By Jay Mwamba
Astoria Gaels knocked off Shamrock 2-0 at Wards Island last Sunday to set up a nail-biting showdown this weekend with leaders Roosevelt Island International for the Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s Metro Div. 1 title.
The match is scheduled Sunday at 1 p.m. at Wards Island, Field C.
“We needed the win because Roosevelt had won earlier in the day,” said Gaels manager Dave Browne. “It was two Irish teams in a no-holds-barred encounter on a wet and windy day.”
Gaels came up tops on the finishing of midfield dynamo P.J. Burke and Ger Carthy, who eked out a 2-0 lead before the interval that Shamrock could not overcome.
Burke pounced on a loose ball from a Nestor Allen shot in the 30th minute to tap in from close range.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
Ten minutes later, Ronan Sullivan broke through and laid off to Carthy, who made no mistake from spitting distance.
Having given up only one goal in their last six games, Gaels were never in danger of letting Shamrock back into the match and held on for their 10th win of the season.
They improved to (10-1-4, 34), two points behind Roosevelt (11-1-3, 36) who hold the only win over Gaels.
“It’s winner-take-all next week,” Brown said. “If we play with confidence and strength, we’ll have no problems.”
Brown singled out Michael Conroy for Man of the Match honors, with special mention going to midfielder Joe Butler.
Earlier at Wards Island, Marco Depero struck twice in Roosevelt’s 2-0 victory over BW Gottschee.
“It will come to the last game and I hope we can pull it out,” noted Roosevelt’s Ali Mozaffari.
Shamrock’s defeat, meanwhile, left them mired in the Metro Div. 1 relegation zone (4-8-2, 14).
In the First Division, the Shamrock express roared past Barnstonworth Rovers 5-3 at Roosevelt Island to make it four wins in a roll this spring.The final result was a little flattering for Rovers, who got two of their goals from penalty kicks early in the second half.
“Too much pace, too much skill, too much effort,” Shamrock coach Billy Henderson summed up. “We totally bombarded them.”
Once again reaping the benefits of a full strength squad, the Rocks opened the floodgates in the fourth minute through Paddy Gerathy, who tucked in a Johan Lannon corner.
Gerathy was in the mix again in the 20th minute, unleashing a fierce free kick whose rebound Lucky Williams buried from inside the box.
Rovers were hanging on a thread on resumption when fortune smiled on them twice in the form of two disputed penalties (50th, 55th) that they converted tie the game.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Henderson confessed. “We were in control and the referee allowed them back into the game.”
But Shamrock remained undaunted. Moments after Rovers’ equalizer, Gerathy restored the visitors’ lead from the penalty spot, before Hughie Daley’s brace killed off Rovers.
Lannon earned the coach’s Man of the Match award, but Henderson was equally proud of the team effort.
Said Henderson: “Tim Cummins was back from injury, Eugene O’Driscoll was back, Mike Bishop was excellent in the back; Mick Hennessy, Darren Moen and Hughie — all of them were excellent. I think we’re building a great team.”
Shamrock president Scotty Shevlin chimed in with his thoughts. “A well played game,” he said. “I’m very happy at the team’s performance and the support from the club.”
Shamrock upped their record to 8-3-6 (30 points) on the table.
In the reserve tussle, Ari earned the Shamrock seconds a 1-1 tie with his equalizing goal.
Eight is enough
GH Metros went down fighting in a 4-2 loss to “B” Division East leaders Pele Masters at Red Hook.
Rory Finn’s Over-30 side started and finished with eight men and were still able to take a 1-0 lead courtesy of Steve Bodden.
Pele hit back twice to go up 2-1 but were stunned again by a Clerio Braga penalty that leveled the game.
“They eventually wore us down and we lost 4-2. But we didn’t go without a fight,” Finn said. “Next season we’ll have a better team.”
There was no letup for the Mike Fitzgerald coached Manhattan Kickers in Bergen County, N.J., even with promotion to the First Division sealed.
Kickers came away from the Overpeck County Park with another three points after routing Bergen Kickers 10-1. Chris Van Tuyl and Ed Hicks each bagged a hat trick, Joe Whiteman chipped in with a brace, while John Slover and Andy Stern each added one goal.