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...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Vikings look to capitalise on good start

THE University of Limerick Vikings are looking to build on their win last week over the Belfast Bulls when they take on debutante team, the Dublin City University Saints.

The DCU Saints are new to the IAFL for 2006. Most of their players are rookies, but they have experienced coaches including Phil DeMonte (Team Ireland), Darrin O’Toole, (ex-Rebels) and Carsten Wonderlic (ex-German league).

They appear to be very well drilled and have a large enthusiastic squad. It will probably take a couple of years before they gain enough experience to contend for the Shamrock Bowl, but do not be surprised if they cause a few upsets in 2006.

But they will be hard-pressed to upset the Vikings. The Limerick side have undergone that journey of being a rookie team and now appear to have emerged stronger.

Last week's shut out of the Bulls proved Gavin Grace's team has emerged as a potentially real force in the Irish American Football League. Tomorrow's (Sunday) game on their home field should be another step in their development.

This weekend also sees the kick-off of the NFL Europe league.

Today Cologne visit the Hamburg Sea Devils, Berlin Thunder go to the Amsterdam Admirals in a World Bowl XIII re-match and Frankfurt Galaxy travel to Rhein Fire.

The transfer market is also open this week in the NFL - as teams prepare for the draft the free agency period is open with 470 players listed as free agents.

There are both restricted and unrestricted free agents, and the formulae that apply to this complex transfer system would bewilder anyone who doesn't hold a maths degree!

When a sport has dozens of paragraphs just explaining the transfer system in a press release, it's clear that the beauty of American Football on the pitch isn’t replicated by the tortuous nature of player contracts and team owner's business aspirations.


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