Irish American Football League Power Rankings

 Week 12 of the Irish American Football League has been and gone as the regular season gradually comes to a close. With only three weeks remaining, playoff places, relegation battles and division titles will all be decided over the next number of games. The power rankings will serve as a comparison to teams in the league based on results and performances and how that could affect the final positions on the last day of the season.

 

1#–  thumb_UL_Logo_40px University of Limerick Vikings (5-0-1)

The Vikings put the sword to the defending champions, the Belfast Trojans on May 28th winning 16-13 that sees them take top seed in the rankings. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and that’s what UL did. These two have tussled for years with the Trojans often getting the upper-hand. This will no doubt instil more confidence in a team that has sights firmly set on making the Shamrock Bowl final this summer. Despite drawing 10-10 with UCD on Sunday, they remain the last unbeaten side in the conference with a (5-1-0) record. Their final 2 games will be just as challenging with the Rebels and Trinity College on the cards, however avoiding defeat against UCD has edged them one step closer to their first division title since 2012 and possibly the number one seeding in the playoffs.

2# –  thumb_Trojans_Logo_40px Belfast Trojans (5-1)

On any other occasion, the Trojans would be top of this list. The 4 time defending champions have only lost 2 league games in 4 years which is by no means an easy feat. However, 2016 offers a clean slate in regards to rankings and the champions must contend with their first loss of the season and a drop into second place. Belfast didn’t let the 16-13 defeat to the Vikings deter them however as they ran out resounding 40-6 winners against local rivals the Carrickfergus Knights at the weekend. They will still be expected to finish the season strongly and be favourites to take top honours in the SBC North with both the best offensive and defensive statistics in the league. Regardless of that, they can’t afford another slip as both the Rebels and Knights are hot on their trail.

3# –  thumb_Rebels_Logo_40px Dublin Rebels (5-1)

The Rebels are granted 3rd place in our rankings and they are in scintillating form. First of all, they have a points difference of (+180) the second best in the league. Secondly, they have combined for a total of 248 points, only 3 shy of the Trojans which also places them second in that category. Lastly, although the Rebels fell to the Trojans 25-8 they did however beat the Knights 36-0 earlier in the season and they dispatchedd last years finalists Trinity College on Sunday, winning 38-18. The Rebels will get their opportunity to contest for the division title which will be decided in the next game against the Trojans on June 19th before finishing the regular season against the Vikings.

4# –  thumb_UCD_Logo_40px  University College Dublin (4-1-1)

Similarly to the Rebels, UCD are on a hot run of form. Despite the 24-8 loss to the Vikings earlier in the season, they held the division leaders in a 10-10 all stalemate to keep the SBC South title race intriguing. The students have been excellent on all accounts as they sit 4th on points scored (132) and 3rd on points difference (+89) however they do have the second best defence in the league, only surrendering (43) points over 6 games. They may not put up dazzling numbers on offence, but their defence doesn’t need them to. It’s still early to jump to conclusions but UCD would appear to have their playoff spot sealed although there is still room for seedings to change with games against the Reapers coming up, before visiting the Knights on the final day.

5#thumb_Knights_Logo_40px  Carrickfergus Knights (4-2)

The Knights look a completely different team from the one that narrowly avoided relegation last season. They were the leagues next best form team behind the Vikings winning 3 straight before losing 40-6 against the Trojans on Sunday. They’ve shown much more conviction than in previous years as their points tally sits at (111) which isn’t as high as other teams but its proven that they can close out games. Their defeats have come at the hands of the Rebels and Trojans, but to remain in the hunt for the division title at this stage is a good sign of improvement. The Knights remaining fixtures are against local rivals the Cowboys and UCD, but they are safe in knowing that their playoff berth is already sealed.

6# –  trinity_football  Trinity College (2-4)

For those that have followed the IAFL in recent years, it may come as a shock to see Trinity so low in the rankings. They are a team in re-build mode, having lost a number of star players during the off-season. Those players may return, but as of now Trinity are going through inconsistent spells. The offence has still put up a respectable number of points (112) but their defence isn’t used to conceding so many. Some of their games have been lost by one score margins, but they lack that cutting edge of years gone by. The 31-0 win over the Reapers gives them breathing space for their playoff aspirations, particularly with their game in hand. However their final games are against the top teams in the league in our rankings and they lost the first against the Rebels, 38-18. If they are to reach the playoffs, it will need to be done the hard way.

7# –  thumb_Reapers_Logo_40px  North Kildare Reapers (1-5)

After coming from behind to defeat Trinity 25-24 a few weeks ago, the Reapers couldn’t replicate the performance as they fell to a 31-0 deficit in the return leg; otherwise they may have been ranked higher. The Reapers, despite the surprise of many, have been on the cusp of the playoffs the last two seasons, missing out on either final day drama or the unforgiving by-law rules. Either way, the Reapers have steadily progressed each year although reaching a 3-5 record like last season could be a big ask. They are a small unit and often suffer heavy defeats against the bigger teams which explains their (-161) points difference. They also languish near the bottom on points scored too (43), the only difference that separates them from the others? They have a win! There will also be opportunities to grab more and potentially steal the last playoff spot from Trinity.

8# –  thumb_Cowboys_Logo_40px  Craigavon Cowboys (0-6)

The Cowboys started the 2016 campaign with -3 points having fielded an eligible player last season. So in regards to points, they would technically be bottom of the SBC. However, in terms of both stats and performances they could well be higher up the rankings too with only results letting them down. They hold 7th spot when it comes to points scored (55) but fall to 8th on points difference (-173) so there are certainly areas of weakness. For a team that reached the playoffs last season, this will turn out to be a disappointing year for the Cowboys. With only two games left, their fixture with the Panthers on June 12 could determine who finishes bottom of the league.

9# –  thumb_Panthers_Logo_40px  South Dublin Panthers (0-6)

The Panthers problems started from the get-go this year and matters didn’t improve as they lost 25-0 to UCD two weeks ago. The Dubliners have a promising set-up, good coaches and players with potential but it hasn’t come to fruition this year. They’ve only managed (19) points over 6 games and have a devastating points difference of (-234). There’s been few bright sparks in 2016 and attentions will have already turned to next season. The Panthers will close out the year with games against fellow strugglers the Cowboys and Reapers so there is hope they can grind out a few wins and take some momentum with them into 2017.

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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