NFL-Ireland’s Week 18: ‘Team of the Week’
…..and that’s all she wrote! The final weekend of the SBC regular season has officially finished and we now have a firm (albeit confusing!) look at the six sides left standing for a place in the Shamrock Bowl Final in August.
Congratulations to the Belfast Trojans and Trinity College for winning their respective divisions, the Dublin Rebels and UL Vikings for clinching second and the Craigavon Cowboys and UCD for sealing the remaining wildcard spots. Commiserations must also be said for the North Kildare Reapers who narrowly missed out on the playoff’s and to the West Dublin Rhino’s who will now make home in the IAFL-1 next season.
The IAFL-1 and 2 still has a further week remaining, but we had a huge helping of 6 games on Sunday where many fates were decided. Let’s see who stood out in the most pivotal week of the IAFL season to date!
The veteran Quarterback finished the regular season as the top passer in the Shamrock Bowl Conference with 20 touchdowns, as he guided the Trojans to yet another (8-0) season with a convincing 56-8 win over the Cowboys. McKelvey connected for 4 touchdowns in the rout, 3 to his number one target (who we will get to shortly!) whist also adding a trademark QB sneak to his collection. James is in strong contention for MVP honors this season, as he finished 10 passing touchdowns ahead of his nearest challenger in the scoring charts whilst also notching 4 rushing TD’s.
Gareth Millar was the standout running back on Sunday as he spearheaded the Knights offence, racking in 4 rushing touchdowns and a 100+ yard game in their quest for survival. In the defining encounter of the season, Millar stepped up to the plate and caused countless problems for the Reapers defence that couldn’t contain him all game. In what has been a roller-coaster ride for the Carrickfergus Knights this season, The ‘Black and Gold’ won in dominating fashion with a 39-0 victory over the North Kildare Reapers, sealing not only their SBC safety but ending the Reapers hopes of playoff football in the process. When backs are against the wall, that’s when true character shows and the Knights produced easily their best performance of the season when it mattered most.
Last season’s top scoring receiver maintains his crown, as David Richardson reeled in a hat-trick of touchdowns in the Trojans win at the weekend. The leagues top receiver has made a habit of being the go-to guy in the passing game for the Trojans offence and is proving increasingly difficult to stop every year. His connection with QB James McKelvey has brought endless success on the field as they hope their partnership will guide them to another Shamrock Bowl triumph this summer. Richardson finishes the regular season with 11 receptions and another consecutive year as the best receiver in the IAFL.
Word from a spectator at the Rebels versus Panthers game mentioned that the 7 time champions were quite simply superb to watch, as they marched to a 38-6 win over their Dublin rivals. The offence led by Andrew Dennehy made 9 trips to the endzone, scoring 4 rushing, 1 passing touchdown and several rushing 2PAT’s on their way to a (5-3) season. The Rebels O-Line is one of the most disciplined units in the league and their experience contributed to 168 points and 19 touchdowns this year.
The Trojan juggernaut continues to set the standards in the IAFL as for the majority of Sunday’s game, they were able to stop a strong Cowboys side that have tallied 16 touchdowns this year and rank 4th in that category. The Defence will be disappointed they didn’t shut-out the ‘Boys’, but they did capitalize on several Craigavon errors. Safety, Scott Fischaber claimed an interception and there were fumble recoveries for both Andrew Wright and Andrew McGorman. The defending champions secured themselves the best defensive record within the country, only conceding 30 points throughout the regular season.
– Meath Bulldogs Defence The Bulldogs posted a shutout this weekend on defence (Mullingars score was a recovered fumble) the Bulldogs have now scored 4 pick-6’s in 2 games after Paul Clarke took one to the house Sunday. They’re the highest scoring defence in the IAFL1
-Mark Dunphy Waterford Wolves in tight games it’s often the team who keeps their nerve is the team that triumphs. Along with everything else he does for the Wolves Dunphy held his nerve and put the only score of the game on the board by way of field goal and put the Wolves in the playoffs
-Tom Donovan QB UCD put up 3 scores Sunday in the loss to Trinity. Donovan has scored 10 passing tochdowns and 5 rushing this season, as he led UCD to the playoffs.
-Carrickfegus Knights knew that a loss meant relegation and posted their highest total points of the year and a shutout on defence. There’s showing up when it matters and there is this, congratulations to them.