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
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