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Nellis hat trick helps Barnabas advance in State Cup, Shamrocks reserves defeat rival Rovers

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

St. Barnabas advanced to the second round of the New York State Cup last Sunday by virtue of a fine 4-1 victory over Forest Park in Glen Cove, L.I.

Despite being under severe pressure in the opening half hour, St. Barnabas found themselves 3-0 to the good at half time, thanks to an unbelievable hat trick by St. Barnabas new signing, Sean Nellis, who scored all three of his goals within 15 minutes of halftime.

The opening goal came from a Barnabas counterattack. Tom Whitty played a beautifully weighted pass to Nellis, who then rounded the goalkeeper and sidefooted home from 18 yards out.

Just 6 minutes later, Nellis fired in his second goal. Chris Gonzalez delivered a pinpointed cross from the right wing, which found Nellis unmarked from 6 yards and the big striker made no mistake. In the 43rd minute, Fran Morgan sent a through ball for Nellis to run on to, and moments later the Forest Park keeper was again picking the ball from the back of the net.

Forest Park, despite countless first-half opportunities, could not beat Barnabas goalkeeper Jim Keady, who had probably his best-ever performance in a Barnabas shirt. Tommy Whitty grabbed St. Barnabas’ fourth goal after 63 minutes when he unleashed a powerful volley from 10 yards out, leaving a hapless Forest Park keeper scratching his head.

Forest Park got their only goal after 72 minutes but despite an all out attack they could not again pierce a stubborn St. Barnabas defense.

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Best for Barnabas were Sean Nellis, Ian Hennessy and Jim Keady.

Barnabas reserves

The Reserves also saw Cup action on Sunday against Forest Park, but it was a game St. Barnabas will want to forget quickly.

Forest Park scored three wonderful goals in the opening 20 minutes and should have increased on this tally on a couple of occasions. Paddy Murphy and Mick O’Donohue came close to scoring for Barnabas but St. Barnabas were outplayed by a fitter more organized Forest Park side.

Morgan Burns, Kenny Kavanagh and Sean Doyle were best for St. Barnabas.

Third team

St. Barnabas third team were knocked out of the Flamhaft Cup at the hands of a 4-2 defeat to Deer Park. The Saints seemed to have much of the play in the first fifteen minutes but failed to put any of their opportunities away. However, Deer Park got themselves back into the game and were rewarded with a 1-0 lead at the half.

They added a second goal about 15 minutes into the second half and seemed to have the game in control. Barnabas cut the lead in half when Larry Carolan was taken down inside the penalty area and John Daly converted the kick. Deer Park soon regained their two goal lead and increased it to three with about 20 minutes left.

Kevin Rice’s goal for the Saints with about ten minutes remaining seemed to encourage a comeback attempt as John Daly came close to scoring twice in a matter of minutes. However, the scoreline did not change.

Other strong performers were John Nolan, Vinny Norton, and Brendan McDonagh.

Next week, the third team plays at New Rochelle at 1 p.m. while the first and reserve team play at SUNY Purchase at noon and 2 p.m.

Rovers Sham-rocked

Pride of place this week as far as the Shamrock Soccer Club was concerned went to the reserve team, which gained a State Cup victory over the rival Rovers.

Housed a couple of blocks away from each other on Queens Blvd., the bragging rights were often reserved for the winners of the friendly between the two clubs before the start of each season as they are from different leagues. The Cup, though, pitched them together on Sunday last and the Shamrocks won it, albeit in a penalty shoot-out.

New signing Kevin Brennan put the Shamrocks ahead with a David Beckham-style chip from 40 yards after 20 minutes but this only served to induce an onslaught from the Rovers which lasted right up until the break. This period of sustained pressure reaped nought, thanks to some resolute defense by Paul Woodley, Doug Waite and some excellent goalkeeping from Paudie Moloney. It was during a bright spell for the Shamrocks that the Rovers chose to score their equalizer and a cracker it was too from the boot of Steve Davis.

The game became a real cup cut and thrust affair after this with P.J. Doherty posing some problems for the Rovers, with his bustling runs and the strong Rovers midfield doing likewise at the opposite end of the park. The remaining 20 minutes and two periods of extra time, failed to produce another score and so the game was to be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Each team missed two of their regulation five, Sean Duffy and Paul Woodley being the unlucky pair for the Rocks. Woodley was so off target and high with his kick that he admitted later he should have shouted "Fore" after striking it.

Sudden death then, and a Bonna Duffy miss left Doug Waite on the threshold of glory and his Socrates-style penalty won the bragging rights for the Shamrocks and brought a Cheshire cat smile to the face of coach Eugene Smyth.

First team

The battle scarred and suspension hit first team lost 3-1 to Gjoa in their Cup tie. The coaching staff decided not to delve into the second team panel, lest it prevent them from having a fighting chance against the Rovers. This meant that several players took to the field in a less than 100 percent state.

The team started with 10 men due to two players being caught up in traffic on their way from Queens to Brooklyn on the oxymoron that is the expressway linking the two boroughs. Two nil down at the break, the depleted Shamrocks still acquitted themselves well and after Aiden Walsh had to leave the field, again injured, Robbie Walsh made it 2-1.

The revival though was short lived as Gjoa clinched it soon after when some sloppy defense allowed a tap in for the front man, posting the exit for the Shamrocks from the Cup.

Thirds

The third team were pitched against a side with no real right to be playing at this level. East Meadow, already skating away with the Long Island second division, proved much too powerful for the die-hard Rocks. Indeed this team won the Cup and are on a rapid ascension. Coach Terry Horan said his team was beaten "a good few — nil."

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