Football Season In Ireland Coming To Exciting Close

The penultimate week of the Irish American Football League regular season took place last Sunday with a number of questions regarding playoff contention and relegation being answered. The Reapers overcame a spirited Panthers side that finished without a single win this season, whilst the rivalry in the north continued between the Knights and Cowboys in the rematch from Week 11. Only one week remains in Ireland with still plenty up for grabs.

thumb_Reapers_Logo_40px  North Kildare Reapers (2-6) 20 thumb_Panthers_Logo_40px  South Dublin Panthers (0-8) 0

Ireland - Panthers-Reapers 2016 action.2

The Reapers closed out their season in Ireland strongly with a shut-out victory over the South Dublin Panthers on Sunday. Although they have missed out on the playoffs for another year, they put in a solid all-round performance that will give them hope for a better outcome for next season.

The tandem of Ryan Doherty and Roeland de Connick were on hand for a consecutive week to supply the points with the former adding a brace in a 20-0 victory. Doherty broke the deadlock in the first half after the offence had an earlier opportunity ruled out to give the Reapers a 7-0 lead at the break.

Running back de Connick increased the score with a reception that he took 80 yards to the house from QB Damien Sebastian‘s pass, before Doherty added his second of the game with a punt return for 6, his second special teams touchdown in back-to-back games. The Reapers finished the season (2-5) just behind Trinity College on points difference, while the Panthers winless campaign came to a grinding halt. They finish 8th overall in the IAFL and will be looking for plenty of improvement ahead of the 2016/17 season.

thumb_Cowboys_Logo_40px  Craigavon Cowboys (1-7)thumb_Knights_Logo_40px Carrickfergus Knights (5-2) 14

Photography by Keith McBurney

Photography by Keith McBurney

The Cowboys made life difficult for the Knights at Peoples Park, but they ultimately fell short of victory losing 14-6 in a close contest. The Knights have been keeping pace with the Trojans and Rebels in the North division throughout the season, but they were made to work for their win against a stubborn Craigavon unit. Game between these sides are often close and it proved that way with only one score separating the teams.

The Knights had Alistair Nixon and Phil Henson to thank for victory as their touchdowns were enough to keep the Cowboys at arms length, with Spencer McDowell adding a safety for extra breathing room. Craigavon continued to apply pressure up to the final whistle as QB Peter Loughran connected with receiver Luis Alberto for 6 points, a partnership that has flourished all season long. The Knights held on however for a 14-6 win that keeps them within touching distance of first place.

The Cowboys season comes to an end at (1-7) and due to their point deduction at the beginning of the year, they finish last in the IAFL despite the better record over the Panthers.

The Knights will face UCD in the final week of the season with both teams looking to improve their seeding heading into the playoffs.

Week 16 games:

– Trinity College vs Belfast Trojans – 2 pm.
– University College Dublin vs Carrickfergus Knights – 2 pm.
– UL Vikings vs Dublin Rebels – 2 pm. (TBC)

John Whelan Tribute

During the weekend’s games there was a moment silence held ahead of kickoff for the passing of John Whelan. John was respected and beloved member of the IAFL community. He was hugely passionate about local American football and his photography helped promote the sport to new levels in Ireland. We offer our condolences to John’s family and friends.

John Whelan, IAFL photographer and true gentleman.

John Whelan, IAFL photographer and true gentleman.

 

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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