Thrashed 5-1 at Msgr. McClancy High School two weeks earlier, Kickers put up more of a fight this time at their Grand Street Field in lower Manhattan, earning kudos from Shamrock boss Billy Henderson in the process.
But not even the elements, on a blustery, icy cold morning, could put a damper on the hottest side in the CSL.
Like in the previous week’s win over New York Albanians, Shamrock got off to a whirlwind start, Bingo O’Driscoll drilling in the ice-breaker from close range after Kickers goalie Mike Fitzgerald had dropped a Paddy Gerathy cross.
“He’s probably the heart and soul of this club,” Henderson later said, in salute to O’Driscoll, a Gaelic star who also turns out for GAA side Kerry.
Kickers fought back and were awarded a penalty when forward Norman Pile, a hip-hop recording artist known as “The Worderer,” was upended in the box. Defender Chris Kandel converted (20th).
Tim Cummins, however, gave the Rocks a 2-1 halftime lead with a rocket-like effort from 35 yards (40th).
On the resumption, Henderson shook up his lineup, bringing on Anton McKeon and Dave Fitzgerald as he beseeched his men to attack relentlessly.
“We had to attack and attack because Shamrock doesn’t know how to defend,” he explained.
Kickers inevitably buckled under the onslaught. Lucky Williams made it 3-0 on the hour, before the flame-haired Cummins, a persistent thorn in Kickers’ side, bagged number four (70th).
To their credit, the hosts never gave up and pulled one back in the dying minutes through Englishman Joe Whiteman, who nodded in a Dave Dupuy center.
“I take my hat off to Kickers. They’re a great bunch of lads,” said Henderson, complimenting the struggling side for playing its heart out. “I hope they stay in the First Division.”
The props aside, Henderson said Shamrock’s victory was never in any doubt.
“We’re letting people know it’s going to be tough to beat us,” he said.
The Rocks are now 7-2-1 (22 points) and enjoying their best run ever in the Cosmopolitan League’s top flight.
Rocky Bojovic, leading scorer in the First Division with 15 goals, reeled in a hat trick as Pancyprian hit Ridgewood for five. Julio DeSantos (two) and Nick Christopher also tallied.
Pancyprian have a better goal difference and two games in hand to Shamrock.
Ridgewood’s reserves won 4-1.
Shamrock’s reserves stormed into the semifinals of the Heidecker State Cup with a 5-0 rout of Lake Grove at Msgr. McClancy High School.
Shamrock kicked off with 10 players against the visitors’ nine, but still had their work cut out for them in a competitive first half.
Niall Swan had to clear off the line twice in the opening three minutes before Tom Whitty gave the Rocks some breathing room (15th) when he nutmegged the goalie on Mark Behan’s assist.
Lake Grove then suffered another blow when they had a player ejected for a lunge on Darren Thunder, reducing their numbers to eight.
But it wasn’t until the second half that Shamrock, who finished with nine men themselves, made their numbers count.
Thunder (55th), assisted by Swan, two-goal hero Tim Cummins, who’d earlier torched Manhattan Kickers with another brace, and John Walsh killed off Lake Grove.
“It was a good win,” summed up Swan, who trudged off injured to leave the Rocks with nine men.
Shamrock remain on course to meet Irish Rovers in the Heidecker Cup final if both Irish clubs triumph in the semis.
Earlier at Msgr. McClancy, Shamrock’s Over-30 side had registered its first win on the field, via a 3-1 result over Guyana Veterans “B”. The senior Rocks’ other credited victory had come via a forfeit decision.
Guyana led 1-0 on Ari Riser’s strike midway through the first half. However, Dennis O’Boyle, who blasted in a loose ball after Guyana’s goalie failed to hold a Eugene Smyth corner, canceled this out before the interval.
On the restart, Micky Bell and Robbie Walsh, a substitute for Smyth, clinched it for Shamrock. Walsh’s goal came off a John Guildea cross in the 80th minute.
Smyth had a pat on the back for Shamrock shot stopper Arthur who returned to the line-up after breaking his wrist at the start of the season.
“He did very well,” Smyth said.
The Shamrock oldies are now 2-6 (6) at the bottom of “B” Division West.
Astoria Gaels’ Gerald O’Brien claimed the goal that earned the Metro Div. I outfit its first two-game winning streak, courtesy of a 1-0 decision over Shamrock at Wards Island.
Shamrock credited defender Richie Bhuller with an own goal after his clearance came off O’Brien’s posterior and into the net in the 55th minute.
Quipped Gaels manager Dave Browne: “It was a cheeky goal. We’re on a roll.”
Gaels, 3-3-5 (14) in the middle of the standings, had other clearer cut chances, but saw numerous one-on-one situations go begging. They even had a Nestor Allan goal, direct from a wickedly curving corner, disallowed by the referee.
“We felt it was in,” Browne insisted.
On the defensive end, center back Evan Byrne, Browne’s Man of the Match, and goalie Timmy Lynch came up big.
“I’m happy with the 1-0 win. We’ll take it,” Browne said. “We’re feeling very confident right now.”
Shamrock’s Sean Keogh attributed the defeat to eight missing starters.
“But it was a good game,” he added.
Elsewhere in the Metro Division on a slow Thanksgiving weekend, ASA McCarthy trounced Bergen Kickers 6-1at Wards Island.
Brendan Watkins (two), Zander Price (two), and Chris Felley were among the McCarthy scorers.
Niall Swan’s brace in Eleven United’s 2-0 win over leaders Beadling last week put the Irish club in a position to lift the Metro Soccer League championship in their final game next Monday (Dec. 9).
Swan struck from 30 yards in the 30th minute, and from a 75th minute penalty. In between, Alan O’Dwyer and Mark Behan were outstanding in defense as United (7-1-2) joined three other teams at the top on the 23-point mark.
“If we win our last game, it will go to goal difference between the four teams in contention for the title,” Swan said.