Photos by Ariane Boudias
Game Report by the Carrickfergus Knights
In the first ever meeting of the clubs it wasn’t just the numbers on the scoreboard that had any significance in the importance of the game but a much greater factor may have been the quantity of players on opposing sidelines. The Knights traveled with a squad, without exaggeration, double that in size of the IAFL 11s new boy UCD Sentinels, who hosted the game at ALSAA Dublin.
Both teams got off to a sluggish start, UCD taking the kickoff out to their own 21 but losing a fumble on 2nd down at the 14 yard line only to regain possession two plays later after picking off a Carrick pass destined for the end zone.
UCD came out running but the Knights’ defense forced a punt that could only make it out to the home side’s own 27. Carrick’s offence exploited the great field position as HB Chris Carson burned off 24 yards on one carry then scored from the three on his next. A failed PAT made it 6-0 Knights mid-way through the 1st quarter.
A kick return to midfield gave UCD a good starting point but defense was taking over it seemed as punts were traded by both teams.
On their first series of the second period, the Sentinels drove inside the Carrick 30 yard line and decided to go for it on a 4th and 5 play that fell incomplete. However, they found themselves in the driving seat again on the next play as a sack popped the ball free in the Knights back field and UCD capitalised four plays later, leveling the scoreboard 6-6.
Paul McKillop then fielded the kickoff for Carrick and gained 21 yards allowing the Knights to start the drive close to midfield. #38 Chris Carson carried twice for 31 yards before QB Adam Devenney’s pass found #86 McKillop for a 20 yard TD strike. McKillop added another point with the PAT giving the visitors the edge 13-6 closing in on half time.
The man of the moment, McKillop booted a touchback leaving the Sentinels with it all to do from their 20 before the intermission. UCD rose to the occasion with a dogged determination driving 80 yards in nine plays but failed a 2 point conversion that would have gave them the lead entering the second half. Instead, the Knights clung onto a 13-12 lead.
The 3rd period began with Carrick special team’s, Ciaran Watson returning the ball 14 yards to his own 46 yard line. #14 Devenney then engineered a nine play, 54 yard drive, completing all four of his passes, three of which went to WR McKillop for a combined 40 yards. HB Chris Carson finished the series off with a TD run from the nine, stretching the Knights lead to 19-12.
UCD began their next drive moving the ball well with gains of 13 and 12 yards on consecutive plays but Knights bad boys, #53 Darren Montgomery and #39 ‘Hoggy’ Harris sacked the Sentinels’ QB and caused enough disruption that another fumble found its way to the ever aware hands of defensive captain Spencer McDowell.
HB Chris Carson only took one play this time to find the end zone, thundering 40 yards down field. With McKillop making the extra point the Knights’ lead grew to 26-12.
Turnover woes still plagued UCD as #58 Duncan McCaughan stripped the ball on the following kickoff for team mate #83 Killian Poland to scoop it up. Four plays later Knights’ #38 Chris Carson found himself in the end zone once more on the back of a 15 yard run giving Carrick a flattering 32-12 advantage. McKillop’s point after made the score line read 33-12.
A huge kickoff by #86 McKillop was fielded badly by UCD and downed at their own 2 yard line which only added fuel to the Knights’ defensive fire. A pumped up #59 Aaron McNaughton rushed the line and broke the play up in the Sentinels’ end zone, claiming a safety on the last play of a 22 point 3rd quarter for Carrick and extended the score to 35-12.
The entire 4th period was scoreless as both teams traded punts and defense closed out the remainder of the game.
With over 100 yards and 4 TDs on the day, HB Chris Carson gained Offensive MVP honours on a truly phenomenal performance, mirrored on Defense by the remarkable and relentless efforts of #53 Darren Montgomery.
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