Shamrocks battle through toughest loss of the season
Nov 16, 2016 | 8657 views | 0 0 comments | 491 491 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There was an atmosphere of mourning in the air on Sunday at St. Michael's, where the memory of recently deceased Shamrocks legend Robbie Walsh was honored by a powerful moment of silence.

However, the action on the field was both a positive and fitting tribute to the popular and beloved Kildare native.

The Shamrocks Reserves moved on to the last 16 of the D'Arpino Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Pancyprians, while the Women's B team pushed Division A giants NY Magic all the way to a dramatic penalty shootout defeat in the curtain raiser.

With Robbie's favored number 14 hanging at the sideline on a gloriously sunny afternoon, both teams gathered together between the games to hear some memories recounted in a touching speech by Paddy Geraghty, close friend and former teammate of the long-serving Shamrock.

Both teams then moved to the center circle where they were joined by the players of Pancyprian Freedoms to mark an impeccably observed minute of silence.

Club president Sean McMullan said he was extremely grateful to the players for taking the time to pay their respects to Robbie.

"Some of the players didn't get the chance to know Robbie, but they knew what this meant to us as a club," said McMullan. "We are very grateful to them for helping us to pay tribute and we also appreciate Pancyprians joining us to mark this sad occasion.”

Coleman, O'Neill on target

The reserves were slow to get a grip on proceedings when action finally got underway in the D'Arpino Cup game.

It took until the 45th minute of the first half before the deadlock was broken, Darren Coleman finishing brilliantly after a sweeping counter attack which he launched with a deft lay-off.

Pancyprians battled their way back into it in the second half and won a penalty after goalkeeper Jesse Corke took down one of their forwards with a late tackle just inside the box.

But Corke was an immediate hero, saving the resultant spot kick and inspiring his side to push home their dominance of the game. Substitute Sean O'Neill made the most of a late chance to make it 2-0, and he then converted an injury time penalty which he himself earned.

"We made hard work of it," admitted coach John Riordan whose team will now face Zum Schneider in the Last 16 on December 4. "But I'm delighted with the result, particularly considering the build-up to the game was a little distracting for the players. I'm delighted we could honor Robbie today and of course this victory is dedicated to him."

Close to a cup upset

Meanwhile, there was a mix of heartbreak and pride for the Rocks Women B in the opening game.

An early Denise Richards penalty had the Rocks one up inside the opening couple of minutes, and the home team deservedly took their 1-0 lead into the break.

Cassie Esposito extended that lead with a superb finish just short of the hour mark, a strike which gave hopes of a shock upset.

But the talented Magic outfit battled back brilliantly in what was an eerily similar reprisal of what happened a year ago at the same location.

On November 11, 2015, the Rocks were 2-0 up against their illustrious opponents only for Magic to turn the tables and edge the game 3-2. On this occasion, Magic could only force a 2-2 tie, setting up a tense penalty shoot-out.

There were chances to win it for the Rocks but alas, it wasn't to be and Magic survived to advance to the next round, winning 5-4 after eight rounds of spot kicks.

Wilson, Colleen Kavanagh, Sam Horvath and Mackenzie Guarano all scored, while the loss of Esposito with 15 minutes remaining due to a serious clash of heads ultimately proved to be a serious setback for the Rocks.

Looking ahead

While our other teams enjoyed a week off, opponents for the next round of games in the respective cups were confirmed. The first team will travel to East Hampton for the quarterfinals of the Manning Cup; the Over 30s will host Integral in the Marth Cup; and the Legends will take on Glen Cove, also in the Marth Cup.
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