lose 2-1. It was a game that was mostly dominated by the Rocks, who scored through a clinical Sean Riley finish about 25 minutes into play. In command of possession and with constant pressure applied, Paddy McCarry’s men were unfortunate not to have a bigger lead by the time their opponents rather fortuitously struck back with two goals in a 6 minute period after the hour mark. Despite having two shots cleared off the line in the dying minutes of the game, the gallant efforts of the Shamrocks lads was just not enough to bring parity. The end result was a hard blow for a team that has been working hard and performing excellently all season. The defeat came on the back of a league play-off loss to a Pancyprian outfit that exploited league rules to field four first team players. Having to play a State Cup final less than 72 hours later did not help and the unfortunate manner of both losses combined is far less than what this great Shamrocks team deserves. However, the club is in no doubt that these boys will be back with a vengeance next season. The ever-effusive Paddy McGarry had this to say after the game: “We just came up that little bit short again. Beat in the league semi-final and the State Cup Final. This group has been excellent all year and I’m very proud of all of them. It was a privilege to be their manager.”     

The Shamrocks first team advanced to the John Kilby League Cup final after a dramatic penalty shoot out victory over fellow Division 1 outfit Doxa on Sunday night at Randall’s Island. It was tense and scoreless until Kwesi Mills-Odoi broke he deadlock with a brilliant worked goal that came on an assist from Nick Laurent. But a late penalty, awarded for a handball against Kurt Cameron, Gabe Doxa a reprieve and forced the shootout. Gianfranco Barone saved the third Doxa kick while the Rocks were flawless with the successful strikes coming from Stu Colbert, Kurt Cameron, Travis Blair, Calvin Moyes and finally the winner from the always reliable Dan Giorgi. “I felt it was a good performance in the first half,” said Rocks coach Kevin Grogan. “In the second half we lost our momentum but we produced a very good goal at an important moment. The penalty they got in the last minute was dubious but we held our nerve and won on penalties. All focus on the final now.”

Dan Meola’s reserves had an undeserving end to an otherwise impressive season with a penalty shoot-out loss in their play-off semi-final against CPR Whites. After a deadlocked 90 minutes in which the usually free scoring Rocks were unable to penetrate the opponent’s redoubtable defense, CPR eventually came out on top with a 3-1 penalties scoreline. It’s a hard blow for a Shamrocks team that has fought so hard all year. However, there is a lot more promised by this squad and its manager in the season ahead. 

The 1960s saw out a forgettable season with a 3-0 loss to Ridgewood Romac in Staten Island. Again performing well and yet failing to make crucial chances tell, the Shamrocks fell once more to a team that showed how to take its opportunities. Yet the fight and spirit remains in the squad, and optimism must prevail as it looks to playing once more in Metro 2 next year. 

The age-defying Shamrocks over-38s brought a rollicking finish to their season with a barnstorming 5-1 victory over Barnstonworth Rovers Old Boys. Playing with a sense of relief following the announcement of Emmett Harvey’s impending departure as coach, the Rocks finally came out of their shell after 3 years of playing under great fear and anxiety. This cheerful sense of freedom from worry was fully demonstrated by Eddie Gilmartin, who wound back the hands of time at one stage by bending his stubby legs enough to perform 3 stepovers in a row. This was quickly followed by some River Dance, a few beats of Gangman Style, and a sequence of the hokey-kokey. Afterwards, Gilmartin duly turned around and shouted “that’s what it’s all about ye,” only to see that the action had moved to the other end of the pitch. Eoin Sweeney played like a man off his meds, causing much confusion for teammates and opponents alike. Grumpy Doyle and Sleepy Wilton at the back were not to be dwarfed by Barnstonworth’s attackers, and provided good service from the rear to high-flying Shamrock attackers like Ryan Thompson, whose two excellent strikes made him resemble Arjen Robben with a Beatles wig on. Niall “Ronnie” Corbett scored his first for the Rocks, while Tyrone “in a class of his own” Kent and John Riordan added the others. In a tearful state back at the Courtyard Ale House, Harvey had these bitter sentiments to impart: “I’m really gonna miss ordering people about. What I’ve learned over the past three years is that power is everything and that I get a real rush from being in total control of things. That said, it’s gonna be good to spend more time with the wife and kid at home.” At this point, Christina ran screaming from the bar.

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