NFL-Ireland’s Week 12: ‘Team of the Week’
Prior to Week 12 there was 4 teams with unbeaten records in the IAFL, now only two remain. Both the UL Vikings and Tyrone Titans suffered their first defeats of the season, as the Vikes fell to a 22-3 scoreline at the hands of Trinity College in Santry ensuring the SBC South goes right down to the wire. The Tyrone Titans 11 game win streak came to an end courtesy of IAFL-1 leaders the Cork Admirals, as the longest trip in the IAFL earned them a 22-7 win at Omagh RFC.
Meanwhile there were scoring fests in the IAFL-2 as the Trojans won their 4th in a row with a 60-7 victory over the Galway Warriors and the highest scoring game came at in Kildare as the Soldiers defeated the Vipers 54-26 to take move up to 2nd spot in the table.
There was 201 points scored on Sunday, so we shouldn’t have too much trouble finding quality performances from this weekend!
Quarterback: Eoin Whelan
South Kildare Soldiers
Eoin becomes the first member of the South Kildare Soldiers to make it into the ‘Team of the Week’ and what a week he had too! He tallied 3 passing and 1 rushing touchdown, as well as a 2 point attempt success, as the Kildare outfit defeated the Donegal/Derry Vipers 54-26 at Cill Dara. Eoin was one of a number of players who stood out during the game but more on that later. The victory places the Soldiers ahead of rivals Galway and in 2nd in the IAFL-2, and they will be hoping that Eoin can continue to perform well at QB as the season draws to an end.
Running Back: Ola Bademosi
It’s been a very stop start season for TCD, but the victory over UL with restore belief and confidence that they can claw their way back to a potential 7-1 campaign. Furthermore, Ola Bademosi had an exceptional game against a very tough UL defence that has only conceded 24 points until Sunday. Perhaps the standout moment was not either of his jaunts into the end-zone but the dominating series of stiff arms as he drove Trinity off their own Goal line into safer field position. The Vikings posses one of the best run defences in the league which makes Bademosi’s two rushing scores even more impressive!
Wide Receiver: Cork Admirals trio
We don’t usually go with more than one player for this award, but the Admirals passing game continues to grow from strength to strength. Receivers Simon O’Keefe, Ben Jenkins and Paul O’Driscoll proved the difference makers as their receptions granted them a 22-7 win over a resolute Titans defence. The Admirals offence is proving increasingly troublesome to contain, and with Steve Hayes and Nick Coffi already flying high in the rankings, these 3 are adding an extra dimension to an already impressive Cork aerial attack.
Offensive Line: South Kildare Soldiers
The Belfast Trojans registered the most points this weekend with 60, but the Soldiers weren’t far behind with 54. They proved to be very balanced on offence as they scored 3 passing and 4 rushing touchdowns, with Eoin Whelan causing damage from the pocket with excellent protection from the O-Line. They also donated in the run-game with Dara Moran adding a three scores from goal to go positions. That performance will give the offence confidence ahead of the return match against the Vipers in 2 weeks.
Defence: Trinity College
To beat your fiercest rivals is one thing, but to close them down for pretty much the entire game is an achievement in itself. TCD produced a defensive display that merited the award as they prevented, an up to now, dominant Vikings run-game from establishing any hold on the game, keeping them to only a field goal all game. It’s the first time we’ve seen the Vikings offence struggle and Trinity’s performance looked reminiscent of their fine form in 2014. The victory caused UL their first loss of the year and gives Trinity an excellent chance to catch and overtake them them.
– Special Teams can make all the difference in games, and the return pairing of Matt Armstrong and Jonah Siri (he prefers the name Chico!) had another great day at the office. Jonah scored 4 TD’s against Galway, 2 from Punt returns whilst Armstrong scored on a home run 100 yard kickoff return and added a further rushing touchdown to his collection.
-Running Back Nathan Purcell may feel little unlucky to not have registered scores for the Soldiers on Sunday as he three times put the Kildare men in Goal Line situations and allowing his full back Dara Moran to get the last few yards. Purcell had 266 yards on the day.
-A name we haven’t mentioned too much this year has been Rob McDowell. McDowell cameoed at Quarterback against UL setting up two scoring drives and taking a punt return 60 yards to the UL 5 yard line to set up the first score of the day. McDowell has been plagued by injuries this campaign but is still a threat to turn any broken play into a game changer.
-Beginning to detect a trend here as Vipers QB Nic Young had himself another very fine day against the Soldiers. Young passed for a touchdown and ran for 2 more in an ever improving Vipers offence.