John Carroll Win Celtic Classic


Venue: Greystones RFC.


1st Quarter: JCU: Aaron Taylor 1yd run (0-6); JCU: Rob Pratus 3yd pass from Spence, Goodrich 1xpt (0-13); JCU: Matt Kehoe 10yd run, Goodrich 1xpt (0-20); JCU: Jim Fink 15 yd int return (0-26).
2nd Quarter: JCU: Matt Matteucci 16yd pass from Troy (0-32).
3rd Quarter: Pete Bernini pass from Spence, Goodrich 1xpt (0-39); IRL: Safety – Ken Hudson/Liam Ryan (2-39); JCU: Stephen Spence 5yd run (2-45).
4th Quarter: JCU: Jeff Johnston 1 yd run, Goodrich 1xpt (2-52).

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John Carroll University of Ohio won the Celtic Classic with a comfortable 52-2 victory over Ireland (IAFL Allstars) on front of a large crowd at Greystones RFC. However, the big winner was Irish football – this was the first time the Ireland has fielded a representative squad since the reformation of the IAFL in 2001 and the first time Ireland has played against a US college team. The John Carroll University Blue Streaks are the best team ever to play against domestic opposition in Ireland. Playing against players who practice daily was a big step up in standard for the IAFL players and coupled with the fact that this is the first time the team was playing together meant that this was always going to be a difficult fixture for Ireland, however, the team performed admirably.

John Carroll opened the scoring early when the got a first an goal on their first play from scrimmage. 21 stone full back Aaron Taylor punched in the first touchdown from 1 yard out and a Bill Goodrich extra point made the score 7-0. A turnover gave John Carroll the ball in the Ireland half after the kick-off and the Blue Streaks capitalized with Rob Pratus scoring on a 3 yard pass from Stephen Spence. Ireland failed to move the ball on their next possession and John Carroll drove into scoring rang and Matt Kehoe scored on a 10 yard run. John Carroll got a lucky break on Ireland’s next possession when a tipped pass from Kevin Downs was intercepted by Jim Fink and returned for a touchdown. Ireland finished the first quarter on a high when Dave Wheeler took a hand off on his own 2 yard line and broke free on a 70 yard run to give Ireland the ball in scoring range. However, Ireland failed to covert a 4th down on the John Carroll 10 yard line early in the second quarter. Ireland’s good spell continued during the second quarter when Mark Helferty intercepted John Carroll’s Paul Troy at mid field to give Ireland back the ball. Again Ireland picked up some yardage, but failed to convert on 4th down in the John Carroll half. John Carroll finished the half well, when after picking up a couple of first downs on the ground through running back Nick Cerni, Matt Matteucci scored on a 16 yard touchdown pass from Paul Troy to go in 32-0 ahead at the half.

John Carroll came out strong in the third quarter, scoring on their first possession with a 9 yard pass from Spence to Pete Bernini. Ireland then began to move the ball through the air from deep inside their own half with 2 passes from Rob Olwill to Robert Popciobobartepelus and another to Patrick Ryan. After reaching the John Carroll 37 yard opted to punt on fourth down. John Carroll ran the ball out to the 20 yard line before Ireland’s Liam Ryan intercepted the Blue Streaks quarterback, Stephen Spence to give Ireland the ball on the John Carroll 38 yard line. Ireland moved the ball through Dave Wheeler and another catch from Patrick Ryan before again failing to convert a 4th down in scoring range. However, Ireland got on the scoreboard 2 plays later when a combination of Ken Hudson and Liam Ryan, assisted by Steve Harrison tackled John Carroll’s Matt Matteucci in his own endzone to score a 2 point safety. John Carroll got the ball back on Ireland’s next ensuing possession when Greg Deja intercepted Olwill on the 35 yard line. John Carroll scored shortly afterwards with a 5 yard bootleg by Stephen Spence.

Ireland came back into the game in the fourth quarter, moving the ball through fullback Adam Culvertey and passes from Olwill to Marcus Naylor and Dave Wheeler. However the John Carroll defense held strong and their offense scored the final touchdown of the game – a 1 yard run by running back Jeff Johnston to make the final score 52-2 in favour of John Carroll. John Carroll Head Coach Regis Scafe was then presented the Celtic Classic Trophy. After the game, Global Football representative Jim Lyall, happy with the organization and attendance at the fixture, asked the IAFL if he could bring another college team over in 2005 for a second Celtic Classic.

Game Photos

Photographer: Emer McLoughlin

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