Category: Premier Division

Posts related to the AFI Premier Division

Preview: AFI Gameweek 2

Joe Kinahan

The 2022 AFI Kitted Season continues this Saturday and Sunday with 4 games taking place across the country. Premier Division is represented by games in Dublin and Cork, Division 2 kicks off in Limepark, while Athlone plays host to an international club friendly for charity.

Another great week of football lies ahead — let’s have a look at what’s in store!

SATURDAY

CHARITY FRIENDLY

Philadelphia Blue Flame @ Westmeath Minotaurs — Athlone GAA Club, 2pm
Raising money for Cancer Support Sanctuary LARCC, the Minotaurs host the Police and Fire Department of Philadelphia. The Blue Flame have previously travelled to Ireland for football, playing UL Vikings more than 10 years ago, and have raised more than $270,000 for several charities. The game serves as a preseason game for both teams, and it is dedicated to long-time Blue Flame player Sgt. Patrick McDonald, who killed on duty on September 23rd 2008. Both teams will be looking to fine-tune their schemes going into their competitive schedules — the Minotaurs will be eager to bring their defensive form from 2019 (#3 in points allowed) and 2021 (8 points allowed in 2 games). LB Jay McBride will certainly rally his defense around him to put up a big defensive effort, while an offense highlighted by a strong running game and a WR corps led by Jack Lynch will look to be as explosive as we’ve seen from the Minotaurs in recent memory.

The game has already raised over €2000 so far for LARCC —  if you are interested in donating, get in touch with the Minotaurs on their socials.

 

SUNDAY

AFI Premier Division

Belfast Trojans @ UCD — UCD Sports Campus, Belfield, 1pm
As if this matchup wasn’t interesting enough before last weekend (2019’s #3 seed vs 2019’s Shamrock Bowl winner is a great sell on its own), UCD only went and put 58 points on the Knights. While the Trojans will certainly be a different test for the Students, it’s hard to ignore that type of offensive production and not expect at least some of that to carry over. QB Arun Mooney had a career day last weekend and he will be looking to push his offensive weapons down the field in much the same way. Belfast must be keen to stop UCD’s momentum early, and having defenders like LB Shane Leckey definitely helps you do that. Take into account the Trojans offense is also a National Championship-winning offense, and it makes for an incredibly exciting matchup. 

This writer won’t be mad at you for predicting either team to win. Another one-score game may well be on the cards.

Dublin Rebels @ Cork Admirals — Old Christians RFC, Glanmire, 1pm
Don’t overlook this one either. The Rebels will be the first to tell you that their 2019 season was a disappointment, finishing with a 2-6 record. QB Ty Henry may well be the difference the Dublin outfit need though, infusing a spark that was perhaps lacking in 2019. The Admirals, meanwhile, will look to find the groove that brought them to an undefeated regular season in 2019. While they were unable to play in the time since due to the pandemic, they have been steadily recruiting from their youth program. Two teams with drastically different campaigns in our last full season, two teams looking for a big win to start the year

AFI Division 2

North Dublin Pirates @ Causeway Giants — Limepark Playing Fields, 1pm
An intriguing matchup taking place in Limepark. The Giants debut year in 2019 was more successful than most new teams’ debuts, especially considering the fact that the club survived the pandemic after just 1 win in that season. They did, however, have a great 2021, competing in the Donaghy Group Invitational Cup, going 2-2 and finishing #3 in the tournament. The Pirates were a lot quieter during the pandemic, but recently saw an upward spike in membership created by the Bulldogs’ removal from 2022 competition. Some strong pieces join a quietly competitive Division 2 squad, so it’s hard to completely rule out a team that, as a cohesive unit, we don’t know an awful lot about. Keep a close eye on this one.

Quickfire Score Predictions
Blue Flame 18 – 21 Minotaurs
Trojans 27 – 24 UCD
Rebels 20 – 27 Admirals
Pirates 14 – 20 Giants

AFI Gameweek 1 Review: Students Set the Standard

The views and opinions expressed in this article in no way reflect those held by American Football Ireland. The below article is intended to be entertaining and promote around American Football Ireland games.

Gameweek 1 is in the books, and while there was only the one close game out of the four on offer (Causeway Giants forfeited their away game to NI Razorbacks), it was great to see teams across the country get back in action. It was also very interesting to see just how teams came out of the two-and-a-half year gap between games, whether they have stalled or built upon their 2019 campaigns, and whether they’ll be up to the task this season. So, let’s take a look into last Sunday’s action.

AFI Premier Division

UCD (1-0) 58 – 7 Belfast Knights (0-1)
In fairness, I did say this would be a high-scoring affair. With that being said, I never saw it going this badly for Belfast. What had been a plus-graded 2021 has, at least in the short-term, been completely forgotten about, as they got dismantled by UCD. The Students got off to one of the hottest starts in recent AFI memory, with QB Arun Mooney throwing for 5 TDs (3 to WR Cian Lawlor) and RBs Jack Finnegan and Sean McVeigh each adding 1 TD on the ground. The defense made sure to get on the scoreboard, with Dan Verzuh and rookie Eoghan McMahon (one of 6 rookies down as starters on Sunday) both taking an interception to the house.

UCD ride a massive wave of momentum into this week’s matchup with the 2019 national champions, while the Knights have 2 weeks to reflect and improve upon Sunday’s performance before hosting the winner of the next game on our review…

Craigavon Cowboys (1-0) 35 – 6 Dublin Rhinos (0-1)
A strong display by the ‘Boys disrupts any thoughts that Craigavon wouldn’t be pushing for playoffs this year. QB Peter Loughran was his usual self, spreading the ball around the field for 4 TDs, with WRs Neil Maxwell, Odhran O’Kane and Luis Alberto all making their debuts on the season’s receiving touchdowns list. Praise must be given to a man who could be found all over the field, Shayne Mone — Mone ran a TD in on offense, and also came away with 1 INT and 1 forced fumble on defense.

For the Rhinos, it was a much bleaker day, with one of the few bright spots being QB Ethan Foster’s 45-yard touchdown pass to Adam Jenkins to make sure the Rhinos could come away from People’s Park with some points on the board. Not the start to the season the Rhinos were looking for.

AFI Division 1

Trinity (1-0) 20 – 0 Donegal/Derry Vipers (0-1)
This was not a pretty game. Though it stayed dry most of the day, the field at Trinity Sports Ground had still found a way to be soaked, making for what was a messier affair than this writer would have expected between these two teams. LB Darren Quinn came up with an interception for the Donegal/Derry outfit, but the Vipers beat themselves on silly turnovers here, with Trinity defenders Sean Emmanuel and James Cushing scoring on fumble recoveries: one from a punt smacking off Viper helmet, and the other from a backwards pass on a broken screen play.  Neither offense really imposed their will on the opposing defense, and while QB Ben Dowling threw his first TD of the year, even he will admit WR Brandon Atwell did the brunt of the work, taking a screen play from Trinity territory to the house after he (and the aforementioned field) made every would-be tacker miss.

