It’s week 3 of the regular season and the dust is finally starting to settle on who’s good and who’s, well let’s just say ‘rebuilding’. What better way to do that than with the NFL Ireland Team of the Week? Continue reading “NFL Ireland Team of the Week: Week 3”
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
NFL-Irelands Week 16: ‘Team of the Week’
We had a range of results this weekend as Week 16 has now came and gone. The UL Vikings and UCD put on a show in their respective games, coming out convincing winners as the SBC South took another twist. The Rebels edged out the Knights in a hard-fought game in Dublin that guarantees them 2nd spot in the North division.
Whilst around the IAFL-1 and 2, the Mavericks clung on to a 9-0 win against the Minotaurs as the Vipers late comeback wasn’t enough as Galway added another scalp to the league newcomers.
Here’s the best of Week 16 in the IAFL!
The former Defensive End now turned Quarterback had an excellent day at the office as he helped his side to a resounding 55-0 win over the South Dublin Panthers. Cahill passed for 5 touchdowns, more than any other QB on Sunday, as the Vikings finished off their regular season in style! Whether it will be enough to clinch the South division title remains to be seen but Cahill has fitted seamlessly into his new role and will be a key asset to UL’s Shamrock Bowl hopes.
The students clinched a decisive victory in Kildare last weekend in the race for the wildcard spots. They ran out comfortable winners by a 48-0 scoreline against the Reapers that gives them the crucial head-to-head advantage over their division counterparts. Running-Back, Conor Hanrahan was one of a few scorers on the day but his one reception, one rushing and 2PT conversion was enough for him to get the nod this week.
The Vikings are blessed to have a number of seriously talented players on their roster and Sean Goldrick is one of them. The receiver scored a hattrick of touchdowns against the Panthers, reeling in 3 receptions from partner in crime, Ian Cahill. UL’s aerial attack was in full flight on Sunday as the Panthers secondary struggled to contain an irresistible Vikings offence. Goldrick now jumps up the scoring rankings to second with 5 touchdowns.
UCD overturned three straight defeats to get back to winning ways in a pivotal point in their season. They were able to fire 48 points past the Reapers with the O-Line having a particularly good day. Two different QB’s and two different RB’s all got on the scoreboard and naturally the plaudits will go to them. However the O-Line consisting of RT Eoin Feely, RG Larry Doyle, (both Feely and Doyle are the starting Linebackers!) C Harry Maguire, LG Dylan Carrig and LT Ben McLarney should all get great satisfaction from contributing to UCD’s highest scoring game of the season.
Not only did the Vikings register 55 points but they earned a shut-out in the process. The Vikings and Panthers have been two of the in-form defences this season, but the Vikes were the better on Sunday. They were able to create turnovers from forced fumbles and interceptions on their way to victory in an all-round dominating performance from the Limerick outfit.
– Two of the top performances of the week goes to UCD’s, Dave Bennet and Tom Donovan. Bennet had a 100 yard rushing game and 2 picks on defence, while Donovan passed for 4 Touchdowns before coming out of the game then calling the plays for Back-Up Kevin Duffy (who also got one)
– Vipers signal-caller, Nic Young proves once again to be the main outlet on the Vipers Offence. Young passed for a touchdown and scored a 2pt attempt in a heroic second half performance against Galway.
– Praise must given where it’s due, especially when a team with limited numbers must play iron man football for 4 quarters. That’s what the Mullingar Minotaurs did. It wasn’t the result they were hoping for but their effort should not go unrecognised. Credit to them!
NFL-Irelands ‘Team of the Week’ Double Header!
Unfortunately last weeks ‘Team of the Week’ article had to be delayed, as the world of work got the better of us. Thankfully, we don’t have such problems this week and in return for your patience we have brought you a double dosing of TOTW for both Week 14 and Week 15! Yay!
Hopefully you’ll be able to jog your memories back to just over a week ago, but if you’ve forgotten some of the performances from Week 14, we have you covered! The standout players from Sunday are also included as we picked the best from what proved to be an exciting and pinnacle week on the IAFL calendar.
Andy is one of the most experienced Quarterbacks in the country and arguably the best pure passer of a football in the league. The Rebels form has dipped in and out this year, but the quality of the Dublin offence is hard to ignore. The signal-caller connected with both Kevin Finnegan and Peter Keely as the Rebels overcame the always tough UL Vikings 21-14 at St. Muchens College. The Vikings D currently tops the SBC South and only conceded 46 points before Sunday, so the Rebels win was all the more important as they look to seal up 2nd in the North Conference.
