Ireland: Trojans & Knights escape with wins

By Jimmy English

On a weekend where the weather wreaked havoc on the country, part of me was glad to be at home in my nice cosy house. That said, there were some cracking close games in the Irish American Football League that I would have loved to witness! But standing on a sideline in the wind and rain is not fun. Not to worry, because once (if) the sun finally reappears I’ll be back on the road! In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on the four fixtures that took place on Sunday afternoon.

Cork Admirals 14 – Belfast Trojans 21

The Leesiders are still waiting for a win. It was really hard to know who to favour in this one, as the head insisted the Trojans would win comfortably but my heart told me to never count out this talented Cork team. The youngsters got out to an early 2 touchdown lead, as outstanding  Quarterback Jake Kennedy rushed for the opening score, before connecting with Jahn Dasini for his second, and they were leading 14-13 by the end of the 3rd quarter. Their defense played it’s part as well, as Adam Murphy and Matthew Sibanyoni delivered an INT and two fumble recoveries respectively.  The Trojans didn’t go the whole way from Belfast to lose though, and battled back with points of their own coming from Oran Wilson and Darren Quinn. It was the visitors who would prevail in the end, as a second TD from Wilson followed by an interception from Thomas Boyd put the game on ice. It sounds like it really could have gone either way, and I’m already looking forward to the rematch in June! A special shout out as well to Admirals Running Back Andrew Lyons, who unfortunately suffered a broken leg, and had to be taken to hospital. Best wishes and heal fast Andrew!

Photo: Dave Bradshaw

Westmeath Minotaurs 21 – Belfast Knights 27

It was largely the northern sides doing the winning on the road today, and if it hadn’t been so shit outside I probably would have driven to Mullingar to watch this one. In hindsight I’m sorry I didn’t because there was a very dramatic late comeback attempt by the home team! The Knights jumped out to an almost insurmountable 27 point lead over the first three quarters. Marty Caskey snagged two touchdown catches, while Zac McDowell and Ben Wright earned one apiece. Their defense was firing as well; Cathair Harpur and Robbie Alexander causing chaos with 4 sacks, along with a fumble recovery from the elder Spencer. The hosts then began to cut into the deficit with a 20 yard touchdown catch from Shaun Dalton. Niall Folan followed up with a pick six, and there was hope in sight. After Rafa Monteiro added their third score late in the fourth, an unlikely victory was within their grasp, and despite having the ball with 90 seconds to go, the rally fell short. The Knights escape back up the motorway with a win, while the Minotaurs are left hanging at the wrong end of a two game losing skid.

Photo: Charisse Mae Ducao

Donegal/Derry Vipers 6 – Causeway Giants 6 

By all accounts this encounter pretty much played out the same way as the last time. The weather was a huge factor, resulting in a tight and tense single digit score line. Nate Wilson earned the only points of the game for the Giants on a passing touchdown to Tony McCloskey. The Vipers lone score came courtesy of Josh Reed on a 15 yard run. There doesn’t seem to be a lot else to say really, as details on the game are scant. Good, tough, bad weather football!

Photo: Desmond Loughery

Razorbacks 0 – Cill Dara Crusaders 34 

Both sides came in to this fixture badly needing a win, but it was the away team that emerged the victors in convincing fashion. With this 30 point dismantling of their opponents, the Crusaders are right back into contention as one of the top teams in Division One. But don’t count out this former PSNI outfit just yet. As Coach Richard Maloney commented after the game: “The score line doesn’t show as much as it should how tough and hard hitting and well drilled the Razorbacks are. They will be a force in this division and looking forward to when we get to play them again.” Positive sentiments aside, it takes points to win and the Kildare side had those in abundance. Early scores came on a pair of pick sixes from Oisin Marron and Corey McNamara, as three forced fumbles and another interception from Gavin McDonnel rounded off the shutout. The Offense was firing on all cylinders as well. Craig Dooley earned a rushing touchdown, Liam O’Donnell reeled in another and Wello (yes, he’s still around) capped proceedings off with a 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. “Players gave heart and soul for the win. Battled as a team.” Maloney added. It undoubtedly sounds like a complete performance, and one that should put the rest of the division on notice.

Photo: Paul McIlwaine

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