Dear Kickers, we are sorry we neglected to mention you all year, let this make up for it!
Team WhiteGreg Gibson, Belfast Trojans
Having the luxury of playing for the highest scoring team will usually result in a pretty decent return for a Kicker. Gibson totalled 26 points on the season and managed to oust veteran Trojans kicker Rick Duffield (who was the 2nd most productive kicker on the year with 14 points….speaking of which)
Team Green Nick McSweeney, Cork Admirals
McSweeney dispatched 19 extra points this season. We don’t have stats on how many attempts but league wide the rate of successful XP to Touchdowns is less than 50%. Cork and Belfast are the only teams that topped it. Both of these Kickers are a testament to their units and these two are the best!
Most Honourable Mentions
Darryl Ratty Meath Bulldogs Ratty boasts the highest Field Goal total in the land with 3 and added 8 XPs to his total.
And we push on to the Team of the Year Wide Receivers. In the Year of the Quarterback like we’ve just had, there has been some Wide Receivers who will claim just a bit of the credit!
Team WhiteDavid Richardson Belfast Trojans
James McKelvey had 20 passing touchdowns and David Richardson was on the receiving end of 11 of them. In 2015 he was the highest scoring non Quarterback in the Shamrock Bowl Conference. Given the prevalence of the run game in recent years, Richardsons feat is all the more impressive. By seasons end, double coverage was the norm for the confident receiver, triple coverage wasn’t too infrequent either. Teams have to game plan for their opponents best players and David Richardson is perhaps one of the few wide receivers out there that defences need to give their first priority to. Richardson plays the game with a swagger that oft irritates opponents but never fails to entertain. McKelvey to Richardson may well just be the Montana to Rice of the IAFL and we haven’t seen a connections as good as this in some time.
Team Green Sean Goldrick UL Vikings
A testament to the player that Goldrick is that he can miss most of the season with an injury and still return at the end of the season to push Limerick to the playoffs. Goldrick contributed 5 touchdowns this campaign and had he not have missed the games he did it most certainly would have been more. The extra dimension he provides to the Limerick offence, still rebuilding, was evident in the SBC Semi Final as he streaked clear of the Belfast defence (not something that is often said) after taking a hand off and nearly, just nearly making it to the end zone and changing the face of the Semi Final.
Team White Alex Gurney Trinity
How long more Alex will be eligible for this spot remains to be seen. He played as Running Back in the Semi Final of the Shamrock Bowl and looks set to repeat the feat in the Bowl itself. Gurney is the type of big bodied receiver Coaches dream of and in most other teams would likely find himself deployed on defence due to his size. Trinity absent of Dan Finnamore at QB most the season have adapted and with McDowell now supplying the passes Gurny has still found a way to get among the scores. Now light on Running Backs Gurney is still finding ways to contribute rushing for a touchdown in the Semi final. The numbers might not be as high as last year or some of the others on this list but perhaps more a sign a change in scheme than anything to do with Alex but yet the results are still there.
Team Green Nic Coffi Cork Admirals
Perhaps one of the best pure athletes in the IAFL. Nic Coffi has torn IAFL 1 defences apart now for two years. Returning Kicks catching the very well placed passes from Stephen Hayes. We mentioned above about how sides need to game plat for David Richardson. No better evidence of this can be seen than in the emergence of Simon O’Keefe who has found himself wide open and scoring freely as defences have chased the blue helmet of Coffi all over the field. Coffi missed the IAFL1 final and perhaps he could have been the difference in getting Cork over the line and into the SBC. Cork will make it to the SBC sooner rather than later and Nic Coffi will no doubt be terrorising DBs there when they do.
Green v White
QB James McKelvey
RB Neil Montgomery
RB Ola Bademosi
WR Sean Goldrick
WR Nic Coffi
QB Stephen Hayes
RB Shane Gleeson
RB Sean Leamy
WR David Richardson
WR Alex Gurney
Most Honourable Mentions
Simon O’Keefe Cork Admirals 10 Touchdowns and not on the full team is perhaps a bit harsh on the young receiver but the standard of opposition sometimes is something that must be considered. O’Keefe has been unstoppable all year and between himself and Nic Coffi have provided absolutely fantastic outlets for the arm and ability of Stephen Hayes. Cork in 2014 were in a rebuilding year, 2015 they hit the gas and now with the chip on their shoulders missing out on the SBC built into their DNA this side as the potential to go from strength to strength and Simon O’Keefe could easily find himself mentioned in the company of their very finest to do it in this country.
