By Greg Barrett
Sunday saw the Waterford Wolves visit Tullamore Phoenix in week 11 of the IAFL Division 1. Both teams were off the back of losses from their previous games and were determined to set things right. The Wolves from the moment they arrived were focused on the game and only the game. Waterford again brought a strong crowd with them to cheer them on and the now ever present Radio DSBC to cover the game. There were two notable absentees from the Waterford starting line-up, with Eoin Reinhardt and Paul Coady replaced by Aaron Walsh Quarterback and Denis Walsh Tackle respectively.
The visitors won the coin toss and elected to defer and thus started the battle. The first quarter was a tit for tat affair with both teams feeling each other out, but it was Tullamore that got the points on the board first forcing the Wolves offence back and ultimately getting the safety to give them a 2 point lead, for the fans we feared the worst, the offence just wasn’t getting it done, but as they came off the field their heads were not allowed to drop as their team mates gathered around them to pep them up. It worked.
In the second quarter the offence came to life with some outstanding blocking opening the way for running backs #21 Kevin Butler and #22 Ger O’Keeffe to start having an impact, quarterback Aaron Walsh led the Wolves down the pitch for Butler to finally take it all the way to the bank, running in from 6 yards. Waterford took the lead 6 to 2 into halftime.
The Waterford Wolves Offence take to the field.
Led by talismanic leader Micheál Ó Coinn at middle line backer Waterford’s defence was impenetrable. Tomas Kirik #43 made his third interception in so many games and started on his way towards the end zone only to be tackled after a twenty yard return, Frankie Tchiofo who also had an interception with this Thumb dislocated on the hand that made the grab and Cian Reinhardt playing at free safety also chipped in with a pick of his own. Denis Walsh #75 the rookie also got in with a quarterback sack, cheered on all the way by Paul Coady, the man he was filling in for.
#43 Tomas Kirik sets off for the end zone with his third interception in three games
The play of the game though came mid-way through the third quarter when running back #22 Ger O’Keeffe broke free and cut an 80 yard run only to be stopped one yard shy of getting in for a much deserved touchdown. Tullamore set up on the one yard line and for three downs stood firm, but on 4th and 1 Walsh faked to the running back before spinning out into a bootleg towards the far side of the end zone to take the ball into the end zone and Waterford’s fans into euphoria.
The fourth quarter played out as it planned by the Wolves with the offence expertly running the clock down and the defense keeping Tullamore pinned down. In the end Waterford secured a well-deserved and much needed win beating Tullamore with a final score of 12 to 2, the defense shutting out Tullamores offence completely. This result puts Waterford back into second place on the IAFL Division 1 table right on the heels of the North Kildare Reapers, but with a game in hand.
Line-backer Micheál Ó Coinn #72 with his eyes on the prize
Next up for the Wolves is a home encounter with the Meath Bulldogs at Waterford’s RSC Sunday 16.06.13 at 2pm. This will be another tough test for the Wolves, but this Waterford Wolves team was a far cry from the team that lost to the Dublin Dragons two weeks earlier, far more focused, more aggressive and have their minds set on firmly on the win, this is the Waterford Wolves team that has the potential to take on and compete at the highest levels of this game.