Wins for Trinity College, Vikings and Knights in Week 6 of Irish American Football League

One team got their first win on the books while others continued adding W’s to theirs in Week 6 of the Irish American Football League.

It was rivalries across the board this week as teams locked horns with neighbouring sides to gain the upper hand in the race for division supremacy. Trinity College got back to winning ways with victory against the Panthers, the Vikings remain undefeated in a nail-biter against Cork, whereas the Knights clinched a rare win over the Belfast Trojans.

  Trinity College Dublin 24 – South Dublin Panthers 7   

Photo by Laszlo Geczo Photography

After their 6-6 draw with the Admirals before the Easter break, TCD got back into the divisional title race with a solid win over the South Dublin Panthers in Dublin. With the UL Vikings in action and a four week break looming, victory was paramount for the students in keeping pace with the leaders in the Shamrock Bowl South Conference.

Taking the helm in place of regular starter Dan Finnamore, QB Ben Dowling did an excellent job of maintaining Trinity’s cutting edge offence. After a series of 3 and out’s from both sides, Dowling connected with star receiver Conor O’Dwyer for a 70 yard reception to get the ball rolling. It wasn’t long before O’Dwyer scored again with another pinpoint pass from Dowling that gave the students a 12-0 lead. The Panthers eventually responded with a 30 yard touchdown grab from receiver, John Healy from Tosan Memuduaghan’s pass, but that would be the main highlight throughout the game for the home side.

Trinity continued to impress with a serious of takeaways that included two interceptions from Patrick O’Sullivan and the aforementioned O’Dwyer, who was outstanding in all phases of the game. With the Panthers struggling offensively, TCD extended their lead when O’Dywer returned a kickoff 90 yards to the house. Trinity would lead heading into the break at 18-7.

The Panthers failed to find a reply in the second half and O’Dywer capped off his day with his third reception, and fourth touchdown of the day to grant TCD a well deserving 24-7 win. The Panthers couldn’t replicate their previous performances as the students dominated across the board, particularly on special teams.

Trinity’s season will resume on May 28th as they welcome the Admirals to the Trinity Sports Grounds whilst the Panthers head north to face division counterparts the Belfast Trojans in 2 weeks.

  Cork Admirals 22 – University of Limerick Vikings 23  

Photography by J. Toher.

In a gut-wrenching finale, the Admirals conceded a late score to narrowly fall short of defeating the unbeaten UL Vikings. It was a impressive performance from Cork, but ultimately the quality of UL prevailed in the end.

The Vikings would strike first in game that twisted back and forth throughout. Quarterback Ray Burke continued his fine form by adding 3 scores to his ever increasing tally. The first consisted of an aerial pass to receiver Richie Cronin, who would be the main contributor throughout the day in the passing game. The Admirals responded instantly, after returning the ensuing kickoff 40 yards, QB Steven Hayes found WR Jahn Dasini for the score to bring the match level.

A big stop near the endzone by the Vikings defence saw the Ad’s settle for a field goal, that was scored by Kieran Murphy. The Admirals soon increased their lead as they caught the Vikings off guard. Hayes drove his team downfield before threading an 8 yard to pass to Cillian McGillycuddy. Cork would head into the break 17-7 ahead, and soon created separation from their opponents by starting quickly in the second half.

Dasini would score his second of the game to give the Admirals a comfortable 22-7 lead; or so they thought. Undeterred by the deficit, the Vikings would click up a notch in a bid to claw back the game. It started with a 2 yard QB run from Ray Burke and soon the momentum had switched completely in Limerick’s favour. Sean Goldrick converted the 2 point try with an excellent catch and the Vikes were now within 8 points of taking the lead at 22-15. With time ticking, the Vikings would complete the comeback with 3 minutes remaining as Cronin scored his second touchdown before Liam Ryan scored the decisive 2 point attempt as UL defended their lead to the final whistle, holding on to win 23-22.

UL are back in action next Sunday against fellow university side, UCD. The Admirals now have 3 weeks to prepare for the visit of the defending champions, the Dublin Rebels.

  Carrickfergus Knights 19 – Belfast Trojans 17  

Photography by Dave Bradshaw.

The Knights put the Trojans to the sword in Carrickfergus as they left it late to defeat the 4 time champions for the first time in nearly 6 years. It took a game wining field goal with 7 seconds remaining to dispatch their closest rivals in an intense fixture.

Former bouts between these two heavyweights of North have displayed more than its fair share of bad blood and controversy over the years, and it was a familiar case this past Sunday. The Knights started the brightest, taking advantage of a lacklustre Trojans side. QB Spencer McDowell, who also played snaps at linebacker, connected early with receiver Jordan Clinton to give the Knights a quick fire score. The XP and a further field in the first half by Marty Caskey gave Carrickfergus a slim 10-0 lead.

Despite their talent, Belfast struggled in the opening exchanges as two interceptions on back-to-back drives by the Knights allowed them to build confidence over the stuttering Trojans offence. The defence however was keeping them in it during the first half and soon their efforts were rewarded. After turning to the reliable run game, standout running back Jonah Siri made no mistake as he punched the ball in from 2 yards out to gave the Trojans a lifeline.

With the second half underway, the Trojans used their score before the break as a momentum boost, as they tied the game courtesy of James Gallagher’s field goal. At 10-10, the game was finely balanced until the Knights broke out a big play as receiver Chris Ireland got behind the secondary to give Carrick a 16-10 lead late in the third quarter.

Belfast remained calm and after strong running from Neil Montgomery, Jonah Siri replied with another short yardage run. Gallagher’s successful XP put the Trojans ahead for the first time in the game at 17-16. With the game on the line, the Knights had possession within the 2 minute warning. After a long drawn out drive and potential controversy regarding the clock management, under immense pressure, kicker Marty Caskey converted a long field goal that saw the Knights defeat the Trojans 19-17 in a major upset.

The Shamrock Bowl North Conference is now a wide open contest. The Knights return to the field in two weeks as they head south to face the North Kildare Reapers. The Trojans slow start to 2017 continues but must now turn attentions to their first home game of the year against the South Dublin Panthers on May 7th.

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