Women’s B Bring New Glory to the Shamrocks

*Shamrocks match reports for weekend of 4/28 and 4/29, 2018

The Shamrocks Women B essentially secured the Women’s Division B title with a 2-0 victory against NYC United B at Randall’s Island. Coach Keith Perez qualified the victory with the following remark, “While we are still awaiting some league rulings, that shouldn’t take away from the incredible season that the ladies have put together.” It was a back and forth matchup until Anastasia Hagan opened up the scoring in the first half. That goal opened the game up and Shamrocks controlled the game from then forward, despite the score line. Sara Gomez added a second goal at the end of the second half to secure the victory. Perez further commented: “The ladies left it all on the field every game, and it showed with the results we had this season. I am very proud of all of them and they should be equally as proud of their individual and team efforts.”

The shamrocks women’s A team finished the league strong with a 9-0 win over Manhattan Kickers. Sharon Odofin led the team with 4 goals while Mikaela Howell added 3 goals to her impressive season tally. Tara Kiernan and Georgia Frost also scored. The Shamrocks face rivals CPR White on Sunday in the state cup semi finals, as they aim to defend their state cup title.

Dan Giorgi sealed all three points for the Shamrocks first team on Saturday night, his second half penalty proving the difference in a 1-0 win over NYAC at Randall’s Island. Kevin Grogan’s men extended their league lead over NYAC, all but confirming a minimum of a fifth place finish in the standings. “A fantastic win,” said Grogan. “Probably our best aim of the season. We were very disciplined and organized and our work ethic was phenomenal. We can still do better in the final third from a creative standpoint but we looked like a real team out there.”

The Shamrocks reserves continue struggling to regain form, losing 2-0 to New York Athletic Club. However, the Rocks great showing all season means that they are still comfortably in second and that they have the excitement of the league play-offs to look ahead to. Bemoaning the obvious difficulties of playing against a bunch of weight lifters and greco wrestlers in NYAC, coach Meola remains steadfast in his belief that Lansdowne can still be caught for the top spot by the time the regular league fixture list is finished.

The Shamrocks over-30s continue to steamroll all obstacles, a strong CPR Old Boys being the latest victim of McCarry’s marvelous men. There was an evenly battled first half, during which the consistently impressive Johnny McGeeney took the lead for the Rocks. The over-30s took full control after the hour mark, with yet another goal from Mark Finn and a rocketing Rocks third from McGeeney, whose 25 yard belter hit the top corner of the net. After a game where a large number of squad players were used, McCarry had the following to say: “Our whole squad is full of quality and no matter who we pick, they do the job. They are all pushing each other very hard and the competition within the squad is fierce. Glad of another clean sheet and we are playing very well, which is very important for our massive state cup semi-final versus Long Island Gaels next week.

Two Scotsmen, an Englishman, and an Irishman walked into the pub, after having gotten an Uber from Staten Island to Queens. But, despite the heroic endeavors of James Whyte, Calvin Moyes, Stuart Colbert and Neil Mannion, there was no real punch-line to laugh over for the 1960s as they suffered a cruel 3-2 defeat to Metro 1 champions, Ulqini FC. “The boys who helped us out from the first-team are real gents, gifted players, and true warriors in the traditional Shamrock mold,” remarked coach Andy Connolly. “In fact, all three together have some of the signs of brilliance that I had a few years back myself. Or, just imagine a Stevie Doyle before the operation.”

Speaking of Doyler, he, Emmett Harvey and their fellow veterans continue to creek and fumble their way through the fixture list of the over-38 section. Turning up in Union, NJ at 8 am on a Sunday under the false belief that there was a game of bingo, a cup of Bovril and some re-runs of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ to be enjoyed, the Rocks found themselves reluctantly embroiled in a feisty competition with division high-flyers, America FC 1927. But with nowhere to hide, and with Harvey promising the likes of Eddie Gilmartin and Donal Kelly a Rich Tea biscuit and a nap afterwards, the Shamrocks put on a storming display. They played like a team demented!! Or, at least like a team in the early stages of dementia. The age-defying John Riordan particularly impressed, cleverly setting up the Rocks opening goal for Marcus Nascimento, who took his opportunity excellently well. There was an end score of 1-1 to a tense and, at times, bruising game. Harvey, having come on for a very narky and obviously confused Gilmartin, ended up himself with fractured ribs. Now, though Harvey cited a particularly hard and match-saving challenge that he made as the cause, some players claimed that the injury had other, less heroic origins. One theory is that he was warming up too vigorously in the facilities provided (hmm, might explain his constant complaints about the locked bathrooms at St. Michaels?), while another is that he laughed too quickly at a Kerryman joke that he remembered Eoin Sweeney telling him during the week.

