Irish American Football League returns with three local contests in Week 6

The Irish American Football League returns to action this weekend with three games in store.

The Easter holidays allowed for teams to rest their injured players and game-plan for the upcoming weeks as the schedule gets more intense. Before the break, Trinity College drew 7-7 with the Cork Admirals as we still await to see a front runner in the Shamrock Bowl South Conference.

This weekend sees a number of cross-city fixtures takes place as the top spot in the IAFL remains up for grabs.

  Belfast Trojans (1-1) @ Carrickfergus Knights (0-2)  

The Trojans make the short journey across town to play their fierce rivals the Carrickfergus Knights in a match that has a storied history. The Green Machine have often been standout victors in recent years, but with both teams struggling for form this could be the Knights best shot at finally scalping the Trojans.

The Knights have been on the end of narrow loses in their opening bouts, falling 12 -7 to the Panthers and 12-0 to the Rebels more recently. Whilst the defence is showing signs of improvement, the usually high scoring offence has stalled so far. Both games could have gone either way but the Knights need to find another level to reach if they are to keep pace with the other teams in their division. At 0-2, they cant afford to be left behind.

Belfast have had a long 4 week breathing period to re-establish themselves as they aim to get back to their best. The 14-12 defeat to Trinity College will have sat long with the team as they look to eradicate the mistakes of the previous game. Plenty of work has gone on in the background and the former champions will be champing at the bit to get back on the field. The Trojans busy schedule only increases from here on in and they need to get back to winning ways.

Trinity College (1-1-1) @ South Dublin Panthers (1-1)  

Two teams hoping to find consistency this week are TCD and the Panthers. Both sides pulled off big wins against the Trojans and Knights respectively, but failed to maintain their win streak as they both stuttered in their next games. A win for either team could give them a big advantage over their rivals as the season hot’s up.

The Panthers are one of the in-form teams in the league thus far. Their offence has produced some stand-out performances with receiver, Sean Devlin leading the league in touchdown receptions with 5. The leagues top deep threat has helped add another dimension to the Dubliners offence that will allow them to game-plan more effectively. Despite the 48 points conceded against UCD, the Panthers defence has certainly progressed from last season.

TCD’s solid performance against the Trojans in Week 3 couldn’t be replicated as they drew with SBC newcomers the Cork Admirals. The SBC South is now wide open and Trinity will be aiming to keep up with the undefeated Rebels and Vikings in their division. Quarterback Dan Finnamore’s return to the position will help the Trinity offence find their rhythm, with the likes of receiver Pavel Rozman and running back Ola Bademosi expecting to breakout in due time. With the students having a 4 week break post Sunday’s game, victory will ease the pressure until they return back to action.

Cork Admirals (1-1-0) @ University of Limerick Vikings (2-0)  

Sunday’s fixture will provide a good indication of how far the Admirals have come as they face the undefeated UL Vikings at the UL Sports Ground. This will arguably be one of Cork’s toughest games to date as they try to tame a seemingly unstoppable Vikings team.

The Vikes did a number on the North Kildare Reapers by scorching them with 92-0 answered points, a record setting best. It’s unlikely the same scoreline will be met this weekend, but the Cork Admirals will be very much aware of the leagues leading offence. The mobility of quarterback Ray Burke has added to the Vikings scoring total as an already strong run game is now matched by an equally capable aerial attack. UL now have an all-purpose team that current form suggests are ready to lead the race to the Shamrock Bowl.

The Admirals defence kept Trinity at bay 2 weeks ago by displaying a strong performance against the 2015 Shamrock Bowl finalists. So far they have shown they can handle to standard of the Shamrock Bowl Conference, but fixtures will come thick and fast and opponents will continue to get stronger. If the Admirals keep displaying the toughness needed in a competitive division, they will make a name for themselves as a team that others shouldn’t underestimate.

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