Category: Bowl Games

IAFL 2 Bowl Preview

What a game we have in store this Sunday as the CIll Dara Crusaders take on the Meath Bulldogs at Newbridge College Kildare for the IAFL 2 Bowl. These teams have clashed twice already this season, with each side coming out with one win apiece so this doubles up as a series decider!

Cill Dara Crusaders vs Meath Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have finished the regular season strong with six wins in a row, whilst the Crusaders have been the most consistent, winning seven of their eight regular season games. The Crusaders have been more explosive on offense, scoring 214 points however they come up against the Bulldogs number one rated defense, who have only allowed 58 points this season. When these teams first met in April, the Crusaders left Athboy RFC victorious following a 21-6 win. The tide would turn in May when it was the Bulldogs turn to cause an upset and beat the Crusaders on their home turf 33-12.

Home advantage will certainly have a part to play this Sunday, but the Crusaders are under no illusion they will need to be at their best to be able to lift the Bowl. It has been an up and down few years for the Kildare outfit, but this season shows what dedication and perseverance can achieve. Crusaders head coach Ken Farrell has his team ready for their biggest game of the year “This has the potential to be an epic battle or blow out for either team as it will come down to whoever can keep their heads and not let the enormity of the fact that this is all or nothing. Nobody wants to take home silver. The Bulldogs had the upper hand in the last game so we are ready to return that favour. Being an ex-bulldog, I know they are a great bunch of lads that fight to the end and will make this a great game. But the Crusaders are more than a team, we are family and hungry to prove to ourselves that being league champions is hopefully only the first step.”

The last IAFL 2 Bowl champions (2017) return to the main stage in an attempt to reclaim their Bowl. A testing start to the season was quickly put aside as the Bulldogs ran wild, scoring 157 points as well as recording two shut outs in their most recent six wins. Bulldogs head coach Mike Zito has enjoyed an excellent first year at the helm so far, but knows that his side will have to be up to the challenge to cap off the season with the IAFL 2 Bowl “The 2019 Bulldogs season has been quite a ride, we didn’t start the way we wanted to. It took a couple of weeks for the team and myself to get to know each other. With that being said, I couldn’t be prouder of this team and what we have put out on the football field. We got better every week, and the hard work has lead us to a shot at the title. We will be ready to play on the 14th, and the expectation is to leave it all on the pitch and see what happens.”

Location: Newbridge College, Kildare

Kick Off: 2pm

Facebook: Cill Dara Crusaders
Facebook: Meath Bulldogs

IAFL 2 Bowl: Cill Dara Crusaders

It has been the season the Cill Dara Crusaders where hoping for, almost going unbeaten (won seven, lost one) on their way to the IAFL 2 Bowl. Of those seven wins, the defense recorded four shutouts finishing second best rated in the league. It is the offense however that has stood out, finishing as the best in the league with an average of 27 points scored per game. Their only loss of the year came via a 12-33 home defeat to fellow bowl competitors Meath Bulldogs. The league champions will be hoping to do the league and bowl double on home turf this Sunday. We spoke with Crusaders chairman Robbie Tighe to get his thoughts on the game:

An excellent season for the Crusaders which saw them finish top of the IAFL 2 table and with the most points scored. What has been the key to your success this year?

“Definitely communication and trust in each of the players to do their role. Keeping a cool head and listen to the advice from the head coach.”

The Crusaders have already played the Bulldogs twice this year, with each team winning one apiece. What have you been focusing on in training to overcome the Bulldogs?

“The Bulldogs are a strong powerful team but I can’t be giving away secrets now! We have a few plays but with the two teams being 50/50 it’s going to be a cracker of a game.”

By winning the league, the Crusaders get home field advantage in the bowl game. How important will this be to your team on Sunday?

“It’s incredibly important to us as a team and as a community in the area. We’re looking forward to the support on the day and hopefully come away with the win.”

Finally, what advice would you like to give to your team for the bowl game?

“Nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said to the team. Keep a cool head, play hard and fair and respect your opponents. It’s been an honour to play by your side.”


Head Coach
Ken Farrell
Number Name Position
01
Jordan Farrell
QB
03
Dominik Pindi
RB
05
Eoin Whelan
WR
06
Senan Keane
K
09
Kyle Dooley
LB
10
Gavin Coyne
CB
13
Matthew O'Meara
TE
14 Finbar Downes
WR
16
Nathan Purcell
RB
24
Mike O'Connell
LB
33
Darragh Moran
LB
36
Ken Dooley
DL
42
Brian O Donnell
S
55
Thomas Brocklebank
DL
58
Oisin Marron
LB
59
Kenneth Byrne
OL
62
Deco Gill
OL
65
Robbie Tighe
OL
66
Patrick Travis
OL
69
Mark Lennon
OL
70
Mark Carey
OL
73
Killian Cullen
OL
78
Dan O Neill
DL
80
James Delaney
WR
81
Tommy Oyewo
WR
83
Jonny Keogh
DL
85
Kealan Farrell
WR
89
Jeff Ganly
CB
92
Bob Curran
DL
96
Mark O'Connell
S
99
Craig Dooley
LB

IAFL 2 Bowl: Meath Bulldogs

The Meath Bulldogs have had an impressive season thus far, winning six, drawing one and losing one on their way to the IAFL 2 Bowl. They have won their most recent six games, including a 33-12 win against fellow bowl competitors Cill Dara Crusaders. This saw the Bulldogs finish second in the league table, with the best defense in the league (only 58 points conceded in 8 games). We chatted with Bulldogs chairman Adam Keating to get his thoughts before Sundays big game:

It was a tricky start to the season for the Bulldogs, a 0-0 draw with the Pirates and a 6-21 loss to fellow bowl competitors the Crusaders in your first two games, what was the key to turning around your season?

“With a new head coach in Mike Zito coming into the team, we knew that it would take time for the new plans and structures to come to fruition but thankfully everyone pulled together quickly and everything started to click once our game against the Causeway Giants came around.”

The Bulldogs have now won six in a row and carry the best form into the bowl game. Which of those six wins was the one that you knew you had a serious shot of reaching the bowl game?

“The team took every game one at a time. The division was extremely close coming into the final round of games with three teams still in contention for a playoff spot so as cliche as it may sound, we weren’t sure until the clock reached 0 in our final home game of the season.”

The Bulldogs defense is the best in the league in terms of allowing the least points scored against, including two shutouts in your most recent games. Does the team focus more on defense than any other area?

“We don’t tend to focus on any area more so than others. Every player on the team has trained in a variety of roles and as a result we have many players who can step up when required. The Bulldogs have always been known for having a strong defense and this year has been no different.”

Finally, what advice would you like to give to your team for the bowl game?

“My advice for the final is the same as every other game – go out and focus on your match-up, win your match-up and the result will follow.”


Head Coach
Mike Zito
Number Name Position
09
Darragh Hogan
WR
12
Adam Keating
QB
20
Andy Lynch
CB
21
Conor Hogan
SS
22
Jonathan Mathon
FB/OLB
23
Cian Minnock
RB
24
Sean Lawlor
FS
27 Gytis Stankevicius
CB
30
William Sebati
OLB
35
Brian Gill
RB
52
Ger O’Brien
MLB
54
Jake Dunne
T/DT
55
Dominic Collins
G/DE
56
Mike Hobbs
DT
66
Michael Cunningham
T
69
Keith Horan
C
80
Shane McGill
TE
81
Jordan Reynolds
WR
83
Rory Smith
TE/OLB
88
Matthew Clarke
WR
92
Dermot McLoughlin
DE
Unavailable
Adam Pyne
Mark McCabe
William Donohoe