 

Sweeney on his Todd!

*NY Shamrocks match reports for weekend of 4/21-4/22

The Shamrocks women’s A team suffered a painful loss against league leaders CPR White, despite dominating possession. CPR opened the scoring against the run of play but Mikaela Howell quickly responded with a superb solo effort to level the score. The Rocks conceded two subsequent goals in the first half but regrouped and came out determined in the second half.  Teresa Ferraro scored the rocks second goal to make the score 3-2. However, once again, CPR scored against the run of play to extend their lead. The Rocks were superb in the last 20 minutes and had multiple goal scoring opportunities. Mikaela Howell found the back of the net again but the rocks ran out of time to get an equalizer and the game ended 4-3. Hopefully, the team can settle the score when the shamrocks will face CPR White later in the season in the state cup semifinals.

The Shamrocks women’s B secured an easy 8-0 victory at St. Michaels against a short-sided Astoria FC team. Colleen Cavanaugh lead the way with three goals, followed by Paige Osborne and Lee Stagg with two goals each. Shannon Hopkins ended the scoring with the final goal. “We hope the goal scoring will continue in our final league match up on 4/29,” remarked a happy coach Perez.

The Shamrocks first team were denied an important league win on Saturday night when CPR Whites struck late against the run of play to escape with a 1-1 draw. Tracis Blair’s exquisite first half strike had the Rocks deservedly in front after a dominant display but CPR never gave up and took a share of the spoils with ten minutes to go. “The players are disappointed and rightly so,” said assistant coach John Riordan. “The first half display in particular was impressive but we couldn’t quite find that second goal.”

It proved a highly busy weekend of football engagements for the ever-industrious Riordan, who led the Shamrocks reserves by moonlighting as player-coach in the absence of Dan Meola. With a number of key players on off-duty, busy making jokes about the ‘CPR Kit’ behind the bar at Meola’s wedding, the reserves battled with only 10 men against CPR Whites. Despite the scant numbers, and with Meola obsessively checking his whatsapp feed during a best man speech from his brother, Nick, that reduced Neil Mannion to floods of tears, the ever-resilient Rocks fought hard and were unlucky to come out of the tussle on the wrong end of a 4-3 result. More used to tying defenders in knots with his dynamic forward runs than tying wedding knots, Meola remarked: “Natalie is distraught. She had a points shave on the reserves with our local bookie, Pussy Five Fingers. After a few glasses of wine, she perked up and said, ‘hopefully my parley on the 1960s gets me out of this hole.’”

Unfortunately for Natalie and lovers of the 1960s everywhere, things continue to go from bad to worse for the Shamrocks metro team. With Meola pulling up in his car just before kick off as the theme song from High Noon blared in his speakers, and with Neil Mannion’s emotional state somewhat stabilized by a lick of porter, the1960s fought toe-to-toe with the auld enemy, Lansdowne. The story of a season of missed opportunities was played out again in this noon-time derby, as the failure of the dominant 1960s to grab opportunities for a lead soon saw them on the back of a 4-0 deficit. Tony Meola’s marvelous Henny Youngman routine on the sideline did just enough to confuse the opposition and allow the Rocks to snatch a late consolation. However, time is running out for Andy Connolly’s men, should they want to avoid the drop.

On a largely frustrating weekend overall for the club (the exception being the stellar display of the women’s B team), the Legends were very unlucky to lose 4-3 in a scintillating battle against top of the table Cozmoz FC. Despite their obvious difficulties with spelling (they must have a hard time finding fixtures on the CoZmopolitan Soccer League website?), the Cozmoz are highly articulate in attack and the Rocks did well to push them all the way in yet another 8 am showdown. The Legends got off to a comical start with a glaring miss from Brian Woolohan that might have made it onto the bloopers video for auditions to try-out for the Blind World Cup. With all nerves settled from the laughter aroused by Wilton’s slapstick routine (the boy’s a genius), the Rocks played manfully throughout a tie that was cruelly settled in the Cozmoz favor by the last kick of the game. The Shamrock goals were scored by Ryan Thompson, Paddy Geraghty, and John Riordan. In a frenzied state of undress, a highly excited Eoin Sweeney yelled, “Holy Jehosophat, that was a cracker. What was it: 3 each, or did we lose or what? I was too busy running round in the nip, old shtock. Where’s me jumper?” A more calm assessment was offered by Emmett Harvey, who, after breaking a week of silence, fasting, and meditation, mused: “it may seem like an unfair result. But, if I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that the Cozmoz just works in those kinds of strange ways.”

