We said in our preview for this weekend that two teams would come into the Shamrock Bowl Conference Wildcard Playoffs as favourites but also that there'd be two teams facing them that will give them hell in order to reach the semi-finals themselves. Not to blow our own trumpet but we were spot on.
|Photo by Nathan James Sharrocks|
SBC North Wildcard : Dublin Rebels 14 - 6 Carrickfergus Knights
The Knights pushed the Rebels closer than they had in the two regular season games and fought to the bitter end but failed to overcome their rivals.
|Photo by Ariane Boudias|
A score from the prolific running back Simon Mackey (who else?!) opened the home side's scoring but it would be a blocked kick recovered for a touchdown by linebacker Kevin Finnegan that would finish off Carrickfergus.
The Dublin Rebels will now face off against Trinity College Dublin in the semi-finals whilst it is the end of Carrickfergus' season. But for some it is also the end of playing altogether. Quarterback Adam Devenney, Wide Receiver Gary McKelkerney and Cornerback Chris Davidson all retired following the game and will be sorely missed by this Knights side. We at Double Coverage wish them the very best for future plans!
SBC South Wildcard : University of Limerick Vikings 19 - 12 University College Dublin
An absolute heartbreaker for UCD. It was their first ever playoff game and they were taking the game to OT with 15 seconds to go. But then UL pounced, taking the lead, the win and the place in the semi-finals.
UCD managed to open up UL through the air on the day, with scores from receivers Gavin Quirke and Paul Geraghty after both reigned in Colin O'Meara passes.
The away team's defence also shone where it counted, stopping the experienced Vikings side four times in the red zone. But in the end that experience took its toll.
Ryan Mesches ran in UL's first before veterans Adrian Garvey and Sean Goldrick combined on special teams for their second, with Garvey blocking a punt for Goldrick to scoop up and return for six.
Garvey would be the one to shatter UCD's hopes as he broke in to the end zone with less than 10 seconds on the clock.
The Vikings now get the shot at revenge for last year's Shamrock Bowl defeat as they face off against the Belfast Trojans.
Tullamore Phoenix 12 - 8 Mullingar Minotaurs
The new boy Minotaurs pushed the experienced Phoenix all the way but came away the narrow losers in a tough IAFL-1 game. Running back Daire O'Beirne ran in the first six for Tullamore but the away side bounced back through Dermot Corroon taking one in from the back field. With quarterback Conor Brennan running in the two point attempt Mullingar took an 8-6 lead.
However Tullamore would make experience count late in the fourth quarter as quarterback Éireann Ó Ceallaigh would connect with tight end Steve McElligott in the end zone for another touchdown.
The Minotaurs remain rooted to the base of the table whilst the Phoenix get a little breathing room with the win.
North Kildare Reapers FORFEIT Drogheda Lightning
A disappointing result without a ball being thrown in anger as the ambulance failed to turn up for the game between the North Kildare Reapers and Drogheda Lightning. In what will now no doubt end up as a 30-0 loss for the home side, it is a massive shame as it was no doubt going to be a hard fought contest.