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, May 25, 2006

Knights back in action - new team for Belfast

THE Irish American Football League returns to action tomorrow (Sunday) after a two-week mid-season hiatus, with the Carrickfergus Knights looking to continue their challenge for play-off games when they travel to face the Dublin Rebels.

The sides are age-old rivals in the league, and, while a defeat wouldn't put the Knights out of the post-season running, a victory would see them draw level with the Rebels.

Kick-off is at 2pm at Santry, Dublin. In the weekend's other game the North Dublin Marshals visit the Cork Admirals. The Marshals are struggling with a 1-3record, while Cork, with several games in hand, are seeking to challenge the top spots.

The IAFL announced this week that a new team has joined the league.

The Belfast Trojans will be associate members for the remainder of 2006 and play a full league schedule in 2007.

American football has become more popular in Belfast since it hosted Shamrock Bowl XIX last August.

The IAFL believes Belfast can support at least two viable teams, so the Torjans will be joining cross-town rivals the Belfast Bulls in the IAFL.

The new Belfast team has already recruited a number of IAFL veteran players. Barry Magee, former Defensive Coordinator for the Belfast Bulls has been named as the provisional coach for the 2007 season.

The team's committee includes Chris Weir, Warren Thompson and Jeroen Egge.

In other expansion news, the proposed South East Ireland team has been named the South East Strongbows.

The interim Coach of the team has been named as Dave Collins, formerly of the Dublin Tornadoes and Dublin Celts (1980s/90s). The team will be training periodically in Peoples Park, Waterford as it builds its membership for 2007.

In other IAFL news, Terry Lynch has been named as the new IAFL Chairman, replacing Greg Anderson. Terry has more than 20 years experience in the sport with the Craigavon Cowboys and Carrickfergus Knights


Friday, May 12, 2006

Carrick challenge still alive

THE Carrickfergus Knights challenge to win top spot in the Irish American Football league is still alive after last week’s win over the table-topping University of Limerick Vikings.

The Knights used an effective ground game and resilient defence to overhaul the Vikings 12-18, who looked far removed from their early season flamboyance.

However, it was a nervous final series for the Knights, who let an 18 point lead slip to just six points before an interception denied the Vikings.

First half scores for the Knights came from David Wright and Adam Deveny. The highlight for Carrick came at the start of the second half when Clinton McDowell ran back the kick off 90-yards to score.

In last week’s other fixture the Dublin Rebels outgunned the DCU Saints 42-12.

The next two weeks are bye weeks for Irish American Football teams as they prepare for charge towards play-off places.

In NFL Europe the Amsterdam Admirals and Frankfurt Galaxy lead the pack for a place in World Bowl, with two games to go. Only the Rhein Fire can catch the teams.

The fire play the bottom team, the Hamburg Sea Devils this week, while Amsterdam and Frankfurt face off in what should be a dress rehearsal for World Bowl XIV.

In NFL news there will be a familiar face missing next season after Jimmy Smith announced his retirement. The 37-year-old Jacksonville Jaguars receiver has been one of the most prolific wide-outs in league history despite missing for several long periods as a result of stomach operations, controversial arrests, periods in rehabilitation and horrific injuries.

He leaves the game 862 receptions 12,287 receiving yards.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Rise of the north?

ON Sunday the Carrickfergus Knights face their toughest test to date this season when they host the high-flying University of Limerick Vikings, who last week became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the Irish American Football league.

The Vikings overhauled the Cork Admirals with a 20-0 victory to give them a 5-1 record, guaranteeing them post-season games.

For the Knights tomorrow’s game at Woodburn Road, Carrick at two, is crucial for their season. After an initial loss they found their form two weeks ago in Dublin, and now need a string of wins to stay in the play-off hunt.

The Belfast Bulls are hoping that last week’s win also signals a resurgence in their fortunes.

In a 78 point 12 touchdown thriller the Bulls outgunned the Dublin City Marshalls.
Both teams scored on their opening offensive plays of the game and kept up the high tempo right the way through the game. The Bulls defence stopped the Marshals on fourth and goal in the fourth quarter and then intercepted them in the final seconds of the game to preserve a narrow 40-38 win. Gary McIlkerney and Charlie Campalani had two touchdowns each for the Bulls and the Marshals Seth Larson had 4 touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns. In addition to Carrick’s home game tomorrow (Sunday) the Dublin Rebels travel across the city to take on the Dublin City University Saints. In the NFL Europe it is still a three-horse race, with the Amsterdam Admirals nosing ahead holding a 6-1 record ahead of the tied Rhein Fire and Frankfurt Galaxy, both on 5-2. The remaining teams are lagging far behind with just three regular season games remaining. ENDS