Talk about making an entrance! John competed in his first ever taste of American Football on Sunday as he kitted up for the Cork Admirals in their 27-7 victory away to Mullingar. John had a stellar debut in the red and white of Cork as he broke numerous tackles on his way to his first touchdown of his career, whilst also totalling 116 rushing yards throughout the game. Cork’s offence is brimming with talent and now they can add John to the ranks.
This was a difficult position to choose this week with a number of receivers tallying 1 touchdown apiece last weekend. However we decided to go with Nick Coffi of the Admirals for this weeks award, with the Admirals win swinging it in his favour. The Frenchman bagged another touchdown to take his total to 5 on the season as he continues to prove himself to be a favourite target of QB Steve Hayes. With the IAFL-1 Bowl appearance all the more likely, Coffi could well be the key asset to Cork’s potential success.
Cork scored the most points of any team in the IAFL with 27, but the magnitude of the Rebels/Vikings clash made the Rebels performance so impressive. The 7 time champions were able to find balance across their offence with two passing scores to the previously mentioned duo of Finnegan and Keely as well as adding a rushing touchdown courtesy of Sean Leamy, who also added a 2pt try to seal the game. The Rebels move to 3-3 as the Offence now holds the third most points scored in the SBC.
The Titans were able to close out a 10-6 win over their bitter rivals the Dundalk Mavericks, who they’ve now defeated 5 times on the trot. However the dual between the two sides this year has become increasingly close unlike the high scoring games in the IAFL-2. Only one score has separated the last two fixtures with the Titans defence stepping up when it needed too most. Excluding the Admirals scoreline, Tyrone have only surrendered 3 scores after Sunday, earning two shut-outs in the process. They also conceded the least amount of points last weekend too.
Steve has proven week after week that he is a fantastic talent in the IAFL and he’s becoming a regular in our TOTW’s too. Hayes has led the scoring charts for much of the season as he and the Cork Admirals storm their way through the IAFL-1 Conference. He put up dominant numbers against the Waterford Wolves, throwing for 5 touchdowns amounting 247 yards in the process. The signal-caller has now reached the 20 touchdown mark on the season and is a serious contender for MVP honours.
It’s been consecutive appearances for Ola Bademosi in our TOTW column as his performances continue to standout amongst those in his position. He’s arguably been the most in form player in recent weeks as his two rushing touchdowns were enough to help Trinity oversee rivals UCD 23-14. His recent surge of form now lifts him to top spot in the rushing charts with 7 touchdowns, as his blend of speed and strength is proving difficult to contain.
This game will live long in the memory! Suffering from a 22 point deficit, the Cowboys miraculously pull the game back with 5.04 left on the clock, to somehow win 23-22 on the last play of the game. There have been a number of comebacks over the years, but perhaps this is the best of them? Receiver, Luis Alberto was the savior of the game as he reeled in 2 clinical touchdowns and a 2 PT conversion to put Craigavon within touching distance. It was then Luis who stepped up to take the pressure kick that ultimately won the game for the ‘Boys’ with seconds to spare. Incredible scenes were met at the full time whistle and much of the credit should be given to Luis’ heroic performance.
The North division champions continue to dominate the IAFL and the West Dublin Rhino’s were the latest victims in the Trojan onslaught. The offence tallied 30 of Belfast’s 49 points on Sunday as the O-Line consisting of Matthew Vance, Mark Davidson, Michael Bradford, Chris Harte and Mohammed Ramadan helped contribute to 2 passing and 3 rushing touchdowns. The Trojans still have one game left of the regular season, but they’ve scored 293 total points so far; 210 of which have been scored by the offence.
We’ve talked in past about the teams that rank amongst the leagues best defences; the Belfast Trojans, UL Vikings, Trinity College to name a few. How about adding the Cork Admirals to that list? Sundays comfortable 43-0 win against the Waterford Wolves maintained how good the Cork offence is, but what about the defence? 6 forced fumbles (4 recovered) 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 lateral passes, 1 defensive touchdowns and a shut-out. Impressive numbers! The DMVP performance came courtesy of Chris Allen who had 13 tackles, 4 TFL’s, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and he scored the touchdown. That’s as good a defensive performance as any in the league this season.
