The Shamrock Bowl Conference teams had a well deserved week off this weekend, as the IAFL 1 took centre stage, as both the Wexford Eagles and the Donegal/Derry Vipers took control in their respective conferences.
The Eagles, top of the Southern Conference standings, headed into their game in Malahide against the North Dublin Pirates on a 4-game winning steak, while in the Northern Conference the Vipers were looking to make it three wins in a row against the Craigavon Cowboys.
Wexford ended up very comfortable 58-7 winners over the Pirates, dominating from the outset. Quarter-back Sam Doran ran in three Touchdowns, wide receiver Trevor Smith scored one, while their outstanding running back Darren Greene crossed the goal-line on four occasions. Greene also doubled as the teams kicker, scoring five conversions, and also scored a 2-point conversion in a memorable afternoon.
The Eagles were dominant in all phases of the game and were leading 28-0 at the end of the first quarter of play.
Defensively the Eagles defence was utterly dominant. Their safety Terry Carey claimed two interceptions on the day, while Henry Foxton and Tony Skranc each got the first “picks” of their Eagles careers. Up front, Daniel Noctor, Dylan Gregan, Rob Farrell and Krzysztof Gajek continuously cut off the running avenues through the middle.
It’s been a phenomenal season so far for the Eagles, as they’ve now scored a whopping 197 points, whilst only conceding 27. They now sit 5-0 on the season and will head to the Naas Sports Centre on June 17th to face the Cill Dara Crusaders.
In the Northern Conference, the Donegal/Derry Vipers found themselves in control from the very first drive against the Cowboys of Craigavon. Their Quarter-back Danny Mullan scored on a running play go set the Vipers on their way to a 29-6 victory.
The Vipers were tremendous defensively on the day, with Ryan Brolly claiming four defensive interceptions throughout the game, to deservedly win the games MVP award.
Another one of those interceptions on the day by Daniel Mullan ended up with him taking the ball all the way to the end-zone for a Touchdown. On the extra point try the Vipers lined up for 1 but with a little bit of trickery from the aforementioned Brolly, who threw to a wide open Ruairi Bradley in the end-zone for a 2 point conversion to give the Vipers a 15-0 lead
The Vipers added another Touchdown off a 18 yard pass just before half-time, when Quarter-back Mullan found Bradley with a 20-yard pass, to give themselves a commanding 22-0 lead at the break.
They added to their score midway through the third quarter when Kyle McAneny scoredon a running play, which Gary Melly converted.
The Cowboys did manage a late consolation score, when they scored after a long drive, but it was too little too late as the Vipers ran out 29-6 winners.
In a really tight battle between the Westmeath Minotaurs and the West Dublin Rhinos, it was the Minotaurs who came out on top. The Rhinos came out on the right side of a last minute Field Goal themselves in their last outing, however they were to be on the other end of that scenario this time.
In sweltering heat the Minotaurs struck first when Dermot Corroon threw a Touchdown pass to Jay Burton. Jay also added the extra point to put them 7-0 in front.
The rhinos hit back straight away with a Touchdown from Chris Hutchinson after some strong running on the very next drive to level the scores.
It was very difficult for both sides after that initial scoring burst, especially in the hot conditions.
In the end it all came down to a Field Goal attempt by that man Burton again, and he made no mistake, guiding the ball between the posts to give the Minotaurs the win.
In the battle for the Antrim Festival Challenge Cup the spoils were shared after the game ended 7-7, even though the Razorbacks had a chance to win it at the death, their Field Goal attempt wide of the mark with just seconds remaining.
The Jets had taken the lead early on, but after some great defensive work by Morris it led to a short Touchdown run by Dee Lorimer to level the score. It all meant that the Jets retained the Trophy after winning it last season.
The final game of the weekend saw the Galway Warriors beat the Cill Dara Crusaders 15-0. The Warriors defensive line were on top throughout and their offence got into a good rhythm, moving the ball well, and hitting hard when necessary. They scored two Touchdowns, both receiving ones, as Quarter-back Andrew Kelly found both Pierce Craven and Rob Harrington in the end-zone. Stephen Kelly added a 2-point conversation while Sam Iredale added an extra-point.
Photo Credits: Bernard Kenealy. 6-4-3 Photography, Westmeath Minotaurs, Donegal/Derry Vipers
Donegal/Derry Vipers 29 Craigavon Cowboys 6
Westmeath Minotaurs 10 West Dublin Rhinos 7
Antrim Jets 7 NI Razorbacks 7
North Dublin Pirates 7 Wexford Eagles 58
Galway Warriors 15 Cill Dara Crusaders 0
Next Week’s Fixtures
Shamrock Bowl Conference;
Belfast Trojans v Dublin Rebels
Belfast Knights v UL Vikings
UCD v Louth Mavericks
Trinity College Dublin v Cork Admirals
West Dublin Rhinos v North Dublin Pirates