Luis Alberto Craigavon Cowboys ‘Best game ever’ is how the Cowboys comeback victory over the Knights was described and that may very well be the case. Speed, strength and agility all in what by any standard isn’t the biggest package around. Alberto frequently and repeatedly shakes lose much bigger defenders and make catches where much bigger receivers would struggle. The connection between himself and Peter Loughran is something to behold on a good day and inside two minutes, down agains the the Knights was perhaps the best few minutes of interplay between a QB/WR combo in many long years.
Ryan Brolly Tyrone Titans The Titans season fell at the last. Nearly two years unbeaten unfortunately numbers and injuries cost them. Ryan Brolly chipped in with 6 Touchdown receptions and would have had more if he’d been in every game. The wirey receiver has a strength and speed that you wouldn’t expect and can shake even the tightest coverage. Such is the faith Titans QB Dan Mullan has in Brolly he is one of the few ‘Go and Get it’ receivers in the country. Most QBs will always wait for the open guy. Brolly doesn’t always need to be open!
All through 2015 we’ve shown our appreciation for the very best performances each week in our Team of the Week . Now, with all but the Shamrock Bowl in the books, the time has come for the Team of the Year. Although some of these players already play together in the hypothetical world this team exists we thought they should have someone to play against and that is why, much like the NFL do for their All-Pro Teams, our Team of the Year is in fact two teams. Team Green vs Team White. Here are the rules! Each team will have 1 Quarterback, 2 Running Backs, 2 Wide Receivers, an Offensive Line, a Defence, a Kicker (we felt that we neglected them all year) and an 1 ‘all rounder’ . So without further blabber we bring you the
Team Green QB – James McKelvey, Belfast Trojans
Shamrock Bowl Conference MVP McKelvey doubled the passing output of all other signal callers this year. 20 Touchdowns and 3 rushing touchdowns puts #1 in the rarefied air in Ireland. Topping 20 touchdowns in a season is an immense and extremely infrequent performance. James McKelvey has gone about his business in 2015 in a calm business like manner that is the trademark of the Belfast offence. The balance and talent of his offensive team mates will be reflected as we continue with the Team of the Year but leading those men to one of the finest offensive outputs we’ve seen deserves special mention as playing quarterback is more than about throwing touchdowns and McKelvey encompasses all that could be sought from a Quarterback.
Team White QB – Stephen Hayes, Cork Admirals
All year we’ve sung Hayes’ praises (say that out loud) He played his way to the IAFL 1 MVP and brought Cork, who it must be remembered were verging on the abyss less than 2 years ago, within a point of the Shamrock Bowl Conference. 25 Touchdown passes is an incredible return and Hayes is still so young it is scary to think what his ceiling might be. Where McKelvey can boast an incredible output while still maintaining the balance of his offence, Stephen Hayes has at times put Cork on his back and carried them to large and impressive victories. Ultimately it was just short by the narrowest of margins but now playing with a chip on his shoulder 2016 could be the year we see what #12 is really capable of. Every other Quarterback in the country, excluding the one above, passed for no more than 10 touchdowns. Hayes’ return was 250% of Quarterbacks some of who started playing while Hayes was in senior infants. If 2015 was his break out year, what his best year will be will be interesting to see.
Most Honourable Mentions
Tom Donovan – UCD 10 Passing Touchdowns and 5 rushing touchdowns is an exceptional performance in a year of exceptional performances from Quarterbacks. Donovan is a new breed of Quarterback in Ireland. Every bit the passer as he the athlete when it comes to running the football. Donovan was an unknown quantity heading into 2015, only those in UCD and those who caught his brief cameos in IAFL 1 last year will be completely unsurprised with his output. This, Toms first year a starter at QB, was better than most QBs around the league have ever produced and much like Stephen Hayes, the ceiling for Donovan could be something we haven’t seen in the league before, the complete duel threat Quarterback.