 

 

McCarry’s Men Carry the Flag Forward

*match reports for weekend of 4/14 and 4/15

Paddy McCarry’s Shamrocks’ Over 30s took another important step in their path to success this season by beating Port Jefferson 1-0. The trip out to Long Island was made all the more arduous by windy conditions. In a hard fought game, it was the Rocks who found their port in the storm through the reliable Bingo, who slotted home a 50 minute penalty that was awarded when Mark Finn’s certain goal was stopped by a handball on the gal line. The Over 30s are now through to their 3rd straight State Cup semi-final. Paddy McCarry said that he was: “very happy with the boys today. They put in a massive shift in very tough conditions against a very physical team. We achieved another clean sheet also, which is a great habit to get into this time of the season.”

The Shamrocks women’s A team had a disappointing draw against league leaders NY Magic at St Michaels.  The rocks were excellent in the first half and dominated possession.  Chloe Wheeler scored the first goal of the game after perfectly volleying a long ball sent to the back post by Teresa Ferraro.  The second goal was an equally as impressive volley – Kelci Hegg took a free quick near the touchline and Mikaela Howell one timed it into the roof of the net.  Sitting on a 2-0 lead, the Rocks’ performance slipped in the second half and they let Magic back into the game.  Magic scored off a corner kick early in the second half and then equalized in the final minutes to make the final score 2-2.  With the draw, CPR move top of the league (28 points) and Magic fall to second (27 points) with the rocks 2 points behind in 3rd.  The Shamrocks face CPR this Sunday in a must win match.

In an afternoon game at Randall’s island, the Shamrocks women’s B team put together a solid performance in a 3-0 victory versus Appletown FC.  With both teams having just 11, the game was going to be determined by teamwork and effort.  The rocks opened up the scoring about midway in the half by an excellent strike from Shannon Hopkins (assisted by Michelle Sabogal).  In the second half, the ladies really worked to simplify their play and move the ball around, which lead to the rocks being too much for Astoria FC. Cassey Esposito added a goal to make it 2-0 and then Brandi Daniels made it 3-0 with an assist from Cassey. Keith Perez had the following to say: “The Rocks played well in a game with a limited roster.  The players again showed unity in playing positions they normally don’t play.  We will look to continue our winning ways next Sunday.  Up the rocks!”

The Shamrocks first team advanced to the semi-finals of the Kilby Cup with a comprehensive 8-0 win at Beyond FC in New Jersey on Sunday. Center forward Travis Blair scored four times in a row during a dominant second half performance that saw the Rocks ease past their Division 2 opponents. Dan Giorgi opened the scoring with a penalty scored on the stroke of half-time and Kurt Cameron made it 2-0 with a calmly dispensed close ranger shot early in the second half. After top scorer James Whyte chipped in with the third, Blair went on his spree to make it 7-0 before the best goal of the day rounded out the scoring, Calvin Moyes’ clinical finish from just outside the box. “A great way to respond after a bad result last weekend,” said Kevin Grogan. “We played some good football. Delighted that our new signing Travis Blair scored four.”

The Reserves unfortunately fell 5-1 to New York Athletic Club, which has all the advantages and resources of playing in the top division. It’s a minor setback for Meola’s green and white army, who must now concentrate on claiming victory in the league. The Club is also disappointed that the opportunity of an all-Shamrock final is now off the cards. However, Rock lovers will look to the first team to bring the Kilby Cup to the trophy cabinet, which nowadays is starting to look more like a drinks’ cabinet.

