Category: Interviews

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: 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