Santiago Rigby scored twice in regular time to earn the home team a battling 2-2 draw against a very tough Rovers outfit for whom Isaiah Marshall and Rafael Carpes netted.
The Rocks were reduced to ten men at half-time after Joey Zorbo went down injured while Joe Connolly limped to the end on a sprained ankle.
It was a dramatic shootout, which the Rocks won 4-3 after one round of sudden death thanks to successful strikes from Stuart Colbert, Chuong Tran, Zach Gosse and Anthony Tagliaferri who scored the clincher. New goalkeeper Gavin Joyce saved the third Rovers penalty after Rigby sent his over the bar.
“As Alex Ferguson said after the Champions League final in 1999, ‘Football, bloody hell’,” reflected delighted coach Kevin Grogan after the game. “I said to the players before the penalties that whatever happens, it was irrelevant as they played with such heart, passion and pride.
“We had 10 men for nearly the full game and at the end we had nine,” Grogan added. “I’m just so happy these players played for the club and the history of the club the way they did. That’s the foundation.”
Man of the match debutant Darren Freeman from Monaghan impressed in midfield for the Rocks.
“What a debut,” said Grogan. “He stepped up to the plate big time. You can now argue he can be a Shamrocks great if he applies himself.”
In the D’Arpino Cup, meanwhile, the reserves were knocked out in heartbreaking fashion when Rovers player Michael Henry scored with the last kick of the game to win 3-2.
Paul McDaid and Darren Coleman brought the Rocks level twice, but the visitors won it at the death as Stevie Doyle’s men tried to push for a winner against the ten men of the visitors.
“Very disappointing,” said Doyle. “We were on top and controlling it so it was a shame to concede on the break and lose in that manner. We’ll focus on the league now, but this certainly hurts.”
It was a great start to the day for the Rocks at what was a battle of league champions at Adelphi University.
A penalty shootout victory against Polet in the Over 30s Marth Cup after a 1-1 draw in normal time sent Paddy McCarry’s men through to the second. Polet started strong and took the lead after 30 minutes courtesy of a good move down the right.
But the Shamrocks settled and Sean Riley scored in the second half after a great clearance by Dominick McCartan.
Billy Hole’s penalty was the decisive strike in a 4-3 outcome. Polet hit the post with their first effort while the other Rocks scorers were Paddy Geraghty, Sean Riley and Bingo O’Driscoll.
“Today was all about heart and not giving up,” said McCarry. “Once we got the goal, I knew this bunch of players would win it against a great team. They are a credit to our club.”
In the Strumpf Cup, Dave Harvey was the game winner in a 1-0 win over Homenetmen at Randalls Island.
“They were a tough to play against,” said coach Andy Connolly. “We could have scored a few more and deserved to, but we’ll take the win and move on.”
In the late game, Nieuw Amsterdam beat the Shamrocks Legends 1-0 at Pier 40.
In the Women’s State Cup, the Shamrocks were 6-1 winners over Appletown at New Utrecht, bringing their winning streak to five games in a row.
Christina Beck scored twice including the opener, while Jackie Pounder made it 2-0 before half. Anastasia Hagan, top scorer Sinead Hennessy (now on seven for the season) and Colleen Cavanagh (her first for the club) all netted in the second half.
“Great team performance where everyone contributed,” said coach Paddy Geraghty. “We have outscored teams 13-1 in the second half of games this season, so the hard training sessions speak for themselves.”