On a weekend of cup games for the five men’s teams, there was disappointment also for the Legends, whose hard fought display in the rain on Randall’s Island was not enough against Manhattan Celtic Bhoys. Playing against a good team of over-30s players, and with the likes of Stevie Doyle and Eddie Gilmartin simply too old to play on rainy days (“I’m too busy watching re-runs of ‘Murder She Wrote,’” said an inflamed Doyle), the Shamrocks fell to a 2-0 loss. Despite having an Andy Connolly stunt double available in the form of Donal Kelly, and with good displays from Richie Brennan, Joe Connolly, Brian Woolywong, Marcus Nascimento and Ryan Thompson, the Shamrocks had to walk away from the rain with only the warmth of their pride to comfort them. “It was a good game, though it was hard to tell what was going on from where I was watching,” stated coach Harvey, who spent the whole rainy night listening to Oasis in Joe Connolly’s car. “It’s a defeat, but we’ll just have to roll with it and take our time, and don’t let anyone get in our way.” Then, in a rather bizarre moment, he shouted: “I am the walrus, coo-coo co-choo.”

There was defeat also for the 1960s, whose bad, bad luck was just further emphasized by a 1-0 loss to NY Ukraine Reserves in a game where the goal chances were about 10-1 in the Rocks favor. It’s been a really hard third season for the 1960s and they now have to concentrate on getting off the bottom of their division. “The entire team played out of their skins,” slurred coach Connolly who was found prostrate on the floor of the Courtyard Bar about 6 hours after the game. When fully recovered by about Wednesday, he further added: “these boys deserve much more than this. I can only blame myself for us not achieving more. These are the best players I’ve played with at the Rocks. I want to give special mention to Braden Ruddy, who did a wonderful job at left back. But now it’s onto Lansdowne on Sunday. No one is going to give us anything. It’s up to us.”

Mixed Fortunes for the Rocks

The Shamrocks first team suffered a heavy 7-0 defeat against Cedar Stars Academy on Saturday night in Long Island. The CSL Division 1 front runners continued their fine run of form with an impressive display of attacking football against a Rocks outfit deprived of several key players.

“We were missing five starters in Giuseppe, Charlie, James Whyte, Gianfranco and Stuart through suspension and the flu,” said Kevin Grogan. “That makes it very difficult against a team that has full time professionals playing for them. We will bounce back. You don’t become a bad team overnight. This is a test of character for us now. Massive cup game next week against Beyond in the Kilby Cup quarter-final.”

In the battle of the reserves, a Shamrocks 4-1 loss to their Cedar counterparts made for a bad night overall for the club. As with the first team, Dan Meola’s boys were heavily depleted in numbers by the coincidence of this important match with Timmy Fetherston’s wedding. With the gaffer himself leading from the front, the reserves dominated a game for which the eventual scoreline paid flattery to the opponents. Failing to finish their chances when it mattered, the Shamrocks were faced with plenty of time to ponder this rare loss on a very long ride home. The wound of defeat was somewhat soothed on Sunday as top of the table rivals, Lansdowne Bhoys, failed to take advantage by only drawing away to Manhattan Kickers.

The Women’s A team cruised to a 5-2 victory against an unergetic Fuel FC on Randalls Island.  The Rocks opened scoring early with Mikaela Howell’s 4th goal in 2 games.  Shortly after, Kelci Hegg won the ball on the edge of her own box and sent a long through ball to Chloe Wheeler who made it 2-0.  The third rocks goal came from Jackie Pounder who struck from a deflection off a Mikaela Howell effort.  Teresa Ferraro scored the fourth and Chloe Wheeler added her second of the game (and fourth in 2 matches) to make it 5-0.  After completely dominating the first half, the rocks conceded a goal against the run of play right before half time.  Fuel added a second goal in a less exciting second half, after which the score remained a safe 5-2 for the Rocks.

Coach Keith Perez commented “We had a dominant first half and really controlled the game and the score line in that time. Goalkeeping from the other team really kept the score from getting out of line in the first half.  We lost momentum and didn’t really connect as well in the second half. Nonetheless the ladies did what they needed to do to secure the victory.  We will look to improve on that second half as we head into the tougher games our schedule.”  The rocks head into a tough 2-week period where they face their rivals for the league title, CPR and New York Magic.

