American Football Ireland – The Season So Far

By Jimmy English

Whew! It’s been a hectic few weeks of Irish American football action, with high scoring games and shutouts galore.  In the Premier Division, the Dublin Rebels and Cork Admirals have solidified their positions as Number One and Number Two respectively while in the second tier, Louth and Limerick are on a collision course for a championship game clash, unless something completely shocking happens!

As the domestic American football league took a break for Easter, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far and preview some of the fantastic matchups that still lie ahead.

Clear leaders may have emerged early on in the American Football Ireland Premier Division, but it would be foolish to count out other teams at this juncture. The Belfast Trojans will make the short trip to the neighboring Knights next weekend and should expect to win, although the “other” Belfast team won’t make it easy. And let’s not forget about the upstart Westmeath Minotaurs either. Bill Dougherty’s side will have two opportunities to make a statement in quick succession as they take on the Panthers and UCD on April 16th and 23rd . A win against last year’s champions would be a massive scalp for this team.  The Rebels meanwhile will face Craigavon at home – the Cowboys scoreless offense unlikely to cause major problems for Ty Henry and Co. Our early prediction for playoff spots has The Rebels and Cork at 1 and 2, followed by Westmeath at 3 and UCD just edging out the Trojans for the 4th spot thanks to their head-to-head advantage from a week 3 victory.

Photo: Trevor O’Connell

As we mentioned above, the Mavericks and the Vikings are head and shoulders above the rest in Division One and shouldn’t encounter too much difficulty in finishing out the season undefeated, or close to it. The Mavericks do however have a potentially tough one against the DD Vipers next weekend. Despite only having one victory thus far, the Vipers can score points and this could be a trap game for the Louth side. Division leading UL Vikings are back at home on April 16th taking on the Razorbacks. The Hogs will need to do something drastic if they want to compete in that one, and we’ll be watching with interest to see if they can make something happen.

The rest of division one is murkier. The Rhinos were solid against the Razorback last weekend, showing out on both sides of the ball. The West Dublin side will face the Jets on April 16th and should comfortably win that one. But after that, who knows? In a division of just seven teams likely to have a straight final at the end of the season, everyone needs to win out in order to have a shot.

Irish American football has really come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and continues to grow at a rapid pace. Just look at some of the fantastic performances, individual and otherwise, that we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks. It’s been a fantastic season so far and there’s plenty more to come! Stay tuned to Gaelic Gridiron for weekly Irish American football updates, and follow us on social @gaelicgridirion.

Read the original article in Gaelic Gridiron.