Lansdowne Bhoys head coach Austin Friel holding the Region I Amateur Cup and the Region I Werner Fricker Open Cup. Lansdowne Bhoys Images
By Ralph Chery
Lansdowne Bhoys F.C head coach Austin Friel is content of the treble of cups and is aiming to lead his side to their “best achievement”: a national title.
The Bhoys failed to bag a fourth straight CSL title last season but won three major cups: the Manning State Cup by blanking their Irish rivals Shamrock SC 3-0, the Region I Amateur Cup with a 3-0 win over Junior Lone Star and the Region I Werner Fricker Open Cup by edging Christos F.C 3-2 in penalty kicks (1-1 FT).
“Three cups this season is a great achievement, obviously disappointed in not retaining the league title,” Friel said. “However a first state cup and two regional titles was a great compensation.”
Lansdowne Bhoys players celebrating the Regional Amateur Cup. Lansdowne Bhoys Images
The Bhoys will compete for the National Amateur Cup in Detroit on June 18th and the National Fricker Cup in Milwaukee on August 4th.
Friel noted that the club grew over the last few years but hasn’t clinched the greatest achievement yet which would be a national title.
“I feel the club has moved to a different level over the past few years,” the Irishman said. “We are now well recognized on a national stage and we see our organization as one of the best amateur organizations in all of the United States.”
“If we win the national titles then I feel that will be the best achievement to date, as these titles mean you are the best in the country.”
He later added: “I believe we have the best group amateur players in the country and I believe they will deliver on the national stage.”
Lansdowne defeated the best amateur side in the country to win the Regional Fricker Open Cup, Christos, 3-2 in penalties, in which Francois Navarro netted the winner.
Christos won the National Amateur Cup and the National Fricker Cup in 2016 and reached the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup this year.
Friel is delighted with the victory over them and is looking to “repeat what they did last year and win the national titles.”
Although they won three cups, the Irish-based club had previously broke a 46-game unbeaten run in the CSL to go on a two-game losing streak and were knocked out of the CSL playoffs by NY Greek Americans—just three days before the Manning Cup final.
“After the defeat against the Greek Americans my job was to immediately put that defeat out of the players’ heads,” the 35-year-old said.
“It was good to have a state cup final three days later. The players had a chance to get over their disappointment and win their first state cup. I didn’t really have to say much to the group they were ready and in the end the results showed.”
Friel shared that Lansdowne's success in the cups wouldn’t be doable without the behind the scenes toil of the board members.
“One thing I should add is the Lansdowne Bhoys F.C is a community based club and without the hard work of all our board members and club officials none of this journey would be possible, so myself and the players thank them for giving us the foundation to compete in the national stage.”
Lansdowne Bhoys F.C board members. Lansdowne Bhoys Images
The last time a CSL side won the National Werner Fricker Open Cup was in 2011 when NY Pancyprian Freedoms defeated Doxa Italia (CA) 5-4 in penalty kicks in the final and the National Amateur Cup was in 2014 when NY Greek Americans lifted the title. No CSL team has ever won both cups.