But inspired by late arrival Bingo O’Driscoll, Shamrock clawed back in the second half to force a 2-2 tie, despite a penalty miss by Liam McGuiness.
“This was a good start for us,” said a satisfied John Guildea, Shamrock’s coach, whose team’s last league appearance was a 1-0 loss to Manhattan Kickers last Oct. 31.
Things didn’t look that good on the pitch in the first half when the 29-year-old Shannon, previously with Portuguese First Division side Maritimo and the MLS’ Tampa Bay Mutiny and Colorado Rapids, to name a few clubs, twice shook the net (10th, 20th) with Shamrock in disarray.
“They deserved to be 2-0 up. They were running through us like we were not there,” Guildea said.
Enter O’Driscoll who’d missed the kick-off because he was attending a Christening. The big defender joined the fray before the break and changed the complexion of the game.
“He made a huge difference,” Guildea said.
Shamrock surged forward in numbers after the interval and won a penalty through Barry Farrell after 10 minutes. McGuiness’s shot, however, was stopped by Rovers goalie Nate Kipp.
But brilliant as Kipp was between the posts, there’d be no denying Farrell when he volleyed in a cross from Stuart Kaiser (70th).
“We missed chance after chance after that but their goalie played well,” Guildea said.
It took a Chelsea-type goal to beat Kipp in the last minute, O’Driscoll’s shot taking a deflection and wrong footing the goalie on its way into the net.
“They kept coming and coming and in the end got a lucky deflection,” Rovers coach Ron Baskin lamented.
Shamrock (0-6-2, 2) remain seven points behind Central Park Rangers in Div. I (West), albeit they have three games in hand, including one in arbitration, to CPR.
Bart O’Rourke missed a penalty for the Shamrock reserves in their 2-0 loss to Rovers. Andy Abramovich and Alex Shardt scored for the visitors. The seconds (1-6-1, 4) shore up the Reserve standings.
Right winger Damien Mascall nodded in a Phil Brady free kick seven minutes from time to earn Lansdowne Bhoys a 3-3 draw with Central Park in a seesaw match at the Metropolitan Oval.
“It was a tough one,” Lansdowne coach Paul Doherty summed up after his lads twice coughed up the lead to trail 3-2 late in the game.
Mascall, a two-goal hero, came to the Bhoys’ rescue after CPR’s French forward Ronan had popped up twice to cancel out left winger Anton Turner’s opener (10th) and his first strike (40th).
Lansdowne were staring at defeat when Tony DeLorenzo shot the home side ahead in the 75th minute. However, Mascall’s header saved the day for the Bronx Irish.
Doherty called it a game of two halves.
“We had the first half and they had the second half,” he said. “We had enough chances in the first half to put them to sleep.”
Nonetheless, he had no complaints with the result, which put the Bhoys (4-6-1, 13) four points clear of last place Koha (3-6, 9) in the First Division (East) relegation zone.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” CPR’s Ghazi Al-Hajeri conceded.
Simon Sinnott scored the only goal of the match in the Lansdowne reserves’ win over their CPR opponents.
The reserves were boosted by the return of goalie and former club president Emelyn McAleer, who had a spectacular game.
Second place Lansdowne improved to 5-3-3 (17), nine points behind leaders Pancyprian Freedoms.
Manhattan Celtic were left kicking themselves after conceding an 88th-minute equalizer by Adrian Gallagher in their Metro Div. I top-of-the-table clash with Central Park Rangers at Chelsea Pier 40.
“We held them off until the last two minutes. It’s very disappointing. We thought we had the game won,” said Celtic boss Ian Woodcock.
Englishman Freddy Etsiaboh had Celtic ahead after 10 minutes and despite their best efforts to increase the lead, the woodwork and CPR’s goalie proved insurmountable.
“They scored on a breakaway and we kept fighting and luckily got the equalizer,” noted CPR official Andrew Faherty.
The tie preserved Celtic’s unbeaten record this season (7-0-2, 23) while keeping them two points ahead of Rangers (21) at the top.
John Davidson’s second-half goal could not prevent ASA McCarthy from slipping 2-1 to Barnstonworth Rovers in Metro Div. I.
“Disappointing. We just couldn’t put the ball in the net,” was the reaction from McCarthy’s John Cassidy.
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