The Women’s Shamrocks B rebounded from their previous loss to record a 3-1 victory against NY Skulls on Sunday Morning at Randalls Island. Goal scorers were Colleen Cavanaugh, Brandi Daniels, and Anastasia Hagan, with assists coming from Patty Kwiecinski, Shannon Hopkins, and Brandi Daniels respectively. Even though the NY Skulls were pressured from the opening whistle, the Rocks started out behind by conceding half way through the first half.  The Shamrocks stayed composed and continued to press, which led to Cavanaugh’s equalizer 10 minutes after Skulls’ opener.  The pressure of the first half really wore on the other team, as the second half was controlled by the Rocks with goals coming from Brandi Daniels and Anastasia Hagan.  Coach Keith perez commented: “It was a team effort today, as players stepped up to fill our goalie needs and the ladies rallied around one another to help secure a victory.  We still have alot to fight for and improve on this season, but this win is a start and we will look to continue this success in the next match.”

Paddy McCarry’s enigmatic genius continues to boggle onlookers as he managed to lead his over-30s to a 11-0 victory against Central Park Rangers without even turning up to the match. Left in the capable hands of Sean McMullen, the over-30s ran riot and left the poor Rangers re-arranged and deranged by their blitz-style of attack. There were five goals from an outstanding Johnny McGeeney, a hatrick from the ever-incisive Sean Riley, a brace from the bracing play of Dave Harvey, and one for the ubiquitous Paddy Geraghty, who spends his spare time making cameos for the Legends and coaching one of the women’s teams.

Texting from his secret bunker somewhere in Long Island, the insatiable McCarry stated: “Another clean sheet and it sets us up nicely for our state cup quarter final away to Port Jefferson next week. We are hitting form just at the right time.”

Times are getting dark for the 1960s, who suffered a bad loss in the relagation battle against Deportivo Sociedade New York. Hit early on by two lightning quick goals, the Shamrocks missed a penalty after Joe Flynn’s effort was saved. Despite not sending off the Deportivo defender for a last man foul that led to the spot kick, the referee applied the proper rule to Neil ‘Begby’ Mannion for commiting the same act two minutes later. Down to ten men and facing a possible 3-0 deficit, the Metros were given a life-line by a great save from Eric Doyle. This was followed quickly by an excellent goal from Joe Connolly, who had a really impressive performance throughout the game. A second half equalizer from top scorer Dan Meola was matched by another from Deportivo, which in turn found a response through Connolly’s second. However, the battling and hardworking 1960s were to find no joy on the day, as the the impressive attack of Deportivo broke through one last time to score a winner with five minutes to go.

“We’re in a real relegation dogfight now,” barked coach Andy Connolly. Brimful of cliches, he went on: “But there’s still hope if we continue to fight and stay calm under pressure. Mick McAnea showed today how a reall warrior continues to battle against the odds. The others fought hard, too. If we can keep working for each other and fix some of our defensive errors, it’s possible to stay up.”

In the Over-38 League, somebody sabotaged the pitch and the Shamrocks Legends’ game was postponed as a result. As of this minute, Tyrone Kent, who is never short of finding an excuse not to play, is the main culprit. Eddie Gilmartin is being fingered for the getaway driver. No doubt Justin ‘my dog ate my shin guards’ Stanford will provide their alibi.

Courageous Connolly Saves the Day!

The Shamrocks Legends had to settle for a draw against lowly positioned Eintracht FC at Randall’s Island on Sunday, despite fielding a very strong team that performed at a high level across the pitch for 90 minutes. Indeed, the Rocks, who created a number of decent chances throughout the game, just managed to scrape a point with a late equalizing goal that made for an end result of 1:1.

There were strong and skillful performances from the likes of John Riordan and Paddy Geraghty. Brian ‘Wilto’ Woolahan was up and down the left wing like a young Gary Birtles, while Ryan Thompson was a constant threat to the opposition with his quiet assassin’s approach to attack. However, the undoubted hero of the hour was Andy Connolly, who came off the bench to somehow find the needed goal that the likes of Eddie ‘gloveless’ Gilmartin could not find for love nor money.

True to the old lore that bald men share a certain telepathy that is known only to them (they also know how to cure warts, apparently!), Connolly latched on once more to another of Stevie Doyle’s zippy crosses. With the hapless (too much hair?) Geraghty unable to meet the ball, Connolly foxily nipped in at the back post and somehow stretched himself to make contact with the ball through a part of his anatomy that shall remain undisclosed to the polite ears of our dear readers. Suffice to say, among a group of men who were firing blanks all game, Connolly proved that he has the balls to finish.

