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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.”
In recent seasons, the Shamrocks have enjoyed some incredibly memorable State Cup clashes.
There was the Over 30s success over Baisley in the 2016 decider which achieved the double for Paddy Mc Carry and Sean Mc Mullan’s men. The following season the first team enjoyed a thrilling shoot out decision at the Met Oval over the Greeks and later that Spring, the Shamrocks Women overcame Rovers in the Ann Rapaglia Cup final to secure an unforgettable treble.
In a repeat of each of those clashes, the same opponents will be on the agenda for the same coaches this weekend.
Shamrocks Over 30s have been handed the tough proposition of welcoming Baisley to Randall’s Island on Sunday at 10am and must plan without injured top scorer Johnny Mc Geeney.
“The win last week put us back on track for this week,” said Mc Mullan. “It’s a big clash with the Long Island power house – the team are looking forward to it.”
At St Michaels, Paddy Geraghty will be aiming to repeat last week’s impressive win over Rovers when the team they beat in the decider two years ago arrive for a 1pm kick-off.
“We have a massive game on Sunday as it’s a State Cup quarter final and we are missing a good few regulars,” said Geraghty.
“But we will still have a strong squad out and expect that we’ll play well.”
In the closing game of the weekend, the first team has a tough trip to Met Oval for an 8pm kick-off against the Greeks.
“Our focus is on our bread and butter which is the league and we have a massive game Saturday 17th against NYAC,” said Grogan.
“This week though we look forward to a nice distraction against the Greeks in the State Cup. Of course we will try to win the game but we also have one eye on the NYAC game. I will try a few new ideas on Sunday in preparation for the NYAC game.”
Meanwhile, unbeaten Shamrocks 1960 will travel out to Flushing to take on NYC Afghanistan who are currently sixth in Metro 2 North after three wins and four losses.
“With a break in league games coming up it’s nice to have a cup game to keep us busy,” said O’Neill.
“I’m looking forward to the game against NY Afghanistan and hoping to continue our good run.”
The other Sunday game sees Shamrocks White make the trip to Bay Ridge for a Leif Ericson contest against high flying Celtic Aces (kick-off, 6pm).
“It’s going to be a close state quarter-final match up against a team we played well against in the last meeting,” said coach Keith Perez.
“We have grown and improved since then and a solid performance can lead to a victory for us.”
The opening Shamrocks game of the weekend takes place at Randalls Island 70 where the in-form reserves will play Doxa at 7pm.
“We see this as a very good opportunity to progress in the State Cup,” said Meola.
“We are in an excellent vein of form at the moment and will be hoping to build on recent performances. I sound like a broken record here, but there are no easy games. We need to play the way we know how from minute one.”
After two successful years at the Shamrocks, Sharon Odofin finished on a high note on Sunday, scoring one final goal for women’s league leading Shamrocks Green before her return to London this week.
Chloe Wheeler and Mikaela Howell each had hat tricks in an 8-3 victory over Rovers while Georgia Frost was also on the mark.
“We did what we needed to do this weekend,” said coach Paddy Geraghty.
“The score flattered the performance a bit but I can’t fault the players on the first half of the season. Their attitude and commitment has been great and we go into the winter break top of the league.
“We have two more cup quarter-finals in the next two weeks so hopefully we can get some results there and set up the spring with it all to play for.
“A special mention to Sharon Odofin who is returning to England after two years with us. She has been brilliant on and off the field and she will be missed. We wish her the best with her move home.”
Shamrocks White lost 4-0 to NY Magic.
Meanwhile, the Shamrocks first team stay fourth in CSL Division 1 after Saturday’s 4-2 win over bottom side CPR Whites at Randall’s Island.
Alejandro Fritz, Kurt Cameron, Mark Roche and Dan Giorgi were all on the mark for the Rocks in a victory welcomed by coach Kevin Grogan.
“Massive win,” he said. “Very hard fought game. Good discipline and the shape was good defensively in general.”
It was a four-goal margin for the reserves in the curtain raiser who stayed second in their standings thanks to a very impressive 5-1 win.
James Whyte, Andrew Scott, Brendan Lane (twice) and Paul McDaid all made sure of the points for Dan Meola’s men.
