Limerick Vikings, Dublin Rebels still unbeaten after Week 7 of Irish American Football League

The Irish American Football League is starting to take shape with the dominant teams riding high at the top of their divisions, whilst others languish at the bottom looking for answers.

Both the Vikings and Rebels, Ireland’s two remaining unbeaten sides, were both in action this past Sunday as they looked to not only keep one step ahead of their division rivals; but one step ahead of eachother.

  University College Dublin (1-3)  6 – 76 UL Vikings (4-0)  

Photography by J. Toher

The Vikings remain at the forefront of the Shamrock Bowl South Conference with another blockbuster win, this time over fellow student side UCD. After demolishing the North Kildare Reapers 92-0 a few short weeks ago, the Vikings exceeded a 70 point margin over the struggling Dubliners to keep pace with the Rebels in the South division.

Limerick have set a standard in the Irish American Football League that nobody has yet been able to match. The Rebels remain the only other unbeaten team, but UL have scored a staggering 212 points that average out to over 50 points a game, whilst only conceding 47. Once again, Quarterback Raymond Burke playing his first season at the position was a catalyst in the Vikings monumental win. His 3 rushing touchdowns coupled with his 5 aerial scores were simply too much for the UCD defence to handle.

Liam Ryan also stepped in at QB for a passing touchdown as leading receiver Sean Goldrick collected 4 of the receptions, with Alvaro Martinez and Reece Moloney getting one apiece. Adam O’Mahoney had the solitary rushing score whilst O’Mahoney, Lorcan Crean and Sean Sheehy all had successful 2 point attempts. John McMahon rounded out the scoring with 6 PAT’s whilst UCD’s only score came from running back, Alfie O’Sullivan.

UCD’s poor start to the season continues, and despite the inconsistency surrounding the SBC North division, they are gradually falling further behind in the race for playoff football. UL on the other hand are on cloud nine. They commence a 4 week break ahead of their trip to Dublin to face the defending champions, the Rebels in what could be an early division decider.

  Dublin Rebels (3-0) 37 – 0 North Kildare Reapers (0-3) 

Photography by Charisse Mae Ducao.

The Irish Champions couldn’t let the Vikings take all the limelight on Sunday as they proved convincing winners of the Reapers in Kildare. After a lacklustre start in the opening games, the Rebels have slowly hit their stride and are now producing performances that replicated their success in 2016.

Veteran Steve Walsh opened proceedings for the visitors as he rushed in to give the Rebels an quick-fire lead. Sean Douglas then increased the lead with a punt return touchdown before the teams leading rusher, Pete McMahon strode in for six with Raphael Meyer converting the PAT. The rushing total continued to escalate as both Douglas and McMahon added to their tally’s. Douglas has quietly been having a terrific year alongside his counterpart in the backfield.

The scoring was completed when Jack Fagan, standing in for the experienced Andrew Dennehy at quarterback, found 2016 Shamrock Bowl hero Ciaran Fitzpatrick in the end-zone to compound further misery on the Reapers. The North Kildare men that posses a never say die attitude competed to the final whistle, showing plenty of heart and courage right to the end of which their challengers showed plenty of appraisal for.

That being said, they do hold the unwanted title of being the only winless team in the IAFL thus far, and games are coming in thick and fast with little room to prepare. With only 6 points scored over 3 games and amassing 151 points against, the Reapers will need a dramatic turnaround if playoff contention is to be considered a serious goal. The Rebels will have one eye on the impending fixture with the Vikings in a months time, but first must contend with league high flyers the Cork Admirals on May 14th.

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