Trinity will be happy to come out 1-0, but both teams have better showings in them. The Vipers will surely be eager to even up the series when Trinity travel on June 5th.

UL Vikings (1-0) 12 – 6 Wexford Eagles (0-1)
Two teams entering 2022 on rebuilds went head-to-head in what ended as the first one-score game of the season. UL had an advantage going into the game based on their recent Premier Division history, and ultimately came away with the win. Wexford, though, kept things close with various tricks up their sleeve, chief among them being a Terry Carey 20-yard gain on a fake punt. Ground control equaled game control in this one, as Vikings RB Eoin Rudkins took 2 handoffs to the endzone, earning the W for UL.

Be on the lookout on our Facebook and Instagram pages soon for a preview of Gameweek 2!

Preview: AFI Gameweek 1

The views and opinions expressed in this article in no way reflect those held by American Football Ireland. The below article is intended to be entertaining and to build excitement around American Football Ireland games.

After a longer wait than we may have expected around this time two years ago, AFI American Football has finally returned! While last year’s Donaghy Group Invitational Cup and friendly series in the back end of 2021 helped tide a lot of us over, none of that can compete with the excitement and the drama of an AFI American Football season!

We are excited to bring more than 80 games across the country this year, from big rematches from the 2019 season and big rivalry games, to first-time-ever matches and (of course) our 3 divisions Bowl games, culminating with Shamrock Bowl XXXIV on August 7th at Energia Park.

With that being said, here is a preview for each game to look forward to this weekend:

AFI Premier Division

Belfast Knights (0-0) @ UCD (0-0) — UCD Sports Campus, 1pm
The Knights will be eager to truly leave their 2019 season in the past, finishing just 1-6-1 that campaign. Saying that, the Belfast outfit showed improvement in their 2021 series, winning both games. The Knights will surely rely on the playmaking of their passing offense trio in QB Spencer McDowell, and WRs Jordan Clinton and Marty Caskey to make a big impact and keep UCD’s defense honest throughout the game.

UCD will be looking to pick up where they left off 3 years ago after an impressive, if up-and-down, 2019 campaign. Finishing 5-2-1 and with the highest scoring offense in the division, UCD fell short of making it to Shamrock Bowl 33, which will surely be the aim for the club this season. A strong offensive line with Wolfhounds experience, a plethora of offensive weapons and a defense that has had names like DBs Michael Sykes and Alex Kusmirek in the secondary should make for a team to watch out for come the playoffs.

Expect a high-scoring affair in Belfield…

Dublin Rhinos (0-0) @ Craigavon Cowboys (0-0) — People’s Park, Portadown, 1pm
The Rhinos goal for this season may just be to simply forget about the last 3 years. 2019 was the Castleknock side’s return to the Premier Division, and while their 2-6 record kept them away from relegation, their points difference (-145) was the worst in the division that year. There is a lot to be positive about for the upcoming season if you’re following the Rhinos though: a good, stable coaching staff with Steve O’Rourke as Head Coach, a perhaps-revamped defense under DC Nick Newby (as seen by their 14-0 shutout @ Meath Bulldogs during their 2021 series), and a dual-threat QB in Ethan Foster.

Speaking of dual-threat QBs, Craigavon Cowboys signal-caller Peter Loughran can be as hard to stop on the ground as he is through the air. The Cowboys have quite a deep WR room for Loughran to offload the ball to too, with the likes of Eoin Hughes, Anton Nulty and speed-demon Luis Alberto all options for the ‘Boys to target on any given play. With a stout defense to boot (ranked #2 in 2019 AFI Division 1), Craigavon may be a dark horse moving forward.

Craigavon should be in control here but should be sure to not let their guard down and let the Rhinos work their way into the game.

AFI Division 1

Donegal/Derry Vipers (0-0) @ Trinity (0-0) — Trinity Sports Grounds, Santry — 1pm
The Vipers come into this game with, arguably, the most momentum out of any team competing across the island this year. Though their 2019 outing was certainly not what they had hoped — a 2-6 record with wins against the now-defunct Galway Warriors and Waterford Wolves — their 2021 went about as well as they could have hoped. Going 4-0 in the Donaghy Group Invitational Cup and winning the tournament, the QB change to Paul O’Donnell seemed to bring the squad together better than we had seen throughout 2019, keeping the Vipers above 20 points per game across the 4 game tournament. Add a strong run game and defensive play from the likes of LB Darren Quinn and CB Marty Patton, and Donegal/Derry have a solid base that could bite teams that don’t match their physicality.

Trinity come in as a polar opposite to the Vipers in more ways than one. A successful 2019 season for the students saw them finish with a 6-2 record and with the #4 seed in the playoffs, falling short in the semi-finals to eventual Division 1 champions Craigavon Cowboys. The pandemic was a lot harsher to Trinity than it was to the Vipers, though, with the university team unable to compete until November 2021 in an Intervarsity blitz with UL and UCD. Trinity came out 0-1-1 from that blitz, but surely saw development from rookies recruited as far back as 2020. If the team can get close to replicating the form they had in 2019, Trinity may well be a title contender come the end of the Division 1 season.

As for this game, early control of the scoreboard will probably decide this game. With such differing ideologies on both sides of the ball and each team’s strengths playing into the other’s weaknesses, whoever can slow down the other first — even for a drive or two — should see this one out.

Wexford Eagles (0-0) @ UL Vikings (0-0) — Maguires Playing Grounds, Limerick, 1pm
Wexford enter their first season without longtime Head Coach Kevin Klatt, who joined the South Dublin Panthers coaching staff during the pandemic. Because of this, it’s hard to say exactly what version of the Eagles we will see in 2022. Wexford finished the #3 seed in Division 1 in 2019 with a 6-2 record and the #2 Offense in the Division. Being in a tightly-contested division, emulating that production on offense will be a top priority in the Model County.

UL, while perhaps not quite as uncertain as Wexford, also come into 2022 with question marks that will be answered this Sunday and throughout the year. Posting a 3-5 record in the 2019 Premier Division, the Vikings took the step down to Division 1 this season after the pandemic robbed them of some key pieces on both sides of the ball. Despite the large rookie membership, UL still have some recognizable names — QB Eoin Rudkins stands out — and will certainly lean on that experience to bring such a young squad up to speed.

Both teams need a statement win on Sunday. Wexford have always been a gritty team that have threatened some Division 1 goliaths in the past, but it’s hard to overlook UL’s Premier Division experience that includes 7 consecutive Shamrock Bowl appearances.

