By Jay Mwamba
Shamrock came away from Travers Island with vital a point from a 2-2 tie with New York Athletic Club after blowing a 2-0 lead against the defending champions in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League on Sunday.
Tim Cummins’s brace kept Shamrock (4-8-3, 15 points) clear of the relegation zone in the First Division, but it might have dealt Dublin native Ronan Downs’s hopes of leading NYAC to their fourth title in five years a major blow.
"It’s not in our hands anymore," a dejected Downs said later. "It was a game we needed to win. I’m disappointed with the result."
With four games left on their schedule, second-placed NYAC slipped four points behind leaders New York Dinamo (32), who edged New York Hungaria 3-2 in Woodbridge.
Downs, nonetheless, didn’t hesitate to give Shamrock credit for their effort. "I hand it to Shamrock. They played hard," he said.
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And no player caused more problems for the NYAC defense than Cummins, who has revitalized the Shamrock offense this year. He needed only 15 minutes to breach the NYAC defense after latching onto a through ball by Michael Bishop.
Cummins struck again in the 35th minute, Paddy Gearty providing the assist this time. He was denied a hat trick before the break when he was held back with the goal at his mercy.
"We totally dominated them in the first half," assistant coach John Guildea said.
But the tide turned early in the second half when two lightning strikes put NYAC back in the fray. Cam Livingston (47th) pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Matt Roberti was fouled, and two minutes later, Chris Mitchell finished off a Roberti move for the equalizer.
"It was a see-saw battle from then," Downs said. Guildea, who had a solid game in the Shamrock midfield, was pleased with the final result. "We should have nicked it," he said. "But overall, it was a fair result."
Shamrock, whose reserves crashed 2-0, remained in seventh position in the 10-team First Division.
Antranik Balian’s 88th minute goal earned the Homenetmen reserves a 1-all tie with Lansdowne Bhoys’ second team at Van Cortland Park.
And Third Division Solas, who are partly owned by NYAC’s Downs, pipped B.W. Gottschee 1-0 at Randalls on Steve Warll’s strike (37th).
Astoria Gaels’ first team were a no-show for their Second Division encounter with East contenders CD Iberia at Randalls Island, but manager Jimmy Ralph promises a stunning come-back when his relegation-bound side returns to the Third Division.
"We should be coming back with a big bang next year," he said. "We have a lot of new faces coming in and I feel confident about it," Ralph said.
Gaels fell to 1-13 (3 points) after the forfeiture to Iberia. The reserves played their lungs out but still succumbed 5-0 to Iberia.
St. Barnabas had their First Division fixture with Fairfield/Westchester United called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
Dinamo, Shamrock’s old Second Division rivals, moved a step closer to their first ever CSL championship with that 3-2 decision over Hungaria in their top-of-the-table clash in New Jersey.
Mured Ibrahimov and Tony Camaj scored for Dinamo, who won promotion last year, after Hungaria had conceded an own goal. Mario Nemet and Koko Kovacs replied for the home side.
"I’ve got to say thanks to Shamrock for the their tie with Athletic Club. It’s put us closer to the title," Dinamo coach Kristo Curanovic said.
For Hungaria, whose reserves won 4-1, the loss, and NYAC’s tie with Shamrock, saw them drop from second to third place on the table.
New York Albanians, going through another one of their traditional spring collapses, fell 2-1 to Polonia at Evander Childs High School.
They led 1-0 on Ronald Dambo’s penalty (5th), but Polonia struck back through Miroslaw Sielczak (65th) and Mariusz Kulesza (88th).
Albanians took the reserve meeting 3-0.
Winless all of last fall, Banatul recorded their third straight victory in the league, 4-2 at the expense of New York Croatia in a tussle between the First Division’s two bottom sides, in Maspeth.
Doru Ardelean (two), Zoran Stojanovic and Jeremy tallied.
Ron Baskin struck on the hour (60th) to send East leaders S.C. Eintracht (9-2-1, 28) reeling to only their second defeat of the season. Barnstonworth’s reserves also won 1-0.
Mike Fitzgerald’s Manhattan Kickers dropped from second to fourth position (8-4, 24) after a shock 3-0 loss to Nag’s Head United at Red Hook in Brooklyn. Danny Shields (35th, 70th) and Paul Huff (75th) did the damage.
"We’re having trouble finding our offense. It was a really tough loss, we gave it away," moaned Fitzgerald.
The reserve match finished in a 1-1 tie.
New York Wanderers beat Ukrainian S.C. 2-1 at McCarran Park, courtesy of Mark Burns (18th) and Steve Anderson (70th). Michel D’Souza (25th) was the Ukrainian marksman.
"A bruising battle," Wanderers coach Eamon Reynolds summed it up.
The reserves drew 1-all.
In Division Two West, pacesetters Ripensia-Romania (12-2) opened up a 10-point lead at the top with a 2-1 result over B.W. Poughkeepsie at Germania Park.
Skipper Michael Godi broke a 1-1 deadlock with the winner three minutes from time to give Ripensia their 12th win of the season. Adian Ioneten (23rd) had scored earlier, while Todd McClean (65th) connected for Poughkeepsie, whose reserves won 6-2.
Malcolm DeFreitas (12th), Christopher Stewart (25th), Roger Benjamin (50th) and Raymond Floy (85th) improved to 13-0 at the top of the Third Division with a 4-0 romp over Barnstonworth Rovers at Floyd Bennett Field.
Second-placed Ridgewood (11-0, 34) knocked off number three side Sunnyside Genclik 4-1 at Grover Cleveland High School. Edward Liebner (two), Bichi Dumitru and Gheorghe Gheorghita scored. Onder Koksol got Sunnyside’s consolation goal.
"We gave up. We have only one game left after this and we can’t catch them," Sunnyside coach Rahmi Kursat conceded.
Earlier at Floyd Bennett Field, Krimean Turkish had held off CD Iberia 2-1 on goals by the Gul brothers Hayati (8th) and Ali (25th).
Rory Finn’s G.H. Metros all but clinched another divisional title after their 1-0 victory over B.W. Gottschee at Randalls Island. Steve Bodden, assisted by Gyula Hegyi, got the only goal of the match in the 65th minute.
"They should have won it," coach Finn said, doffing his hat to Gottschee. "They had at least four chances, but goalie Armandio Rodriguez was unbelievable. He stopped everything."
New York Greek-American/Atlas edged Serbia 3-2 on goals by Jose Luis Leva (two) and Gus Tsirkas, while Pancyprians and Scala Brasil drew 0-0.
Dr. Manning Cup
The Cosmopolitan League’s Koha advanced to the quarterfinals without kicking a ball after Adriatic forfeited their second round tie.