By Jay Mwamba
Ronan Downs, back on the New York Athletic Club bench after minor surgery, was all smiles last Sunday as his Cosmopolitan Soccer League defending champs rebounded from their worst defeat of the season with a 6-0 destruction of Shamrock at Travers Island.
The NYAC coach missed his side’s 4-1 loss to Pancyprian Freedoms on March 18 but returned at the weekend to see his men vent their ire on Shamrock with a second-half blitz.
"Not a great Shamrock team," Downs said. "They weren’t as strong as they should have been. But it was a good way to come back after the disaster last week."
Shamrock coach Eugene Smyth concurred. "We were playing under strength, no doubt about that," he said, even while declining to make an issue of the absence of several key players.
Yet, weak as the visitors were, they trailed by only 1-0 at halftime, on John Macllion’s third-minute goal.
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NYAC stepped it up a notch on resumption, going 2-0 up on the hour when Matt Roberti broke through and lobbed the ball into the net. The goals came in regular intervals after that.
Pepper Brill made it 3-0 in the 65th minute, MVP Greg Smalling struck twice (75th, 85th), and Andre Parrish (80th) chipped in with the fifth.
Smyth, ruing some five chances Shamrock squandered in the first half, said: "We opened up the second half and they got two breakaway (goals). That was the end of the game then."
Downs, however, called it a great performance by NYAC, now third in the First Division (6-2-2, 19), seven points behind first-place Pancyprian.
"It puts us back on track," he added. "We are not in the driver’s seat as we normally are at this time of the year, but we’ll continue chipping away from behind."
For Shamrock, whose right midfielder, Aidan Walsh, stood out, the defeat leaves them hovering dangerously in the relegation zone. They are second from the bottom with six points (1-5-2).
John Guildea scored for the Shamrock reserves in their 3-1 loss.
Brooklyn Celtic stormed into the Saunders Cup semi-finals with an 8-3 thrashing of United Bulgaria at the Palisades Interstate Park.
"A pretty emphatic performance," noted Jim Murray, one of the Celtic goal heroes. "We’re dancing nicely in this cup."
Hat-trick star Ralph Glemond, Pat Pierre, Eddie Bastien, Patrick Sullivan and Sean Conaghan were the other scorers.
James Petre connected in Central Park Rangers’ 1-0 Metro II decision over Astoria Gaels at Randalls Island, while at McCarran Park in Brooklyn, Omar Toure earned Fiona’s FC a 1-1 tie with Barnstonworth Rovers.
Second Division Ripensia Romania emerged as cup holders Shamrock’s likely semifinal opponents in the League Cup after they knocked off Barnstonworth Rovers 2-1 at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood.
Adrian Ionete bagged both Ripensia goals in the quarterfinal, the first from the penalty spot in the 76th minute, and the winner, a fantastic swerving effort from near the corner flag in the 88th minute. Rovers had tied the game in the 80th minute.
Shamrock meet another Second Division side, Ridgewood Romac, in their delayed quarterfinal tie, with the winners going up against Ripensia.
In the other bracket, Pancyprian Freedoms squeaked past Fairfield/Westchester United 2-1 at St. John’s University. Nickolas Paraskevopous (3rd) and Alex Arvitis (75th) tallied.
"From what I’ve seen of the team in the past two games, we look good," Pancyprian GM Lefteris Eliades said.
Steve Bodden and Carlos Montero were on the mark for G.H. Metros in a 2-all tie with Guyana Veterans "B" at Red Hook. Guyana, who drew first blood, denied Metros full points with a last-minute equalizer.
"We needed those points," lamented Metros coach Rory Finn.
Also in the "B" Division, Brasil SC and BW Gottschee shared points in a 2-2 tie at McCarran Park. Carlos Araujo and Danny Jordan got the Gottschee goals.
Dinamo shut down
Chiarenza Rosario (two), Massimo Borghello, and Ghazi Al-Hajeri steered Central Park Rangers to a 4-1 win over New York Dinamo at Randalls Island. Rangers’ reserves prevailed 3-2.