In the over-30s Division, Paddy McCarry’s men continued to apply their merciless marauding of all that come across their path. Despite missing 5 regular starters, the Rocks showed their great strength of depth and discipline as a squad to see off Brooklyn Gunners 7-0. Goals from Eoin Carew, Maurichio Eoin (2), and Pat Kelly saw the indomitable over-30s take a 4-0 lead at half-time. An early second half penalty scored by one of McCarry’s men (and Bingo was his name-o!) made it 5-0. With an aging Dave Harvey running his little legs off, the Rocks sealed the victory with goals from Mark Finn and Aiden Mortan.

“Very happy with the clean sheet and the work rate of the players,” remarked the ever-enthusiastic McCarry. “This is another step closer to booking our place in the semi-final playoffs for the league. With great performances all round, there are two men of the match that stand out: Mark Finn and Eoin Carew.”

A hard working, skilful, and dominant performance from the 1960s team was just not enough against Gotham Argo in the cold late of Sunday night on Pier 40. Although buoyed by the fact that some strong players were returning to the fold, the Rocks had their backs to the wall early on as the speedy attack of Gotham pounced unsparingly on its chances to take a 2-0 lead. An excellent rally from Andy Connolly’s men saw the rocks take full control of possession and attack, with the eventual reward of an excellent Joe Flynn free-kick bringing the score down to 2-1 before the break.

More composed possession and excellent build-up play from the 1960s in the second half was to no joy, and the fast-paced Gotham attack snuck two more late goals on the break to earn a flattering 4-1 victory. Connolly’s men should not feel too despondent by what was, despite what the score line hints, a compact display. They must now rally themselves again for a night trip to play Ridgewood Romac on Wednesday.

Connolly announced after the game that he is “extraordinarily proud of this team and its refusal to stop fighting, no matter the odds or setbacks.” Praising what he saw as “a gutsy determination to get on the ball and make things work from the backline all the way forward,” Connolly singled out Sean Glynn and his wesht (the ‘h’ isn’t silent) end of Galway style of play: “there was really good performances from James Horan at center-half, Amar in the center, and Ronan Harvey on the left. But Sean tonight was a man among men. He was strong in the tackle, a wizard going forward, and just a real warrior for the whole team. A deserving man of the match and, like so many of these lads, a long term asset for the future of the club.”

The Shamrocks reserves continued their great run of form by beating Doxa 3:2, despite playing with only 10 men for 60 minutes of the game after goalkeeper, Kieran McGovern was sent off for a foul that led to a penalty. Wee Mickey from Belfast McGreevy gave the Rocks an early goal lead before Doxa equalized from the penalty spot to make it level at half-time.

Center-half, Rob Gaynor gallantly showed the way with a capable performance in goals and the 10 man disadvantage never really showed as goals from Paul McDaid and Andrew Scott saw the reserves cruise through the second half with a comfortable. A late consolation from Doxa did nothing to unsettle the Rocks who now take pride of place at the top of their division, following a defeat for Lansdowne on Sunday.

In the Division 1 fixture, a last minute penalty denied the Shamrocks first team a victory on Sunday in Westchester where Doxa struck deep in injury time to snatch a 2-2 draw. A brilliant second half brace from Kwesi Mills-Odoi had the Rocks 2-0 up but Doxa never gave up and deservedly pulled themselves back into it.

“Very immature performance,” said Kevin Grogan. “Hopefully an opportunity for our players to learn.”

Mixed Luck of the Shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Weekend

It was a tough night for the Shamrocks first team who succumbed to a 2-1 defeat
against the Pancyprians in spite of a bright start and a battling second half performance
at Randall’s #74 on Saturday night. For the second time in just over a month,
Pancyprians fell behind to an impressive Abou Kaba goal but this time a brilliant counter
attacking display edged it for the men in blue.

“We worked extremely hard, said Kevin Grogan. “We had our fair share of chances but
didn’t finish on the night. Very proud of the effort. We regroup and move onto a massive
game against Doxa this weekend.”

In the warm-up to the main feature, the Shamrocks reserves had to face plenty of chills
on an unforgivingly cold night on Randall’s. Despite the inclement conditions, the
distracting lure of being kissed for being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and the fact that they
had only one day’s rest from Thursday night’s cup game, Meola’s merry men put on
another fine display to see off Pancyprians’ reserves with a 4-1 win.

