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.”
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.”
A Manchester United Legends XI will visit New York next summer to take on a selection of NY Shamrocks Legends in a historic fundraiser for the Queens-based soccer club.
This thrilling once-in-a-lifetime event will double up as the annual Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game and will take place on Saturday June 22, 2019 at Gaelic Park.
There will also be an exciting curtain raiser with a League of Ireland Legends selection coming to town to play a Shamrocks Over 30s line-up.
The double header in the Bronx will be followed by a banquet in Queens which will gather together all club members and supporters for an evening of season awards and entertainment.
Welcoming the announcement, Shamrocks club president Teresa Brink said, “We are very proud to welcome former Manchester United players to take part in the Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game next summer. It should be a really historic day.
“Robbie was a big Manchester Utd fan and so it will be a huge honor for our club to put on this event in his memory. We are all looking forward to the day and we are very much committed to making it an occasion to remember.”
Paddy Geraghty, who has steered the 2019 Robbie Walsh Memorial Exhibition Game Committee, paid tribute to everyone who had worked with him to make the event a possibility.
“Our current crop of Shamrocks Legends will welcome some former Legends back to pull on the jersey one more time,” said Geraghty.
“They’ll have the opportunity to play against their heroes and in some cases, join them as guest players for Manchester United. We will announce full details in the coming months including the Manchester United Legends team, ticket information, sponsorship opportunities, and special events that will run all weekend.
“We would like to thanks Colin Telford and Tony Browne at Legends XI for making the event possible, Manhattan College for the use of Gaelic Park, and the Shamrock’s Committee for all their hard work behind the scenes.”
The Shamrocks first team coach and technical director Kevin Grogan, who began his professional football career at Manchester United in the mid 1990s, said he was looking forward to the historic event.
“Obviously Manchester United has a spot in my heart from my playing days,” said Grogan. “It’s a club with an amazing history and it’s fitting they are coming over to play the NY Shamrocks who also have an amazing history. Two great clubs playing in a great city.”
Robbie Walsh was a former Shamrocks stalwart who, as captain, led the Rocks to back-to-back CSL League Cup victories, and, as coach, helped keep them together in hard times. Walsh, a County Kildare native, died in Queens in November 2016. He was 44.
Meanwhile, the Shamrocks first team bowed out of the Manning Cup after a 2-0 loss to Pancyrpians at St John’s.
“It was a good effort by our players,” said Grogan. “I cant knock their dedication to the cause. All focus now on our massive league game next week against CPR.”
The reserves team won 2-1 against NYAC after a last minute winner from James Hudson secured the win after Joey Aronovsky had opened the scoring.”