AFI Division 2

Causeway Giants (0-0) @ NI Razorbacks (0-0) —  Newforge Playing Fields, 1pm
The Giants may come into this as at least the popular favourite in this game, thanks in large part to their unique cyan-coloured kits and an incredible touchdown run during the Donaghy Group Invitational Cup from Tiernan Boorman that so closely resembled Washington Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke’s score against the Buccaneers during the 2020-21 NFL Playoffs that Heinicke himself shared the play to his followers online. A 1-7 2019 season was wiped somewhat from memory after a respectable showing during the DGI Cup last year — improving their points per game from 6.25 in 2019 to 17.5 in 2021 — the Giants will want to build from that series and begin their push to playoff spots this season. 

The NI Razorbacks had a similar 2019 campaign to the Giants, also finishing 1-7, but come into this season after a winless 2021 series. A deeper squad than what the Razorbacks have seen in the past, we can probably expect from the team a run balanced offense with a lot of rotation to keep defenses guessing.

Two teams looking to move on from their 2019 performances here so it will likely be an especially physical game. These two have met each other plenty of times already in the Giants’ short history, with the Giants last match (a 3rd place game in the DCI Cup) 22-7.

Quickfire score predictions:
Knights 20 – 24 UCD
Cowboys 28-10 Rhinos
DDV 13 – 21 Trinity
Wexford 10 – 24 UL
Giants 17 – 7 Razorbacks

This season promises to be one of the most exciting in AFI history! Make sure to get in touch with clubs and let them know you’ll be supporting them on gameday. If you can’t make it to a game, make sure to follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages where you can stay updated on final scores, touchdown scorers and more!

2020 Senior Kitted Season Cancelled

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary “The AFI board held an online meeting to discuss the current ongoing situation and the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has been decided that the 2020 Senior Kitted season will be cancelled in its entirety. A number of factors were considered in making this tough decision. There remains uncertainty as to when this crisis will end, which makes it very difficult to publish a schedule that will allow for enough time to prepare and complete a season for our members. It may also prove very difficult to secure ambulance bookings for fixtures due to the increased workload of our front-line services. We are also very aware of the financial difficulties our clubs and members may be facing during this time and do not wish to add any more pressure than what they are already facing. Ultimately, we need to put our members physical and mental welfare first before football.

We will continue to monitor the situation and, if circumstances allow, we are open to the possibility of hosting a 2-3 week tournament at the end of the summer for clubs that wish to participate and have some form of kitted football in 2020.

With immediate effect all current Adult Kitted, Coaching, Officiating and Non-Playing memberships will be extended until 30th September 2021 and there will be no need to purchase or renew your membership for the 2021 season.

No decision has been made yet in relation to Youth and Flag football. We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with our directors in the coming weeks and update you when we have a clearer picture on the possibility of the Youth and Flag seasons going ahead.

It is important to note that we have put our insurance on hold at this time and under no circumstances is any physical footballing activity to take place until further notice.

Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and we will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. If you have any queries please contact me at brian@americanfootball.ie.”

COVID-19 Statement

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary

“In light of this mornings announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, AFI have decided to postpone all football activities including practice sessions, scheduled games and combines up to and including the 29th March.

We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks and keep you updated on any plans to reschedule the season.

We have a few options to consider including a new, reduced schedule commencing end of April/start of May. We may also consider all postponed games as 15-15 ties as per the bylaws. We need further time to consider the options and want to be fair to all clubs for the remainder of the season.

We urge all our members to follow the advice of the HSE in an effort to contain this outbreak and hope you and your families all stay safe and well.”

2020 Divisions and Bowl Dates

The AFI 2020 season fast approaches, with the season starting on Sunday 8th March. 20 teams will compete across 3 divisions, with bowl games scheduled for early August.

  • Belfast Trojans
  • Cork Admirals
  • Craigavon Cowboys
  • Dublin Rebels
  • South Dublin Panthers
  • UCD
  • UL Vikings
  • West Dublin Rhinos

Shamrock Bowl: Sunday 9th August

  • Belfast Knights
  • Cill Dara Crusaders
  • Donegal/Derry Vipers
  • Louth Mavericks
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Westmeath Minotaurs
  • Wexford Eagles

AFI Division 1 Bowl: Sunday 2nd August (Doubleheader)

  • Antrim Jets
  • Causeway Giants
  • Meath Bulldogs
  • NI Razorbacks
  • North Dublin Pirates

AFI Division 2 Bowl: Sunday 2nd August (Doubleheader)

2020 Senior Kitted Schedule Announced

The American Football Ireland 2020 Senior Kitted Football schedule has now been released which includes 89 domestic games across 3 leagues as well as 2 exhibition games, with teams visiting from Great Britain and USA.

The season will start on the 8th March, with all three American Football Ireland college teams in action as UCD take on the UL Vikings in the Shamrock Bowl Conference and Trinity College hosting the Wexford Eagles in IAFL 1.

This year will see a significant change as there are 11 Saturday domestic games scheduled. In previous years, there have been limited Saturday games per season, so 2020 will see the most Saturday games ever played.

The 2017 BritBowl champions Tamworth Phoenix will make the short journey across Irish sea to take on the 2019 Shamrock Bowl winners Belfast Trojans on the 25th April in the first of two exhibition matches. The second will see the D3 Kentucky based college Centre Colonels travel to Limerick to take on the UL Vikings, which will take place on the 30th May.

The Shamrock Bowl Conference playoffs are scheduled for Sunday 26th July, with the top four teams in the league advancing to this stage following the conclusion of the regular season. The winners of the playoff games will advance to the Shamrock Bowl game, which is scheduled for Sunday 9th August.

The IAFL 1 playoffs are scheduled for Sunday 19th July, with the top four teams in the league advancing to this stage following the conclusion of the regular season. The winners of the playoff games will advance to the IAFL 1 Bowl game, which is scheduled for Sunday 2nd August. This game will be part of a doubleheader which will include the IAFL 2 Bowl game. There will be no playoffs for IAFL 2, instead the top 2 teams in the league will advance directly to the bowl game following the conclusion of the regular season.

Fixtures

Shamrock Bowl Conference

IAFL 1

IAFL 2

Win Your 2020 American Football Ireland Membership Fee Back

Players who have paid their American Football Ireland membership for the 2020 season before midnight on 31 December 2019 will automatically be entered into the draw to win their membership fee back!

One player from each league (Shamrock Bowl Conference, IAFL 1 and IAFL 2) will be chosen at random with the 3 winners being announced on 03 January 2020.

Don’t miss out – purchase your membership today: https://iafa.azolve.com

Play American Football In Ireland!

American football is played right across the island of Ireland, with 22 teams competing at senior level (ages 18+). No prior sporting experience is needed to play – American Football is a sport for all shapes and sizes as well as for both females and males.

