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NFL-Ireland’s Week 19: ‘Team of the Week’

The IAFL regular season has now come to an end and unfortunately, so too has our ‘Team of the Week’ rundown. We have had the pleasure of witnessing some fantastic performances this year from the leagues most promising players and quite simply, this was our way of showing them some appreciation!

After a few weeks of rest, the offseason will soon commence for many players and teams in preparation for 2016. However if you are one of the few sides that have made it into the postseason, we congratulate you!

This is the last taste of ‘Team of the Week’ for 2015; that is of course until our ‘Team of the Year’ segment!! Week 19 everybody!!

Photography by Declan Forrest
Photography by Declan Forrest

Quarterback: Steve Hayes
Cork Admirals thumb_CAlogo

Hats off to Quarterback, Steve Hayes as he finishes the regular season’s top scorer with a magnificent 25 touchdowns! Hayes has been a constant presence in our TOTW articles, but credit must be given where it’s due. Steve completed his scoring with 3 passing touchdowns in the Admirals 40-6 win over the Mavericks, making him the top scoring QB in the country. His quality has helped guide his Cork side to a (7-1) record and a place in the IAFL-1 Bowl Final.

Photography by Donatas Paliskis
Photography by Donatas Paliskis

Running Back: Pete McMahon
Meath Bulldogs Bulldogs

McMahon’s two touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Tyrone Titans proved enough to secure Meath’s passage into the IAFL-1 semi-finals. Pete had one receiving and one rushing touchdown in the 20-6 win at Navan RFC clinching him the overall top spot in the rushing charts with 5 scores. The tough running-back has been instrumental in the Bulldog’s progress this season and will look to continue his fine form into the playoff’s.

Photography by Declan Forrest
Photography by Declan Forrest

Wide Receiver: Simon O’Keefe
Cork Admirals thumb_CAlogo

O’Keefe’s 3 receiving TDs against the Dundalk Mavericks have seen him secure top spot in the receiving charts pipping teammate, Nick Coffi, to the title by one score. O’Keefe finishes the regular season on 10 touchdowns. The trio of Hayes, Coffi and O’Keefe have been devastated opposition defences all year long, making them arguably the lands most threatening aerial unit. O’Keefe will be hoping to add more scores to his collection when the Ad’s face either the Bulldogs or Wolves in the IAFL-1 Bowl on the 2nd of August.

Photography by Donatas Paliskis
Photography by Donatas Paliskis

Offensive-Line: Meath Bulldogs Bulldogs

The Bulldogs headed into Sunday’s game knowing nothing less than victory would secure them playoff football. The tie-breaker system needed some deciphering but none of this effected the Bulldogs men in the trenches getting the job done in their 20-6 win against their playoff rivals. The offensive-line aware of the job they faced performed expertly in setting up scores for the offence, contributing to 1 passing and 2 rushing touchdowns whilst also preventing a single sack.

Photography by Dean Cullen
Photography by Dean Cullen

Defence: Donegal/Derry Vipers Vip

Many around the league have been impressed with just out how well the Vipers have been improving game after game. To come into a new season and suffer big losses against experienced sides is a steep learning curve for anyone, but the men from the North battled on and showed great determination and character. Their hard work this season paid off on Sunday as they earned their first ever win in the IAFL, dispatching the Galway Warrior 17-6. The Vipers only conceding late on and showed great composure on defence to hold onto their lead. They have made huge strides this year and look like a changed outfit from Week 1.

Honourable Mentions

Tyrone Titans – To lose only three games in your opening two years is unheard of. Not long ago winning three games in that period would have been seen as a great success. The Titans have set a new bar for young teams and with a strong recruitment push will see them knocking on the door of the SBC very soon.

Alan Harvey FB Meath Bulldogs  The Rookie Full back capped off a strong close to the regular season with a score on Sunday. Harvey is tied with Mathew Hagan of the Mavericks and Daniel Mullan of the Titans for 2nd place in the IAFL1 scoring charts. An impressive outing in his debut season and bringing much need balance to the Bulldogs using attack.

Declan Mulvihill Dundalk Mavericks –  One of the founders of the club and an ever present on both offence and defence for the Mavs, there is little Mulvihill doesn’t do in Dundalk. Another impressive outing on Sunday brought him high praise and despite the loss carried the Mavs into the off season with a solid platform to launch their 2016 campaign from.

Cork Admirals Defence – The focus of most has been on Corks impressive passing attack this season but their no name defence has gone about an fine season with little fuss. A league leading 78 points allowed. Couple this with the pressure of spending more time on the field than most defences in what still is a run first league the Admirals defence has been all the more impressive.

Finally, a tremendous thank you to all the players, coaches and club officials for indulging us this season as we put together this series. Every single player that straps on a helmet, every coach that is working well before and well after practice ends and club officials who spend more time on football than at work we thank you. We hope we have highlighted the very best and brightest performers this year and if we missed anyone let us know. The overwhelmingly positive response to this series is something we are extremely proud of. Well done to all who featured and we’ll see you all in 2016, for now it’s on to Playoff, Team of the Year and the MVP race.

Scott & Steve

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