photo by John Whealan
We were wandering around NFL-Ireland towers this week and we thought to ourselves ‘Don’t we usually have previews done by now’ and then we remember this happened…
This is Scott Morrow and he normally writes our previews and someone broke his leg for him playing football. We wish Scott a speedy recovery and ask you to bear with us as we try to live up to the very fine writing he normally produces here.
Week 6 Shamrock Bowl Conference
North Kildare Reapers @ UL Vikings
UL Sports Grounds 1pm
The first of a Kildare verses Limerick double header this weekend as Reapers North and Soldiers South head to UL to face Vikings 1st and 2nds. North Kildare are coming off a very tough loss to the Trojans but the manner of the loss rather than the method was the tough part. Not a first down all day and 36 points going the other way makes for a mentally punishing day as well as a physically punishing one; as it often is against the Trojans. They won’t find the Vikings in an any more forgiving a mood. UL have 3 wins in the bag and all against division foes. They will likely guarantee themselves a playoff spot with a win in this game and thus having beaten everyone in the division will possess a psychological advantage to boot. UL put the Rhinos to the sword in their last outing and will be attempting to do the same to the Reapers this weekend, taking them into the midseason unbeaten. It will be an uphill battle for the Reapers to get a win out of this game but if they are to stand a chance they will need to rebound from last weeks demolition. Short of confidence is never description applied to the Kilcock crew and they will arrive in Limerick ready for the fight that awaits.
South Dublin Panthers @ Carrickfergus Knights
Carrickfergus RFC 2pm
Carrickfergus have set a strong tone in their sole outing so far this year. Defeating Northern Neighbours, the Cowboys, they were impressive on offence racking up 5 TDs and in a game that was well won only allowing 2. The Panthers inversely have yet to get going on offence failing to score a touchdown so far. Opening their season with both of last years Shamrock Bowl finalists would have been a tough ask for anyone and the Panthers, although going down to 5 scores to the Trojans, brought Trinity to the wire. Relying on your defence will only get you so far though and the offence will need to begin producing drives and scores soon. Carrickfergus will see this as an opportunity to be 2-0 in the division before the sterner tests of the Trojans and Rebels later in the year and will look to take momentum into those games.
Craigavon Cowboys @ Dublin Rebels
Seapoint Rugby Club 2pm
The Rebels Offence has hit the ground running putting up 6 scores in 2 games. Missing Simon Mackey hasn’t slowed them down with Kevin Finnegan picking up the mantle and rushing with it to 3 of those touchdowns. The defence on the other hand has gone uncharacteristically soft giving up a big lead to Trinity and allowing some vital scores against UCD. The Rebels would be the first to tell you this isn’t what they expect of themselves and will look to put a stop to it here and now. The Rebels have one of the toughest schedules out there and will know they can’t throw away another game with the Trojans looking in top form and UL dominating. Craigavon, although giving up a big score to the Knights, will feel they’re better than that result showed. They have some excellent offensive threats and given the recent fragility of the Rebels defence will feel confident they can get some joy out of their offensive weapons. Defensively they will know it needs to be better. The Rebels are flying on offence and if they get going early could be very tough to stop. The Cowboys will have to come out all guns blazing on Defence to slow them down, stay in the game and put the Rebels in another tight game.
Mullingar Minotuars @ Cork Admirals
Dolphin RFC 2pm
These two teams couldn’t have gotten off to a more different start. Mullingar would have been considered favourites taking on the Mavericks in their first IAFL1 outing. Dundalk impressed and Mullingar floundered with an under strength side. Cork on the other hand were expecting a tough outing away from home against a Wolves side regrouping after relegation from the SBC. Cork excelled, QB Stephen Hayes put on an air show and Nick Coffi proved impossible to cover, yet again. The trip to Cork isn’t an easy one and not to be ignored for Mullingar will be the preparation for the game as much as the game itself. Cork, on their first outing in Dolphin RFC, will take their expanded squad and look to further solidify themselves as the favourites for promotion to the SBC. Mullingar will look to turn their fortunes around by taking the scalp of the team most have marked on their calendars and force themselves back into the conversation following a bad start.
Tyrone Titans @ Dundalk Mavericks
When we did our season preview we predicted that the Mavericks would finish sixth and the Titans fifth. After just one week they’ve shown us what we know. Both took victory over IAFL1 vets and did it by some margin. They renew their rivalry now in pastures new. Following the opening week both will fancy themselves as playoff contenders and as much as this rivalry matters to both the victory will matter that much more. The Titans are 3-0 in this matchup but Dundalk have made strides since the last outing and they’ve become progressively tighter games each time. Dundalk will feel confident at home and the Titans are riding an 8 game win streak; if you’re in the area this will be the one to watch.
South Kildare Soldiers @ University of Limerick Vikings 2nds
UL Sports Grounds 4pm
The last game of the weekend and the 2nd in the Kildare verses Limerick Double Header. So much of development football is about learning and the Soldiers will have an opportunity to get a great look at one of the very best out there. The 2nds team of UL possess some of their best talent and some of this team will have already played games against Spanish opposition earlier in the year and in the College Championship. The Soldiers are in year 2 and should be ready to be more efficient and better organised both sides of the ball. Recent new startups, Reapers, Wolves, Titans and Mavericks have show how good you can get in a short space of time and the Soldiers should be using this year to prepare themselves to compete in next years IAFL1. They will get a great opportunity this weekend to compete with a team at the highest level.