Wes Brown will line out for the Manchester United Legends XI in the Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game at Gaelic Park on Saturday June 22.
With just under 100 days to go to the biggest event in our club’s history, Brown joins Brian McClair, Keith Gillespie, Clayton Blackmore and Kleberson for the veteran Red Devils’ first ever tour to New York City where they will take on a specially assembled Shamrocks Legends selection of players.
Brown holds five Premier League medals and two Champions League medals and he has also represented his country 23 times including appearing at the 2002 World Cup.
Two more Rocks Legends were also added today – Jim Keady and Anto McKeon will pull on the green jersey in June.
Jim Keady pictured top left and Anto McKeon pictured bottom right
Anto was an ever present left back on one of the best Shamrocks teams in the club’s history. Back in the day he was a Roberto Carlos figure who could bomb up and down the field for 90 minutes. He says he’s more of a “stay back and hope no one runs behind him” defender now. We passed that information on to Keith Gillespie who says he’ll be hovering around Anto all day.
Jim was a colossal goalkeeper who starred alongside Anto in the early 2000’s. He’s now a prominent activist in New Jersey and believes his time with the Shamrocks prepared him for a career dealing with dodgy politicians and their uncalled-for tantrums. Jim keeps himself in good shape which will be useful since his defense on June 22nd will have a combined age of 206.
Meanwhile, Spring action begins on Sunday with all three teams in action facing their Doxa counterparts.
It will be a special afternoon at the newly revamped Frank Principe Park where the Shamrocks Legends will be the first team of the current era taking to the new field. This is a huge development for the club and a return to what was formerly Maurice Park after over 25 seasons of soccer.
The 1pm game is an important one for John Riordan’s fifth-placed team as they bid to leapfrog fourth-ranked Doxa who currently hold the final play-off spot.
“We are very proud to be the first Shamrocks team to play at Frank Principe Park,” said Riordan. “As a club, finding space to play on is always our biggest challenge and the work put in by club president Teresa Brink and club secretary Kailey Walsh is hugely appreciated. We are aiming to start there with a win – it’s very important on a number of levels.”
Elsewhere, the firsts and reserves head to New Rochelle’s Skidelsky Field for a double header at Doxa (1pm and 3pm).
Kevin Grogan’s men are currently three points clear in third spot but are missing some key players for this one because of work commitments. The last time these two sides faced off, the game ended in a 3-1 victory for the Shamrocks in mid-September. Doxa are third from bottom in the Division 1 standings.
“It’s a tough week for us with so many missing due to work but that’s the nature of the beast,” said Grogan. “It’s a great opportunity for our squad to dig deep in what is a massive game for us.”
The curtain raiser will pit second placed Shamrocks Reserves against second-last Doxa Reserves.
“The lads are excited to get back to playing competitive football again,” said coach Dan Meola. “We’ve had a tournament and some friendlies during the long layoff but nothing compares to League and Cup play. Everything that happened in the first half of the season must be forgotten. We all start with a clean slate in 2019 and no opponent should be underestimated.”
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Super sub Darren Coleman scored twice and Kwesi Mills-Odoi also chipped in to help the Shamrocks first team come from behind to beat CPR Whites 3-1 at Randall’s Island on Sunday.
CPR were deservedly 1-0 up at half-time but then Coleman’s free kick with a quarter of an hour to go set the game up for a thrilling finale. Coleman’s corner teed up Mills-Odoi for the second and then Mills-Odoi returned the favor setting up Coleman for the clincher.
The victory was the sixth in the league for Kevin Grogan’s men who are now clear in third after losses suffered by the Greeks and Lansdowne.
“It’s been a long fall season,” said Grogan.
“We didn’t peak in any way, shape or form but in general we had a great work ethic in games and got ourselves over the line and finished third – our goal was a top four finish.
“We don’t pay any players and the so-called big four teams do – to finish third is an excellent achievement. The challenge for our players now is to peak in Spring as individuals and then collectively as a team. On a personal note I’ll regroup over the next three weeks and see what the next steps are. I want to also wish our captain Zachary Gosse all the best for a speedy recovery after he picked up a bad injury for the cause.”
In the early game, the reserves also ended 2018 in winning style, Omar Aguilar and James Whyte both scoring in a 2-0 success over CPR Whites, their third against these opponents in the space of two months.
“Thankfully, football is a game of two halves and that couldn’t have been proven more true today,” said coach Dan Meola.
“We started the game in a manner not befitting of our talent. At halftime, the lads rallied around one another to produce a second half display much more aligned with our form. We’re all extremely happy to enter this winter break unbeaten in all competitions, but the hard work has only just begun.”
Shamrocks 1960 suffered their first loss of the season, relinquishing the top spot in Metro 2 South to title rivals FC Sandzak, also at Randall’s Island on Sunday.
Hughie McGowan opened the scoring early with a superb long range goal before Joe Connolly’s impressive volley had the Rocks 2-0 up. But Sandzak rallied in a dramatic game to make it 3-2. Connolly scored a second to level the contest but Sandzak struck back to grab the lead.
“It was a disappointing loss,” said coach Robbie O’Neill. “We never got going and to blow a tough 2-0 lead is hard to deal with but we get to fix all this next Sunday in the rematch. We’re on to Cincinnati.”
Neil Doran’s goal proved to be the match winner for the Over 30s in a hard fought clash with CPR Grays, Dominick Mc Cartan providing the assist to help secure a 1-0 result.
“It was a tough game we only had the bare 11 but we got wat we wanted 3 points before the break
The Shamrocks Legends rounded our their 2018 on a high note with a 2-1 win over America FC 1927 in New Jersey. Marcus Nascimento scored twice in the first half to help John Riordan’s men guarantee at least fourth when they resume their league campaign in the Spring.
Paul Bradshaw set up Nascimento for the first goal, his flicked header finding the Brazilian in space and allowing him to finish brilliantly to the front post. The pair also connected for the second after Bradshaw was upended by the goalkeeper, allowing Nascimento to score from the spot. America missed a penalty in the second half and scored with five minutes to go, causing panicky closing stages
“I couldn’t be happier with that win,” said coach John Riordan.
“America are a good team and their position in the table doesn’t do them justice. From our point of view, it’s a well deserved way to end the Fall. We have left a few points behind us but we managed to hold firm in this game and ride a bit of luck.
“Our goalkeeper Darragh Farrell was man of the match – he kept us in it and kept us calm. I want to give a special thanks to Ducky Kelly, Eoin Sweeney, Joe Connolly and captain Eddie Gilmartin for helping out behind the scenes. It’s been a transition period and they have helped make it a very smooth one.”