– Peter Loughran is a phenominal all-round player in this league, but that’s probably the best 5mins of football he’s ever played! 2 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing TD of his own were enough to give the Craigavon Cowboys the greatest of comebacks in IAFL history; 3 touchdowns in 5 mins? #clutchgenes
– Many teams in the IAFL have a star receiver, the target man, the go-to guy. The Cork Admirals have a number of them. It’s hard to mention Nick Coffi (2) without naming partner in crime Simon O’Keefe (3) as the pairing totaled 5 touchdowns between them against the Wolves. Luis Alberto was our top receiver this week, but O’Keefe’s 3 Td’s and 160 yard game could have taken the spoils on another day.
NFL-Ireland’s Week 13: ‘Team of the Week’
Week 13 is done and dusted as another helping of IAFL games end up in the history books. 5 games took place this weekend and what a weekend of football it was! The Belfast Trojans became the first side to win a domestic honour on Sunday as they defeated the Craigavon Cowboys to clinch the SBC North division title.
There were also important wins for the South Dublin Panthers and Trinity College, whilst the Wolves leapfrogged Meath into third with victory at Navan RFC. The biggest shock of the weekend however came at Castleknock as the Rhinos ground out their first win of the season against the Knights, lifting the Rhinos off the bottom of the combined table for the first time this season.
Only 5 weeks remain in the IAFL regular season, but as the year winds down there is still time for a number of performances to catch the eyes of us here at NFL-Ireland. Plenty to go through in this weeks TOTW article, so lets get to it!
The leagues leading signal-caller once again proved his worth on Sunday with another masterful performace at the helm of the Trojan juggernaut. McKelvey threw 2 touchdowns in the 48-0 rout against the Cowboys, with both of those touchdowns reaching favourite target, David Richardson. He also scored on a QB sneak from 2 yards out. The Quarterback’s form has improved as the season wears on and he has now surpassed his tally from last season, with 14 touchdowns on the year so far. Still plenty of games left to reach the 20 mark!
Second week running that Ola Bademosi has been the star back in the league, as he added 3 touchdowns against the Reapers to help the students to a 37-3 win. After a solid performance against the Vikings, Ola was able to move the ball in impressive fashion against North Kildare’s defence as they couldn’t find an answer for his fast, physical running. So often the back-up to star player Rob McDowell, Ola’s run atop the depth chart has paid dividends and he’s becoming a real threat for the Trinity Offence, with 5 TD’s in 2 games. Trinity look like they may be forging a new talisman in the backfield.
Two touchdowns for the big receiver as he spearheaded Trinity’s dissection of the Reapers secondary. Most of TCD’s touchdowns this season has been on the ground, but Gurnee showed why they are just as dangerous in the air, connecting with QB Dan Finnamore for some big plays. Alex is now tied for second in the SBC reception chart with 3 scores this year.
Trinity’s o-line had a commanding day Sunday, moving the ball with balance and confidence as they closed the gap on the Vikings in the SBC South. The students rushed for 3 touchdowns and passed for 2 against the Reapers as Finnamore, Bademosi and Gurnee took control of the game. Trinity are beginning to hit their stride again at the perfect time and with plenty of games still to play, there is time for them to make an impression on the title race as well as in our ‘TOTW’ column.
Best defence in the league? It would take a lot to disagree with a such a statement! The reigning champions bagged yet another shut-out, their third of the season as the Cowboys were the latest victims to fall to the dominant Trojans D. Defensive Tackle, Christophe Perret had a fumble recovery whilst middle linebacker, Connor Whitla had a pick 6 and a fumble recovery of his own. The victory clinched Belfast their 4th consecutive division title with two games to spare, whilst also holding Peter Loughran and the leagues third highest scoring offence to nothing.
– Jonathan, Jonah, Cheat Codes, Chico?! Doesn’t matter what you call him he is still going to score ridiculous touchdowns! Yet another punt return score to add to his collection, this time from 60 yards out. Jonah Siri is the only player in the SBC to have currently scored a touchdown on Special Teams.
– An honourable mention to the defences of both the Waterford Wolves and Meath Bulldogs who demonstrated what defensive football is all about on Sunday. Only a pick-6 from Ryan Byrne of the Wolves(1 of 3 INTS on the day for him) and safety from Bulldog, Stephen Power made it onto the scoreboard in a incredibly close contest that finished 7-2 in Waterford’s favour. Defence! Defence!