Andrew Dennehy – Dublin Rebels It would be easy to assert (like we have!) that the Rebels are one of the most experienced outfits around. The opposite is true. A few guys with a vast amount of experience and a lot of guys still in the early part of their careers and all being brought along by #16. There are guys with bigger numbers out there but when considering the value of the veteran signal caller you only have to look at the 2014 Rebels and the 2015 Rebels. Losing Simon Mackey could have been a disaster, would have been a disaster for probably all other teams. The Rebels arrived at the exact same stage as they did last year and were in fact closer to the Shamrock Bowl this time around. All things that go on on the Rebels Offence flow through their Quarterback and Head Coach. He doesn’t have the moves of that Tom Donnovan has, the trucking ability of Peter Loughran or perhaps the receivers of the two men at the top of this list (not to say there aren’t those at the Rebels with that potential) Yet year on year, for a lot of years now. Andrew Dennehy gets it done.
Peter Loughran – Craigavon Cowboys…..will appear elsewhere!
In 2013 the Detroit Lions signed Reggie Bush from the Miami Dolphins. Bush, a 7 year veteran still running with the explosion and cut back ability he’d shown from his time at USC and in the NFL with the Saints and Dolphins, was slated to be the feature back in Jim Schwartz 2013 Lions team. A player that could catch passes and run between the tackles. A former #2 overall pick in the 2006 draft who would give the Lions running game some credibility and force some attention away from Calvin Johnson.
Bush’s backfield team mate, Joique Bell had gone undrafted out of Wayne State University (a Div 2 school) and bounced around 5 teams practice squads in his rookie year. Finally catching on with the Lions in 2012, whom he’d spent time working as a security guard for while in College. Bush was supposed to be the man in Detroit, a piece to push them to the NFC North title and beyond. Bell was to a be a power back alternative to Bush when the superstar needed relief. Facing into the 2015 season, Bush has now moved to another team in the process of a rebuild and Bell, with a new contract, is the man in Detroit.
Thursday week last, Bell was in Dublin to promote Elverys Sports launch of NFL Jerseys and NFL Merchandise. Trips across the atlantic are becoming more frequent for NFL players and this stop off in Dublin shows that the NFL is paying attention to the potential for support (revenue) here! The Lions Back answered some questions from fans, signed autographs and afterwards sat down with a group of journalists and bloggers to talk about his career, his diet and….his hair!
He spoke about Reggie Bush, Bush was in New Orleans when Bell arrived in 2011, and spoke about his admiration for the veteran. Bush was the first one to come up and introduce himself to the young back and Joique relished the opportunity to repay the favour when Bush arrived in Detroit. We asked him, now with Bush gone, does he see himself as the leader of the group of running backs? “Definitely, I’m the old guy in the room” Bell is 28. “I’m that guy now, obviously the young guys look to me for leadership”
Being the “old guy” forces athletes to look to life after football and Bell was asked had he any plans in that regard. Being a guy who perhaps the NFL wasn’t guaranteed for, Bell finished college and got his degree before attempting to get picked up in the NFL. “Thats the good thing about me, I’ve got options. I’m going back to school to get my masters. I might sit down for a couple of years and just follow my sons high school career. I might go back into coaching but going back into coaching means a lot of man hours and I want to be able to spend time with my family when I’m done playing. I might go back to my sons high school and coach, watch my son play, watch him live his dream” Bells son is a running back, and he takes obvious pride in letting people know.
Bell spoke about how he and Reggie spilt the bill when they took their offensive line out for dinner in London during last years international series. “That was like a half years salary” The relationship between a back and the o-line is not lost on the humble Bell, who also brings breakfast for his o-line the Saturday before every home game.
The diet of professional athletes is always the subject of much wonder and Bell, perhaps being a guy who had to work that little bit harder to make it in the NFL spoke about the lengths he goes to to stay in top condition. “I have a lot of hair, I go to a place that makes customised vitamin pills, I cut off one go my locks and give it to them, they’ll analyse my hair and tell me the exact things that my diet is missing and they’ll customise vitamin packets that I should take daily” he didn’t stop there ” I do blood work. I take my blood send it to these scientists and they’ll tell me what food causes inflammation in my body. What foods I need to avoid, what foods I can eat. Everything down from meats, grain, all the way down to spices. I take all that into consideration, I pass it along to my chef and my nutritionist. They team up and make a meal plan for me. Thats the diet I keep myself strictly on”
Bell also spoke about the progress of Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota. You can listen to the whole Q&A session here.
