PREVIEW: 2015 Irish American Football League – North

[tps_title]Preview: Irish American Football[/tps_title]

Carrickfergus Knights (3-5 in 2014)

The Knights have been on the brink of entering into the semi finals of the playoff’s over the last few years, and were close to doing it again last term until they suffered defeat against the Dublin Rebels in the wildcard round. Despite 2014 not being their best year, the men in ‘Black and Gold’ still showed enough grit and determination in the latter stages to cement their place in the playoff’s. With an increasingly healthy squad, both in numbers and talent, the Knights have been developing a side capable of taking them back to the top of Irish Football. With the makings of a good youth set-up in the place, the Knights will have a squad capable of challenging for honours well into the future, as well as now!

Ireland - carrickfergus_knightsCarrick had possibly the toughest opening schedule out of all the SBC teams last year, facing three of the semi finalists, the Trojans, Trinity College and the Rebels as they went to (0-3). All the teams in the SBC will be tough opponents, but the Knights will hope that they can get their season off to a better start this time round. Their opening fixture this year is away to the Craigavon Cowboys, followed closely by the visit of the South Dublin Panthers and then back to back games against Belfast rivals, the Trojans. The Knights have always proved to be a tough team to beat at home, and if they can continue that home form whilst adding a couple of away victories, they may find themselves in the thick of the division title race come of the end of the regular season. The key game could well come on Week 16 when they travel to face the Dublin Rebels at Seapoint Rugby Club, in a match that could make or break the teams playoff hopes.

Keys to Success: The Knights generally have a well-balanced team and are capable of putting up plenty of points on both offence and defence, with Paul McKillop, Chris Ireland, Darren Montgomery and Aaron McNaughton all scoring. The task they face will be how they cope against the top teams in their division, as they failed to register any points in their last meetings with the Rebels and Trojans. The Knights will need to find ways of outscoring their biggest opponents; but they do have the firepower to do it!

Prediction: The Carrickfergus side have been a constant presence in the post-season and have come agonisingly close on several occasions to making the semi-finals. The Knights have huge depth in their squad and will have plenty of talent to boast over the next few years, but they need to start making progress on the field now otherwise they could be caught by the likes of the Craigavon Cowboys and South Dublin Panthers. 3rd

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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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