Dragons go top of IAFL-1 Standings.

Match Report by Jimmy English of the Dublin Dragons

Westmanstown Sports Ground was the Venue as the Lightning entered the Dragon’s Lair for what would be the Home team’s final game of the season. The teams ran out to blustery conditions, with the sunny sky threatening to break at any minute. Drogheda won the toss and elected to receive the ball. A 20-yard return by Oisin Dowling saw the Lightning Offense open the game. A combination of QB running and RB Mick O’Shea moved the ball well to the outside, but found nothing but a solid wall of defenders through the middle. They advanced the ball well, but a great turnover from their opponents saw the Dragons Offense take to the pitch.

Dragons defence tackles Drogheda runner

The Dragons had plenty of previous success with their offense, and this game was no different. RB Dave Edwards made huge yardage on the ground, with a lot of help from his O Line. Edwards got the ball the entire way to the 2-yard line, where after two unsuccessful pass attempts, QB Conor Murphy slammed it through the Defense into the End Zone. Mick Duncan’s PAT made it 7-0 to the Dragons.

The Lightning started to feel the heat from the defense early in the 2nd. Veteran Linebacker John Durrad and D Tackle Gus Zigmantavicius got closer and closer to sacking Drogheda QB Dan Finnamore. Finnamore was lacking options at WR and was hunted every time he rolled out to pass. Hit after hit was put on the young QB, and at one stage it looked like he didn’t want to get back up off the ground. Defensive tackle Anto Burke was one of the many Dragons players who got to Finnamore through the middle. The pressure paid off big time when Dragons LB Aidan Waters intercepted a pick and ran it back for 6,helped on his way by a fantastic block from Defensive End SJ McKell. The Dragons Defense were flawless in their inside penetration. In fact the only yards that Drogheda picked up were to the outside of the line. The second Quarter was completed when QB Conor Murphy completed a superb pass to WR Mick Duncan, who hauled it in the end zone for the score. At the half the Dragons led 21-0.

The third Quarter saw a slightly shaky start from the O Line, who became porous and allowed inside blitzes from Drogheda’s defenders. This culminated in a blocked field goal, which denied the Dragons another 3 points. A swift talking to from Coach John Collins fixed this problem and they were soon back to their excellent form. Mid way through the third they sprang RB Dave Edwards free, allowing him to blaze forty yards down the field for his 7th TD of the season. The defense continued to show why they are a force to be reckoned with, providing two fumble recoveries from Gus Zigmantavicius and a pick each for Aidan Waters and DE Boris Sellak, the former robbing Aidan of his fourth pick in a very acrobatic fashion.

Drogheda’s backfield made them plenty of yards to the outside in the fourth quarter, eventually getting them to the goal line. Dan Finnamore eventually punched it through after two strong Defensive stops. The score stood then at 28-6 to the Dragons, as Drogheda failed to convert on their two point try. Dragon’s rookie Running Back Jamie Falloon looked impressive on Offense when he came in to give Dave Edwards a breather. He held on to the ball well, despite some big hits from Drogheda defenders.

The game finished 28-6 to the Dragons, although this score does not represent the hard fought battle that took place .The Lightning never gave up, and showed grit and heart to give the Dragons a hell of a game. The Dragons will look to build on this season’s success and move forward to the next one. They are now eagerly awaiting the score from Drogheda’s next fixture against Kildare, and must rely on Drogheda to beat the Reapers next Sunday. A win for Drogheda will see the Dragons take the title. Regardless of the outcome of that game, this has been a turnaround season for the West Dublin team and marks the start of a new era in Dragon’s History.