Bell is a back just hitting the prime and we’ll get another opportunity to see him play in London this season as the Lions take on the Chiefs, in the pick of the 3 games in Wembley on the on November 1st.
The purpose of Joiques trip was to promote Nikes Launch of NFL Jerseys in Elverys in Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin. The Jerseys were on sale here for €85 and included, Matthew Stafford #9 Colin Kaepernick #7 Aaron Rodgers #12 & Tom Brady #12. The AFC was a little underrepresented with only the Patriots and the Dolphins Jerseys available but Ryan Tannehills #17 Home Aqua Green Jersey was available.
Worth a note that €85 is likely the cheapest you’ll pay for a jersey outside the US and without the shipping cost it is a bargain for NFL fans in Ireland. What is even better, is if you are a 3 mobile phone customer (or you know one) Their Discount App the 3+ app available on iOS & Android includes a discount of 20% in Elverys making the Jerseys only €68 really making them the cheapest genuine Nike jerseys available anywhere!
Lots going on in the off season, not reading the MMQB every week? The NFL Cheat Sheet has you covered! Less than 500 words everything you need to know about the Off-Season
John Fox in as HC is good news for the Bears. Fox will turn around this ailing defence and back to the fearsome unit it has been. Adam Gasein as offensive co-ordinator. The Bears are getting root and branch overhaul and Gase was in Denver with Fox. Vic Fangio is the new DC and to execute Fox’s plan. Things are looking good off the field for the Bears.
DJ Williams lost to free agency, hasn’t been picked up elsewhere
Lance Briggs went in free agency and is still available
Charles Tillman is gone to the Panthers
Roberto Garza was released in April and given the Bears line play, it’s unsurprising, he’s still free.
Stephen Paea is gone to the Redskins
Darryl Sharpton now a Cardinal
Brandon Marshall at the Jets
Sam Acho, outside LB from the Cardinals…meh.
Antrel Rolle, Safety, didn’t have the best year of his career in New York last year, but who did?
Pernell McPhee, pass rusher from Baltimore.
Bear Pascoe, another iffy year at the Giants but things are rotten in New York and that’s not all down to the players
Will Montgomery, an upgrade on Garza and experience with this coaching staff….and Cheap too!
Mason Foster will add depths, not a starter, hopefully.
Eddie Royal a nice pick up from San Diego. Losing Marshall they need to replace that production.
Alan Ball injured most of last season but Darrelle Revis this is not
Kevin White, WR….please be better than Marshall…the official text of the phone conversation on Draft night.
Eddie Goldman a big, fast moving, high motor DT. Will make a difference in Run Defence right away, may take time to refine the pass rush.
Hroniss Grasu snapping to Mariota and anchoring the Ducks zone run game. A bit tall and a bit light make leveraging those big Nose tackles tough for him but Montgomery likely to start and he’ll get time.
The Bears offseason story is all about the Coaching Staff additions, minor personnel moves shed some dead weight (Garza) and add some useful talent (White). John Fox was tremendously successful at the Broncos and likely was fired in advance of the rebuild that is soon to follow after Peyton Manning retires. The new OC and DC were tipped as head coach candidates elsewhere so this is a strong group off the field there is only one but…..Jay Cutler!
Don’t want to do the research? The NFL Cheat Sheet has you covered! Less than 500 words everything you need to know about the Off-Season
Kyle Shanahan as with most of his offensive staff is gone. John DeFilippo is the new OC and he’s brought with him the best Wide Receivers Coach we’ve ever heard of, not because of his coaching but his name, Joker Philips.
Brian Hoyer is gone to the Texans.
Jim Leonard retired.
Miles Austin is gone to the Eagles
Jordan Cameron is gone to the Dolphins (pause for crying from Browns fans)
Ahtyba Rubin is gone to Seattle
Jabaal Sheard now a Patriot
Buster Skrine at the Jets
Thats 5 starters if you’re counting!