“Every week we have gotten better and better,” reacted Meola.
“We were missing quite a few players for this game but the result proved the quality in our squad. Each man stepped up and played to their level. We made a good CPR team look very ordinary tonight. That’s the level we played at and we will look to continue our fine form.”
In the other CSL games on Sunday, there was a double header at Randall’s Island with Paul Bradshaw scoring twice to help the Legends draw 2-2. That’s was followed by Rocks 1960 cementing their top spot in Metro 2 with a 7-1 win over Brooklyn Bound.
The goals were evenly spread between Amar Daved, Joey Flynn, Conor Doherty, Cathal Monaghan, Dominic Nutt, Dan Meola and Hughie McGowan. Their opponents scored a late consolation.
“Delighted with the win,” said Robbie O’Neill. “The referee being 30 minutes late probably caused our slow start but once we kicked in to gear we dominated. I was happy to see our full backs get forward and attack also.”
The Over 30s enjoyed a resounding 8-0 win over CPR Orange. Seán Riley scored a hat trick and man of the match Aiden Morton added a goal to his three assists.
Jeff Farrell scored twice, Mark Finn grabbed the sixth of the evening and Paddy Geraghty produced the moment of the game, a Messi like touch and a Ronaldo like finish to the bottom corner, according to coach Sean Mc Mullan.
“All in all, it was a great game from the lads,” said Mc Mullan.
“It was nice to see the return of Johnny Keogh and Mike Dineen to the center of the park. Great game by Aiden Morton and some brilliant goals.”
*****SAVE THE DATE! Shamrocks Holiday Party – Courtyard Ale House Saturday December 15*****
Kevin Grogan has urged the Shamrocks first team to rediscover the good form that was a strong factor throughout the previous three seasons in CSL Division 1.
The Rocks gaffer will send out his charges to take on winless CPR White on Saturday evening for a 9pm game at Randall’s Island where they will look to improve on their league record of three wins and three losses.
“It’s an interesting time to see what our players are all about, particularly the new boys we signed this season,” said Grogan.
“We built a good culture over the last three years in the team and the next four games in the league will tell us whether the players fit into that culture or we need to move on and recruit new players. We have talent but talent is only part of the jigsaw.”
The curtain raiser will pit Dan Meola’s reserves against the side they knocked out of the State Cup three weeks ago (kick off 7pm).
“Our last two games have been a real reflection of where we should be as a team,” he said.
“The only thing we are missing is a full 90 minutes of football we all know we are capable of. CPR are a good team and this is one of two meetings we will have with them in the next month. They will be looking for a bit of revenge after their State Cup exit at our hands and we need to be mindful of that.”
There will be a pair of Shamrocks double headers on Sunday morning meanwhile as the Legends and 1960 teams go back-to-back at Randall’s Island and the women’s teams round out their Fall league campaign at East River Park.
Leaders Shamrocks Green will play the always dangerous Rovers at 11am and Shamrocks White will follow up at 1pm with a tough challenge against NY Magic.
“A win will leave us top over the winter break,” said Paddy Geraghty.
“So the incentive is high. We want to wish Teresa Ferraro, Erin Cullen, and Elly McGuffog the best of luck on Sunday as they run the NYC Marathon. We know they’ll do great!”
Over at Randall’s, Eoin Sweeney and Ducky Kelly will take the reins of the Legends team when they look to get back to winning ways against Barnstonworth Rovers Veterans (kick off 12pm)
“We are looking for a positive reaction from the players after last week’s reversal,” said Sweeney.
“Sometimes you learn more in defeat. Barnstonworth have traditionally been tough opposition for us over the years but I’m optimistic we can get a positive result.”
That will be followed by the Metro 2 clash of leaders Shamrocks 1960 and fourth placed Brooklyn Bound.
“We’re looking forward to a tough game,” said 1960 coach Robbie O’Neill.
“I’m looking for us to bring three points home and continue our great run of form.”
In the final game of the weekend, there will be a late kick off for the Over 30s CPR Orange (East River Park, 8pm).
“After taking a loss last weekend, we will be looking to get back on track,” said coach Sean Mc Mullan.