Category: Archive

CSL Roundup Fired-up Shamrocks rally past rival Koha

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Three days after their long-time base in Queens was gutted by fire, Shamrock brought some cheer back to the franchise with an emotional 3-2 victory over Koha at Downing Stadium.

The Rocks came from 2-1 down with 10 men to knock off their old Balkan rivals in a replay of last year’s League Cup final, which the Irishmen won 1-0. Shamrock finished with nine men after having a second player ejected in the 85th minute of the bruising encounter.

"The true character of Shamrock football club was revealed today, particularly after the loss of J.J. Gilligan’s and all our equipment; w e lost everything," club president Scotty Shevlin said.

"Shamrock will bounce back," he added, while extending the club’s best wishes to J.J. Gilligan’s proprietor, Margaret Callaghan.

Shevlin estimates that the two-time Cosmopolitan Soccer League Cup winners lost some $10,000 worth of equipment — uniforms, balls, silverware and records — in the four-alarm blaze that razed a Sunnyside commercial building last Thursday.

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According to the New York Daily News, the fire started in the kitchen area of D’-Dong Restaurant, a Korean restaurant at 46-07 Queens Blvd., and spread to a fruit market and J.J. Gilligan’s.

Against Koha at Downing Stadium, it was Shamrock, with their future secure in the CSL First Division, who were on fire.

Hofstra undergrad Paddy Gerathy gave them the lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, after his striking partner, Tim Cummins, was brought down in the box.

Koha, however, hit back twice through their own attacking prodigy, Herolind

Hajdari. The 22-year-old former Albanian youth international caught the Shamrock defense napping, and with goalie Paudie Moloney screaming for off-side, made no mistake from close range (35th).

Hajdari put Koha ahead on the hour, finishing off a rebound from a blistering free-kick that Moloney failed to hold.

Things appeared gloomy for Shamrock at that point. They had been reduced to 10 men late in the first half and were now chasing the game against a side determined to avenge a bitter cup final loss.

But they stepped it up a notch and with 10 minutes left got a deserved equalizer from Cummins who blasted in a free-kick.

Another free-kick five minutes later from Johan Lannon won it for Shamrock.

For Koha coach Omer Hakramaj, whose side had edged St. Barnabas 3-2, the previous week, the result was like a bad case of déjà vu.

"It was a replay of the final," he said. "We had all the chances but couldn’t finish."

Looking ahead to their next meeting, in the Bronx this Sunday, Hakramaj remarked wryly: "We’ll see what happens. If they beat us again, I think I’ll retire."

Shevlin said he’d never been more proud of the Shamrock coaching staff of Eugene Smyth and P.J. Doherty.

"Overall, it was a great performance by everybody," Smith said. "They [Koha] are a great side, alright. It was a very physical game."

The win was enormous for Shamrock, who improved to 5-5-4, 19 points). It vaulted them from eighth on the standings to fifth place.

The club will, meanwhile, hold its annual dinner dance at Darrow’s of Glendale in Ridgewood, Queens, on June 22.

NYAC roll

Ronan Downs, New York Athletic Club’s affable coach, closed in on his sixth league title in seven seasons when his side routed Polonia 8-0 at Cantiague Park.

NYAC’s outstanding midfielder Gregg Smalling (60th, 65th, 70th) had a hat trick in the one-sided encounter. John McCallion (10th, Pepper Brill (30th, 55th), and Khouri Mullins (56th) were the other scorers.

"We were all over them," Downs said. "[But] in all fairness to them, they never gave up."

NYAC (13-3-1, 40), whose reserves won 2-0, moved to within two points of First Division leaders New York Albanians. Both teams have one game remaining, but NYAC are awaiting a ruling on their abandoned match with Banatul from last fall.

Should the league rule in their favor, NYAC would just have to win their final game against St. Barnabas to clinch the 2000-2001 championship.

League Cup

Pancyprian Freedoms and Ripensia Romania will meet in the League Cup final last this month.

Pancyprian squeaked past Albanians 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 tie at St. John’s University, while Ripensia defeated Ridgewood Romac 2-0 at Grover Cleveland High School on strikes by Dan (52nd) and Victor (61st).

Tony Camaj had both goals for Albanians during relegation time.

"It just wasn’t meant to be," the Albanians’ Martin Shkreli said. "It was a beautiful game."

Over-30 action

Howard Mattson (two), Willie Glen and former coach Dick Cini, who’s 59, led NYAC to a 4-1 romp over Brasil at Red Hook. Kunje had Brasil’s consolation goal.

"We didn’t show up for the game," said Brasil manager Ruy Reis.

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