Josh McCown, Yay!!
Brian Hartline, serviceable receiver WR from the Dolphins.
Dwayne Bowe, sounds better than it is, Zero TDs in 2014.
Randy Starks, is in from the Dolphins, can play either Tackle spot and will add some teeth to the pass rush
Andy Lee if you’re going to trade for a punter, might as well be one of the best out there!
Danny Shelton, DT in the first round is an effort to fix their leaky run defence. Starks mentioned above is questionable in that department so Shelton will be called on to perform.
Cameron Erving late in the first round is insurance if Alex Mack goes elsewhere at the end of this deal and a solid addition along the line regardless. The Browns need to improve their run game and a few of their linemen need to step up or be put on a bus. Erving will push those guys on borrowed time.
Nate Orchard will help the pass rush and fits the Mike Pettine mould. Good pick for a team adding guys that will make a contribution.
Xavier Cooper another pick to shore up the defensive line in the 3rd round. Cooper is raw but is an athletic freak and will develop given time.
If the Browns new offence can get the best out of McCown and develop Manziel, they should be in a position to compete in the AFC North. There is still glaring deficiencies on this squad, (Wide Receiver, Quarterback) but they are elite in places (Corner Back) They have taken steps to develop the hard nose AFC North defence of their rivals and the Browns are clawing their way out of punchline status in the NFL.
The NFL season is little over 6 weeks away and over the next few weeks we’re going to go over all that has been going on with the NFL’s 32 teams this off season. We’ll bring you up to speed in easy to read bite sized chunks and without further adieu…
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dirk Koetter in as Offensive Co-Ordinator. After Jeff Tedford had heart surgery in pre-season last year the Bucs were realistically without an OC all of last year….well 2-14 is what happened.
Big money OT Anthony Collins was cut after signing a $30m 5 year deal and offering about as much protection as paper mache. Collins is still a free agent.
Dashon Goldosn was traded to Washington
Josh McCown was cut and picked up the Browns
Adrian Clayborne and DeQuan Bowers, both heralded as the core of the Bucs defensive line for the next decade both had contacts expire and they’ve moved on.
George Johnson, DE acquired in Trade from Detroit.
Chris Conte, S washed out in Chicago will likely serve as a backup.
Henry Melton, DT perhaps past his best but the kind of reliability needed on a team rebuilding. Will give McCoy a break.
Bruce Carter, ILB Rolondo McClain made Carter surplus to requirements in Dallas. Solid player.
Sterling Moore, more defenders from Dallas. Will add competition to the Nickel Corner spot.
Jamis Winston, Andrew Luck this pick is not but Winston has undoubtable quality and if the Bucs can use their depth a running back to help him out he has the potential to be one of the better QB’s to come out in the last few years.
Next two picks went on offensive linemen, Donovan Smith & Ali Marpet will both be day 1 starters which might bring it’s own issues but there is quality there.
Kwon Alexander in the 4th round is a rare defensive pick for the Bucs but he has the potential to be a very fine NFL inside linebacker, but don’t they all.
Late round picks were spent on some offensive skill guys who will add depth.
Getting help to their young QB will be the biggest challenge for the Bucs. Fail and you’ve got Geno 2.0 succeed and you might have Andrew Luck (well about 85% of him) The Bucs aren’t going to the Super Bowl nor will they win the division but progress can be made if they are smart about it!
The Minnesota Vikings and All-Pro Running Back Adrian Peterson announced a ‘mutual’ agreement to restructure the final 3 years of his deal. Peterson was due $47.4m over the next three years with nearly all of that due in salary. This huge figure was what proved difficult in shifting the troubled back in a trade earlier in the offseason. Although no details of exactly how the contract was restructured, it is likely Peterson will get more bonus money (lowering the cap hit) and less actual salary, with a big chuck of that due up front. This will suit Peterson who has already turned 30 and the Vikings should they choose to release him later in the deal. Peterson missed all but one game last year due to suspension over child abuse allegations.
