On Saturday September 15th, the Dublin Rebels American Football Club held our annual awards night in The Odeon in the heart of Dublin city. The popular nightspot has played host to our yearly Superbowl party for a number of years, and have been hugely supportive to the success of the club in that time.
Before the awards were given out, Daniel addressed all in attendance about the pride in the partnership, and also combined success of both, Shadowman Sports, and, the Dublin Rebels over the past season and into the future. Shadowman were kind enough to provide all of the main awards to each of the nights winners.
Rookie of the Year
As is now customary for the Rebels awards night, the first award up was the rookie of the year. The winner here, went to the Offensive Line, and ever present Right Tackle, Caolan O’Neill taking the honors. Playing every snap on offense is an impressive feat in itself, doing so as a rookie, on a defending Champion team is even more so, and Caolan did so, impressively.
Offensive Player of the Year
Next up was the Offensive Player of the Year award. In an offense that is absolutely loaded with weapons at the skills positions, and beasts across the O-Line, this is a hugely competitive award, with the award ultimately going to young Tight End, Ciarán Fitzpatrick. Following his heroics in the 2016 Shamrock Bowl final, scoring the game winning Touchdown, he became a key starter and big time player on offense at Tight End.
Special Teams Player of the Year
The award next up for grabs was the Special Teams player of the year, this award went to Sean Douglas, who was unable to attend on the night. Douglas made a number of highlight reel returns in the kick and punt games throughout the year.
“Boob” of the Year
The awards then took a break as we took a look back through some of the more comical plays throughout the season, with a video package to prove the existence of invisible snipers, stealthy ninjas, and some blatant bonehead plays. The room filled with laughter and cheers, to pick out the most ridiculous play of the year.
Most Improved Player
Back to the main awards, and up next is the Most Improved Player award, this trophy went to Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, who after making the switch from Wide Receiver to Defensive Back late in the 2016 season, led the league in Interceptions in 2017.
Defensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year Award followed, and as many offenses in Ireland will attest to, unsurprisingly went to Simon Mackey. After missing out on the 2016 season due to injury, Mackey returned to beast through Offensive lines all season long and wreak havoc in backfields.
Rebel of the Year
The Rebel of the Year award is one that is not solely based on playing ability but rather coupled with your overall contribution to the club. The 2017 Rebel of the Year award was given to Andy Dennehy. While also playing as the starting Quarterback, Andy is also the Head Coach and Offensive Co-Ordinator for the Dublin Rebels. Oh and he has won a few Shamrock Bowls, he’ll be happy to tell you about.
Play of the Year
As the awards evening was coming towards its penultimate award, the main awards took another break, as we looked back through some of the best plays of the season for the Rebels. A video package showing some of the spectacular plays we had throughout the season. The high-tech clap-o-meter was in action, with everyone encouraged to shout for their favourites.
Hall of Fame
The Dublin Rebels are fortunate to have had some phenomenal players, coaches, and club members since its existence. With every year that passes more legends are created and more players put their name forward for contention in to the Rebels Hall of Fame. Some legendary names make up the current Rebels Hall of Fame, which you can see “here”.
This year the man that enters our Hall of Fame, is responsible for the existence of the Dublin Rebels. This years Dublin Rebels Hall of Fame Inductee is Marcus Naylor. There are not enough words to get across Marcus’ contribution to both the Dublin Rebels and to Irish American Football. A founding member and “THE Boss” of the Dublin Rebels, Marcus played on 7 Shamrock Bowl winning teams, has been Shamrock Bowl MVP, primarily playing Safety and Running Back, but has played snaps at every position on the field for the Rebels, and was a huge part of the re-emergence of the IAFL in 2000.
Normally the awards would conclude with the Hall of Fame award, but on this occasion, a unique decision was made by the club. Due to their extraordinary contributions to the club, the founding members, Marcus Naylor (#80), Sunday O’Hanlon (#66) and Andrew Flynn (#45) were honoured by having their Jersey numbers retired.
With the conclusion of the Annual Dublin Rebels Award Night 2017, so concludes our 2017 season. In a year where we retained our National Championship, winning for a record 9th time, the season was a great success, and plans are being put in place as we prepare to defend our Championship in 2018. We will soon have news on our upcoming Rookie Days, when we look to find the next group of players with the drive and desire to be a National Champion, the next group of Dublin Rebels.