None more so than Chris Burns’ first half screamer for the reserves at Randalls Island, a little less than 24 hours after his wife Allyson gave birth to their son Christian.
That dramatic D’Arpino Cup game away to the Greek Americans would eventually end 2-2 after 90 minutes, setting up a tense penalty shoot out which saw the flawless Rocks spot kickers grind out a 6-5 victory.
On a day when the first team enjoyed a day off due to Port Jefferson Fusion’s forfeit, the reserves enjoyed top billing late Sunday, but were forced to come from behind twice in order to push the game towards the shootout.
Left back Burns took the initiative at 1-0 down and sent a 25-yard left-footed rocket to the far corner to level it with 30 minutes on the clock. And after going 2-1 down against the run of play midway through the second half, the Rocks rallied impressively, allowing debuting center back Conall McGrandles to scramble home a dramatic equalizer with just five minutes to go.
The ensuing penalty shootout witnessed brilliant finishes from Darren Coleman, Joey Aronovsky, Conall McGrandles, George Lara, Mike Stone and captain Paul McDaid, before the sixth Greek kick was saved masterfully by Jesse Corke.
“I’m very proud of the way the lads never gave up,” said coach John Riordan. “The Greeks love the State Cup and were losing finalists in June in this competition, so they came to play. But we responded well and kept our cool in the shootout.”
Earlier in the day, the Shamrocks Women put on a great display of attacking football, knocking seven superb goals past Division B side Astoria at St. Michael’s.
Four goals from Chloe Wheeler, two from Jarielle Uter and an excellent chip from skipper Teresa Ferraro decided the fate of a courageous set of opponents who, in spite of a brilliant performance from their goalkeeper, could not contend with the dominant Rocks team.
“A good result,” said coach Paddy Geraghty. “We started slow, but played much better in the second half. Anna Spangler and Michaela Newell both shared a clean sheet in goals and Galway native Caroline Carter had a great debut for us. Happy to progress and to do it injury free is a great bonus.”
Sadly there was no curtain raiser at St Michael’s as Shamrocks B advanced to the next round due to a CPR Red forfeit.
Meanwhile, the Shamrocks Legends took home a hard-fought but well-deserved 4-2 victory from their visit to Long Island’s Oceanside in the Over 30s Marth Cup, courtesy of goals from Karol Hughes (two), John Riordan and captain Richie Brennan.
The home side took the lead twice against the run of play, but the Legends dominated the second half and overran their younger opponents with some fine team goals.
“It was a very satisfying win because I know the players all give 100 percent and all they want to do is win,” said coach Emmett Harvey. “It was great to have Stevie Doyle, Ari Seidenstein and John Crowley back in action for the Legends, and we were also strengthened by having Tomas Maher and Marcus Nascimento suit up.”
Elsewhere, the Over 30s began their defense of the Marth Cup in fine style, outgunning Garden City 5-1 in an electric display of soccer at Randalls Island early Sunday.
Sean Riley added two to his growing season’s tally, while Alex Berne, Tayfun Gokmen and Johnny McGeeney all scored to ensure a comprehensive victory.
“We played some very good football,” said Paddy McCarry. “When the three boys up top - Johnny, Riley and Tayfun - are on form, they are hard to handle for any team. We are starting to play better and better and I’m very happy to be through to the last 16.”
Unfortunately, Shamrocks 1960 exited the Strumpf Cup at the hands of Gottschee for the second year in a row, losing 1-0 at Randalls Island.