The Pancyprians faced a slaughter, quite literally, with goals from Larry Slaughter on
either side of the half. The reserves spent little time dwelling on a Pancyprian rally in the
second half by responding quickly to a fortunate visitors’ goal with two more of their
own. The ever incisive Joey Aronovsky added to his season’s tally, while Junior Elleston
contributed with his first for the Rocks. This win keeps pressure on Lansdowne Bhoys,
who will be harried and chased for the top spot by the Rocks in the weeks to come.
The pressure of holding up the rest of the league appears to have caused some cracks
(and little craic) in the usually indomnitable spirit of the 1960s. With a large part of Andy
Connolly’s squad absent due to a temporary outburst of collective hysteria, the
remaining players assembled defiantly on Sunday to earn a draw that takes them off the
bottom of the table. Playing against a strong wind in a first half that they dominated, the
Shamrocks were unlucky to go in 1-0 at half-time following a sloppy goal for visitors,
NYC Metro Stars.

With the wind in their sails and the windy verbosity of Connolly ringing in their ears, the
1960s took the game right to their opponents at the re-start. However, an early second
half goal from Junior Elleston was not matched by further scores, despite a number of
good chances being provided by wonderful deep passes from the likes of Eamon
Fitzgerald and Amar Daved. Nevertheless, the draw is a positive result and will be
something to build on for the 1960s as they face the fight of their lives in the second half
of the season.

“I heard of drowning the shamrock on St. Patrick’s day, but trying to drown your fellow
Shamrocks by not turning up for a game is not on,” said a highly irate Connolly in
response to players who abandoned their obligations for other ports of call. “I’m very
proud of those who were there. They played like real men, every last one of them.
Braden, who had a bad cold, showed just why he’s been with this club for so long, while

Mick, aged 36 and who has knees made of glass, was a wee terrier once more. Ryan
McKinley was a monster in goals, Amar was just a pleasure to watch as usual, Anthony
was a leader in defence, Joe Connolly worked his socks off, and Dan did his usual
terror-attacks on the opponents’ defense. Eamon, our man of the match, was an all-
round giant. I want to be around players like these every week.”

Returning Rocks on Rampage

The Shamrocks emerged victorious from the long winter hibernation on Sunday with important league victories recorded for the men’s firsts and reserves, as well as the over-30s. On a day that saw unfortunate cancelations for the newly oiled 1960s and cod liver oiled Legends, there were some decent performances on the pitch that can only bode well for the second half of the season.

A James Whyte hat trick helped the Shamrocks first team beat Zum Schneider 4-1 at Randall’s Island on Sunday. The team’s top scorer broke the deadlock with a 55th minute free kick to settle the nerves of the dominant Rocks. Kwesi Mills-Odoi finished brilliantly to make it 2-0 after an Abou Kaba assist. Though Zum struck back after a 66th minute corner was headed home, the Shamrocks’ reaction was immediate in the form of a darting left-foot finish from Whyte. The Scotsman then rounded out his hat trick after bravely beating the keeper and slotting home to the unguarded net to seal victory. “That was a vital win.” said Kevin Grogan. “We were average on the ball, but we were very disciplined defensively – our full back Dan Giorgi was man of the match. James scored three great goals and Kwesi came off the bench and delivered for us.”

In the battle of the reserves, the Shamrocks beat Zum Schneider 2-0. Dan Meola’s first-season luck appears to be developing all the traits of actual coaching genius. His half-time decision to “go three at the back boys” helped to turn a frustrating goalless game into a comfortable victory for the Rocks. With goals scored by Joey Aronovsky and Gil Christenberry, the reserves were well served once more by a defensive work rate that has produced seven clean sheets from the last ten games. Meola, for once, was speechless in the aftermath of the win.

The Shamrocks over-30s took advantage of their fixture to resume top spot in the Over-30 Division East rankings. In a 5-3 victory over Megas Alexandros, goals were supplied by Shane Moore, Johnny McGeeney (2), and man of the match, Johnny Keogh (2). The best highlights of Shamrock play came in the last 30 minutes of the first half, which were distinguished by an astounding solo goal by McGeeney. Ever desirous of greater effort and deeply vigilant about the challenges that lay ahead, the esteemed Paddy McCarry remarked after the match: “we were very rusty after the break and made too many mistakes. But we got the three points and a major improvement is needed going forward.”