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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.”
For most teams, this will be the final weekend of 2018. Before we get together for our Holiday Party next Saturday at the Courtyard, there will be five CSL games up for contention tomorrow in Randall’s Island and New Jersey.
Kevin Grogan has targeted a win for the Shamrocks first team when they head to Randall’s island for a clash with struggling CPR Whites (kick off 2pm).
Notwithstanding a growing injury list, he has a strong squad to choose from as they aim to bounce back from two tough losses in a row against Pancyprians.
The Rocks are sitting well in third and will look to consolidate that going into the Spring.
“I’ve said for weeks that this is the big game for us,” said Kevin Grogan.
“A win gets us into the winter break where we set out to be at the start of the season. If we work as hard as we did the last two games, we will give ourselves a great chance.”
The curtain raiser will see the in-form reserves take on a team they have already beaten twice this season – once in the league and once in the State Cup.
“We are coming off a dramatic State Cup Quarterfinal victory over NYAC and we want to keep this excellent run of form going,” said coach Dan Meola.
“CPR always present a challenge and will be out to avenge two losses to us earlier this season. We have a full squad again this weekend and we hope to end this half on a high note.”
Shamrocks 1960 will also be at Randall’s Island at the same time as the first team for a top of the table clash against FC Sandzak.
This will be the first of two games against the same opponents in a week for Robbie O’Neill’s men as they play Sandzak against next Sunday in a make-up game.
“These are the games you want to be playing in,” said O’Neill.
“It’s been a long lay-off between games but I am full of faith in our squad’s ability and we will be pushing for three points against a strong Sandzak team.”
Sunday will start with Over 30s action – an 8am kick-off against Central Park Rangers Grays at Randalls 74.
“We’re looking forward to the break but we most finish the season off with three points,” said coach Sean Mc Mullan.
“It’s very important to get the win.”
The Legends will make the trip to New Jersey’s Phil Rizutto Park for their final game of 2018 to take on America FC 1927.
“We have had a couple of tough results lately but we have performed beyond expectations,” said coach John Riordan.
“The key is to be in play-off contention once the spring comes around and a win helps us do that.”
Not only are Shamrocks Green unbeaten after the Fall portion of their season ended on Sunday, they are through to two cup semi-finals and they will go into the Spring when play resumes in March as league leaders of Division A.
Chloe Wheeler and Georgia Frost each scored a goal in a 2-0 win over Rovers, their third victory in the space of two weeks over their formidable opponents.
“It was a good finish to a solid first half of the season,” said coach Paddy Geraghty.
“We have a lot to look forward to in the spring and we’ll start again in February. We had standout performances from Chloe Wheeler and Erin Cullen and we are especially happy not to have conceded a goal.”
Shamrocks White battled hard but came up short against Magic, losing 1-0 in the second of two games at St Michaels.
The most impressive result of the weekend was the first team’s demolition of NYAC at Randall’s Island on Saturday night.
A team goal of the season contender and Pax Ballard’s first for his new club opened the scoring in fine style after 17 minutes when Kwesi Mill-Odoi’s deft back heel allowed Barna Mako tee up Ballard who stroked up skillfully from just outside the box.
Five minutes later, Mills-Odoi found the same corner with a brilliant free kick to make it 2-0 at the half. NYAC pulled one back early in the second half but Travis Blair scored another nicely constructed goal just after the hour mark to hand the momentum back to the Rocks. In the dying minutes, two Dan Giorgi penalties punished NYAC ill-discipline.
“That was a very important win,” said Kevin Grogan.
“Three wins in a row gives us some momentum. Excellent work rate and discipline. Onto the next game.”
The reserves hammered NYAC 7-1 in the curtain raiser, a result that saw the second-placed Shamrocks open out a seven-point lead from the Greek Americans who lost 3-2 to leaders Cedar Stars.
James Whyte and John McAleenan both scored twice while there were also goals for Mike Fernandes, Micky McGreevy and Paul McDaid.
“We knew that NYAC were playing at less than their best this year and took the game to them,” said Dan Meola.
“Our squad has played well in both League and Cup action this year – getting better with each game. We will have the upcoming week off to recover from some niggling injuries and come back fresh for our remaining fixtures before our extended break. I want to wish all the lads and their families a Happy Thanksgiving.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, the Shamrocks Legends failed to protect a 3-0 lead against Manhattan Celtic Masters at Pier 40, conceding a late penalty which allowed the home side level it at 3-3. Paul Bradshaw had scored twice before his pinpoint inswinging corner found the head of midfielder Antoin O Duibhir.
“It was very tough to concede so late but it was a fair result,” said Riordan.
“We started brilliantly and there is a lot to be positive about. Celtic will be in contention in the Spring and we are fourth with a game in hand going into December. We fought hard so it’s disappointing and it felt like a loss but we have to be content with the draw.”
The Over 30s drew 2-2 at Pancyprians with goals from Amar Daved and Bingo O’Driscoll.
“It was a hard game,” said Sean Mc Mullan. “The draw was a good result for us with missing seven starters. We will get the better of them the next time in the return game.”
Not only are Shamrocks Green women’s team unbeaten after the Fall portion of their season ended on Sunday, they are through to two cup semi-finals and they will go into the Spring when play resumes in March as league leaders of Division A.
The Shamrocks first team will be bidding to head into the Thanksgiving break maintaining their top four position when they face NYAC at Randalls Island on Saturday evening (8pm kick-off).