Many of our member clubs are currently recruiting for the 2020 seasons – they will have experienced, qualified coaches who will teach you all you need to know to play American football. Check out our A-Z of clubs and get in contact with your nearest club to start playing:

Connacht

Leinster

Munster

Ulster

Applications For The 2020 Adult Kitted Season Now Being Accepted

We are now accepting applications for the 2020 Adult Kitted Season. All member teams and those that have expressed an interest in submitting a team for 2020 should have received an email. If you have not received this email, please contact the Commissioner immediately. The deadline for submission of application forms is strictly the 15th October 2019.

Volunteer With An American Football Club

Ever thought about VOLUNTEERING with an American football club?

You don’t have to play to be part of something special. There are many roles available in every club such as coaches, team managers, game day personnel, photographers, videographers, statisticians, graphic design, equipment managers plus many more

Check out our A-Z of clubs and get in contact with your nearest club to get involved:

Thanks to T. McCann and M. Lavery for the photos.

Shamrock Bowl XXXIII Preview

The main event in the Irish American Football Associations calendar is finally back once again as the Belfast Trojans take on the South Dublin Panthers for the Shamrock Bowl in its 33rd year. This year’s game will take place at Energia Park, Dublin which boasts excellent modern facilities including a 2,500 capacity seated stand, 3G playing surface as well as multiple spectator bars. There will be food vendors on site as well as Football America UKs travelling shop, with plenty of equipment and NFL merchandise to choose from. Corporate.ie will also have their throwing competition, with brilliant prizes on offer.

Belfast Trojans vs South Dublin Panthers

These two teams are well known to each, having faced each other multiple times in recent years. They last played each other on the 9th June in Belfast, where the Trojans came out 26-16 winners. This would be the first of a string of three defeats for the Panthers to end their regular season whilst the Trojans would win out their remaining four games.

The Trojans finished the regular season as second seeds, gaining home field advantage in the semi-final, of which they overcame UCD 14-0 in a rain soaked game at Harlequins RFC. Both defense’s took advantage of the weather, stifling each other’s offenses as both were finding it difficult to establish an air game in the tough conditions. The Trojans eventually broke the deadlock at the end of the second quarter, ironically through a passing play, before going on to score the games only other touchdown in the second half. Trojans head coach James McKelvey was happy with his team’s semi-final performance and is really looking forward to taking to the field at the Shamrock Bowl once again “It’s been a real journey this year for the Trojans after a good start and winning our first two games but then stalling in the next two. As a team we came together and put in a lot of work to finish the season strongly. Versus UCD we came up against a fantastic team who pushed us in every phase of the game and I was delighted with the win. I can’t wait to play at Energia Park and face a team who I have a ton of respect for.”

It would be fair to say that the Panthers were underdogs in their semi-final when they travelled to the 2018 champions and top seeds, the Cork Admirals. The Panthers scored on their first drive via a 50 yard run, before extending their lead to 21-0 going into the fourth quarter. The Admirals got one back but the resolute Panthers ensured that that would be their only score, with the game finishing 21-6 and the Panthers securing their first ever Shamrock Bowl appearance. Panthers head coach Steve Mack was delighted to cause an upset and is confident his team can come out of the Shamrock Bowl as champions “Obviously a lot of positives and great things achieved this season. Club records on both sides of the ball, Ian Cahill and Eoin Neville setting individual team records too. So a lot of positives. Very happy to have built on last year, getting to the semi-final and beating an undefeated team which is really a testament to the talent this squad has and how hard they work. The Trojans are going to be equally as tough. A lot of people who came into the sport when I did knew them as those groups of perfect teams that could not be beaten and our club and our team has tried to emulate in a lot of ways what the Trojans were doing back then. I’m expecting a very tough game. An entertaining game for the neutral and a great advertisement for our sport in Ireland.”

Location: Energia Park, Donnybrook, Dublin

Kick-off: 2pm

Get Your Tickets Here

2019 Key Stats
Trojans
Panthers
Regular Season Record
6-1-1
4-4
Avg Points Scored Per Game
20.2
20.1
Avg Points Conceded Per Game
9.6
16.0
Defensive Shutouts
2
0
Games W/L By 8 or Less Points
2
5
Most Recent Head To Head Results
09 June 2019
Trojans 26-16 Panthers
20 May 2018
Trojans 48-0 Panthers
07 May 2017
Trojans 9-0 Panthers

Shamrock Bowl XXXIII: Belfast Trojans

The Belfast Trojans return to the Shamrock Bowl for the sixth time, having previously won four in a row from 2012 to 2015. An impressive regular season saw them finish second in the Shamrock Bowl Conference with six wins, one tie and one loss. The Trojans then hosted UCD just under two weeks ago in the semi-final. In stormy conditions, the home team managed to beat the students 14-0 and book their place in Sunday’s game. We caught up with Trojans chairman Barry Keil to look back at the season so far as well as to get his thoughts on Sunday’s vital clash:

The Trojans finished the regular season with six wins, one tie and one loss. This meant that they would finish second in the Shamrock Bowl Conference. What was the key to success for the Trojans this season?

“I would say that our success this year is down to making small improvements in every area. We have made the semi-finals in each of the last eight seasons and have missed out on the final by small margins in the last two years so making adjustments, recruiting well, retaining talent and implementing the new ideas that head coach James McKelvey has introduced has allowed us to take that extra step into the big game.”

Two weeks ago, the Trojans beat UCD 14-0 in the semi-final to make it to the bowl game. What did you think of your team’s performance in that match?

“I think we were solid but still somewhat shy of our potential. UCD are a very dangerous opponent but I felt we dominated the game and really should have been able to put more points on the board. The team is capable of that and we know that in post season football you have to take every opportunity that is presented to you to get put the game beyond the reach of your opponent.”

The Trojans will take on the South Dublin Panthers in this year’s Shamrock Bowl. Having already played them this season, what are your expectations for the game and how have you been preparing?

“Firstly we have huge respect for the South Dublin Panthers, the strides they have made as an organisation in last few seasons have been impressive and we are delighted that their hard work has brought them to the Shamrock Bowl. We expect the Panthers to have a thorough plan for how to take us on. They did their homework and pulled off an upset in Cork against the Admirals in the semi-final, we expect the same in the Bowl. It will be a tough tactical battle that, as always, will come down to who makes the fewest mistakes. In terms of our preparations, it’s been very much business as usual. We tend to focus on our strengths rather than the opponents weaknesses, if we play to the best of our ability, we have confidence in our ability to win.”

Finally, what advice would you like to give to your team that will hope to bring home their fifth title on Sunday?

“Play hard, focus only on what is happening in the moment, stay united, give everything on every play, leave nothing on the field, be Trojan, let em know.”