Returning Peterson to the fold after his attempts to orchestrate a trade earlier in the year will prove a coup for Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and his offence, as they look to add weapons around their young QB in Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings will look to the Seahawks and see what an experienced and reliable running back can do to take the pressure off a young QB. (Now all they’ll need is a all time top defence)
Peterson won the MVP in 2012 with over 2000 yards, narrowly missing out on on the all time record of Eric Dickersons 2105 yards. If Peterson can be even remotely as productive in 2015 the Vikings will see themselves a force in the NFC North. The Vikings were 14th in rushing 2014 and ranked towards the bottom in passing. Now with his legal issues and injury issues behind him Peterson will be hoping to get back to his 2012 form, one last time in his career.
Week 17 served up some of the best and most exciting football to date this season as the form book was ripped up in IAFL1, the Rhinos saved Trinity and the Trojans continued to dominate in IAFL2.
The seasons is winding down for those not bound for the post season, as those that are look to build momentum for their run at their respective Bowls
Here’s the best of Week 17 in the IAFL!
Quarterback: Ryan Byrne Waterford Wolves
The Wolves signal caller was quite simply dominant on Sunday. Finding Mark Dunphy and Eoin Reinhardt early in the game to establish what proved to be an unassailable lead, Byrne was composed and in command of the impressive Wolves attack. Earning a lead can be hard but moving the ball, maintaining the lead and working the clock in defence of that margin can oft be the measure of a maturing QB. Byrne never rattled in the face of an imposing Titans defence, added a rushing touchdown to the score and iced the game in doing so.
Running Back: Brian Du Toit Trinity College Dublin
The Running Back Factory that is Trinity College marches on at a blistering pace. We’d never heard of Brian Du Toit and we’ll wager neither had the West Dublin Rhinos until Sunday. 4 touchdowns in a single game puts Du Toit level with established IAFL players like Sean Leamy and Adrain Garvey on the season and another game to come vs UCD could see Trinity put two backs at the top of the scoring charts if they have another good day moving the ball. Oh we forgot to mention that this was the first time Brian Du Toit has ever played a Football game…learn the name, memorise the face (image may in fact be Superman)
Wide Receiver: Mark Dunphy Waterford Wolves
A host of receivers caught a single touchdown this weekend so it is a tough business separating one from the pack. Paul O’Driscoll for Cork had a fine day on the losing side with 7 receptions for 140 yards but ultimately of all the names that got themselves on the Receiving Charts this weekend, only Dunphys came up….nearly everywhere else too. 4 interceptions and 2 special teams scores, coupled with the fact he was ruled inches short twice in the same series, if TV replay was available to IAFL officials he may have an extra 6 on the record. Dunphy has been a standout for Waterford this year and his contribution in all phases of the game may prove the difference in getting the Wolves to the post season.
Offensive Line: Trinity College Dublin
Trinity weren’t themselves yesterday as a miscommunication led to them not brining along their away jerseys. The Rhinos stepped in and saved the day by loaning Trinity their away jerseys and ensuring the game could go ahead and Trinity thanked them by rushing for 5 touchdowns and passing for another. Trinity’s O-Line are among the most impressive in the country, fast movers and punishing blockers, this season has seen them protect for 2 QBs 3 Running Backs totalling 14 touchdowns and not to mention one of the most consistent place kickers in the country. When you can score, regardless of who has the ball, the reason is usually the men in the trenches.
Defence: Meath Bulldogs
Cork, through 7 games, have one of the most potent offences in the country. Not only did Meath manage to shut it down, they turned in into a weakness. There was shutouts elsewhere but of the 26 Meath points Sunday, 18 were as a result of the defence intercepting and scoring. Erin Kelly, who also played QB, had 2 interceptions, both for scores and Cian Minnock with the other pick 6. Interceptions are often the result of good work done up front and this was an impressive day all round from a defence, many of whom were playing iron man football.
– UL backup QB Ray Burke had a fine day at the helm of their 2nds team as he scored 3 through the air and 1 on the ground.
– Meath Bulldogs Kicker Daryl Ratty contributed 8 of the 26 points scored against Cork from 2 field goals and 2 extra points extending the margin of victory to a safe distance down the stretch.
– Nic Coffi reeled in another pass from Stephen Hayes as the pair moved to 9 and 22 touchdowns on the season respectively.
– Jonathan Siri continues to return punts for fun as he scored another adding to his 3 rushing touchdowns on the day.