By Jay Mwamba
Shamrock S.C. made a winning start to their defense of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League Cup last Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Second Division Barnstonworth Rovers in a wild match at Roosevelt Island.
"The score could have been 10-5 for us. It was a very competitive game with lots of scoring opportunities," said veteran midfielder John Guildea, whose super-sub performance helped bag it for Shamrock.
Guildea turned the Cup tussle in the Rocks’ favor barely three minutes after coming on for Mick McCarthy (60th), and not long after Rovers had what would have been their go-ahead goal disallowed for offside.
"A very close call," Guildea admitted.
"That was the crucial moment for us," noted the Rovers’ disappointed coach, Dave Brooks. "It was a poor decision by the ref."
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
That aside, Guildea said Shamrock were the better side in a hard fought match played on a slippery turf.
It looked like being a rout when the Rocks opened their account in the third minute. A defense splitting through ball by Terry Lawless found stand-in striker Robbie Walsh open, and the skipper finished with all the aplomb of a seasoned predator as he lobbed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and into the empty net.
The lead held until Andy Horan’s quick equalizer on resumption (46th).
Then came Guildea’s introduction on the hour, which energized Shamrock. His goal put the Queens side firmly in the driver’s seat. The wrapper up was provided by the capable boot of Johann Lannon, who, after some clever trickery on the left wing, cut inside and curled an unstoppable shot 20 yards into the top right hand corner.
The ever-industrious Shane Martin might have had three or four goals but for the woodwork and the home goalkeeper. Billy Henderson too struck the crossbar.
New York Albanians, who lost on penalties to Shamrock in last season’s League Cup final, stayed on course for a rematch with their Irish rivals by annihilating Third Division B.W. Gottschee 7-0 at Evander Childs High School in the Bronx.
Striker Rocky Bojovic banged in a hat-trick (50th, 55th, 75th), while Mirsad Husinovic (40th, 90th), Pali Mirashak (60th) and Arben Mirjaj (70th) chipped in to keep the Albanians’ dream of the League and Cup double alive.
"We would like to win both of them," Albanians’ Joe Shkreli said.
Qazim Hakramaj ran riot at SUNY-Purchase, netting all the goals in the 4-0 destruction of short-handed St. Barnabas by Second Division newcomers Koha in the League Cup.
Hakramaj connected in the 60th, 69th, 81st and 85th minutes to knock the Saints out of the Cup.
"He’s incredible," St. Barnabas official Aidan Dennis said of the former New York Dinamo ace. "We were never in the game from the start."
The Saints were missing several stalwarts, including midfielder Fran Morgan, defender Ronan Frawley and the inspirational Tommy Whitty, but Dennis still tipped his hat to Koha.
"They’re a very good team," he said.
Koha coach Omer Hakramaj, Qazim’s brother, concurred. "We made them look like a Third Division team. We were all over them," he remarked.
Earlier at SUNY-Purchase, the St. Barnabas reserves advanced to the third round of the Harry J. Saunders Cup by dismissing New York Wanderers 4-1.
Vinnie Norton (50th, 72nd) and Sean O’Flynn (25th, 74th) led the St. Barnabas charge.
Ruben Renderos (15th, 30th), Denis Ioffe (55th) and Nazmi Durakovic (65th) steered Second Division Ukrainian S.C. into the third round of the League Cup at the expense of Brooklyn Stars, who were beaten 4-1 at McCarran Park in Brooklyn.
"They were a Third Division team. It was not a tough game," Ukrainian
coach Steve Kovalenko explained.
Ukrainian ousted Manhattan Kickers on penalties in the first round.
Also through to the next round of the League Cup are Banatul S.C. and Fairfield/Westchester United who made easy work of Third Division opposition.
Banatul, winless in the First Division, recorded their first win of the 1999-2000 season against SICJA, who had goals from Shin Furutate and Fumitaka Taketa in a 6-2 loss at Randalls Island.
Fairfield, meanwhile, dispatched Central Park Rangers 5-0 at West Beach in Connecticut, courtesy of hat-trick hero Jimmy Vas (25th, 51st, 80th), Roy Kelly (38th pen) and Todd Jacobson (65th).
CSL First Division champs New York Athletic Club (17 points) subdued New York Hungaria 5-3 in a thriller at Travers Island to record their fifth win of the season.
NYAC overcame a 2-0 deficit with a ceaseless display of attacking soccer, in what coach Ronan Downs termed "a cracker of a game," to move to within four points of leaders Albanians. Downs’ men, however, have a match in hand.
"I was happy after the first half, but Ronan was the happier man after 90 minutes," Hungaria coach Mike Jambrik remarked, alluding to the dramatic turn of events with a touch of humor.
Joseph Kovacs (30th), against the run of play, and Joe Tasko (32nd), who slotted the ball home from the ensuing melee after NYAC goalie Jim Feuerborn had blocked his initial penalty shot, had Hungaria in early control.
NYAC began their recovery before the interval, midfielder Pepper Brill (43rd) pulling one back from the penalty spot, and then Chris Mitchell tying it up a minute after the interval.
"We went into high gear after that," Downs said.
Brill (70th), Andre Parris (85th) and Mitchell (89th) were on target for the champions, while Kovacs (88th) got his second of the afternoon to make it respectable for Hungaria, whose reserves triumphed 3-1.
"It was one of our better performances and showed what we can do even when missing key players," said Downs, who was without striker Matt Roberti and midfielder John McCallion.
New York Greek-American/Atlas edged Pele Masters 3-2 at the Floyd Bennett Field to advance to the third round. Jose Luis Leva (two) and Gus Tsirkas scored.
Clarkstown S.C. blew out the Barnstonworth Rovers reserves 5-1 with goals by Danny Samimi (two), Tony Murray, Michael Swanwicker and Amir Houssam. David Bonthrone got Rovers’ face-saver.
And at Travers Island, the NYAC Over-30 side tossed out Banatul 4-2 behind Paulo Serferle’s hat-trick. Andy Mastai was the other NYAC marksman, while Robert Majuca and Francisco struck for Banatul.