The big game over the weekend saw the champions, the Dublin Rebels head up to Belfast to face an ever improving Trojans side in Harlequins Rugby Club on Sunday afternoon.
The Rebels, who were down numbers for the game due to injuries, knew they faced a stiff task against the home side. However, they got off to a quick start
On their first drive, the Rebels moved the chains and if it wasn’t for a dropped catch in the end zone they would have scored. When the Trojans took over it was the Rebels defence who came up big, intercepting a throw from their quarter-back. Rebels quarterback Andy Dennehy threw a 25-yard pass to Jonas Kubis to give them an early 6-0 lead.
Shortly after, Trojans running-back Jonathan Siri ran for 55 yards as he sliced through the Rebels defence like a knife through butter to level the scores.
In the second quarter the Rebels, who were already short on numbers starting the game, lost Conor Ryan after he was helped off the field with what looked like a hamstring injury.
The Rebels had another dropped catch in the end zone before Siri got his second Touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run to give the Trojans a 13-6 lead at half-time. You can watch Siri’s run here;
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The third quarter was all about defence, with both teams defending well, including another interception by the Rebels, when the Trojans were building some more momentum.
However, up stepped the man of the moment Siri again in the fourth quarter, as he ran all of 80 yards for his third Touchdown of the game to put the Trojans in command. The Rebels did manage a Touchdown of their own late on but the hosts held on to win 21-14 to move into 4-2 for the season. We caught up with both Trojans Coach Mark McGrath and Rebels quarterback Andy Dennehy after the game here
UCD continued their superb start to the season as they went 6-0 with a 50-7 win over the Louth Mavericks. The students headed into the game with 2nd string quarterback, and starting wide-receiver, Arun Mooney. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact as had a long completion to his brother Darragh, setting up a goal-line Touchdown pass on only the second play of the game.
On the other end of the Touchdown reception was Paul ‘Money’ Geraghty, the clubs Offensive Coordinator, who was making his return to playing IAFL football for the first time in 3 years.
At the time of his original retirement Paul was the leading scorer in UCD American Football history. He has parlayed that experience into a successful maiden season as Offensive Coordinator this year.
After this, the game went back and forth, with powerful rushing and strong defensive-line play from both teams, ensuring plenty of back and forth action.
UCD’s Brett Cole scored a rushing Touchdown, having to dive out of bounds and tip the ball off the pylon on his way to his 5th rushing TD of the season.
Following a turnover from Louth, Tom Donovan rejoined the game at quarterback and contributed immediately with a 60 yard Touchdown run, set up by some excellent fake running by UCD’s running- back Conor ‘Hoglet’ Hanrahan.
The lead was further stretched by Michael Sykes, capitalising on a move to Strong Safety with his first interception for a touchdown on the season.
Louth then replied in kind, pushing the ball all the way downfield behind some canny roll-out passes and hard running to score a Touchdown of their own on the ground.
Another rushing score from Donovan, and a 35 yard Touchdown pass to Robert Brown, UCD’s rookie wide-receiver, who is leading with 3 Touchdowns so far this year.
Following a 2pt rushing conversion by debutant running-back Stephen Herlihy, Donovan’s day was done, with the quarterback reins handed back to Arun Mooney to finish the game.
Mooney again found Geraghty on another Touchdown pass to seal the win, with a 2pt conversion pass to brother Darragh to bring the final score to 50-7 UCD.
Elsewhere the Belfast Knights moved onto 5-1 for the season with 37-0 crushing of the University of Limerick Vikings. Alastair Nixon had two rushing Touchdowns for the Knights, who also had Touchdowns for Marty Caskey and Jordan Clinton, both from passes by quarterback Josh Davis. Caskey also had a good day with the boot, scoring 4 PATs and a field-goal in the victory.
The Shamrock Bowl Conference (SBC) North is an extremely tight affair with UCD, the Trojans and the Knights all battling it out for playoff spots.
Unfortunately Trinity College Dublin failed to fulfil their fixture with the Cork Admirals and the Admirals were given a walkover with a scoreline of 30 points to nil.
There was one fixture in IAFL 1 as the West Dublin Rhinos beat the North Dublin Pirates 41-7 to move to 4-2 on the season.
The Rhinos were forced to come from behind after a mistake-riddled opening on offence allowed the Pirates’ a foothold in the game.
That led to Oisin Dowling catching a pass and running 70 yards to put the visitors ahead.
The Rhinos would respond immediately, with Robert Pops leading a strong drive that was run in by quarterback Ethan Foster, with Paul Hosford adding the PAT.
With just 2 minutes of the half left, the Rhinos would go in ahead.
A defensive stand led by Paul Richardson, Nico Marrimpoey and Andy Meehan led to a blocked punt. With the short field, the Rhinos would take advantage with Foster finding Chris Hutchinson for the Touchdown.
After the break, the Rhinos would get into the endzone again, with Paul Hosford catching the pass. That would be added to by an incredible 75-yard run from Foster.
In the fourth, a drive led by two top class catches by MVP Paddy Roche would stall at the 15. It would lead to a Touchdown however, when Foster found Roche on a broken field-goal attempt.
The Rhinos defence would continue to stiffen to the end, with Pat Noonan, Matthew Groves, Adam Skelly and Brian Martin all making plays.
Put in at running-back Richardson made two huge runs near the end, with the second finding paydirt. David Hosford would add the extra this time to cap a 41-7 win for the Rhinos.
Photo Credits: Ian Humes Photography, Terrence McCann Pictures and 2nd Shooter