Shamrock Bowl Conference
Craigavon Cowboys 0 – 28 Belfast Trojans
The Belfast Trojans rolled into Craigavon as favourites in their match up against the Cowboys and they duly delivered another win, stacking up on top of their already incredible undefeated run.
The Cowboys didn’t allow the Trojans to have it all their own way, but a solid defensive effort from the reigning champions, especially from the defensive line, yielded a shut out and allowed the offence and a couple of stunning special teams plays to make the difference.
David Colvin, returning after missing the season opener against Carrickfergus and coming off the back of a 2013 campaign that won him the inaugural DC Shamrock Bowl Conference MVP Award, ran in the first touchdown of the day from 50 yards out.
The Trojans then showed the importance of special teams, with two kick returns from two rookies adding up the points, firstly Alan Crawford and then Matt Armstrong running to the house. Successful 2-pts from Neil Montgomery and a James McKelvey pass to David Richardson
McKelvey managed a touchdown pass to Andy Wright before the final whistle to round off the scoring.
The Cowboys have improved this year, that much is clear. Holding the Trojans to 28 points is a good start to a year where they are sure to mix it up in the Shamrock Bowl Conference North. The Trojans meanwhile are continuing their fine form and dispatching teams with precision. They’re odds on favourites for the Bowl again.
Dublin Rebels 14 – 13 UL Vikings
Wow. Just wow. We thought this one would be close but the Rebels took this one out of the hands of the Vikings with just seven seconds left on the clock, scoring the touchdown and then having the guts to go for 2 and complete it to win.
The Vikings have vastly improved upon their performance against Trinity a couple of weeks ago. They more than matched the Dublin side in this game and were defeated in the cruelest of circumstances.
The Vikings looked good in a close game, dominating for periods during the match. Their scores were put on the board by a trio of old boys as Adrian Garvey notched a rushing score and kicked the following PAT before returning quarterback Marc Ashworth hit receiver Sean Goldrick for a deep score. The Rebels blocked the PAT.
The Rebels looked to running back Simon Mackey, who impressed last year, to pound the rock, and the link up between quarterback Andrew Dennehy and tight end Paul Grogan to get the ball moving. It was Mackey that put the Rebels’ points on the board, rushing in two scores, the second with just seconds remaining, before Dennehy found the tight end for the risky, but ultimately winning, 2-pt conversion.
The Vikings host the West Dublin Rhinos this weekend and will be confident of taking a win after a resurgent display where the offence clicked behind Ashworth’s direction and utilising his link with Goldrick and tight end Jake Kelly, who made two catches to bring up a first down on third and long situations. Their D looked stronger too, with defensive end Eoin Whelan and cornerback Joe Corcorran putting in particularly strong displays to keep what is a fine Rebels side to two scores.
The Rebels welcome the Waterford Wolves to Seapoint RFC in a fortnight and will certainly be looking to go 2&0, but in more comfortable circumstances than this.
North Kildare Reapers 13 – 0 Waterford Wolves
The IAFL-1 rivalry reborn in the Shamrock Bowl Conference started as a cagey, defensive battle with neither team wanting to give up points first.
The Wolves were struggling though. Injuries picked up in their opener against the Dublin Dragons were starting to tell and several players were on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Ryan Byrne who was filling in for the injured Eoin Reinhardt. It seemed only a matter of time until the Reapers took advantage.
It was. Strong running from Conor Hendrick put them in position, allowing quarterback Luke Bailey to hit receiver Michael O’Reilly in the back corner of the end zone for 6. The PAT hit the upright and bounced out.
The Wolves had their moments, and with a full squad perhaps this game would have yielded a different ending but the North Kildare outfit pushed their lead in the fourth quarter, with Bailey linking up with Sean Leamy for another score. Jordy Willemse kicked a successful PAT to bring up the final 13-0 scoreline.
The Wolves will be hurting from an 0-2 record in what will be considered to be their “easiest” (read: there are no easy games in SBC) portion of the year. They need to rest up and then hit the training field hard before their next game in Dublin against the Rebels.
The Reapers meanwhile will enjoy their first win of the year but also need to build if they’re to challenge the upper echelons of the SBC in their debut year. It may have been too much of a leap for these promoted teams this year but they’re giving it their all regardless and you can’t ask more than that.
UCD 53 – 0 Cork Admirals
UCD continued their fine start to the IAFL-1 year with a drubbing of the returning Admirals side. The UCD side tore Cork apart, with quarterback Dave Murphy having another great game, passing for three touchdowns and rushing for another himself. He found receivers Paul Geraghty, Samuel Holohan and Steve Culligan for the scores.
But it wasn’t all through the air as running backs Eoin Feely and Conor Hanrahan also found the end zone for scores, and went over 120 yards rushing between them, whilst credit must also be given to UCD’s O-Line, who have still yet to give up a sack on the year.
Safety Michael Ring showed that the defence has got the ability to score two, taking back not one but two picks to the house. Linebackers Larry Doyle, Colin Harper and Darragh Coughlan all asserted themselves on the game, finishing with over 20 tackles between them, with D Captain Doyle racking up 11 of those.
Hanrahan added the first successful PAT in UCD’s history and added four more throughout the game.
Cork gave a great account of themselves but lacked depth. An injury or two in the game, including to their starting quarterback, hurt their chances in this one but if they can regroup and work hard they can still shock this division. It’s not over for them after one game against an SBC-calibre side.
This article has been syndicated from Double Coverage and any opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IAFA. Any references to non-IAFA websites are provided for convenience only and do not in any manner serve as an endorsement of those websites.