– The Panthers defence had an impressive day Sunday. Arguably one of the most exciting players in the IAFL at the moment is UCD QB Tom Donovan. Contained for the most part by the South Dublin outfit and picked off on two occasions by Panthers LB Conrad Cook and once by DB Eoin Neville, to ice the game as UCD attempted a comeback.
– Things are still very tough for the Rhinos but with their backs against the wall they finally mustered an offensive performance. A switch at QB brought Stephen Mooney under centre and gave the Rhinos offence the spark it needed to get a result here. They’ll still need help elsewhere but their is life in Castleknock yet.
– Technically we mentioned his exploits earlier but he deserves an individual mention also. Short of Neil Graham, The Trojans defence could have been considered slightly weaker than normal. Not so as Conor Whitla put in the performance of two men. Scoring on a pick six and creating….hell just have a watch of this video by Media 401 Productions
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.
NFL-Irelands Week 11: ‘Team of the Week’
Six good games took place in the IAFL this past weekend, all with varying ranges of importance. Belfast Trojans made a huge statement on Sunday, disposing of the Carrickfergus Knights 57-0, scoring 7 more points than they did in the same match-up last season. The 2nd’s also defeated the Donegal/Derry Vipers 60-20 in the double header, however the Vipers showed signs of improvement since their season opener.
Meanwhile there was also wins for the Craigavon Cowboys and North Kildare Reapers in the SBC, whilst the Waterford Wolves and Meath Bulldogs won very close contests in the IAFL-1. Another good week of football and another batch of good performances! Who made it into the best of Week 11?
Quarterback: Peter Loughran
Another appearance in our ‘Team of the Week’ column in recent weeks for Peter. The Quarterback/Linebacker/Receiver helped contribute massively to the Cowboys narrow 20-14 victory over division rivals, the South Dublin Panthers. Despite being under constant pressure at signal-caller, Peter was able to pass for 3 touchdowns that guided the ‘Boys’ to victory. His strong arm and ability to run causes opposing defences many problems, but despite playing various positions, he has proven more than capable of leading the Cowboys offence this season.
Running-Back: Matt Armstrong
Yet again, the Belfast Trojan backfield occupy our running-back slot, proving that the men in green possess arguably the most feared core of backs in the league. Neil Montgomery, Peter Roberts and Jonah Siri have been selected in the past, this time its Matt Armstrong’s turn. The former Safety rushed for another hat-trick of touchdowns against the Knights, bringing his overall total for the season to 10 (including IAFL-2) The Trojan backfield has now scored a ridiculous 26 touchdowns combined.
Tight-End: Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith becomes our first tight-end to be selected as part of the ‘Team of the Week’. His 2 receptions against the Panthers were pivotal, making very good catches on both counts. His connection with QB Peter Loughran was the key to unlocking the Panthers secondary and showed himself to be a solid player throughout the game. He could be a crucial weapon to the Cowboys offence down the final stretch of the season. He now jumps up to second in the SBC receiving charts with 3 touchdowns.
Offensive Line: Belfast Trojans
There was a number of closely contested games this weekend, with minimal points scored. However the game at Deramore Park was nothing short of a blowout. The Trojans registered 57 points over rivals the Knights, scoring 6 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns. They also tallied 60 against the Vipers in the IAFL-2. Belfast’s balance on offence is a big factor in their recent success, they are strong in the trenches, the backs run hard and aggressive and the receivers make plays. Stopping the Trojans this year will take some doing.
Defence: Belfast Trojans
Only the Trojans and Reapers registered shut-outs this weekend, but keeping your bitterest rivals off the scoreboard and putting 57 in the other end takes a complete performance on defence, something the Trojans have been showing all year. Not only did they force 2 fumbles and an interception, but they also managed a safety! The Trojans have now scored the most points and conceded the least points in the SBC.
– Quarterback, Nic Young of the Donegal/Derry Vipers made history by connecting with receiver Mark Gray for the Vipers first ever official touchdown. The Vipers scored a further 2 touchdowns in a much improved performance against the Belfast Trojans 2nd’s. The Minnesota born QB could be a huge player this season for the Vipers!
– Speaking of Quarterbacks, the Trojans have a very good one in James McKelvey. Although he didn’t receive the TOTW award this time, he now has 12 touchdowns in 5 games this season, 1 shy off his tally from last year.
– We mentioned Running-Back Jonah Siri earlier and he had another impressive game on Sunday. He returned a 50 yard punt to start the first offensive drive, and also made a vital interception inside the Trojans own 10 yard line. He also scored a 30 yard rushing touchdown against the Knights before scoring against the Vipers also. Good day all round!
