In just their first season, Shamrocks 1960 secured the Metro 2 East title thanks to a 4-2 win over New York United at St. Michael’s. And after Manhattan Kickers surprised CPR Grays with a 7-4 win, Paddy McCarry’s Over 30s were crowned league champions for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile, the women’s team won their 13th game in a row - a 5-0 victory against Manhattan Kickers - and Stevie Doyle guided his reserves to the playoffs thanks to a 4-1 win at Polonia.
But of course relegation from Division 1 of the CSL will be a setback that the club must now plan around. An early goal from a set piece against the run of play settled the issue at McCarren Park on Sunday, and consigned the Rocks to an immediate return to Division 2.
“What’s really important now as a club is that we maintain our standards this week and finish the league out properly like the club deserve,” said coach Kevin Grogan. “We also need to work towards our League Cup semifinal. It’s a time for us to stick together and embrace what is happening. We will be stronger for it and we will 100 percent bounce back.
“This new squad has a very good average age of 24 and we will have grown from our experiences,” he added. “Ultimately it should be a five-year plan, it’s only the start. It’s all about character now and patience and a bit of trust.”
The day had started well when the reserves blew away Polonia with a well deserved 4-1 win. Darren Coleman scored twice and there was also a goal each from Marc Vilson and Mo Fofana.
“I’m happy with the win,” said Doyle. “Our goal was to reach the playoffs, so I have to be pleased with how we’ve done this year. We played some nice football today and we got what we deserved.”
It was glory for the 1960 team in their first ever season. A pair of goals from Dave Harvey inspired their 4-2 victory over New York United, meaning Andy Connolly’s men finish the regular season top of the table.
Harvey had the Rocks 1-0 up before Michael Kumaresan stretched the lead. The visitors pulled a goal back before Harvey scored again to make it 3-1. Anthony Carrabotta secured victory before a late New York United consolation.
“It was an exciting game for everybody involved,” Connolly said amidst boisterous celebrations back at the Courtyard. “All of the players contributed this year and I’m very proud of what they have achieved. We’ll prepare now for the final in June. It should be a great day for the club.”
Meanwhile, McCarry reacted with joy to news that his team had retained the Over 30s division.
“I am extremely happy and proud of this group of players for winning the league this year,” he said Monday morning. “We are unbeaten and we are in very good form. It takes a lot of effort to show up week in, week out and this squad has done that so they totally deserve this.”
Elsewhere, the Legends were in free-scoring mood again, knocking eight past Banatul in a win that bodes extremely well for next season.
The formidable strike partnership of Karol Hughes and Ger Shivnan contributed half of the goals - both players notching two each - while Donal Ducky Kelly, Johnny Keogh and Eddie Gilmartin also got themselves on the scoresheet. An own goal rounded out the tally for the Rocks.
“It reflects our vast improvement since the start of season,” said assistant coach Eoin Sweeney. “Full squad commitment, camaraderie and team chemistry has taken the team to a new level recently. The future looks good and we push ahead into next season with optimism. Our goal is to finish this season on a high next week against Eintracht.”
A Jarielle Uter hat trick inspired the women’s team to their 13th win in a row, a 5-0 victory over Manhattan Kickers at St. Michael’s.
Aoife West scored her first goal of the season and there was also a Tricia Reed strike, her second of the year.
“It was a solid performance and another clean sheet,” said coach Paddy Geraghty. “It’s good preparation for next week’s big game, the League Cup final against Sirens. It was also really great to see Sarah Thorenton, Megan Hare and Teresa Brink back out on the field for us.”