The Shamrocks were a little skeptical on their return to Downing Stadium on Sunday. Indeed, it has been anything but a home for the Rocks, who emerge pointless from their visits to the Randall’s Island venue last season. The fears appeared to be well founded when, after the thirds had been beaten, Andy Powell’s hitherto unbeaten second string left the field at the break facing a 2-0 deficit against Clarkstown.
The second-half performance of this team, though, summed up the spirit within the organization as they clawed their way back into it and emerged victorious, 3-2.
The feeling on the sideline was that Brendan Reilly would have scored had the referee played advantage after a Clarkstown defender had done everything possible to haul down the burly striker. Justice was done, however, when Reilly lent endorsement to the argument by curling home the resultant free kick. Five minutes later, Dennis O’Boyle made it all square with an excellent strike.
Brian Williams put the Rocks ahead when he rounded two defenders in the area before coolly slotting home. The introduction of Andy Powell, Paul Woodley and Eoin Sweeney ensured that, having gotten in front, the Rocks would stay there. Indeed, Powell proved his retirement to be premature with an excellent last 20 minutes.
Just as they had the week previous, the Shamrock first team went a goal down and, as was the case on the previous Sunday, they came back to overwhelm the opposition. The goal, after 12 minutes was in keeping with the run of play, but it also served as the wake-up call the Shamrocks needed. The midfield of Darren Thunder, Niall Swann, Terry Lawless and the excellent Billy Henderson began to assert. It wasn’t until the final minute of the first half that the Clarkstown defensive wall finally collapsed under a constant barrage of pressure from the home team. The goal was as inevitable as its scorer, Tim Cummins. 1-1 at the break.
The Rocks attacked right from the restart and were rewarded after four minutes when Ray Elsessor’s speed deceived the goalkeeper and all he could do was drag him down. The ever-reliable Paul Wilson scored from the resultant penalty kick. Not content, the Rocks continued to press and a bullet like header from Aiden Walsh made it 3-1 on 55 and what happened to Clarkstown thereafter can only be described as justifiable wilting under pressure as the onslaught continued.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
The Shamrocks were to add three more to their tally but might easily have scored six or seven, most notably a delightful chip from Johann Lannon that struck the crossbar. Terry Lawless found Cummins in the clear and he skipped past the keeper before scoring from an acute angle. Lawless, himself made it 6-1 with a low drive from the edge of the area and Mick Haley entered the foray to wrap up the scoring when his shot squeezed under the body of now distraught Clarkstown netminder to leave the final 6-1.
With their nearest rivals Ukraine drawing 1-1, some of the newer Shamrocks believe that the title is theirs, while the old-stagers have witnessed too many bizarre final day scenarios to agree.
A most courageous performance from the third string wasn’t enough to stop the Lansdowne team from clinching the Third Division title. A goal in the dying minutes made the final 2-0 and left them in an unassailable lead at the top. Congratulations to our friends from the Bronx.
G’LS PRESS Astoria Gaels kept the pressure on league leaders Barnsworth Rovers Sunday with a comprehensive 2-1 victory over St. Barnabas. Both of the goals came in the first half and from the top drawer of excellence.
The first strike came after 15 minutes. Kevin Nagle passed in the ball from the right, Eugene Kyne pulled off a classic dummy, and Vivian White curled the ball beautifully, right footed, into the top corner of the net.
St. Barnabas then came back into the game. They had a shot that hit the post and another shot which was well saved by Doug Harrison, the Astoria Gaels keeper.
However, with 25 minutes left, Astoria Gaels did a lot of solid defending with George Doherty and Pat Mulrey both having excellent games in defense, and Lloyd Caning and Eugene Kyne both dominating the midfield.
With 10 minutes to go, St. Barnabas pressure finally paid off, when from a corner kick grabbed a goal.
This result now leaves the Astoria Gaels two points behind the leaders Barnsworth Rovers with one game in hand. The Astoria Gales coach, Dave Clare, claimed afterwards, that “this was the most spirited team performance of the season.”
ROVERS WIN The Rovers won a hard-fought battle, coming from behind to defeat a spirited Integral side. Rovers started slowly and after 14 minutes fell behind when a long throw was headed home. Peter Quinlan and Mark Hoctor started to get to grips with the Integral forwards, and with Des Dyland and Dave Quigley winning the midfield, the Rovers hauled themselves back into the game. On 32 minutes, Dylan centered and Nigel Cunniffe was first to react, heading over the goalkeeper to tie the score with his 21st goal of the season. Rovers pushed for a second and got it right on halftime, thanks to a tremendous solo effort from Marshall McAdoo, who beat two defenders before slamming home what proved to be the winner.
The second half was extremely hard fought, with Cunniffe missing a couple of easy chances, but the Rovers were worth the win that takes them to Div. I. Manager Joe McGreavey struggled to contain his emotions in the after game celebrations, but praised the effort from all his players in an undefeated season.
The Rovers Reserves needed a win to maintain their championship challenge, but despite the brave efforts of John Browne and Liam Flanagan, they could not score and tied with Integral 0-0. With three games left Rovers need other results to go their way now.
Rovers first team also failed to convert numerous chances and lost to a late Integral goal, 1-0. Eddie Miraa Beji was Rovers best player.