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Soccer Roundup Rovers top Islip, regain top spot

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Rovers 1, Islip 0

The Rovers gained three vital points in their run for the title with a gutsy performance against an in-form Islip side.

Coach Niall Archbold rang the changes at the back and the defensive pairing of Patrick Brosnahan and Paul McGlynn proved to be a masterstroke.

Ably assisted by full backs Paul McIlroy and John Browne, the defense withstood some fierce later pressure to deny Islip any clear opportunities.

With the ubiquitous Alex Byrne back in the side, Rovers finally had some midfield presence.

Up front, Tony O’Donnell looked sharp and had two shots well saved in the first half.

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But it was his strike partner Jake Nicholls who stole the glory with a goal of the highest caliber. Exchanging passes with O’Donnell and Steve McDonald, Nicholls skipped inside a challenge before rifling a shot inside the near post.

It proved to be all the Rovers needed.

Rovers Reserves 0, Islip 1

Islip shocked the Rovers with a late goal against the run of play to win a scrappy affair high on energy and hard tackles but short on real quality.

Rovers midfield of Jack Lain and Tony Moran had control but they couldn’t create any clear cut opportunities for the forwards.

Anton Diver and Dean Gibson looked sharp down the right side and provided several good crosses, but it was not to be the Rovers’ day.

In the last minute, man of the match Mick Kavanagh raced through but his cross-shot went agonizingly wide.

Rovers are now in second place as they attempt to win a hat-trick of league titles.

Rovers Over 30s 2, Islip 2

Rovers over 30s are getting stronger with each game and better finishing would have sealed three points instead of one.

Islip took the lead early when Kieron Branagan was beaten to a high ball but bounced back after 20 minutes when player-manager Joe McGreavey fired home his second goal in as many games.

Islip’s high ball game was matched against Rovers continental style, and with Dave Quigley running the midfield, Rovers always looked the more likely side.

A handball gave Quigley the chance to put the Rovers ahead from the penalty spot, and he took it.

Islip came back with a scrappy equalizer, but Rovers created the better chances later on. But for a horrible, bobbly pitch Nigel Cunniffe would have won the game.

N.J. Emeralds

In a repeat of last year’s 5-5 extra time thriller in Little Ferry, the Emeralds will again take on the Kearny Scots in the quarterfinal of the N.J. section of the U.S. Amateur Cup this Sunday, Dec. 6.

The Emeralds of the North Jersey Soccer League are coming off a good run, beating rivals Pequannock 3-2 last week.

Kearny, who are in the New Jersey champion’s league, have been finding the high quality of opposition tough going and are currently second from bottom.

The U.S. Amateur Cup features competition in four regional competitions of the United States and culminates in a four-team finals weekend in July 1999. All Amateur Men’s teams affiliated through their leagues are eligible to compete. Last year’s finals were held in Portland, Oregon.

The Emeralds are sponsored by Rosie’s Steakhouse in Little Ferry where all supporters and players will meet at noon on Sunday. Call (201) 599-1128.

Bronx Irish Soccer League

The semifinals of the Bronx Irish Soccer League takes place this weekend. First up at 11:30 a.m. are An Beal Bocht vs. Lansdowne A.

These teams played a tough scoreless tie in regular league play, so a close battle is expected. The winners will face either Fiona’s or The Southbend, who take the field at 1 p.m.

Fiona’s topped the league standings and are favorites on paper but may find it hard to reproduce their best form against a dogged Southbend team that has blossomed this season. Fiona’s challenge will be to breach the Southbend defense where the little that Caroline Conway and Aibhlish Dineen let slip by is typically cleaned up by goalkeeper Alison Lineen.

The Shield semifinals have Starting Gate Harps vs. Parlour Moms at 11:30 a.m. followed by Lansdowne B vs. O’Malley’s.

The 9th annual Bronx Irish Soccer League dinner dance will take place at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, Dec. 12. Cocktail hour 8 to 9 p.m. and music is by Homeward Bound. Guest of honor is Breda Culligan, stalwart Fiona’s defender and past president of the league.

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