NFL-Ireland’s Week 6: ‘Team of the Week’
For the first time this season, we had all three tiers of the IAFL in action this weekend, including a trip to Scotland for our current Irish Champions. It’s hard to believe that we have reached Week 6 of the season already and that includes a bye-week for all the teams last week.
With a number of IAFL-2 teams yet to play, we are beginning to see how each side is performing in the early parts of the year and were the current form and momentum lies. A number of players have made quite an impression this season already, and here’s who stood out for us in Week 6.
Quarterback: Stephen Hayes
The Admirals signal-caller is having a stormer of a season thus far in the IAFL-1. The Quarterback registered another 2 passing touchdowns this weekend as Cork won 35-13 against Mullingar. The Cork offence has scored a superb 68 points in 2 games with Hayes at the helm. There has been 12 passing touchdowns in the IAFL-1 so far and Hayes has contributed to 6 of them as he sits well atop of the passing charts in the division.
The Dublin Rebels run game could have taken a big hit this year, losing Simon Mackey. Kevin Finnegan and Sean Leamy (who lines up everywhere) have filled that void with 5TDs in the opening 3 Games. Sean Leamy rumbled home yesterday with 2 TDs, against a run stuffing Cowboys front making it all the more impressive. Leamy has expanded his game but continues to show the kind of for that saw him near the top of the Rushing Charts last year.
The WR choice for this week is somewhat of an exception. The Belfast Trojans weren’t in IAFL action this week, however they did travel to Scotland on Saturday to face one of the toughest oppositions in the UK, the East Kilbride Pirates. The champions put in a valiant effort but came up just short as they were defeated 24-14 in a very close encounter. One shining moment of their performance however was that of David Richardson. He made 11 receptions scoring 1 touchdown against a team that conceded only 23 points last year. To say he killed it would be an understatement!
The Rebels O-Line is one of the most well disciplined and experienced lines in the league. When you consider the Rebels offence that consists the likes of Andy Dennehy, Sean Leamy and Paul Grogan to name just a few, you can be forgiven if you forget the importance of the men that battle in the trenches. They helped the Dubliners secure 18 points this weekend contributing to 2 rushing and 1 passing touchdown. Dennehy doesn’t get sacked too often and running backs are hard to find, let alone tackle behind the Dublin line, great credit must be given to this unit for that.
The Panthers picked up their first win of the season on Sunday with a brilliant 21-0 performance over a very good Carrickfergus Knights side. Considering the Knights scored 5 touchdowns in their season opener, many would have expected a similar showing this weekend. Instead, the Panthers defence, who have registered the only defensive touchdown so far in the SBC, recorded a shut-out to make further improvement on their opening displays. Two safeties, a defensive touchdown and a shut-out in your opening three games against 3 of the best sides in the league isn’t bad at all.
– The South Kildare Soldiers picked up a huge win over the UL Vikings 2nd’s in the late kickoff with a 18-12 scoreline. Considering the depth and strength of the Vikings squad, their rookies are very talented and few may have given SK a hope in this one but they proved they have the talent and belief to be a force in the IAFL-2 this year.
– Potential to be the play of the week, the Titans CornerBack/Receiver Ryan Brolly intercepted the ball in the end-zone with less than two minutes on the clock, that would inevitably clinch their 6-0 win over the Dundalk Mavericks. This is a rivalry that is brewing fiercely and that interception maintains Tyrones 100% record over their IAFL-1 challengers.
– The Cork Admirals totalled the most points than any other team this weekend with 35. Their offensive-line protected for 3 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns to help solidify their win. RB Shane Cullinan also had a good day as he scored 2 of the rushing TD’s.