Saturday, 22 June 2013

Irish Football Preview


Playoff football! The Shamrock Bowl Conference heads in to the post season as the Wildcard Playoffs take place tomorrow! It’s been an up and down season and it’s going to have the same pattern going into these match ups, up for one team and down for another.

Meanwhile the race for the IAFL-1 title heats up as the teams at the top look to put themselves a step above their rivals.

Photo by Ariane Boudias

 
Shamrock Bowl Conference

Dublin Rebels vs. Carrickfergus Knights
The Knights head South to Dublin to take on a Rebels side that has beaten them twice already this year. The 20-6 and 24-7 results look ominous for a Carrickfergus side looking to book a place against Trinity in the semi-finals.

However they’re not about to roll over. Led by Adam Devenney from quarterback and Darren Montgomery at running back, the Carrickfergus offence can score points on anybody, and they have a defence that can stand strong too.

However this Rebels side is rolling right now. Beating the Knights in the last game of the season will have been a massive boost coming in to this match. The form of experienced quarterback Andy Dennehy has been good this year but they’ll be looking to running back Simon Mackey to do the real damage to the Knights’ defence.

The iron man back/defensive end has had a tremendous season, racking up a massive 13 touchdowns, and he’ll be favoured to score a couple more throughout the playoffs.

University of Limerick Vikings vs. University College Dublin
Another game where the home team has beaten the away team twice already this year, but another game that isn’t clear cut. UCD has dramatically improved this year, pushing UL close in both games, and beating SBC South winning Trinity with some domination.
UCD (right) will have to step up against UL - photo by Ash O' Flanagan (Ashoflanagan.tumblr.com)

UCD’s first ever playoff game will be a moment to savour for the team, but they face stern opposition. If they have managed to regroup as Head Coach Eoin Cunningham said in a recent interview with Double Coverage then they should be able to push UL close. With QB Colin O’Meara and WR Paul Geraghty forming an impressive partnership this year, UCD will be looking to the pair to add some points on offence. Ciaran O’Connell on defence will be key for them.

However the Vikings have the playoff pedigree. They may have lost some players last year and be in somewhat of a transition year but the core remains. Quarterback Marc Ashworth seems to have shook off the injury problems and hit a rich vein of form whilst Sean Goldrick looks set to pair up with him for a few scores again. Adrian Garvey has moved over to the defensive side of the ball but is still producing on a big scale, on offence too when asked.

Two great games, two favourites, but two teams facing them that will do anything to be in the semi-finals.

IAFL-1

North Kildare Reapers vs. Drogheda Lightning
The Reapers welcome the Drogheda Lightning to North Kildare with the form book firmly in their favour. They’ve won their last four games whilst the young team from St. Olivers have lost their last three.

Running back Matthew Kavanagh is seemingly having his own way with IAFL-1 defences, scoring seven touchdowns so far this year.

But NKR are going to have to be able to defend too, as the Lightning are capable of passing on anybody, with quarterbacks Dan Finnamore and Oisin Dowling scoring five combined TDs through the air.

The Reapers will no doubt head in to this one as favourites but Coach Kerley and the Lightning will be out to prove themselves, and the doubters, that Drogheda can mix it up at the top of this division.

Tullamore Phoenix vs. Mullingar Minotaurs
The Minotaurs head to Tullamore to take on the Phoenix in a battle that won’t trouble the top of the division but means everything at the bottom.
The Minotaurs have proven to be no pushovers in their rookie year - photo by Ariane Boudias

With pride at stake the Phoenix will want to take down the new boys but the Minotaurs are no push overs. They may have been defeated heavily by the Reapers twice in their last two games but they grabbed a tie with the impressive Meath Bulldogs and pushed the Lightning all the way to the fourth quarter.

It will be tough for Mullingar to overcome a team with such experience but they’re a tough side and are capable of it if they stick to a gameplan.

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