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An undefeated weekend heralded the return to CSL action for the five Shamrocks men’s teams this past weekend with the highlight being a 3-1 win at champions Lansdowne on Saturday night.
Travis Blair scored twice in the second half after Kurt Cameron’s early opener to send shockwaves around the top flight as the new look Bhoys struggled to break down Kevin Grogan’s energetic Rocks outfit.
With just two minutes on the clock, Cameron made it a perfect start for the visitors who had five starting players making their debut. One of those, Dylan McCabe, sent the corner across and another, Mark Roche, had his shot saved only for the ball to break into the big striker’s path and Cameron made no mistake from close range.
A scrappy first half saw Lansdowne push hard for a leveler but the Rocks survived thanks to some goalkeeping heroics by new goalkeeper Stephen Skonieczny. Blair came off the bench with 20 minutes to go along with Nick Laurent, both adding spark to the Rocks attack.
Another McCabe corner fell to Blair and he slotted home to double the lead and then with time running out, Laurent’s pass saw Blair break the offside trap and round the keeper to roll the ball to the back of the net. A late impressive Lansdowne consolation finally got the home side off the mark in injury time.
“It was a good start to the season for us,” said Grogan. “We worked extremely hard which is always the foundation. We need work on our ball retention but that will come. The most important thing now is to focus on our next game against Doxa which will be just as hard. It’s a long season. One game at a time.”
The Rocks reserves shared a scoreless draw in the opener to start Dan Meola’s second season in charge.
“Overall, the lads and myself are very disappointed,” said Meola. “We feel that we left Lansdowne off the hook, especially in the first 25 minutes. We may look back on the point as an important one, but ultimately, we left two additional points on the field. We learn and move on to Doxa.”
Finn O’Reilly was the man of the match for Shamrocks 1960 as Robbie O’Neill marked his first game at the helm with a brilliant 2-0 victory over Sons of Queens at St Michaels on Sunday.
Meola made up for Saturday’s setback with a goal and Amar Daved made sure of the points with one if his own.
“Delighted with the win,” said O’Neill. “A good start to the season for us and two good goals from Danny and Amir. Very happy with the three points.
“As Brian Clough said, Rome wasn’t built in a day but I wasn’t involved in that particular project.”
Sunday started with an impressive 3-1 win for the Over 30s against Manhattan Kickers Premier – Johnny McGeeney’s hat trick showing that he intends to continue his historic strike rate for the club.
The Rocks dominated the first 20 minutes and took the lead through a brilliant strike from outside the box by McGeeney into the top left corner. Kickers equalized after 35 minutes on a counter attack. McGeeney scored his second on the hour mark after a great header at the back post from a corner from Mauricio Bermudez. Returning goalkeeper Nick Meola made a brilliant diving save from a penalty to maintain the lead and McGeeney made sure of the spoils after 72 minutes with his third of the morning.
“It was a great start today against a very good Kickers side,” said Mc Carry.
“Brilliant all round team performance from the boys and when Johnny is in that kind of form, he is the best Over 30s striker in the state. Very important to get off to a winning start.”
The Shamrocks Legends (pictured above) tied Eintracht 1-1 at St Michaels in tough conditions on Sunday morning. Ger Shivnan had John Riordan’s men off to the perfect start with a brilliant strike set up by fellow returning player Antoin O’Duibhir’s excellent through ball.
The Legends dominated the second half but couldn’t find a second goal and were punished by a late in swinging set piece which was flicked onwards to hit the back post and into the net.
“It was great to get the lads together – some new faces and some returning players,” said Riordan. “It would have been an added bonus to get the win but we have every reason to be optimistic about the season ahead.”