– Ryan Byrne of the Waterford Wolves also had a good day, helping his team take victory over the Minotaurs by a score of 13-7. Ryan made an interception and also scored the Wolves opener, via a 60-yard bootleg run.
Want to find out how your players compare to the rest of the league? Here’s a link to all the scorers you need!
NFL-Irelands Week 10: ‘Team of the Week’
Only two games to talk about this week as two entertaining encounters took place North of the border. Each game had huge significance as the Tyrone Titans and Belfast Trojans comprehensively won their ties this weekend with very similar score lines, 44-8 and 43-8 respectively. With those victories, the Titans and Trojans now sit top their divisions, whilst also maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.
I’m sure if you have seen the stats, you’ll know who to expect in this weeks lineup.
Mullan had a record setting day at the office as he guided the Titans to a 44-8 pounding of the Mullingar Minotaurs. He threw for 7 touchdowns, potentially an IAFL record and definitely a Titans record, as the home side dominated from start to finish. Daniel is a consistent threat to any defence both through the air and on the ground and he now ties Stephen Hayes at the top of the IAFL-1 passing charts. The home win at Omagh RFC now see Tyrone’s unbeaten streak stretch to 11 games and see’s their offence shake off the unsteady form they’d been in of late.
A number of names could have cropped up here, but considering the scintillating form the Trojans have been in of late, it’s only fair to give the accolade to the workhorse of the backfield in Neil ‘Pocket’ Montgomery. Neil had a blinder against the Rebels as his powerful downhill running helped establish positive possession in Belfast’s 43-8 win. He was unfortunate to only score a single touchdown on Saturday, as he steamrolled in from 35 yards out. He also contributed to a 60 yard run, stiff arming several would be tacklers to the ground before being somewhat controversially ruled down at the half yard line. Back field counterpart Dave Colvin, who had a very fine day himself, strolled into the end zone untouched on the ensuing play. Excellent all round performance from the Full-Back.
With Daniel Mullan having such an impressive game, it’s no surprise that we would see a Titans receiver in our ‘Team of the Week’. Ryan Brolly has been a consistent performer and continual threat for Tyrone’s offence this season and he bagged himself 3 touchdowns in Sunday’s victory. He now occupies top spot of the receiving charts along with Nick Coffi on 5 touchdowns. The Titans are still in search of answers in the run game following an injury to Lee McLaughlin, but until they find them Brolly will continue to be the go-to guy.
Scoring 44 points in a game is always a special feeling, after weeks of questions about your offence, it’s all the more satisfying. The Titans O-Line were able to create a clean pocket for Daniel Mullan to connect for 7 passing touchdowns, as the offence got back to the high-scoring performances that saw them dominate the IAFL-2 last year. If the Titans can turn this game into a run of form, they will be a sure fire call for clinching ‘at least’ a top 2 spot. We very much look forward to the upcoming game against the Cork Admirals, a battle between the highest scoring teams in the division.
The full ‘Team of the Week’ outfit is complete with yet another inclusion from the kings in the north. The Trojans defence has only conceded 22 points in 4 games and they held the strong Dublin Rebels offence to only 8 points at Deramore Park. The Rebels are the 3rd best Offence in the SBC and the Trojans were able to hold them scoreless in the opening 3 quarters, before conceding in the dying embers of the game. To defeat an arch-rival by this amount takes an almost complete performance, and the defence did their part by forcing two fumbles and two interceptions.
– If there was a ‘Play of the Year’ category, this would certainly fit the bill. Moments of magic in football are breathtaking to watch, and one moment certainly came from Trojans Safety, Rick Duffield. After intercepting the ball and then shedding 3 or 4 would be tacklers, the Rebels finally thought they had the experienced safety down but at the last moment he was able to lateral the ball across to fellow safety Chris Mikhael, who had the simple task of strolling in for an easy touchdown! Rick had 2 interceptions in the game and was a standout on defence. Words can’t really describe how good the play was, you just had to be there!
– Running-Back Kevin Finnegan was a shining example in what was an under-par Rebels performance as he continued to put in hard yards throughout a difficult game. He wasn’t quite able to get over the line, however his all-round performance merited a touchdown.
– The James McKelvey/David Richardson combo continues to excel as their partnership again produced results, with another touchdown added to their collection. There is a number of very good Quarterback/Receiver partnerships in the league, but this one might just be the best!
