Category: Bowl Games

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

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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

IAFL 1 Bowl Preview

All to play for this Sunday with the IAFL 1 Bowl and promotion to the Shamrock Bowl Conference at stake as the IAFL 1 top seeds Craigavon Cowboys take on second seeds Westmeath Minotaurs. The game will be played at Navan RFC with live commentary, music, bar, BBQ and an ice cream van for spectators to enjoy and of course, the big game. Admission is free for everyone with the game kicking off at 2pm – not to be missed!

Craigavon Cowboys vs Westmeath Minotaurs

Form favours the Cowboys as they are currently on an eight game winning streak, whilst also carrying the best consistency having lost only one game this year. The Minotaurs had an excellent start to the season, winning six games in a row before losing their last two regular season games. These teams last met only four weeks ago where the Cowboys would return home from Mullingar RFC with a 26-0 win.

This will be the third bowl game for the Cowboys in three years, having lost out to the Mavericks and Rhinos in the previous two years. This has been an improved season for the County Armagh outfit, winning the league this year compared to finishing fifth in the 2018 overall standings. The Cowboys boast the better defense of the two teams, however they are up against the best offense in the league this Sunday. Cowboys head coach Greg Loughran will be hoping third times a charm and that the bowl makes its way back to Craigavon “We have to be confident going into this game but we are also well aware that nothing is guaranteed and that we have to perform at our best to come away with the win. We don’t have a right to the Bowl, it has to be earned and I’m pretty sure that the Minotaurs will be thinking along the same lines.”

The Minotaurs will contest their first ever bowl game this Sunday, following a stellar season so far. Changes off the pitch within the club set the foundations for the players to excel this year, which saw them improve on their fourth place finish in 2018 to second place in 2019. A tricky encounter with the Wexford Eagles two weeks ago, which had a 14-14 score line at half time, saw the team in purple emerge as 27-22 victors. Minotaurs head coach Conor Brennan was pleased with his team’s performance in the semi-final and has his team ready to try and bring home their first bowl “We’re really looking forward to the final. Obviously we didn’t like how the regular season ended as we felt that performance wasn’t what we were capable of. The semi-final result saw our big guns return to action and it was a much improved performance. We had a light session Sunday, just walking through plays and adjustments. I feel everyone is very excited but also relaxed at the same time. We’ve been around for eight or nine years at this stage and have had very mixed results over the years. We’ve gone 0-8, had some good years and some mediocre ones. Now we’re coming off back to back 6-2 seasons and playoff football so we’re just going to enjoy this occasion. That would be my message to the lads. We’ll aim to put in our best performance of the season and the result will look after itself.”

Location: Navan RFC, County Meath

Kick-off: 2pm

2019 Key Stats
Cowboys
Minotaurs
Regular Season Record
7-1
6-2
Avg Points Scored Per Game
29.4
31.8
Avg Points Conceded Per Game
9.1
11.6
Defensive Shutouts
3
3
Games W/L By 8 or Less Points
1
2
Most Recent Head To Head Results
30 June 2019
Minotaurs 0-26 Cowboys
06 May 2018
Cowboys 13-6 Minotaurs
02 April 2017
Minotaurs 6-31 Cowboys
Facebook: Craigavon Cowboys
Facebook: Westmeath Minotaurs

IAFL 1 Bowl: Craigavon Cowboys

This will be the third IAFL 1 Bowl appearance in three years for the Craigavon Cowboys, who finished top of the league after winning seven games and losing only their season opener. The Cowboys defeated Trinity College Dublin 27-19 in the semi-final to secure their spot at the IAFL 1 Bowl. Their defense finished as second best in the league, having only conceded an average of 7.9 points a game whilst the offense ended third best in the league scoring 238 points in eight games. We chatted with Cowboys president Jo Buchanan about the season so far and Sundays crunch game:

A tricky start to the season saw the Cowboys lose their only game this year to Trinity, before going on to win their next seven games and finishing top of IAFL 1. How much has the team improved from that first game to now?

“There has been a lot of changes throughout the season, particularly with new guys starting and old faces returning, which have been great additions to an already solid squad. We have played well in all three phases of the game and everyone has really come together week in week out to improve as a unit. Great coaches help too, we learned a lot about how we play in that Trinity game which let us make adjustments where needed. The team as a whole has improved massively since then.”

The Cowboys ran out 27-19 winners against Trinity in the semi-final, reaching the Bowl game as well as avenging their early season loss. What did you think of your team’s performance in that match?

“We were in first gear the whole first half. The heat was difficult to adapt to and we just weren’t clicking. We regrouped at half time and really stepped up our performance in the second half, which inevitably became too much for Trinity’s depleted squad. Fair play to them for travelling for such low numbers and putting in the performance they did. We have been working hard to ensure we start the bowl game playing like where we left off with Trinity.”

The Cowboys last played the Westmeath Minotaurs in June where their defense dominated, forcing a shutout against the Minotaurs high scoring offense. What is the game plan going into the Bowl game?

“We treat offense, defense and special teams equally as they are all just as important as each other. We have seen what the Minotaurs have but they were missing some players in the previous game, so we know this will be a completely different game. We will be focusing on us, our discipline and playing smash mouth Cowboys football.”

