Rocks1

Rocks Over-30s clinch Div. II title

Shamrock F.C.'s Over-30s thrashed Hoboken 4-0 on Randalls Island last Sunday to clinch their first ever title, on a dramatic final day of the season for Irish clubs in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League [CSL].

Elsewhere, ten-man Lansdowne Bhoys held off fellow First Division stragglers Stal Mielec 2-1 at Brooklyn's McCarren Park to avoid relegation.

Both Irish sides were deservedly in celebratory mood after their respective victories.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

"Undefeated for the season - we're very, very happy," gushed Paddy McCarry, Shamrock's manager whose men [12-0-4, 40] went the entire campaign without a loss in his maiden season at the helm.

"Thanks to everyone; there was huge commitment from the squad throughout the year," he added.

Kevin Grogan, a soft-spoken Dubliner and one-time Manchester United youth player brought in this spring to rescue the Bhoys from relegation, lauded his new signings and veterans such as Conor Hunter for getting the job done.

HOBOKEN ROCKED

Shamrock had secured promotion to the Over-30 first division with a 5-1 drubbing of SC Gjoa the previous week and just needed a point against Hoboken to wrap up the Div. II title. They went for broke instead and had a historic first championship in the bag after an hour.

Albanian ace Burim Ljuta got an early goal [10th] that was the difference between the two sides despite Shamrock's superior possession.

"We dominated in the first half but just couldn't score," said McCarry.

That changed on resumption when the Rocks shook the net three times in 15 minutes to kill off the visitors.

Brian O'Connor, who ended the season with a club-high 13 goals, scored following a superb individual effort [47th]; Burim latched onto an Eoghan McPartland pass then rounded the goalie for his second [55th] and Mike Bishop fired home from outside the box [60th].

Skipper Emmett Harvey, on the mend after breaking his leg last November, made an emotional return for the last ten minutes and Shamrock's remarkable season was complete.

"There was such a huge commitment from all the players," McCarry noted, while singling out assistant coach Eoin Sweeney "for helping put everything together."

Scotty Shevlin, the Shamrock club president, also hailed the players and supporters for a successful season.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

At McCarren Park, Conor Hunter's fourth goal in his third straight match set Lansdowne Bhoys on the path to victory against Polish side Stal Mielec.

The livewire forward dusted himself off to convert a penalty [25th] after he was fouled. Colombian Jorge Mendez then added a second before the dismissal of defender Aiden Morton [55th] changed the tempo of the game.

Mielec pulled a goal back and Lansdowne had to defend desperately at times to fend off the Poles.

They finished with a 5-10-1 [18] record in the West, three points ahead of last place Mielec who go down to the Second Division.

It was Grogan's fourth win in six matches as boss and he was predictably bullish about the Bhoys' chances next season.

"When I came in I brought some young, fit and technical players that have done well. I think that we have a great team to compete next year," he said.

Grogan also had props for Hunter's brilliant form late in the season.

In the reserve game, Carlos Abatte and Johnny Logan scripted a 2-0 win for Lansdowne who end the campaign 8-6-2 [25].

CELTIC STORM

Manhattan Celtic's Over-30s, meanwhile, crushed Banatul 12-4 in their season-finale on Randalls Island.

Ian Pollard led all scorers with four goals. Bray transplant Ian Woodcock and Greg Macek each notched a brace, while Messaoud Ouechtati, Tyler Fransen, David Priego and Mickey Mason had one apiece.