The Rocks are back! It’s been a long hot summer but everything is in place for what should be an enjoyable CSL season kick-off which includes an Irish Derby curtain raiser and a great selection of exciting new players!
We were given a huge boost during the week when Andrew Horan and Alba stepped in as JAKO tracksuit sponsors for the Shamrocks 1960 team. If you know anybody who would like to support kit for any of our teams, don’t hesitate to let us know!
The Shamrocks also sends its condolences to Irish Echo and CSL writer Jay Mwamba whose father passed away this week. We always appreciate Jay’s support and our thoughts are with him and his family.
IRISH DERBY IN YONKERS
It doesn’t get bigger than a visit to the home of the league champions as the Rocks head to Tibbetts Brook Park on Saturday evening for the Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s marquee game of the weekend (kick-off 9pm).
Lansdowne have been the most successful CSL team for most of the past decade with multiple league titles alongside national victories and Kevin Grogan described the showdown as a “big challenge”.
The League Cup champion Rocks have enjoyed an active pre-season with some new young talent integrated into the squad and Grogan has called on his players to rise to that challenge, starting with this weekend’s hotly anticipated clash.
“I am very excited for the new season,” said the gaffer who welcomes back club legend Stevie Doyle as assistant coach.
“We have had a very busy recruitment period during the last eight weeks. I’m happy with my new additions. They are good players with good attitudes who are hungry for success.
“They have a big challenge on Saturday in our first game against the league champions but I feel we have big game players that can perform at this level. It’s a long, long season and as always we focus on one game at a time. Steady wins the race.”
Irish duo Mark Roche (pictured above with Kevin Grogan) and Dylan McCabe (pictured above right) will be hoping for a big debut in Saturday’s derby. Formerly of Portlaoise FC, Athlone Town and Shelbourne FC in Ireland, McCabe has played in the US for Lynn University in Florida and Carson Newman in Tennessee. Roche grew up at the famed Belvedere soccer club in Dublin before playing out a collegiate career at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA.
Budapest, Hungary native Barnabas Mako joins the Shamrocks from Stony Brook University where he was team mate of Rocks winger Alejandro Fritz for two of his four years. And midfield tyro Yannick Diese joins from Zum Schneider with young prospect Gabriel Vargas also added to the squad.
“We’ve kept the core of our squad but Ethan Evans has earned a contract in Germany and Giuseppe Barone has gone on trial in Spain and we are very happy for both of them!
“We have a big squad and players need to be patient. Over the course of the year everyone will be needed. It very much needs to be ‘WE’ and not ‘I’. We have no room for negativity in our squad. We are one big team regardless of who plays and who doesn’t.
“I also am delighted to have Stevie Doyle back as my assistant coach. We have a great relationship. The club are flying off the field behind the scenes and it’s a very exciting year ahead for the club.”
RESERVES READY FOR OLD FOE
Dan Meola has brought in Paul McDaid as his new player-assistant coach ahead of the reserves curtain raiser which kicks off at 7pm on Saturday evening.
Lansdowne edged out the Rocks in the play-off spots in May but both teams ultimately failed to advance to the league final with Meola’s men particularly unlucky to lose a shoot-out against eventual champs CPR Whites.
“Last season was last season,” said Meola. “The history books will show that we didn’t accomplish what we had set out to. The squad has strengthened a great deal and there is no better test than opening up away to your biggest rival. The lads can’t wait for the season and rightfully so. We have all the tools to have a very special season.”
O’NEILL TAKES THE REINS FOR ROCKS 1960
Another coaching move over the off-season saw the popular Robbie O’Neill take over Shamrocks 1960 whose Metro 1 spell ended in May after just two seasons.
The big Meath man has immediately set his sights on pushing for a quick return, building a brilliant young squad that opens their campaign on Sunday against Sons of Queens at St Michaels (kick-off 1pm).
“I’m very optimistic for the season ahead,” said O’Neill. “I feel we will be there or thereabouts in all competitions this season with an immensely talented squad.”
TOUGH OPENERS FOR LEGENDS AND OVER 30s
The new Shamrocks Legends player-coach John Riordan has brought in some new faces to try and challenge for a play-off spot in the newly restructured Over 39s Division and that bid begins Sunday at St Michaels with an 11am kick-off against SC Eintracht.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity of steering this team,” said Riordan. “The priority will be enjoying our games and the results will follow. There is a good energy among the players and we are all looking forward to it.”
Sean Mc Mullan and Paddy Mc Carry have swapped coaching roles for the Shamrocks Over 30s and will enter the new season with an improved squad energized by unluckily missing out on both league and State Cup honors last season.
They will start with a big game against rivals Manhattan Kickers Premier on Sunday morning at 8am (Randalls 74) and they have a full squad to choose from.
“We are looking forward to the new season and it’s a big game to start wit
h,” said Mc Mullan who replaces Mc Carry as coach.
“That’s the challenge our players enjoy so we will be looking to start with a win and move on from there.”
The women’s teams – both now taking part in the top division of the NYMWSL – will kick off in just over a week. Come out and support our men’s teams this weekend! Good luck to all new and returning players and coaches!
Up The Rocks!