The Belfast Trojans added a European title to their Irish title by winning the GFL International Atlantic Cup in Groningen over the weekend. The Trojans had a comfortable 26-7 win over Dutch hosts, Groningen Giants in the Final played on Sunday 27th September. The previous day, they defeated Gent Gators of Belgium in their Semi-Final. This is the second time the Trojans have won the title in three years – they won the 2013 title held in Ireland in conjunction with The Gathering.
The turning point in the first quarter of the game was an interception by the Trojans which set up a 30 yard field goal by Gregory Gibson. From that point forward, the Trojans never looked back. Their defence came good again early in the second quarter when Neil Graham sacked the Groningen QB in the end zone for a safety. The Trojans capitalised even further when David Colvin returned the ensuing free kick for a touchdown to give the Trojans a 12-0 lead, which they held onto until halftime.
The Trojans running game got going in the second quarter adding two touchdowns. Neil Montgomery had a short yardage touchdown in the third quarter to put the Trojans up 19-0. The game was then sealed in the fourth quarter with another rushing touchdown, this time by Matt Armstrong. Groningen scored a touchdown late in the game to make the final score 26-7 to the Trojans. The Trojans finish the 2015 season with an unbeaten 12-0 record for their first team – prior to this game, Groningen had also been unbeaten in 2015.
The previous day, the Trojans defeated Gent Gators of Belgium by a score of 27-14 in their Semi-final. The Gators opened up the scoring early in the game, but three unanswered touchdowns gave the Trojans a 20-8 lead at halftime. Both teams scored touchdowns in the second half to make the final score 27-14 to the Trojans.
The Trojans performance in this tournament serves to underline the significant improvements in the standard of play in Ireland in recent years – where the SBC is now regarded as one of the best purely amateur leagues in Europe.
Next years Atlantic Cup is being hosted by Luxembourg with the tournament expected to return to Ireland in 2017.
Atlantic Cup Results 2015:
FINAL – Belfast Trojans 26-7 Groningen Giants
3rd PLACE PLAY-OFF – Gent Gators 26-12 Luxembourg Steelers.
Belfast Trojans 27-14 Gent Gators.
Groningen Giants 35-6 Luxembourg Steelers.