Coaching/Volunteer Staff

Head Coach
James McKelvey
Offensive Co-Ordinator
Ian Shaw
Defensive Co-Ordinator
Nathan Armstrong
Defensive Line Coach
Stephen Cheevers
Defensive Line Coach
Teddy Canty
Offensive Line Coach
Paul Braniff
Offensive Line Coach
Dave McCully
Wide Receivers Coach
Daniel Shaw
Running Backs Coach
Mike McAuley
Linebackers Coach
Chris Weir
Defensive Back Coach
Scott Morrow

Playing Squad

Number Name Position
01
James McKelvey
QB
02
Connor Whitla
DL
04
Andrew Henderson
S
05
Mark McVeigh
QB
06
Carlos Delgado
DL
08
Michael Ferris
WR
10
Oran McMenamin
WR
11
Ross Allen
DB
12
Jona Siri
RB
13
Sammy Geddis
LB
14
Keith Stevenson
WR
16
Marty Devlin
DL
18
Scott Fischaber
S
24
Ben Sloan
DB
25
Ted Elston
DB
26
Jonny Bryans
LB
30
Gareth Millar
RB
31
Alex Kusmirek
S
39
Peter Roberts
RB
40
Neil Graham
TE
43
Jake Warry
RB
45
Stephen Donnelly
DB
46
Eugene O'Furphy
DL
47
Peter Hamilton
DB
53
Jamie Wright
LB
54
Mark McGrath
OL
57
Stuart Leckey
LB
66
Mohamed Ramadan
OL
68
Hassan Jaafar
OL
69
John Mahon
DL
70
Ruairi McCann
OL
71
Dave Gordon
OL
72
Harry Creelman
OL
73
Barry Keil
DL
74
Zakk Appleyard
OL
77
Jonathan Stoops
OL
78
Danny Tarr
LB
79
Mark Davidson
OL
80
Tom Morris
WR
85
Gael Reverte
DB
87
Gil David
TE
88
David Richardson
WR
89
Andy Moore
TE
90
Thomas Boyde
S
92
Ross Thain
DL
94
Jordan Murphy
DL
98
Chris Currie
DL
99
Stephen Cheevers
DL

Shamrock Bowl XXXIII: South Dublin Panthers

The South Dublin Panthers will make their first ever Shamrock Bowl appearance this Sunday, as they beat top seeds the Cork Admirals 21- 6 in the semi-final to reach the big game at Energia Park, avenging a 14-20 defeat to them earlier in the season. The Panthers finished fourth in the Shamrock Bowl Conference, winning four games and losing just as many. We spoke with Panthers chairman Brendan McAleese about the season so far and Sundays historic game for the club:

The Panthers started the season really well, going 4&1 before finishing the regular season with three losses and a fourth place finish in the league. What was the key to success for the Panthers this season?

“It was an absolute belief in themselves as team and trusting what the coaches were implementing. We knew this was a talented bunch of athletes who take pride in every rep. They bonded as a team and a family very early on and as the season progressed that belief became the drive to never give up and as they say in football, just do your job and finish what you started.”

The Panthers overcame the Admirals in the semi-final through a 21-6 win. What did you think of your team’s performance in that match?

“It was typical of what we were seeing all season and we knew we matched up well against the Admirals. The team was well prepared by the head coach and his staff and the team applied that to the game.”

This year’s Shamrock Bowl will see the Panthers take on the Belfast Trojans. Having already played them this season, what are your expectations for the game and how have you been preparing?

“We expect a very physical, hard-hitting game based on what we witnessed this season and from our fixture against them earlier in the year. The Trojans are a very experienced team who give no quarter and expect none. We’ll do what we have done all year and prepare for a football game.”

Finally, what advice would you like to give to your coaches and players taking to the field on Sunday?

“All the work has been done at this stage. Believe and never give up. Stay in your routine. Just concern yourself with what you can control. Trust the man beside you and most of all trust yourself. We’ve got your back.”

Coaching/Volunteer Staff

Head Coach/Offensive Co-Ordinator
Stephen McDonnell
Assistant Head Coach
Emma Burrows
Defensive Co-Ordinator
Conor O'Driscoll
Special Teams Co-Ordinator/Offensive Line Coach
Brendan McAleese
Assistant Defensive Co-Ordinator
Rob McCann
Defensive Line Coach
Conor O'Sullivan
Defensive Backs Coach
Eoghan Whelan
Linebackers Coach
Sean Higgins
Conditioning Coach
Luke Doherty
Assistant Coach
Andrew Healy
Assistant Coach
John Romanoski
Assistant Coach
Steve O'Rourke
Assistant
Finn Connaughton
Assistant
Ruben Ruiz Torres

Playing Squad

Number Name Position
01
Andrew McMahon
WR
03
Ben Arulogun
RB
06
Eoghan Whelan
DB
07
Ryu Robles
LB
08
Stephen Lally
DB
10
Michael Lynch
RB
11
Ryan Eccles
WR
12
Raymond Burke
WR
13
Stephen Daly
DE
16
Ian Cahill
QB
21
Micheal Staunton
DB
23
Calvin Comerford
DB
25
Andrew Reddy
DB
28
Alan Barnewell
LB
29
Adam Bowe Devereux
DB
30
Ryan Hewitt
LB
31
Dominic Luxton
WR
32
Eoghan Gately
DB
34
Petru Bogdan
LB
41
Thomas Phelan
HB
42
Conor McGrath
DB
43
John Kelly
RB
47
Eoin Neville
DB
50
Colin Kelly
LB
52
Niall Burke
DT
55
Anthony Burke
DE
57
Gareth Fogarty
DT
59
Ciaran Jones
LB
62
Gustavo Andrade
DE
66
Oisín Russell-Conway
C
68
Gavin Jackson
DT
70
Stuart Bowles
OG
71
Allan O Kearney
C
73
Conor O'Sullivan
DT
75
Aaron Carbury
OT
77
Shane Roberts
OG
78
Stephen Connor
OT
84
Sean Goldrick
WR
85
Adam Conway
WR
87
Kevin Mayo
LB
88
Keith Lally
WR
89
Stephen Mooney
HB
96
Paul Fages
LB
98
Danny Curran
DT
99
Evan Allen
DE

SBC Playoffs: Trojans vs UCD Preview

This is an extremely exciting match-up, with both teams finishing the regular season with almost the same record – the Trojans recording one more win than their playoff opponents. UCD have the most prolific offense in the league, scoring 205 points over eight games but they come up against the second best defense in the league, as the Trojans only gave up an average of 10.75 points a game. These two teams have already met twice this year – on the first occasion, UCD travelled to Harlequins RFC in April, with the game finishing in a 6-6 tie. In the return fixture, the Trojans would prove too strong for the students, winning 32-12 only a month ago.

