TCD @ UCD Season Opener Preview

Sun March 6th at 1pm sees the 2011 IAFL season kick off with an eagerly anticipated college rivalry,or Colours game.

Trinity College Dublin,the 2010 CUSAI College Champions, travel to Belfield to face a UCD team out to start the season with a big win.

UCD head into the 2011 season with only 10 returning players from the 2010 season. With a mix of experienced recruits and rookie recruits from this years recruitment drive, Coach Collins looks to improve on last years 2-6 record. Some of his Key returnees include Offensive Linemen Paddy Buttner and Niall Daniell, Quarterback Colin O’Meara who had an excellent first year as a rookie and is looking forward to leading UCD’s Offense for the 2011 season. In the backfield with O’Meara is 2nd year Runningback Dave Murphy, Murphy twilighted as a RB and returner last year but was primarily a DB. With Larry Doyle gone Murphy steps up at number one. Safety Kevin McFadden and second year man Nick Hall at Linebacker look to lead the defensive pack with the help of other key players like CB Brian Leonard, LB Vitaly Levdonski and LB Richie Whelan.

Trinity have come into the season off the back of prestigious victory over the University of Limerick Vikings in the 2010 Intervarsities, and hope to build on that great performance. Coach Darrin O’Toole has worked diligently this off season to build a program based on NCAA D1 powerhouse teams. Coach O’Toole travelled to Dallas, Texas to be a keynote speaker at the AFCA convention in January,but either side of that date has been busy assembling a coaching staff of legends. Ex Dublin Tornado Danny O’Callaghan joins the team as Defensive Coordinator, with fellow ex Tornadoes Dave Mc Grath and Steve Collins joining him at Trinity,as Special Teams Coach and Defensive Line Coach respectively. Ex Rebel legend Ken Hudson joins the team as Defensive Backs Coach. On the offensive side of the ball ex DCU Saint John Heffernan has joined the staff as Wide Receivers Coach. Overall,Coach O’Toole has built a juggernaut of a coaching staff, but ultimately it will be the students who will decide the contest this sunday.

Sophomore Texan QB Alex Canepa takes the reins of Coach O’Toole’s Run and Shoot inspired offense. Rookie sensation Rob McDowell returns to continue shattering IAFL records with big runs. Wide Receiver David Corcoran enters his senior year on the back of a disappointing campaign last year,and has worked hard to ensure a big improvement. Tight End Andrew Harvey will see plenty of the ball as will Matt Sheehan. Rookies Daniel Murphy and Andrew Walsh will also see time at receiver,and can expect the ball will come their way frequently over the course of the season.Promising receiver Craig Marron is injured for the UCD so Lorcan Smullen will seize the opportunity.

On the Offensive Line, Bashar Hassani has moved to Center, and is joined by David Kane(returning from a year long injury),Neale Young, Tom Gonzalez and Finlay Dargan amongst others who will fight for starting spots.

Defensively Trinity has seen a huge upgrade in personnel. Junior MLB Stephen “Red” Carton made a big impression in the College Championship game, but will find it hard to repeat that performance against UCD. Leadership will also be provided by Texas A&M Postgrad LB Hunter Inman and Zaid Foty will look to cause UCD problems alongside DE Yousef Abdul Wahab.Cornerbacks Brian O’Driscoll,Fionn Chen and Brendan O’Sullivan all have an eye for the ball.

Sunday promises to be an exciting rivalry game,with the victors gaining an early advantage in the hunt for the Shamrock Bowl. Kickoff is 1pm at UCD and admission is free.