“Let’s get one at least,” encouraged Gildea as the Shamrocks over-30s tired against a very good Eintrecht side.
It was 5-0 but the Irish were not about to give up. That’s their trademark. It was Gildea himself that scored the last goal of the game, sliding the ball past the keeper on a penalty kick. It was the last kick of the game making the score line 5-2 and the Rocks came in a positive team.
“They were a good side. They had some nice players and they were very well organized,” said Shamrock coach Sean Keogh. “They are a big club and their goal is to get promotion to Division 1. They had some turn out. Their bench was deep.
“But we did okay. Their second goal right on the half killed us. At times we made them think about it,” Keogh added.
“I was happy to get a full team out today. We are struggling to get players. Some are back in Ireland at a wedding. Others are playing for Kerry against Cavan today in the GAA final. We should be back to full strength in a couple of weeks,” he said.
The Shamrocks were relegated last season. By identifying that it was going to be a problem fielding players, the Irish club decided to drop in to an even lower league, the Metro Section.
“We have to be realistic, ” said first team coach Robbie Walsh.
“We simply do not have the bodies. There are all kinds of reasons for the drop-off in players. The biggest is that not many people are coming to America from the old sod. But we have a nucleus of over-30s at the club and we want to keep that going. We will rebuild — but I want to make sure that the over-30s stay together. They are the club.”
So, the Irish veterans left the Met Oval not looking like a side that was beaten 5-2. Team spirit seemed good and it was off to Flynn’s Inn to watch Chelsea vs. Liverpool in the Premiership.
“I hope Chelsea do not walk away with the league. We need Liverpool to get a result today,” Gildea said. “It will be interesting to see how Chelsea reacts when and if they get beat. They buckled last year in the Champions League against Liverpool. They were also lucky to beat Manchester United 1-0 but then they went on to win 5 or 6 games.
“It’s not good for football when one team runs away with things. I lose interest in watching the games,” continued the Red Devil supporter. “What’s happening in Scotland at the moment is great for the game. Even Gordon Strachan admits it’s great that Hearts are stopping the Old Firm from dominating the league. Let’s hope Liverpool get a result today to make things more interesting,”
It’s unlikely that Mr. Gildea would have made the same comments on the game when Manchester United controlled the Premier league back in the 1990s. The diehard Red Devil kept a close eye on the screen as the ball was kicked off. “The best teams in Europe do not win the Champions League. While Chelsea may win the league I don’t think they will go all the way in Europe. If they are going to be stopped in the EPL, it has to start happening in this game. Come on Liverpool,” chanted the United man with a smile.
There was a roar of disbelief from Liverpool supporter Colm Madden when Djimi Traore took down Didier Drogba in the box. “What a stupid tackle,” he shouted. The referee pointed straight to the spot there was no question. “It was a midfield tackle made in the box,” said fellow Liverpool supporter Keith Lynch from Limerick City. Frank Lampard converted the 27th minute penalty for the Blues.
Madden and Lynch were watching the game with their friend Dave Fahy, also a Limerick man, but true blue Chelsea. “We’re the best at everything,” Fahy said. “We always have three players in our attack. Always. We also have the best manager around. Benitez is good, but Mourinho is better.”
Then out of nothing the one and only Steven Gerrard latched on to a ball and buried it in the far corner to make things level at 36 minutes. “He’s got everything,” Madden insisted. “He’s the best all-round player in the game. Although I only realized just how good Frank Lampard is when I saw tackles he has been making recently. Come on Liverpool.”
The Liverpool faithful were not the only ones with smiles when Gerrard made things level. United supporter Anto Mae was also smiling alongside Gildea. Could this be it? Could Liverpool break Chelsea’s winning streak?
Then just on the half Damien Duff raised doubts about that, putting Chelsea ahead again. Liverpool’s Lynch admitted: “Duff got in with one or two nice touches that make a difference. He’s a real good player now. He’s beginning to look like a real Chelsea man. When Mourinho first came to Stamford Bridge he didn’t favor Duff. But once Duff got in he began to score goals and Mourinho could not leave him out.
“Now he’s done it again. Duff is one of the better players at Chelsea and in the English game. He’s going to get better. He’s becoming a part of the nucleus at Chelsea along with John Terry and Lampard,” Lynch added.
In through the tunnel the teams disappeared with Mourinho full of life and Benitez once again with his thinking cap on. Could the Spanish wizard turn things around with his ingenious switches or would Mourinho inspire his men to defend their advantage in the second half?
Madden said that the only thing Liverpool were lacking was a goal-scorer. “We have a savage defense, and a savage midfield, once we get our goal-scoring going we will be all right,” he argued. “The defeat today doesn’t bother me too much. Although it was 4-1 for Chelsea and they played well, we will be back.
“I hate Drogba, though he was trouble for us today. He was involved in most of the Chelsea attack and today it was impossible to defend against him. I’ll admit that. He was good today, but I still hate him,” Madden said. “But you’ll see when Morientes comes back from injury. He’s going to give us what Fowler gave us. And when we start scoring again, top four here we come, and CL.”
Chelsea’s Fahy warned his Liverpool amigos: “If the European champions can’t beat us — who will?” Gildea agreed indirectly when he said: “The only players scoring for United are van Nistelrooy and Rooney.”