Belfast Trojans Lose Second Of The Season In Ireland, UL Vikings Still Undefeated

After their impressive performance against the Sewanee Tigers from Tennessee in late May, the Belfast Trojans, winners of the last two Irish titleshave lost two of their last three games in Ireland, the first time they have lost two regular season games in four years. Meanwhile, the UL Vikings have still not lost a game.

Nevertheless, week 14 of the IAFL went ahead despite the torrential rain that played havoc with conditions across the island. The ‘Big 4’ from last season were all in action last weekend, with Trinity College also losing another as both the 2015 Shamrock Bowl finalists suffered defeats. Could we be witnessing a power change in Ireland?

thumb_UL_Logo_40px  UL Vikings (6-1-0)  20trinity_football Trinity College (2-5)  6

The Vikings clinched both their place in the playoffs and their first division title in Ireland since 2012 on Sunday by defeating Trinity College for the second time this season. UL have gone from strength to strength and still remain the only unbeaten side in the SBC.

Their form continued into the first half of this game as they stormed to an early lead before halftime. Ian Cahill was at the helm of the offence again as he attacked Trinity’s secondary, with the often run first approach taking a backseat. He connected with receivers Finn Kearns and Ray Burke to take a comfortable lead that never looked in doubt.

With the offensive line offering great protection and the stingy defence making plays, they scored again when rookie Reece Maloney added a third score to all but seal the game. Sean Sheehy duly notched the resulting 2pt conversion. There was still time for Trinity to convert a score of their own. Ola Bademosi pounced on a fumbled punt return and raced 40 yards to the end zone late in the 4th quarter with the scoring ending 20-6.

UL are now one win shy of an unbeaten season with the Dublin Rebels their final fixture coming up in two weeks. Despite defeat, Trinity have realistically sealed their playoff spot as only a North Kildare Reapers +181 point win on Sunday will change that.

thumb_Trojans_Logo_40px  Belfast Trojans (5-2)  7thumb_Rebels_Logo_40px  Dublin Rebels (6-1)  8

The traditional Irish rain made conditions difficult in Belfast as the defending champions fell 8-7 against the formidable Dublin Rebels. This is the first time the champions have lost two league games in one season in over 4 years as they look to have hit a downward slope of late. Credit to the Rebels however, who have been knocking at the door for years trying to get that elusive win over the Trojans. The second half was a stalemate, with all the scoring taking first in opening quarters.

The Trojans struck first as Neil ‘Pocket’ Montgomery steamrolled his way into the end zone to give Belfast a 6-0 lead. However, on the resulting drive the Rebels responded immediately as Quarterback, Andrew Dennehy fired a pass into the hands of Sean Leamy for 6 points, as running-back Wello Omo punched in the 2pt conversion to lead at the half.

The conditions made moving the ball almost impossible as both sides struggled to find momentum in the torrential conditions. Despite the odds, the Rebels came away from Belfast victorious and now take top spot of the SBC North. The final games for both sides see the Rebels play host to the Vikings in what will ultimately decide the top seed in the playoffs, whilst the Trojans await Trinity College to Deramore Park.

thumb_Reapers_Logo_40px  North Kildare Reapers (1-6)  8thumb_UCD_Logo_40px  University College Dublin (5-1-1)  50

The UCD offence was too much for the Reapers to handle as the students strode to a comfortable 50-8 win in Kildare. UCD were in scintillating form all afternoon and never looked like letting up. In the first half the Reapers were more than competing as they remained within touching distance in the first half, only trailing by a 16-8 scoreline. However, the students were able to go up another gear and further stretched their lead with some excellent movement on offence whilst the defence shutdown the Reapers attack.

Quarterback Tom Donovan again highlighted his talents with 3 rushing touchdowns and 3 passing touchdowns to receivers Dave Bennett (2) and Danny Lucas (1) while Alfie O’Sullivan added a rushing score to the tally.

Two-point conversions were the theme of the day as UCD added 8 points through the trio Donovan, Lucas and O’Sullivan (2). The shining moment from the Reapers came with a 75 yard kick return by Ryan Doherty, the first in the teams history, with Roeland de Connick adding the 2pt conversion.

Although they may have missed out on the division title, UCD can still challenge the Rebels and Trojans for second place in Ireland’s SBC ahead of their season finale with the Carrickfergus Knights. The Reapers welcome the South Dublin Panthers to Kildare next week with both teams looking to finish the year with a win.

Week 15 Fixtures:

– South Dublin Panthers vs. North Kildare Reapers : 2pm
– Carrickfergus Knights vs. Craigavon Cowboys : 2pm

Scott Morrow
Scott is an aspiring Sports Journalist who enjoys writing about all things American Football. He is a regular contributor to AFI Review and also writes for both NFL Ireland and Double Coverage, and currently plays for the Belfast Trojans. He also supports the Green Bay Packers.
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