The former CSL League Cup winners were nine minutes away from a memorable victory over a semi-pro club, as they led 1-0 for most of the game through Hughie Daley’s 20th minute goal.
But an unintentional handball in the penalty box by John Ward (81st) threw the Scorpions a lifeline. Center forward Gustavo Perea converted the ensuing spot kick to force extra time.
Having held their own in the tussle, Shamrock were bracing for a penalty shootout as the second half of OT expired.
However, their cup hopes were dashed some 60 seconds before the final whistle when Juan Arara rose up to nod in the winner from a free kick.
“We should have gone to penalties,” insisted Shamrock secretary John Moore. “The refereeing was bad, but it was a very good game.”
It was a bad day all round for the Shamrock organization — on a weekend of state and national cup competitions — with losses at Msgr. McClancy High School for both the Rocks’ Metro Div. 1 side and the Over-30s in the Flamhaft Cup and Carbone Cup, respectively.
Willie Murphy added a measure of respectability to the Metro team’s 3-1 loss to Oceanside in the opener while the Over-30s were shutout 2-0 by New York Olympiakos in the second game at McClancy.
Only a walkover win by the Shamrock reserves over Polonaise in the Heidecker Cup prevented a clean sweep of the Rocks.
At Stonybrook College, Manhattan Celtic also failed to raise a team and consequently forfeited their Flamhaft Cup tie against Long Island’s Three Village.
Forward Nicky Bell returned to the Shamrock fold after a 10-year absence, and showed flashes of his old form when he hit the crossbar with a bicycle kick in the Over-30s’ match against Olympiakos.
“He’s put on a few extra pounds but he’s still a [good] player,” said Billy Henderson, coach of the Shamrock first team.
The Central Park Rangers reserves were another Cosmopolitan Soccer League side that came a cropper against Long Island League opposition. They were mauled 3-1 by the Irish Rovers second team in the Heidecker Cup despite taking a 1-0 lead on Justin Fishkin’s 50th-minute goal.
Rovers replied through Ger Flanagan (70th), Eddie Beji (75th) and Liam Flanagan (80th).
G.H. Metros’ roller-coaster form hit a high at Wards Island where they ended holders Glen Cove’s reign in the Carbone Cup via a 2-0 decision.
Javier opened the scoring when he finished off a Steve Bodden rebound in the 25th minute, before Bodden himself made no mistake from close range (40th).
Metros coach Rory Finn singled out the defensive pairing of his namesake son, Rory, Jr. and Guyla Hegyi, and goalie Armandio Rodriguez for keying the win.
“No one will believe that we beat last year’s champions,” said the delighted Finn. “It is a great victory.”
Athletic Club went into their U.S. National Amateur Cup tie with Hellenic League powerhouse New York Greek-American/Atlas last Sunday minus coach Ronan Downs and star players Brian Kelly (the former MetroStar) and Gregg Smalling.
The trio’s absence showed as the 1999 semi-finalists slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Flushing High School, in what stand-in coach Jimmy Wurster described as a “very difficult game.”
Jack Daeta shot the Greeks ahead in the 30th minute, only for NYAC to level before halftime through the predatory Khouri Mullins (44th). Paul Grasas then clinched it for Greek-Atlas when he headed in the winner 20 minutes from time.
“Sometimes the best teams don’t deserve to win, and it was one of those days,” Greek boss George Mellis conceded. “We played a good Athletic Club [and] we didn’t deserve to win. If it wasn’t for our goalie, Andreas Gomez, we would have lost.”
It was, nonetheless, a double celebration for the Greek-American/Atlas club whose Over-30 side edged Five Towns 3-2, courtesy of Memo Cortes (two) and Gus Tsirkas, to advance to the second round of the Carbone Cup.
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CSL Metro side Gotham FC gave up an 85th equalizer en route to a 5-3 penalty loss to Long Island’s South Hold Strikers at Wards Island in the Flamhaft Cup.
Tony DeLorenzo had a brace for Gotham, who led 2-1 before the second of Brian Arm’s double led to the penalty shoot-out. Arm had assists from Ismail Celik and Tim Graham.