It has been a much improved season for the Trojans, having bettered their fourth seed finish in 2018 to finishing second seed this year. The Trojans are in great form coming into the playoffs, having won their last four games, including beating Belfast rivals the Knights in their most recent game. Trojans head coach James McKelvey knows his team have worked hard to secure a home playoff game, and will want to take full advantage of that this Sunday “UCD are one of the strongest and physically gifted teams we’ve played this season. They are well coached in all aspects of the game. As a team, we will need to be at our very best. Practice has been good and I’m confident that we will perform to our best.”

Another superb year from UCD saw them finish the regular season as third seeds having only lost to the Admirals and Trojans. Last year’s semi-final agony will be at the forefront of most of UCDs staff and players, losing out on a spot in the Shamrock Bowl by a single point. UCD club secretary Thomas Fitzgerald is confident his team can use that experience last year to overcome the Trojans and book their spot at Energia Park on 4th August “UCD had a lot of positives from our last game versus the Rebels on both sides of the ball. We’re looking to keep our momentum going from that game and continually improve to defeat the Trojans. Last time we went away to Belfast we drew 6-6 with them and this time we’re hoping to secure a win and win our first ever playoff game in what will no doubt be a hard fought game.”

Location: Harlequins RFC, Belfast

Kick-off: 2pm

SBC Playoffs: Admirals vs Panthers Preview

The reigning national champions Cork Admirals are two wins away from retaining the Shamrock Bowl, but they face a tough visit from a South Dublin Panthers side entering their first ever semi final. The Admirals finished the regular season top of the table and unbeaten with seven wins and one draw whilst the Panthers finished as fourth seeds, winning four and losing four. The Admirals possess the best defense in the league, only giving up 63 points in eight games. They come up against a Panthers offense that has scored an average of 20 points per game this year. The last match-up between these two sides was back in March, when the Panthers travelled to Cork. An enthralling game ended 20-14 to the hosts – a one score game meaning this playoff game should be a brilliant watch.

A significant season for the Admirals sees them finish as league champions and with vital home advantage. Finishing unbeaten shows how much this team has come on, after losing three games in 2018. The Admirals enter this match full of confidence having dispatched the West Dublin Rhinos 47-7 in their most recent match two weeks ago. Admirals head coach Alan Lomasney will be looking for consistency of a high level in all three phases of the game, which will be crucial to getting that all important win “The Panthers are a good team, always well coached and every time we play them the games are always close. We are looking forward to welcoming the Panthers to Cork and it’s going to be a tough, hard hitting game of playoff football. We have been practising well and we will be doing our best to get a result and to continue to defend our title.”

A historic season for the South Dublin Panthers as they reach the Shamrock Bowl semi finals for the first time in their history. The Panthers started the season well, as they were sitting with four wins and one loss after five games but have been struggling recently, recording three defeats in a row – most recently a 7-10 loss to the Vikings. Panthers head coach Steve Mack knows his team must find the form they had earlier in the season in order to book their place in Shamrock Bowl XXXIII “Looking forward to the game. Obviously very happy to be at this stage of the season considering how close and unpredictable the regular season was. That being said, we didn’t come this far to only come this far and we know Cork are a very tough team but we’re confident in ourselves and our preparation. Should be an exciting game.”

Location: Presentation Brothers College Sports Grounds, Cork

Kick-off: 2pm

Facebook: Cork Admirals
Facebook: South Dublin Panthers

Week 18: SBC Game Previews

It’s the final weekend of regular season football in Ireland for 2019, with all eight SBC teams in action. The Cork Admirals have secured top spot whilst the Belfast Trojans have secured second, so they will host either UCD or the South Dublin Panthers at home in the playoffs – results from this Sunday will decide who plays who (check out our SBC Playoff Scenario post to find out more).

Results in the last two weeks have blown the relegation battle wide open, as the bottom four teams in the table all risk falling to IAFL 1 in 2020. The UL Vikings sit bottom, level on points (3) with the Belfast Knights, whilst the West Dublin Rhinos and Dublin Rebels sit just above them with 4 points apiece. What makes it even more interesting is that no two teams in the top four plays each other, and no two teams in the bottom four plays each other this Sunday.

Belfast Trojans (2nd, 5-1-1) @ Belfast Knights (7th, 1-5-1)

The first fixture that both teams look for when the schedule is released – the Belfast derby. The Trojans have enjoyed a good season so far, most recently recording an 8-0 win against the Rebels. At the opposite end of the table, the Knights have not been so fortunate and are in danger of being relegated, however a well-earned draw on a long road trip to the unbeaten Admirals gives them hope.

A very short road game to finish the regular season for the Trojans, who cannot gain or lose a position in the league table. With a home playoff game already in the bag, Trojans head coach James McKelvey will use this as an opportunity to use his extended squad “This Sunday will be our last regular season game and whilst there isn’t anything on the line for us, it will be a good opportunity to get ready for our semi-final and try some new things out.”

Whilst not favourites to go down, the Knights are very much at risk. Should the Vikings achieve a tie or win and the Knights lose, then it’s the Knights who go down. Knight’s president Kris McCombe is looking his team to decide their own fate by getting the win on Sunday “This is a game we’ve really been looking forward to. The guys are fired up for this Sunday and will be leaving all they have on the field. The draw a fortnight ago against Cork has given us some good momentum that we are looking to take advantage of in this game. The Battle of Belfast is always a good fight and will be well worth the watch.”

Location: Shaws Bridge Sports Complex, Belfast

Kick Off: 2pm

Facebook: Belfast Knights

UL Vikings (8th, 2-5) @ South Dublin Panthers (4th, 4-3)

It’s a tough ask for the Vikings, who realistically must win this game to stand a chance of SBC survival. It will be no easy task as they take to the road to face the Panthers, who have had good season to date, having already locked in their playoff spot. They cannot however secure a home playoff game, so they will have to travel to either the Admirals or Trojans on 21st July.

The Vikings have found some form late in the season, winning their last two games which have both been on the road. Last time out, they beat the West Dublin Rhinos 30-0 in a comprehensive victory. Vikings president Conor Whelan will be hoping his team can continue this run and get the win they desperately need “We have the momentum we’ve been looking for all season, we’re in the position we’re in by our own doing and we can only get out of it by our own doing. So it’s really all or nothing for us this weekend.”

The Panthers will be looking to get back to winning ways following defeats in their last two games. A late comeback fell short as they were beaten 27-30 by UCD two weeks ago. Even with their playoff spot confirmed, Panthers head coach Steve Mack will want the win to build on for the upcoming playoff run “Looking forward to a tough battle as ever with UL. They’re really coming on strong at the end of the year and we know we’ll have to play well to come out on top. We know we need a strong performance to close the regular season and everyone is very much focused on delivering that.”

