In a tense and penalty filled game at Tallaght Stadium yesterday the Belfast Trojans became the first team outside of the Rebels and Vikings to take home the Shamrock Bowl in the last 10 years.
With both teams unbeaten going into the final it was always going to be a close affair, but Belfast’s offense proved the better by narrowly defeating UL by a late field goal.
The Vikings had a nightmare of a start by giving up an early touchdown when they fumbled the ball, only for Trojans #88 Chris Colvin to recover and run it in. The Trojans then missed the PAT, leaving them up by 6.
The Vikings offense started to put some plays together after both teams had turned over the ball on downs. Vikings QB Marc Ashworth found wide reciever Sean Goldrick with a very nice 30 yard pass, setting the Vikings up inside the Belfast 10. From there running back Adrian Garvey took the ball across the goal line. With a successful PAT the Vikings were up 7-6.
At the start of the second quarter the Trojans offense really started to click, with a 20 yard pass from Belfast quarterback James McKelvey getting the ball into the Viking’s red zone. With the ball down at the UL 4, McKelvey scored the touchdown with a QB sneak. After the PAT was converted Belfast had restored their lead of 6 at 13-7.
Inside the 2 minute warning both offenses pushed to put some more points on the board but instead there were three turnovers before the half. First the Vikings intercepted McKelvey, only for Ashworth to fumble the ball and the Vikings recovered. From there the Vikings picked off Belfast once again, this time safety Liam Ryan made the interception. The first half finished 13-7 to the Trojans.
The second half started with the Vikings offense making some good gains in the running game. Running back Garvey got the Vikings to the 20 with an 8 yard run, from there James Twomey broke a few Trojans tackles to score UL’s second touchdown of the game on a fantastic 20 yard run. The Vikings then took the lead again with a converted PAT.
From there both defenses did good work to plug the run. In the fourth quarter Belfast got the ball down within field goal range but missed the opportunity to take the lead with the kick just wide of the posts. They got a second chance with only a few minutes remaining on the clock and this time made the field goal attempt count, taking the lead at 16-14.
On the return UL’s Ryan gained 25 yards and the Vikings started on the 50. QB Ashworth connected with Seamus Hogan on a 11 yard pass and Garvey picked up 9 yards on a tidy run. On the Belfast 25 the Vikings were called on a personal foul and lost 15 yards. UL eventually got the ball back to the 31 where they faked a field goal attempt only for the pass to be broken up leading to a turnover on downs.
From there the Trojans ran the clock down with a QB kneel, giving them their first Shamrock Bowl victory. Trojans full back Neil Montgomery picked up the AmericanFood.ie MVP award.