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...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rebels roll on

The Dublin Rebels won a record fourth consecutive Shamrock Bowls with a 44-12 win over the University of Limerick Vikings last week in Santry.

Rebels’ linebacker Ross McCooey won the Most Valuable Player Award after making two key interceptions and numerous tackles in the game.

Receiver Carl Faichney and rookie running back Chris Winton each contributed two touchdowns and Rebels quarterback Andrew Dennehy contributed three touchdown passes to the Rebels offences scoring tally.

McCooey’s two interceptions came in the final quarter which effectively ended the game as a contest, and any hope that Limerick may have had of a comeback.

The real challenge for the rest of the league is how to prevent the Rebels make it five in a row next year. Both northern sides – the Carrickfergus Knights and Belfast Bulls - have pressed hard, but have fallen short. Next season they will need more consistency and bigger hearts for crucial games.

In the NFL pre-season has rolled into its third week, but last week’s results caused some eyebrows to be raised when Minnesota turned over Super Bowl champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-10.

The Steelers may have been without Ben Roethlisberger, but other AFC teams will be looking at how the Pittsburgh offence looks unbalanced, especially as they are without a pre-season win.

In contrast the side they beat in February’s Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks, turned over the Indianapolis Colts 30-17. But a dark horse that could emerge this year are the Dallas Cowboys.

They are unbeaten in pre-season, and Drew Bledsoe is looking confident, even without Terrell Owens.

The troubled wide receiver is injured, and seems to have calmed down after his turbulent relationship with Philadelphia. If he realizes his potential hooking up with Bledsoe, there are few teams eager to take on the Cowboys.