Finally, what advice would you like to give to your team before the big game on Sunday?

“It is a big occasion so soak it all in. Focus on your job and support your team mates. Finally and most importantly, enjoy it!”

Coaching/Volunteer Staff

Head Coach
Greg Loughran
Offensive Coordinator
Christian Cowan
Defensive Coordinator
Mark Beattie
Media Team
Ben Fallon, Kerry Richards, Liam Grimley, Simon Richards

Playing Squad

Number Name Position
01
Neil Maxwell
WR
05
Stephen Finnegan
DB
07
Peter Loughran
QB
09
Luis Alberto
WR
10
David McMichael
DB
13
Padraig Dynes
DB
14
Anton Nulty
WR
15
Christian Cowan
WR
22
Jo Buchanan
LB/RB
23
Lawrence Ruddock
DB
26
Stephen Brennan
RB/K
30
Christopher McLaughlin
DB
32
Gareth McShane
LB
34
John Murray
LB
36
Matthew Alexander
DB
44
Shayne Mone
LB
54
Conor Fearon
OL
56
Scott Buchanan
OL
57
James Loughran
OL
59
Criostoir Lewsley
LB
61
Jonny Magee
OL
63
Manny Bell
OL
77
Peadar McMahon
OL
81
Gavin McConnell
DB
83
Matthew Kelly
WR
84
Modestas Gargasas
DL
87
Peter Lundy
TE
88
Dylan Flanagan
RB
89
Conrad Smith
TE
90
Jason Duddy
DL
92
Joe Marley
DL
96
Micheal McGregor
TE
99
Anthony McArdle
DL

IAFL 1 Bowl: Westmeath Minotaurs

The Westmeath Minotaurs will enter their first IAFL 1 Bowl this Sunday, following an excellent regular season recording six wins and two losses. This was followed by a hard fought 27-22 win over the Wexford Eagles in the semi-final. The Minotaurs offense stood tall above the rest of the league scoring an average of 32.5 points per game during the regular season whilst the defense recorded three shut outs. We spoke with Minotaurs chairman Adam Ó Corcráin to get his thoughts on the season and the Bowl game:

A scintillating start to the season saw the Minotaurs win six games in a row, including three shutouts, before finishing the regular season with two losses and a second place finish in the league. What was the key to such an impressive season?

“Recruitment was key at the start of the season. We recruited eight new players both young and old who added greatly to our squad. Depth allowed us to keep guys in one position and gave them an opportunity to focus solely on that position. Moving Joe Kinahan from RB/SS to QB has helped us greatly. He has a firm grip of our offense and despite being only 20, he has shown great composure and maturity in the position. The final piece to the puzzle was handing our defence over to previous Head Coach Paddy Lally. Paddy put systems in place that allowed our defensive players to excel in their positions.”

The Minotaurs overcame the Eagles in the semi-final through a 27-22 win, thus completing the double over the Eagles this year. What did you think of your team’s performance in that match?

“We were extremely happy with our performance against a very strong Wexford outfit. We never have an easy game against them so to score 27 points on them in a playoff game was a feat in itself. It helped also that we were at close to full strength with players coming back from injury and holidays such as our captain and anchor of our offensive line JO Coyne. That win has given us great momentum going into the final.”

The IAFL 1 Bowl will see the Minotaurs take on the Craigavon Cowboys. Having already played them this season, what are your expectations for the game and how have you been preparing?

“Looking back on past results, we’ve never beaten the Cowboys but that won’t deter us in the slightest. We expect an extremely tough game against such an experienced team and as we all know anything can happen in a final. We know that we will be at full strength so we’ve tweaked what we’ve needed to tweak so it’s a matter of just bring on the final at this stage.”

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

“We’ve learned from previous play-off experience not to focus ourselves too much and to be too serious. Being relaxed and going out to have fun is key. Enjoy the scores, enjoy the hits, and enjoy the atmosphere. Sport is about having fun above all else.”

Coaching Staff
Head Coach
Conor Brennan
Offensive Coordinator
Bill Dougherty
Defensive Coordinator
Paddy Lally
Assistant Coach
Adam Ó Corcráin
Playing Squad
Number Name Position
05
Niall King
DE/P
07
Dermot Corroon
DB
11
Cormac Fagan
WR
13
Jack Lynch
WR
14
Niall Folan
DB
15
Dean Core
DB
16
Jordon Lacey
DB
19
Shaun Dalton
WR
20
Jason Owens
DB
23
Colm Sammon
DB
24
Andrew Patton
RB
27
Joe Kinahan
QB
28
Jay Bruton
RB/K
32
Rafael Monteiro
RB/LB
33
David Walsh
WR
34
Padraic Cunningham
DB
45
Niall Corcoran
DE
48
Steven Nally
LB
50
Jayo McBride
LB
52
Darren Sammon
LB
56
Kevin Monaghan
OL
63
Sean McCormack
OL
66
Liam Dougherty
OL
69
Kevin Tempany
DT
70
Ros McAdden
OL
72
Colin Regan
OL
73
JO Coyne
OL
76
Dean Johnston
OL/DT
77
Stephen Goonery
OL
82
Mark Mulvaney
DB
86
Conor Doughtery
TE
92
Luca Valentini
DT
94
Gordon Murphy
DT

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