By Mike Fitzpatrick
Ireland 4, Greece 2
Ireland, represented by eight of the New York Shamrocks, and four players from Hofstra University, contested the eight annual Copa Latina tournament on
Saturday at Hofstra’s ground, and pulled off a magnificent 4-2 victory over their European counterparts in a tournament billed by many of the state’s soccer enthusiasts as the "Mini World Cup."
The competition is a knockout tournament comprising of thirty two nations around the world, and following their victory, Ireland go into the last 16 with a tough tie versus
Colombia next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Columbia University’s Baker Field.
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Ireland began on the upper hand, with Johann Lannon
firing in a low cross in the first minute which Timmy Cummins was unlucky not to have buried in the back of the net. Another Lannon cross from the left found Paddy Geraghty in space, but Geraghty’s final touch let him down, and the Greeks were off the hook once more. Five minutes later, it was Malamis of Greece who, latching onto a perfect pass from Katsoulas, fired at the Irish
goal. Keeper Kevin McPartland proved just why he is rated one of the best shot stoppers in the Cosmopolitan League with a fabulous fingertip save at full stretch that knocked the ball out for a Greek corner.
Ireland kept up the pressure, with Lucky Williams shooting wide, and Geraghty’s header sailing just over the bar. On 18 minutes, however, the boys in green were justly awarded with what they had been threatening all along as a Williams cross found Cummins in space, who made no mistake in hammering the ball home for the
first goal of the evening. Mere minutes later, a Lannon run found Cummins in space once more. This time he laid a super ball off to Geraghty, and the Hofstra man’s
shot was parried by Mellis in the Greek goal, but Dave Taylor was there to shoot home the rebound.
Leading 2-0 at the interval, Ireland had Paul Wilson to thank when, having lost out to the oncoming Greek strikers Michaelides and Papadopulos on the edge of the box. Wilson clambered back up and raced 10 yards back, where he stopped a certain goal a mere yard from the line with a superb tackle.
Greece’s pressure kept up and Touros slipped one in past the Irish backline following a defensive misunderstanding. Ireland immediately fought back, with Geraghty again in the action. Knocking on to Cummins, Mellis in goal pulled off a fine save. Geraghty then unluckily hit the post after good work from Taylor in midfield. The third goal was always on it’s way, however, and a long-free from Cummins was chested down by Taylor, who passed on to the oncoming Williams, who beat three players in the box for an amazing third goal.
Ireland were on for victory. Having collected seven of
the controversial blue cards, awarded when a foul was committed, Greece were forced to face a free kick on the edge of the box, without a wall, which Geraghty slammed home to make the score four one. Without the flu suffering
Robbie Walsh in defense for much of the second half, Ireland suffered an occasional attack from the Greeks, though Wilson and sub Austin Welsh more than deputized. A successful Touros free kick late in the game, though, gave the tie a little respectability.
Ireland: Kevin McPartland, Johann Lannon, Paul Wilson, Robbie Walsh, Dave McFarland, Dave Taylor, Austin Welsh, Lucky Williams, Paul Stewart, Paddy Geraghty, Tim Cummins. Sub Aidan Welsh.