By Jay Mwamba
Shamrock’s two-year hold on the League Cup ended last Sunday when they succumbed 7-6 on penalties to Ridgewood Romac in their delayed first-round tie at Downing Stadium. The match ended 1-1 after extra time.
Despite a spirited second half during which the in-form Paddy Gerathy canceled out Danny Anton’s go-ahead goal for Ridgewood, Shamrock were betrayed by their lack of finishing when it counted most.
"Poor finishing cost us," said Shamrock co-coach Eugene Smyth. "We made it tough for ourselves in the first half, but played better in the second."
Ridgewood, who won promotion to the First Division a week earlier, led from the 22nd minute through Anton’s free kick. The hot-shooting Gerathy, however, knocked the ball in during a goalmouth scramble (70th) to knot it up. It was young Gerathy’s fourth goal in two matches.
Extra time failed to break the impasse, and after a Shamrock miss in the second round of penalty kicks, Ridgewood run off winners and booked themselves a second round date with their hitherto Div. Two rivals Central Park Rangers.
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For Shamrock, it was another disappointing turn in what has been a rollercoaster season. They first won the League Cup in 1999 and became the first club in Cosmopolitan Soccer League history to retain the trophy last year.
Earlier at Downing Stadium, Mick Hennessy scored once in each half to lead the St. Barnabas reserves to a rare 2-0 victory over Shamrock’s second team.
"It’s the first time we’ve beaten the Shamrocks in a long time," said the Saints’ Aiden Dennis.
Hennessy’s first goal came from a 25-yard free kick. Mark Maguire set up No. 2.
"Their keeper made a few good saves. We should have scored a few more goals," Dennis added.
The Shamrock’s third side was the only member of the Sunnyside, Queens, organization to register a win at the weekend. They edged Barnstonworth Rovers 2-1 in a Metro Div. One game at Downing Stadium, on strikes by Bart O’Rourke and Mark Hasey.
Brooklyn Celtic’s 47-year-old talisman, Paddy O’Sullivan, scored twice in Brooklyn Celtic’s 4-3 squeaker over Fairfield/Westchester United that took them to the top of the Over-30 standings.
The thriller at Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn started with Fairfield taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Elliott Wallet and Ian Nobele. Celtic clawed back through O’Sullivan (15th) and Jimmy Murray to tie it up before the half.
Nobele put Fairfield ahead again with his club-high 11th goal of the season, but Yves made it 3-3 in the 70th, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
O’Sullivan then clinched the match for Celtic (7-1-1, 22) with a late penalty. Said Fairfield manager/president Hugo Guagliane: "Overall they had one or two more chances to score. They’re a pretty good team and I must give them credit."
It was Celtic’s second victory in four days. They’d beaten the Barnstonworth Rovers reserves 4-3 in midweek to reach the semifinals of the Saunders Cup.
Jimmy Murray (two), Sean Conaghan and O’Sullivan tallied to book a final four date with Jersey City FC.
GH Metros came from behind to knock New York Greek-American/Atlas out of the Saunders Cup with a 2-1 scoreline at Randalls Island.
Carlo Moncerro powered the Rory Finns coached Metros into the next round with a goal in each half. His first effort was off a Julio pass in the 34th minute and put Metros back on par after Jose Luis Leva’s early opener for the Greeks.
Moncerro got the winner (65th) with a bullet header from a Steve Bodden cross. Coach Finn praised his goalkeeper, Armandio Rodriguez, for preserving the win with three excellent saves. Metros meet the Athletic Club reserves in the next round next week.
ASA McCarthy posted their fourth win of the season in Metro Div. Two with a 1-0 decision over CD Iberia at Red Hook. Don fired in a half volley on Chris Creagh’s assist.
Lansdowne Bhoys pipped Brooklyn Thunder 2-1 at Red Hook.
New York Albanians left Evander Childs High School after their 4-1 romp over Koha needing only one point from their remaining two games to claim the First Division championship.
Albanians (14-2, 42) could be crowned champs as early as this weekend when they face defending titlists New York Athletic Club who thrashed Fairfield 5-0.
"We just need a tie against Athletic Club," said veteran Albanian official Martin Shkreli.
Sharpshooter Rocky Bojovic put the Albanians within reach of their first championship since 1990 with a second half hat trick after coming on as a sub.
His first came on the hour, followed by strikes in the 65th and 80th minutes. Tony Camaj (10th) netted Albanians’ icebreaker, while Qazim Hakramaj (70th) had Koha’s first-saver. The Koha reserves were crushed 7-0.
Albanians suited up only 10 players at the start, forcing the 43-year-old Shkreli, a member of the last Albanians side to win the title 11 years ago, to make a rare appearance for the first team.
The victors were in high spirits afterward and proved a sporting bunch by taking their Koha rivals to dinner at a City Island restaurant.
The New York Athletic Club kept their slowly diminishing hopes of retaining the championship alive with their 5-0 destruction of Fairfield at Woodlands High School.
Khouri Mullins (15th), Matt Roberti (50th), Greg Smalling (60th, 80th), and Gerard Legassi (70th) brought NYAC’s goal haul from their last three matches to 17.
"They led 1-0 at half time, got a second goal in the second half, and then we fell apart," said Fairfield manager Gary Megennis, whose reserves were beaten 4-1.
"We’re playing very well and knocking in a lot of goals in the last few games," remarked NYAC boss Ronan Downs.
Second-placed NYAC (11-3-1, 34) can delay Albanians’ title celebration this weekend with a win against the league leaders, but would then need a Fairfield victory over Albanians in the latter’s final match, to retain the CSL crown.
Peter Trzaska, Ziggy Lamkamer, Nick Kacaj and Roland Jeanty (two) were on target for Ukrainian S.C. in a 5-0 routing of fellow Div. Two stragglers Homenetmen at the Verazzano Complex.
Ukrainians’ reserves prevailed 6-3 against most of the same side that later featured in the first team fixture.
At McCarran Park, FC Japan (7-8-1, 22) knocked off Guyana Juniors 2-0 to move into fourth place in Div. Two (East). Shohei Fukuda bagged both goals. Guyana’s reserves forfeited.
There was also a win for promotion bound Barnstonworth Rovers who held off Clarkstown 2-1 at the Kennedy/Zukor Field. The reserves tied 2-all.