Confidence is high after a memorable State Cup victory over the Greek Americans last Sunday and with the return of Barna Mako from suspension, Kevin Grogan’s hand has strengthened considerably.
“Our last two performances have been disciplined and we have demonstrated a great level of work ethic,” said Grogan.
“We need to maintain that standard this weekend in a very difficult game against NYAC.”
In the curtain raiser, Shamrocks Reserves will aim to keep pace with Cedar Stars at the top when they take on the NYAC Reserves. Dan Meola’s men bring a six-game winning streak into this one (6pm kick-off).
“NYAC are the current league champions and aren’t to be taken lightly,” said Dan Meola.
“They haven’t been in a good stretch of form but that can change at any time. The worst thing any team can do is take their opponent for granted. We are playing our most complete football of the season and want to continue that this Saturday.”
The Shamrocks Women’s teams play their last game of the fall on Sunday at St Michaels where a pair of Division A League Cup encounters with Green playing Rovers at 11am and White playing Magic at 1pm.
“The players have been brilliant so far staying unbeaten,” said Green coach Paddy Geraghty.
“A win Sunday will leave us top of the league and in two cup semi-finals in the Spring. So it’s a big game for us and hopefully we can finish the first half in style.”
The Shamrocks Legends return to action with a crucial clash against second-placed Manhattan Celtic Masters (Pier 40, 7.30pm).
John Riordan’s men have not won since October 7 and will be aiming to stop the slide this weekend against in-form Celtic.
“This will be a very tough game for us,” said Riordan.
“They are on a great run of form and their results have been hugely impressive. We are missing a couple of important players so it’ll be tricky but we need to get back in winning form so everyone will be focused on that.”
The final game of the weekend will see the Over 30s take on Pancyprians at Randalls Island 74 (kick-off 8pm Sunday). Shamrocks 1960 have a bye week.
Congratulations to two of our favorite Shamrocks, Nikle and Leia, who welcomed their son Maverik Francis Guzijan into the world early Sunday.
Leia had graciously delayed her hospital appointment on Saturday evening to make sure Maverik’s dad could line out for the Shamrocks reserves in a brilliant 7-0 win over Doxa at Randall’s Island.
Short on defenders, Guzijan was happy to help ensure a shutout before the arrival of Maverik. Thanks to goals from James Whyte (two), John McAleenan (two), James Hudson, Darren Coleman and Jeff Greenspan, Dan Meola’s men advanced to the next round of the D’Arpino Cup with their sixth win in a row.
“Great all round team performance,” said captain Coleman. “The football we have been playing lately has been excellent and that’s a credit to all the lads! Great to see Jeff Greenspan score his first goal for the club too!
“Special word of thanks to Rob O’Neill for stepping in to coach us while Dan was away.”
Meanwhile, late Sunday evening, the first team moved on to the semi-finals of the Manning Cup thanks to a hard fought 2-0 win over the Greek Americans at Met Oval.
Captain Zachary Gosse scored a superb early opener, connecting with a volley from a perfect Dylan McCabe corner. After a very entertain first half, the Greeks dug in but the Shamrocks held firm and after brilliant work from Kwesi Mills-Odoi on the left wing, his deflected shot rebounded off the post to Travis Blair who finished calmly to secure the victory with ten minutes to go.
“Fantastic win,” said Kevin Grogan.
“The Greeks dominated large portions of the game but to be fair to our players, our work ethic and resilience were excellent. And we ground out a very important win. All eyes on our big league game against NYAC next Saturday.”
Shamrocks Green are also through to the last four of the women’s State Cup thanks to a hard fought 2-1 victory over an impressive Rovers side at St Michaels.
Caroline Carter opened the scoring with a close range finish but Rovers drew level midway through the first half. Georgia Frost then struck back before half-time to set up a tense second half that saw Paddy Geraghty’s charges ultimately survive.
“We had a strong performance considering we were missing so many,” said Geraghty.
“It puts us in the State Cup semi-finals in the spring so it’ll be one we’ll look forward to. Special mention to our defense who stepped up in the second half and made sure of the win.”
Unfortunately, Shamrocks White’s cup run is over after a heartbreaking defeat to Celtic Aces in Brooklyn. Leading 1-0 going into injury time thanks to a Brandi Daniels goal, Celtic dramatically leveled and set up the dreaded penalty shoot out which the Shamrocks lost 6-5.
“It felt like we suffered two losses,” said Keith Perez.
“To give up an equalizer in the 91st minute was very tough. Then to lose in PKs 6-5 was another tough blow. It was another performance of the year by the ladies that unfortunately resulted again in another loss. We remained positive afterwards and we will be looking to build off that for the league cup game next Sunday.”
That was one of three games which ended in a shoot out on Sunday. Shamrocks 1960 tied NYC Afghanistan 1-1 in regular time (Hughie McGowan scoring for 1960) and coach Rob O’Neill saved the day stopping one of the four penalties he faced. His players, meanwhile, were flawless en route to a 5-3 result.
“Happy to win,” said O’Neill. “We were made to work extremely hard for it. It was a tough game and we never got going. But delighted to move on to the next round.”
The Over 30s were not so fortunate in their game against Baisley. Mike Dineen scored a second half breakthrough but their ten-men opponents never gave up and equalized with ten minutes to go, setting up the shootout which Baisley won 5-4.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” said Sean Mc Mullan. “We had chances to finish the game out. Penalty shoot outs are never easy. We’ll focus on the league now.”