Ireland: Games Abandoned and Close Wins

By Jimmy English

Abandon ship! This seems to be the theme from the weekend’s Irish American Football action, which saw two of the four slated fixtures left incomplete due to various factors. In Belfast, the Trojans left it quite late before putting the Minotaurs to bed, while down in Cork the Panthers just about eked out a win in a high scoring battle against the Admirals. You know the drill at this stage… continue reading for a full round up of all the games!

Belfast Trojans 29 – Westmeath Minotaurs 14 

It was always going to be a tough task for a depleted Minotaurs side to go into the rowdy environment of Deramore Park and pull off a win. But despite being outgunned, they only trailed by 4 points entering the final period of play. Their scoring efforts were led by Jay Bruton, who contributed a touchdown catch, extra point and a field goal, while Peter Dempsey and Niall Corcoran made their presence felt on defense with a pair of interceptions. The Trojans really seem to enjoy making life difficult for themselves, and only managed to pull away in the 4th quarter. Touchdowns for the home team came courtesy of Adam McIlwee, James Lynn and Kieran Tomlinson. Dealing the dagger blow in the final spell was Thomas Boyd, whose Pick Six put the game on ice for the Trojans. The ensuing successful 2XP from Niall Mullan then ensured that there was no way back for the visitors. Westmeath have played with heart, grit and determination all season, and can hold their heads high despite the defeat up north.

Photo: Ian Humes

Dublin Rebels 18  – UCD 16 (Game Abandoned)

This much anticipated rematch between the likely 2024 Shamrock Bowl contestants was marred by an unfortunate injury in the third quarter, which forced an abrupt conclusion. Up until that point however, it was as tightly contested an affair as you’d expect from the two best teams in the country. The Rebels pulled out to an early lead with a total of three receiving touchdowns by the Johnson brothers; 2 for Greg and 1 for Dan, all of which came from the arm of Ty Henry. UCD answered back with points of their own, as Arun Mooney connected with Pete Masterson and Tom Donovan found the endzone twice. Having pulled back to within 2 points shortly after the break, the students found themselves unable to complete their comeback attempt as Rebels Quarterback Ty Henry suffered a nasty sounding neck injury, and was taken to hospital. In the interest of player wellbeing, the decision was made to not continue the game. Whether we’ll see a conclusion to this one or not remains to be determined, but as it stands it’ll be chalked up as a win for the Rebels. We wish Ty a speedy recovery in time for the playoffs!

Cork Admirals 30  – South Dublin Panthers 34

Cork entered their penultimate game of the season against the Panthers needing a win to keep their playoff hopes afloat, and after a scoreless first quarter where both sides seemed to be feeling each other out, this one erupted into a real ding dong affair. It was the Admirals who opened their scoring account first, courtesy of a Jake Kennedy rushing touchdown, before Jamie Leonard and Matty O’Meara each crossed the goal line to tie things up. O’Meara would score again in the 3rd quarter to give the visitors a 20-12 advantage. It was at that point that the Leesiders began to mount an offensive assault; Ben Kennedy earned a brace of rushing touchdowns, while Jake Kennedy connected with Declan Maye twice in quick succession through the air. A Sean Goldrick score in the final period saw their slim lead cut to just 3 points, and it would be Goldie who ultimately scored the vital final points to secure a win for the South Dublin side. It really did look at one stage that the Ads would hang on for victory, but this is a very experienced Panther team, who were looking to make a statement after falling to the Rebels recently. It all comes down to the final week of action now, and whether this young Cork team can go on the road to Belfast and win against the Trojans.

Craigavon Cowboys 34 – NI Razorbacks 00 (Game Abandoned at Halftime) 

While it’s safe to say that we anticipated a fairly handy victory for the Cowboys, we didn’t envisage a scenario where their opposition would forfeit at halftime. It’s never nice to see teams in a situation where they are unable to or unwilling to complete a fixture. But the Razorbacks, along with some other Northern teams have been in dire straits for a while now. Hopefully they can pull themselves together ahead of next season. Craigavon were up by 20 after the first quarter, adding two additional scores before the towel was eventually thrown in. Realistically, they probably would have at least doubled that tally if the game had gone on. Peter Loughran absolutely torched the opposing defense, needing only 10 complete passes out of 15 attempts to put up 5 scores and over 300 yards. The majority of those went to his favourite target, Odhran O’Kane, who snagged a hatrick of touchdowns to go along with 237 total yards. Matthew Walsh and Eoin Hughes added the others, and you get the sense there was plenty more where those came from. Their defense wasn’t exactly stretched either, but still managed to accumulate 30 tackles and a lone sack.  It’s hard to see the Jets doing anything to stop the Cowboys next week, if in fact the fixture even goes ahead. The Cowboys next real test is likely to come in the shape of a revenge driven Eagles side in the playoffs, in what should be an absolute belter of a game.

Photo: Paul McIlwaine

Games Abandoned and Close Wins – AFI Week 14 Round Up – Gaelic Gridiron