Location: Westmanstown Sports Centre, Dublin

Kick Off: 2pm

 

UCD (3rd, 4-2-1) @ Dublin Rebels (5th, 2-5)

It’s the second derby of the day as the students of UCD make the short journey to take on the Rebels in an all Dublin affair. UCD are playoff bound and will have to travel to either the Admirals or Trojans in their hunt for a Shamrock Bowl appearance. The Rebels will need at least a point to guarantee their survival, however they are least favourites to be relegated as they sit top of the bottom half of the table.

Yet another successful year for UCD, who have proven to be effective on the road, winning two and drawing one of their three road games. UCD secretary Thomas Fitzgerald is confident his team can get the result here and cause reason for concern to either the Admirals or the Trojans “We’re looking forward to our last game of the regular season versus the Rebels and we are looking to secure the win to gain momentum going into the playoffs. We saw that it was a close game in Belfast last Sunday and even though the weather played a part, we can’t overlook the Rebels defense.”

It’s been a difficult second half of the season for the Rebels, winning only one of their three most recent games. The Rebels are relegation threatened but it is unlikely that they will go down regardless of the result on Sunday. A close game in Belfast last time out for the Rebels, who were beat by the Trojans 8-0. Not the result they were looking but shows that they are certainly competitive and will look to win this game to ready themselves for a Shamrock Bowl run in 2020.

Location: ALSAA Sports Centre, Dublin

Kick Off: 2pm

West Dublin Rhinos (6th, 2-5) @ Cork Admirals (1st, 6-0-1)

See Week 18: Cork Admirals Family Fun Day

Week 18: Cork Admirals Family Fun Day

West Dublin Rhinos (2-5) @ Cork Admirals (6-0-1)

We start this week’s previews of the final SBC regular season games with a big day planned in Cork as the West Dublin Rhinos take on the Cork Admirals for the East Village Bowl. The Admirals Family Fun Day is shaping up to be a great day out for all the family with bouncy castles, face painting, dancers from the Montfort College of Performing Arts, amazing food vendors in the tailgate section and many more attractions on the day.

At the centre of it all is the clash between table toppers Cork Admirals and relegation threatened West Dublin Rhinos. The Admirals had a tricky game last time out against the Knights as the weather played havoc for both offenses, with the game finishing in a 0-0 draw. The Rhinos are looking to bounce back from a 30-0 defeat last week against the Vikings and earn at least one point to secure their SBC playing status in 2020.

A very disappointing performance at home last week saw the Rhinos being brought right into the relegation mix. Sunday will be a tough ask for the West Dublin side but the team will be extra motivated to secure their SBC spot for next year coupled with trying to add some silverware to their season. Rhinos head coach Barry Bolton is confident his side can cause an upset “Tough loss last Sunday against an impressive Vikings squad on the road. But we’ve picked ourselves up and are looking forward to the challenge that travelling to take on the Admirals in Cork brings. Nobody has managed to come away a win against Cork in a full year now but it’s the last game of the year Brent, can’t hold anything back now.”

The Admirals clinched top spot in the SBC two weeks ago as they got the point they needed. Having already secured a home playoff game, the Admirals coaching staff will want to be cautious of avoiding injuries in this game before the playoff run, but will also want to ensure they remain unbeaten and keep the East Village Bowl at home. Admirals defensive co-ordinator Brendan Kelleher is excited to have his team play in front of an expected large crowd “We are really looking forward to the game on Sunday. Every year we put on an event close to 4th July to promote the game in Cork. This year the interest seems to be bigger than ever. We are expecting the Rhinos to give us a tough challenge and we certainly won’t be looking past this weekend. We are aiming to continue to execute and perform at the levels we are capable of and definitely to continue to improve with the playoffs just around the corner.”

The family fun day promises to be bigger and better than last year so if you are in the area, don’t miss out! Admission is €5 for adults with kids under 12 FREE. All attractions are FREE of charge once inside.

Location: Cork Institute of Technology

Gates Open: 12:00

Kick Off: 14:00

Latest News & Details: Admirals Facebook Event

SBC 2019 Playoff Picture

SBC 2019 has its four playoff bound teams (with current seeding):

  • The Cork Admiral – 1st seed
  • The Belfast Trojans – 2nd seed
  • UCD American Football – 3rd seed
  • The South Dublin Panthers – 4th seed

All four teams still have one regular season game to play this Sunday and all four games are against another team in the league. This makes the number of possible final SBC playoff scenarios much bigger than its sister leagues IAFL1 and IAFL2 who had nine a piece. All in all, there are eighty-one — yes 81!! — possible scenarios. However, you do not need to be a math whiz to figure out all the possible final outcomes. Here is why.

Now, before we get to the scenarios here are a few key facts:

  • Admirals beat Trojans on May 11th
  • Trojans beat UCD on June 16th
  • UCD beat Panthers on June 23rd

The standings as of last weekend are:

The Admirals have already locked in their playoff berth and home game in Cork, so even a loss would not change their position. Cork Admirals won the league and are comfortably set for a very advantageous home game.

Trojans currently sit at 2nd with 11 points. If they were to lose their game and UCD were to win theirs, Trojans would still be at 2nd after the tie breaker (head to head win). Furthermore, there are no real scenarios where the Trojans could take 1st seed and even less scenarios they would go lower than 2nd. There is a very strong chance the Trojans will host their playoff game in Deramore Park. 

Panthers currently have 8 points, a win would give them 10 points. If UCD were to lose their games then Panthers would overtake UCD to 3rd. In all cases, the Panthers can only reach 3rd seed and would have to travel for their playoff game. And so are UCD at 3rd or 4th.

All things considered, there are only two strong possible outcomes and two very good sets of playoff games not to miss on the 21st of July:

  • Admirals 1st v 4th Panthers and Trojans 2nd v 3rd UCD
  • Admirals 1st v 4th UCD and Trojans 2nd v 3rd Panthers.
You can find the full chart of scenarios below.
 
By no means if you find another possible outcome please let us know. 

Over and out!
 

Week 17: SBC Game Previews

It’s the penultimate weekend of the SBC season, which sees two important games in terms of playoff and relegation battles. All teams will be looking for a win this week, to carry into the final games next Sunday.

Dublin Rebels (2-4) @ Belfast Trojans (4-1-1)

Two teams well known to each other will once again go head to head this Sunday as the Dublin Rebels travel north to take on the Belfast Trojans. It has not been the season the Rebels were expecting, as the 10 time champions will not feature in the playoffs this year. The Trojans however are shaping up nicely for the last run in, sitting in second place with their playoff spot already confirmed.

It’s been a disappointing season for the Rebels given their long and triumphant history. The Rebels travelled to Cork in their most recent game to take on the Admirals, and fell to a 14-28 defeat. With playoffs now out of reach, the Rebels will be looking for two wins in their last two games to build on for the 2020 season. In 2018, the Rebels and Trojans met twice – once during the regular season where the Trojans won 21-14 then again in the playoffs where the Rebels beat the Trojans 30-26 to reach Shamrock Bowl XXXII.

