My Club: NY Shamrock SC

 

Dermot Clarke is assistant coach and social secretary for the NY Shamrocks, the oldest existing Irish soccer club in New York. He has been a member of the club committee since arriving in the US in 1989.

The Shamrocks were founded in 1960 and are based in Sunnyside, Queens, at the premises of the club sponsors, Val and Miley Gilligan from Roscommon. This year the club was promoted to the Premier Division of the highly competitive Cosmopolitan League and is currently enjoying a purple patch both on and off the field.

Membership: We're currently fielding three teams, with a playing membership of 54. Coaches and committee bring the figure to 70 and social and peripheral membership brings the total to somewhere around the 120 mark (not including players' wives).

Status: The first and second teams are playing at the top flight, though the third team cannot get much higher lest they be pitched against their own. The Cosmopolitan League Premier Division would be akin to the Leinster Senior League in quality.

Honours: The first and second team have won the second division twice in the past four years. The team spent many years in the top four of the Premier Division without winning the title. A team representing the club, namely DC United (sponsored by the MLS champions of the same name) has won the prestigious Budweiser summer five-a-side three times in the past six years.

Finest Hour: On the pitch, we beat the high-flying and unbeaten Ukraine 8-0 last year to go top of the league. Our annual trips to South Carolina are also memorable, when we are hosted by Sean McMahon's South Carolina Shamrocks, coached by former Irish league stalwart Leo "Pop" Flanagan. Off the pitch it had to be when we persuaded Packie Bonner and Niall Quinn to guest at our dinner dance.

Club Hero: Everybody does their bit and then some, but over all our two Pauls, Woodley and Wislon, take the prize as thick and thin Shamrocks. The present team was built around them.

Greatest Rivals: The referees in the league. They're paid too well, and consequently don't really care too much. I heard about the lack of referees at home but this bunch seem happy to `struggle' on with what they've got.