PREVIEW: 2015 Irish American Football League – South

[tps_title]Irish American Football League – South[/tps_title]

Shamrock Bowl Conference South Preview

default-news-slider-imageFollowing swiftly on from our North Conference Preview, we now bring you the teams who will battle it out for South Conference supremacy!

This season looks to be very competitive in the SBC South, so lets take a look at who might claim the top spot!

North Kildare Reapers (3-5 in 2014)

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The Reapers had a very successful debutant campaign in the SBC last year, after being promoted as champions of the IAFL-1 in 2013. After a tremendous start to the season when they went (3-0) with wins over their fellow promoted teams, the Dublin Dragons and Waterford Wolves, the Reapers were on course to make the playoff’s in their first season in the big league! However, more daunting fixtures were on the horizon against the leagues toughest sides including the Dublin Rebels and UL Vikings and the Reapers fell to (3-5), narrowly missing out on a wildcard berth to their closest challengers, the West Dublin Rhinos. North Kildare adjusted to life in the SBC much better than their IAFL-1 counterparts and will be well equipped to make another stab at the playoff’s in 2015.

north_kildare_reapersThe North Kildare Reapers have another competitive schedule this season and will face more of the leagues most experienced sides. They open their campaign with a home fixture against the West Dublin Rhinos before battling it out against the Belfast Trojans and UL Vikings. The Reapers have 3 cross conference matches this season, as they also face trips up North to face the Cowboys and Knights as well as taking on UCD who they have never faced in a competitive fixture. After an excellent start to 2014, the opening schedule is a bit more difficult this time round, so the Reapers might be looking to take maximum points from their remaining fixtures as the season winds down.

Keys to Success: The Reapers are commonly known for their smash-mouth style of football, hard in tackles and fierce in the pursuit. However, they will need to sure things up at the back if they are to have another successful start in 2015. Losing star RB Sean Leamy was a blow, but they still have talented players in their squad including Eoin Hallissey and Michael O’Reilly who will create numerous problems for defenses. They weren’t able to put many points up against the better teams, so finding ways to breakdown opposing defences in big game situations will be vital.

Prediction: After surprising many with their performances in 2014, the Reapers are capable of creating an upset or two. Their most important fixtures however will come at the hands of the West Dublin Rhinos and Craigavon Cowboys and both should be considered must win games. It’s a tough schedule for North Kildare and they may struggle against the better teams, but if they can grind out points, they will have a chance! 5th

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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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