It’s been a controversial Shamrock Bowl Conference season in many aspects. The South division especially has seen ups and downs, whilst it has been competitive the demise of both DCU and Cork saw only three teams finish the season, and even then UCD had to forfeit a game.
However, despite the bad points, there has been some great football on show and following are the Double Coverage Shamrock Bowl Conference MVP nominees who we think have helped light up the league the most:
Andrew Redmond, Safety – Trinity College Dublin
Starting with the only true defensive player on our list, Redmond has separated himself from the rest of the league with some impressive stats. With the Cork Admirals dropping out of the League midway through, Trinity were left with just five games to play in the regular season.
In that time Redmond racked up five interceptions as well as a forced fumble. Not bad stats but considering they were against the joint second passing scorer in the League, UCD’s Colin O’Meara, and an experienced quarterback that has seen numerous Shamrock Bowl games, UL’s Marc Ashworth, it becomes a more impressive feat.
Colin O’Meara, Quarterback – University College Dublin
Forming an impressive partnership with wide receiver Paul Geraghty, O’Meara has passed for six touchdowns this year and rushed for another two, in a League that has been reduced in games.
Running UCD’s option offence needs a quarterback that can read defences well, and O’Meara has shown that he can do that. Who knows what could have been? Without the forfeited game due to low player levels due to the end of the university year UCD could have been the South Champions this year, and O’Meara would have been a major factor for that.
David Colvin, Running Back – Belfast Trojans
Our top scoring running back, David Colvin scored 13 rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in just seven games, racking up 686 yards along the way. Even more impressive are the stats when you consider that the Belfast Trojans have three other scoring backs this year, as well as two quarterbacks that have rushed for scores.
|Colvin runs one in against the Dublin Rebels - photo by Nathan James Sharrocks|
Colvin is quite possibly the most naturally gifted player in the League and his ability to break tackles and burst through gaps makes him a very dangerous player.
James McKelvey, Quarterback – Belfast Trojans
McKelvey has lit up the League this year. In a rush heavy League McKelvey somewhat bucked the trend, passing for twelve touchdowns and rushing for another four. He’s the top scorer in the League and has consistently performed to help the Trojans achieve another undefeated regular season.
|Will McKelvey take the Trojans to another Shamrock Bowl? - photo by Nathan James Sharrocks|
Behind the rock solid Trojan line McKelvey has helped to air out the ball to his receivers, punishing teams that attack the numerous Trojan running backs too aggressively.
Marc Ashworth, Quarterback – University of Limerick Vikings
Whilst UL have struggled to repeat their form of the last few years due to retirements and injury, their main attacking trinity of Marc Ashworth, Adrian Garvey and Sean Goldrick remains and have still caused trouble.
|Ashworth in action in last year's Shamrock Bowl - photo by Nathan James Sharrocks|
Ashworth himself missed a game due to injury, as well as the games that got cancelled, so the fact that he racked up four passing touchdowns, another three rushing and a receiving touchdown from a Garvey pass is a testament to his ability. The Vikings have an uphill struggle to reach the Shamrock Bowl. They’ll have to go through UCD and the Belfast Trojans to get there but if anybody is capable of leading them to it, it will be Ashworth.
Peter Loughran, Quarterback/Defensive End – Craigavon Cowboys
It’s been a hard season for the Cowboys. They’ve had to deal with some long-term injuries to key players whilst stumbling along with a rookie filled squad. But the core is there to, with some hard work, build the Cowboys back up to the days when they competed for Shamrock Bowls.
Their main threat this year has been Loughran. The rookie quarterback took over from veteran Chris Bondi and is our third highest rushing scorer, running in six touchdowns, whilst he also passed for two. And all that achieved when he had to move position to defensive end for several games after suffering broken fingers on his throwing hand! At defensive end he caused disruption to offences and impressed with his ability to play whilst hurt. He’ll be one to watch for years to come.
Simon Mackey, Running Back/Defensive End – Dublin Rebels
The battle for the top scoring running back between Mackey and Colvin was an interesting spectacle to watch unfold throughout the season. Mackey held the top spot for a long time, whilst competing with Sam Hodgins for game time within his own team. In the end he would lose out on the top scorer to Colvin but twelve rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown is a great feat for an eight game regular season.
|Mackey's strong running makes him a dangerous threat - photo by Nathan James Sharrocks|
Mackey scored over half of the Dublin Rebels’ touchdowns this year, made more impressive that they finished second in the Shamrock Bowl Conference North, with home field advantage in the wildcard match up. Even more impressive is that he played iron man football the entire year, lining up at defensive end too, causing a nuisance of himself against O Linemen.