Sunday brought four wins, a draw and a loss, but that 1-1 draw at Pancyprians will live long in the Shamrocks memory. The league leaders and 2015 runners-up were outplayed by a superbly organized Shamrocks side, which ultimately earned a valuable point although it could so easily have been three.
Chuong Tran’s excellent second half goal, set up brilliantly by Nick Zorbo, was just reward for a team display that combined great play and superb grit. But the league leaders broke Rocks hearts in the 95th minute with a scrappy equalizer that proved to be virtually the last kick of the game.
In those dying moments, with the Rocks reduced to ten men after Nick Zorbo’s second yellow, the hosts threw everyone forward for a free kick against and scrambled the ball home at the back post.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the lads,” said coach Stevie Doyle. “We deserved to win and while we are certainly happy with the performance, I feel we left two points behind. That’s something I didn’t think we would be able to say.
“The boys were brilliant from the back line out and they dominated a lot of the game,” he added. “We need to keep producing like that throughout the next six games.”
Importantly, wins elsewhere for Lansdowne and Everton Westchester ensured the Shamrocks remain in fourth, fending off United FC and Manhattan Celtic, teams they will also avoid in the final six games of the season.
It was confirmed Monday morning that the spring schedule will consist of games against Pancyprians, Lansdowne, Everton Westchester, Polonia, the Greek Americans and CPR Whites.
Reserves move level with Lansdowne
A 3-1 win at Pancyprians’ reserves provided a perfect start to the day.
Mo Fofana had the Rocks up 1-0 just before half-time, latching onto a loose ball to slot home. Marc Vilson scored early in the second half, while Pierre Meloty-Kapella marked his return to the Rocks with a well-taken finish after a nice through ball from Darren Coleman.
With Lansdowne losing at United FC, both teams are now tied for second behind NYAC with the Bhoys edging on head-to-head.
1960 5 points clear
In Metro 2, Shamrocks 1960 tightened their grip on the lead at the top of the East with a 4-0 win at AO Brooklyn. Dylan Wallace scored twice while Danny Meola and Hughie McGowan were also on the scoresheet.
“We got the result and performance we were looking for,” said assistant coach Neil Mannion. “They tried to beat us with their fists, but we showed great maturity and played them off the park.”
The victory means that the Rocks are now five points ahead of Gotham City who have a game in hand.
Thriller for Over 30s
Elsewhere, the Over 30s deservedly took a vital win away from a barnstorming game at Dinamo, with Tayfun Gokmen netting a brilliant winner in a 4-3 slugfest.
Conceding very early to a talented Dinamo outfit, Gokmen leveled proceedings after 15 minutes. Johnny McGeeney’s debut for the Rocks was marked by a great headed goal after 30 minutes, making it 2-1 at half-time.
Dinamo equalized from a corner, but Paddy Geraghty made it 3-2 with a superb free kick. It was hotly contested throughout and after the hosts made it 3-3, Gokmen sealed the win with just ten minutes left.
“Great team performance by all 15 lads,” said coach Paddy McCarry. “I’m very proud of them because Dinamo are an excellent side. In my opinion, they are the best side in the league after us.”
The Legends were unfortunate to lose 1-0 at home to Barnstonworth.
“We dominated the game with most of the possession,” said assistant coach Eoin Sweeney. “They scored with their only shot on goal. We threw everything at them, but it was one of those days when the rub of the green was not on our side.”
Women win in 14-0 rout
In the Metro Women’s League, the Shamrocks needed a win and they more than delivered: 14-0 against Appletown in St Michaels.
Sinead Hennessy scored a stunning five goals, while Chloe Wheeler continued her perfect start with her fourth goal of the season. There was a hat trick for Jarielle Uter, two for Christina Beck and one each for Teresa Ferraro, Brittany Meade and Paige Osborne.