Jamie Clarke scored twice for the firsts as Kevin Grogan’s men finally broke the resolve of bogey team Polonia with a brilliant 3-1 win on Saturday night at St. Michael’s that keeps the Rocks five points clear at the top of CSL Division 1.
Chasing duo Lansdowne and Pancyprians both enjoyed big wins, so a home success was the priority for the Shamrocks as they sought to bounce back from the previous weekend’s Irish Derby defeat.
But it wasn’t an entirely straightforward proposition initially, as Polonia took a dramatic early lead thanks to a superb long range shot.
However, the Shamrocks took control of affairs midway through the first half, and the excellent wing play of Jamie Clarke was rewarded with a lovely finish that arrived after he chested the ball down to swivel and volley home in one perfect motion.
Clarke’s second was equally impressive. Giuseppe Barone’s fantastic cross-field ball found the always dangerous winger Alejandro Fritz, who crossed accurately to the head of Clarke, his perfectly timed leap helping to direct the ball to the back of the net.
With goalkeeper Frankie Tsasse and his two center backs Zachary Gosse and Charlie O’Loughlin all playing flawlessly in defense, the Shamrocks continued to dominate in the second half, and it was eventually Kwesi Mills-Odoi who pounced from close range, his fourth goal of the season sealing the result.
“You earn every point in this league,” said Grogan. “That’s why it’s one of the best leagues in the nation. We got three points and that was the goal.
The reserves recorded their biggest win in over two years, a 9-0 hammering of ten-man Polonia, which sent John Riordan’s men up to a share of second place in the division.
Strikers Alex Wasilewski and Sean O’Neill shared three goals in the first two minutes that ended the game as a contest incredibly early, with both players going on to complete impressive hat tricks.
Darren Coleman also got in on the act with his first and second goals of the season, one of which was a 30-yard stunner that was the standout highlight of the game.
Debuting midfielder Martin Fitzpatrick from Kildare marked his first game with the ninth and final goal of the game.
“I’m delighted for them because they were hurting after last weekend,” reflected Riordan. “We challenged Alex and Sean to take their chances and they did that pretty quickly.”
Sunday morning got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win for Rocks 1960 at Lansdowne Bhoys in the Metro 1 Irish Derby. Dave Harvey scored a goal in either half to move his team up to fourth, his second arriving from the penalty spot.
Elsewhere, the Over 30s were in dominant form at Randall’s Island, firing eight past Partizani without reply. A Johnny McGeeney hat trick and another pair of goals from Sean Reilly helped keep the league champions in touch with Manhattan Celtic at the top, while there were also strikes from Alex Berne, Tayfun Gokmen and Leo Coimbra.
Unfortunately for the Legends, though, their good run of form was halted by a 1-0 defeat late Sunday night at Doxa.
In spite of a man-of-the-match performance from Eoghan McParland in midfield and an excellent display by Matteo Stiglich in defense, Emmett Harvey’s men couldn’t make the breakthrough, with the Doxa goalkeeper pulling off some outstanding saves, particularly from Brendan Donoghue and Richie Brennan.
“We had the majority of possession and shots on target, but it meant little in the end,” said assistant coach Eoin Sweeney.
Meanwhile, in the Metro Women’s League, the Shamrocks cemented their grip at the top of Division A with a big 7-1 win at home to Fuel FC on Sunday afternoon.
Former QPR starlet Sharon Odofin opened her account for her new club in just her second game with a pair of expertly finished goals. Chloe Wheeler was also on the scoresheet twice, moving her tally for the season up to 10.
Georgia Frost, Jackie Pounder and captain Teresa Ferraro all scored to ensure the Rocks will be sitting pretty on 19 points going into the spring portion of the season.