– Niall Folan of the Minotaurs grabbed himself another touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to help Mullingar get their first win of the season. On a more positive note, Folan now has his 4th touchdown of the season and is the main threat of this aerial Minotaurs attack.
NFL-Irelands Week 9: ‘Team of the Week’
It was very much a mixed bag of results this past weekend, the Cork/Dundalk game was called off but there were crucial victories across the country nonetheless as the Meath Bulldogs, North Kildare Reapers and Belfast Trojans 2nd’s all added W’s to their column, whilst there was a 0-0 tie between the Warriors and Rhinos which is the first scoreless draw in the league since….well, brownie points for whoever can name the last time!
Despite only being 4 games on show, there were still a number of displays worth mentioning so without further ado, let’s see who stood out of the crowd on Sunday.
Quarterback: Luke Bailey
There wasn’t too many passing touchdowns this weekend, however south paw QB Luke Bailey of the Reapers contributed two of the three as he connected with receivers Josh Dowling and Ryan Doherty to help guide the Kildare outfit to a narrow 13-12 victory over the Craigavon Cowboys. The win gives the Reapers a great chance of not only equalling last years record, but realistically clinching a playoff berth, thanks in part to Luke’s performance on Sunday.
The Trojans 2nd’s stormed to another comprehensive victory this weekend as they put 63 past the South Kildare Soldiers in the IAFL-2. Many players contributed to a dominant display, but at times it turned into a one man show. Described by teammates as “as good as having cheat codes” Running Back, Jonathan Siri scored half of the teams points by tallying 5 touchdowns, with 1 of those from defensive end. The men in Green are already stacked in the backfield as Matt Armstrong and Peter Roberts have scored plenty of points between them so far, but it looks like Belfast have found yet another rushing prodigy.
Wide Receiver: Josh Dowling North Kildare Reapers
As we mentioned above there was only 3 passing touchdowns yesterday and 2 of them were in this game. Tom Montgomery scored the 8th of 9 touchdowns against the Soldiers for the Trojans and Ryan Doherty scored the first Reapers touchdown of the day. #7 Dowling caught his first touchdown of the season and in doing so gave the Reapers the all important win. The Reapers now have 2 wins this season and if nothing else can now think themselves likely to be safe from the drop. Playoffs are now a possibility for the Kilcock team and Dowling is sure to be a key contributor to that push. (Photo to follow)
It’s not quite 72, but its pretty close! 63 points were scored by the Trojans on Sunday. Bar one touchdown and a safety on defence, the offensive line put in yet another professional display as they assisted the run-game with 7 rushing scores and protected QB Kris Donaghy for 1 passing touchdown to TE Tom Montgomery. The O-Line has now contributed to 135 points in 2 games! With 4 more games in the IAFL-2 still to play.
The Bulldogs made the difficult journey down south to face the Waterford Wolves on Sunday and managed to come away with their first victory of the season. Meath salvaged a hard-fought 13-0 win over their playoff rivals as they fended off anything the Wolves had to throw at them. There were a number of clean sheets this weekend, however with the magnitude of this game and the considerable bearing it could have on each teams season, this shut-out was the most important of all.
– After a long spell on the sideline yesterday Peter Loughran re-entered the game against the Reapers in the 4th quarter and looked to swing the momentum in the Cowboys direction. Playing on an injured ankle he pushed a pile of bodies and himself into the end zone for the score with under a minute remaining. The Cowboys unfortunately were unsuccessful with the 2 point attempt for the win.
– Meath QB Eddie McMahon had a productive day passing the ball in terrible weather conditions and against a run stuffing Waterford defence. Eddie also contributed a rushing TD on the day which you can see here.
– Keeping it in the family, RB Pete McMahon reeled in 5 of those passes and contributed a rushing touchdown of his own on the difficult away trip to Waterford.
– Trojans Running Back Matt Armstrong had another good day with 3 rushing touchdowns against the Soldiers. Matt also had a touchdown for the 1st team last week and is showing the kind of form that will see him get more and more opportunities against the SBC defences.
– Reapers Linebacker Thomas Brocklebank was all over the field yesterday verses the Cowboys. It’s often hard to get noticed on Defence but it was hard not to notice the shift put in by #55. Making on seemingly in on nearly every tackle he made the difference for the Reapers on defence in an incredibly tight game.