NFL-Irelands Week 8: ‘Team of the Week’
Arguably the best set of matches to date, Week 8 threw up some excellent encounters as the Shamrock Bowl Conference got back into full swing this past weekend. There was divisional games and rivalry match-ups including a few heavyweight bouts for us to sink our teeth into.
There were big victories for the Cowboys, Rebels, Trojans, Vikings and Titans on Sunday, so lets take a look to see who impressed us on April 26th.
Cowboys star player Peter Loughran makes his first appearance in our ‘Team of the Week’ column after impressing during Craigavon’s first win of the season against the Rhinos. Loughran has had spells at Receiver and Linebacker, but he was influential as the signal-caller on Sunday as he rushed for a score, whilst connecting with receivers Conrad Smith, Luis Alberto and Andrew Herron for a further 3 touchdowns in the Cowboys comprehensive 28-0 win.
The Vikings dominant run-game is proving damaging and destructive to opposing defences as the SBC South leaders extended their win streak to 5 games. Their narrow 13-12 win over UCD was clinched by the efforts of Shane Gleeson, who scored 2 rushing touchdowns on the day. Despite fellow running-back Adrian Garvey being sidelined, Shane has adopted the increased workload and responsibility and now cements himself as the leading rusher in the league with 7 touchdowns.
Despite being heavily covered throughout an intense game, UCD receiver Paul Geraghty managed to reel in a touchdown against the UL Vikings that kept them within touching distance of the win. Geraghty himself would credit his fellow receivers with a better day at the office but the Vikings have allowed only 2 passing TDs this season and the first was in junk time against the Rhinos after sending out their reserves. The Vikings have only conceded 24 points in 5 games, of which UCD have contributed to 18 of them, so scoring against one of the leagues best defences makes it all the more impressive. Paul has been ever present in UCD’s rise in form and is greatly deserving of his place in our ‘Team of the Week’ lineup.
The Belfast outfit once again impose themselves upon the opposition and Team of the Week, and again the plaudits go to the effective unit of the Trojans O-Line. The men in the trenches helped guide the champions to a 27-6 victory over local rivals, the Carrickfergus Knights by protecting for 1 passing and 2 rushing touchdowns. The Trojan wall of Sunday that included Mark Davidson, Barry Keil, Mohamed Ramadan, Matthew Vance and Mark McGrath, has established themselves as perhaps the most fearsome and organised units in the league.
The Tyrone Titans have continued their impressive unbeaten streak by defeating the Mullingar Minotaurs 8-0 and clinching their second shut-out in succession. The Titans defence is proving to be extremely hard to breakdown and although their offence has somewhat stalled in recent weeks, the Tyrone back-line have ensured that the victory heads back up North. With tough games lying in wait, the Titans defence hit a purple patch on Sunday (sorry Mullingar!) which will give them added confidence heading in their two games, the repeat with the Minotaurs and the home fixture with IAFL-1 leaders, the Cork Admirals.
– It may have taken longer than expected, but we finally have our first special teams touchdown in the Shamrock Bowl Conference. The score came courtesy of a punt return by Johnathan Siri who opened the scoring for the Belfast Trojans on Sunday.
– If the Trojan line is perhaps the best in the league the Vikings one can’t be far behind. The Vikings, having played two extra games, are the highest scoring outfit in the league and of their 15 touchdowns to date, 13 have been rushing touchdowns. You don’t establish that kind of dominance without some serious men in the trenches.
– Paul Geraghty got the nod this week but the UCD receiving core generally had a good day. Dave Bennet and Conor Hanrahan were both in form against a very tough UL secondary.
– The Honourable mentions column was originally to favour the guys in defences that don’t get much attention in the stats department and in that spirit, UL Defensive Tackle John Mullan was a one man wrecking crew on Sunday. With UCD QB Tom Donovan destroying teams with his legs the Ends on ULs defensive line had their hands full and protecting the interior, Mullan excelled.
– Rebels QB Andy Dennehy doesn’t lead the passing charts and that perhaps is as a result of the very fine running game his offence possess. Dennehy had another touchdown pass Sunday taking him to 5 on the season. Including his 2 Point Attempt success, Dennehy has now found 5 different receivers for scores in 4 games.