Belfast American Football Writing

I write a column on American Football for a local paper - here you can read the reports a couple of days before they go in print; and my confused waffles...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sorry no BT

Well, I battled through the wastes of south Belfast, past the leafy avenues of the Malone district of Belfast to report on Shamrock Bowl XIX. But despite my travails and efforts the Belfast Telegraph didn't bother carrying my match report (even though it was a carefully crafted piece of prose). At least the Irish News picked it u, so the game's thrilling dénoument wasn't lost to posterity!

Look out for the column in next Saturday's Ireland's Saturday Night this coming Saturday night, or hear on Thursday night!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Bulls fall short in Shamrock Bowl XIX

THE Belfast Bulls narrowly missed out on winning their first ever Shamrock Bowl, but ultimately were overcome by a more disciplined Dublin Rebels side in a thrilling final at Deramore Park, Belfast on Sunday.

By allowing the Rebels to take a three touchdown lead by early in the second quarter, the Bulls were always forced to stretch the game. But it was Dublin who kept their composure to win 26-19.

As the seconds ticked away at the end of the end of the game the final valiant Belfast charge couldn't find the end zone and the Rebels walked off with fourth Shamrock Bowl.

It was a nightmare start to their debut final for the Bulls, after they failed to move the ball on their first possession, and then their defence conceded a touchdown when the Rebels Brian Dennehy ran in from a yard.

The game soon got a lot harder for Belfast when Paul Smyth sacked Bulls quarterback James McKelvey and ran the ball in for Dublin's second score.

When the Rebels scored their third touchdown from a Samuel Hodgins six-yard run it seemed too far for the Bulls to stretch to come back.

But late on the quarter they re-discovered their composure, and behind the running of Erin Wagner regained field position to set up a Mark Helferty 22-yard touchdown catch from McKelvey.

Wagner's 6-yard touchdown run brought the Bulls back into contention in the third, and in the final quarter they took the lead when Kris Donnaghy caught a 20-yard McKelvey pass.

However, they were unable to hold on to possession for long enough and when the Rebels took control Ferghal O'Donnachu's catch from Andy Dennehy put the Dublin side into a 26-19 lead.

As the Bulls tried to force overtime they were unable to punch through a Rebels defence that had recovered from second half jitters.

The Bulls can feel well pleased with their performance. Despite the loss they showed real determination to come back. Coach Rod Thompson can focus on the many positives.

For the Rebels they again proved that in the big matches they have the tenacity to hold on for victory as they lifted Shamrock Bowl XIX.