The Trojans will be looking for some consistency as they count down the weeks to the playoffs. The year started well with back to back road wins before falling to a loss and a draw at home. They have won their last two games, including an impressive 32-12 win most recently on the road to UCD, but Trojans head coach James McKelvey isn’t looking any further than the task on hand on Sunday “I’ve been playing the Rebels for about 15 years and I expect this game to be no different than the rest – a tough physical encounter where the team that makes the fewest mistakes will come out on top.”

Location: Harlequins RFC, Belfast

Kick Off: 2pm

Facebook: Belfast Trojans

 

UL Vikings (1-5) @ West Dublin Rhinos (2-4)

A crucial game for both teams, who are fighting to be competing in the SBC next year. The Rhinos will confirm their SBC status for 2020 with a win or a tie in this game, however a loss would bring them right into the relegation mix and give the Vikings a much needed boost to their survival hopes. These teams last met in April of this year in Limerick, where the Rhinos returned home as 17-16 victors.

The Vikings sit bottom of the table, two points below the Knights who earned a vital draw against the Admirals last week. The Vikings will essentially need two wins in two weeks to stand a chance, but Vikings committee member Conor Whelan is feeling positive “This season has been a season of fine margins for us. We’ve been competitive in almost all of our games this season. Our last day out against the Knights is hopefully a turning point for us so we’ll look to tip the scales this Sunday against the Rhinos after losing out to them on the narrowest of margins back in April and keep ourselves competitive for SBC football.”

A fairly positive return for the Rhinos to the SBC, the step up is never easy but they have certainly been competitive throughout the year. Rhinos head coach Barry Bolton will be looking to secure their SBC status on Sunday and start to think about preparations for 2020 “This is a huge game for us. When we played the Vikings in Limerick we came away with a win by a single point. Though we’re at home this time, arguably the stakes are higher for both teams. A win for us secures SBC football in 2020 with a game to spare. A win for the Vikings takes them off the bottom of the table. There wasn’t much between us last go around, so I expect another slobber knocker of a game.”

Location: Castleknock College, Dublin

Kick Off: 2pm

Week 16: SBC Game Previews

The regular season of top flight Irish American football is nearing an end, with playoff spots and home semi-finals up for grabs at the top of the table and a relegation battle at the bottom. There will be eight SBC games in the next three weekends, with each team playing two games each, so a busy end to the regular season for all!

Belfast Knights (1-5) @ Cork Admirals (6-0)

A hugely important game for both teams, but for different reasons. The Knights are currently bottom of the table following their defeat to the Vikings last week and are badly in need of a win to boost their chances of SBC survival. This will be no easy task as they take on the unbeaten Admirals, who can win the league on Sunday with a game to spare.

The Knights face a 528 mile round trip to Cork as they head towards the end of a frustrating season. It started well with a victory against old foes Dublin Rebels but it has been a struggle ever since as Knights head coach Adam Devenney explains “We haven’t had the season we had expected. With injuries and unforeseen circumstances we have a depleted squad but we will travel strong and give it everything we have. The players haven’t given up on the coaches and the coaches certainly haven’t given up on the players so we are looking forward to it.”

As the saying goes ‘defense wins championships’ and the Admirals defense have definitely established themselves as number one in the league this season, allowing an average of only 9 points scored against them a game. Despite the substantial positional league gap, Admirals head coach Alan Lomasney knows this game isn’t a given “The Knights are a tough, hard hitting team that are always well coached. This is the first time we will face them since we came back to the SBC & we are expecting a strong team to make the journey from Belfast to Cork. From our own point of view, we have been practising well, we are going to keep working hard & are hoping to extend our good run of results. It’s going to be a good game of football.”

Location: Presentation Brothers College Sports Grounds, Cork

Kick Off: 2pm

Facebook: Cork Admirals

 

South Dublin Panthers (4-2) @ UCD (3-2-1)

Third versus fourth in the Shamrock Bowl Conference with the Panthers having already secured their playoff place, whilst UCD are the favourites to secure the remaining playoff spot. Both the Panthers and UCD will be looking to bounce back after defeats to the Trojans in their most recent games. This will however be a tricky job for both sets of coaches who will of course be looking for the win but also can’t afford any of their players to sustain an injury before the all-important playoff run.

UCD have an outside chance of a home semi-final but will be more focused on securing their playoff spot first and foremost. UCD club secretary Thomas Fitzgerald knows his team will have a real fight on their hands this Sunday “We’re not going to underestimate the Panthers even though they have had some injuries. We’re hoping to get the win which will put us in a better position for the playoff picture going forward.”

Whilst the Panthers have secured their spot, they are still battling with the Trojans for second place and a home semi-final – a win is needed to keep up the pressure on the Trojans. Panthers head coach Steve McDonnell has his team ready and focused for the clash “The aim in every game has to be to win and although we’ve locked in our playoff spot, we know UCD will come out with everything they’ve got to lock in theirs and avoid an all or nothing game with the Rebels on the last day of the season. Looking forward to a good game and hoping to come away with the win.”

Location: UCD Astro Pitch, Belfield, Dublin

Kick Off: 2pm

IAFA makes Irish Sporting History with First Female Player to Take the Field in a Kitted Game

Morane Senyarich / Photo courtesy of Ian Humes Photography

IAFA history was made last Sunday when the first female player took to the field in a kitted competitive fixture. The IAFA believe that no person should be excluded from participating in sport based on their gender and sought clarification on this matter from IFAF. IFAF have confirmed that gender is irrelevant and a person should be judged on their fitness and ability to participate in the sport by their respective coaches. With that in mind, IAFA welcomes women to take part in all aspects of the sport including kitted football.

Speaking after her first game on Irish soil, West Dublin Rhinos player, Morane Senyarich said, “I started playing American Football only a year ago but when moving to Ireland I could not think of any other sport I wanted to engage in. I feel very grateful that the Irish American Football Association gave me the opportunity to play in official competitions, and that the amazing West Dublin Rhinos welcomed me so warmly as a member of their team. The fact that the Irish American Football League in now mixed is an essential step towards offering both gender an equal chance to fully enjoy this sport. I hope that more women will join and that some day a separate women’s league will be created”.

IAFA would like to formally welcome Morane to our league and we hope that this is a major stepping stone in opening the league up to more female participation.

Interview with UCD Running-back Brett Cole

UCD ran out comfortable winners on Sunday against the University of Limerick Vikings, with a scoreline of 22 points to 12, and it was a young American running back who stole the show.

Brett Cole, who’s originally from Maryland which is located just outside Baltimore, is spending a semester at UCD studying a Business degree. When he arrived in Ireland little did he know that he’s rediscover a love for the game of American Football. Continue reading “Interview with UCD Running-back Brett Cole”