From behind the cage, Jack Rooney waited patiently for his older brother, Tommy, to make his cut, then delivered a pass right to the stick. Score the goal.
Two minutes later, Tommy Rooney, from behind the cage, waited patiently for his younger brother, Jack, to get open on the right wing, then delivered a pass right to the stick. Score the goal.
On the sideline, St. Dominic coach Tom Rooney Sr. beamed. He’s seen this before.
“It’s the most enjoyable year I’ve had in my 20 years of coaching lacrosse,” he said after the Bayhawks’ 16-3 win over Long Island Lutheran on Monday.
It is Rooney Sr.’s first year coaching his sons at St. Dominic. But as Tommy said: “He’s been our coach our whole lives. Youth coach, travel teams. So it was a pretty smooth transition when he came here.”
The Rooneys live in Syosset, but Jack, a junior, has been at St. Dominic since his freshman year. Tommy, a senior, left Syosset High School after his sophomore year. Tom Sr. made it a family affair this season. “I get to have a good experience every day with them, but I try not to coach them at home,” Tom said. “I let them bring it up.”
Tommy said they’ll ask their father if they can watch video or “is there something we can work on?” So far, it’s working out fine.
Tommy is second in scoring on Long Island, three points behind Glenn’s Justin Tiernan with 81 points (47 goals, 34 assists). Jack is fourth with 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists).
“Tommy has great quickness and a quick shot,” Tom Sr. said. “He’s tough to guard because he can get his shot off in tight spaces . Jack has a high lacrosse IQ, is our quarterback at X [behind the cage] and is very polished. They play off each other well.”
That’s what happens when you grow up playing the sport with your brother in the backyard as well as all over Long Island and the East Coast on travel teams and tournaments. “We know each other’s strengths. I’d say most of our points come from each other,” said Tommy, a lefty attack/midfielder who has committed to Division I Siena.
“We play well together,” said Jack, a righty attack/midfielder who has committed to Division I Holy Cross. “We can use the righty-lefty thing. I’m more of a feeder; he’s more of a finisher.”
Though it’s not a new experience for the Rooneys to be on the lacrosse field together, this season is the first — and only — that all three will wear the blue-and-white uniforms of St. Dominic, a Class AA CHSAA team with a 9-4 mark. “I think it’s cool that we’re all together on the high school team,” Tommy said.
Added Jack, with the right finishing touch, “We’re playing this year for Dad.”