Tag: Belfast Trojans

Rebels head to Shamrock Bowl XXXII

TROJAN WAR

In a repeat of last year’s SBC Semi-Final, and a rematch of a hotly contested regular season matchup, the two most historically successful clubs in Irish American Football history, still playing, squared off in Santry this past Sunday, in a game that promised to be hard-hitting, and electric entertainment. The Belfast Trojans made the trip south to take on the Dublin Rebels.

 

Beginning the game on Offence, the Rebels started strong, moving the ball both through the air and on the ground. A strong Trojan Defence forced a punt, giving the ball to the Trojan Offence, lead by star RB Jonah Siri, who, on the drives 4th play, took an outside run 70 yards down the sideline. The ensuing extra point was missed on the second attempt. 6-0 Trojans.

 

On their second possession of the day, the Rebels Offence was met with white jerseys no matter what they tried, a swarming Defence forcing the second punt of the day, a less than ideal start from the division champions. An equally suffocating Rebels Defence held the visitors to a field goal, DBs Andrei Vlad Vasilescu and Senan O’Mahony breaking up passes to the Endzone to prevent 6 points. 9-0 Trojans.

 

Incomplete passes and little running room forced another punt for an already unusually busy Rebels special team unit to close out the first quarter with the home team down on the scoreboard.

 

After a change in direction, and again backed up to their own 15-yard line, the Rebels Defence became fortified once more, sacrificing nothing and forcing the Trojan Offence into a turnover on downs. Unfortunately, the change in direction did little to help the Offence, punting back to Siri for the 4th time in the opening half, and yet to score.

Dublin Rebels Defense

BATTLE HEATING UP

Looking to gain ground through the air, the Trojans found little success, batted down passes and solid tackling brought the punt unit out for the visitors, giving the home Offence the best starting field position they had seen all afternoon. Powerful running from RB tandem Wello Omorodion and Pete McMahon, set up the Offence in the opposing 10-yard line, incomplete attempts to put points on the board gave the ball back to the Trojans with their heels on their own goal line. Pressure from both defensive lineman and interior rushers caused Trojans QB Mark McVeigh to throw an errant pass, read perfectly by safety Keith Foster handed not only the ball, but the momentum of the game to an Offence hungry to return to the form they displayed to close out the regular season.

 

Finally breaking the seal on the opposing Endzone, QB Andrew Dennehy connected with WR Jonas D’Agostin Kubis down the sideline. A successful 2-point conversion put the Rebels 1 point behind to close out the first half, hoping to carry the momentum forward. 9-8, Trojans at the half.

 

Tough nosed tackling from LB Robert Smith the Defence forced another field goal on the next drive. 12-8 Trojans. The Offence was yet again stifled, putting the ball back into Siri’s hands on a punt, which he would break to the sideline and score. A successful field goal put the game at 19-8 to the visitors.

Dublin Rebels Offence

Returning to the well, Dennehy would once again put the ball in the air to Game Offensive MVP Jonas Kubis D’Agostin, who, after single handedly pinning the ball against the head of a defender to complete the catch, outran three more to cross the goal line for the second time in the game. The 2-point conversion attempt also crossed into the Endzone to cap off the perfect answer and bring the game close yet again. 19-16 Trojans.

SACKING OF TROY

Pressure from edge rushers Simon Mackey and Fabrice Emilien, and penalties on the Offence gave the Rebels the ball yet again in the 3rd quarter, looking to take control of the game.

 

Marching down the field, powered by the running back duo of McMahon and Omorodion and an offensive line creating holes to hit, Dennehy and the Offence found themselves on the doorstep of scoring yet again to close the 3rd quarter. 19-16 Trojans.

 

On the 1-yard line following a completion to TE Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Mackey was brought in as a short yardage RB. Needing 2 yards, Mackey delivered, scoring the TD but being stopped on the conversion attempt giving the Rebels the lead for the first time this game. 22-19 Rebels.

 

Big completions both over the middle and to the sideline set the Trojans up to score, a rollout pass to WR Richardson, providing them with the six point they needed to regain the lead. Adding a successful kick the Trojans went up 26-22.

 

Clock winding down in the game, solid running and a defensive pass interference call moved the Rebels up field. To keep the drive alive, seemingly inhuman man Simon Mackey ran to the 10 yard line to give the Rebels their best chance to score.

 

A fade toward the Endzone resulted in an interception on the Belfast one-yard line, and with the clock not on their side, the Rebels were at their best, backs against the wall and nothing to lose. Hoping to run out the clock and seal the victory, a stout and hungry Rebels Defence forced a 4th down with less than 20 seconds to spare.

TROJAN ACHILLES HEEL 

What was to follow will go down in Rebels folklore;

 

A botched snap.

 

A rushing Defence.

 

A finger-tip tackle.

 

A failed lateral.

 

Rebels ball, 10 seconds, 10 yards from the Shamrock Bowl.

 

The ball is snapped, white jerseys clawing to knock it down, the ball flies, 2 defenders out of reach, ball caught, toes tap the ground, referee runs to the pylon to signal, the sideline erupts…

 

DINHEIRO!!!

 

D’Agostin catches his 3rd touchdown of the game and sends the Rebels to the Shamrock Bowl in the dying moments. Mackey crossed the goal line yet again, providing game changing plays on both sides of the ball all afternoon.

Your Dublin Rebels are headed to Shamrock Bowl 32 in Tallaght Stadium on August 19th to face the Cork Admirals.

 

 

By Calum Walsh

 

Battle

BATTLE LOST BUT STILL IN THE WAR!

REBELS DROP TO DEFEAT #2 OF THE SEASON

As with many an Irish folktale before them, two giants of the IAFA squared off in Belfast last Sunday, with the Belfast Trojans welcoming the reigning Shamrock Bowl champions Dublin Rebels in an exhibition of some of the best football Ireland has to offer. 

“Cathal Keane” – Photo courtesy of Ian Humes Photography

The game kicked off with Rebels returner Cathal Keane setting the Offence up with excellent field position. Similarly to the previous games, the Rebels O came out with a goal to run the ball, through, around, or over whatever stood in their way. 

The home team’s defence stood their ground, leading to a fortunate flag on a Sean Butler punt giving the Rebels the ball back. Spearheaded by star RB Pete McMahon refusing to let up ground, and a Dennehy to Ryan connection, the Dublin side were set firmly inside the home team’s 20.

However, a strong home field Defence, aided by an ill-timed holding penalty, and incomplete passes gave the Trojan offence their first touch of the ball. Solid running by Jonathan Siri gave Belfast a few first downs, but, following an almost toe-drag-swag level of interception by Keith Foster was judged out of bounds, Conrad Cook was able to get the ball back for the visitors with a pick of his own.  

Tit for Tat

Given new life, a rejuvenated Rebels offence, found the breaking point in the Trojan armour, a deep fade to Jonas D’Agostin resulting in the first score of the contest. The ensuing two-point attempt fell incomplete. 6-0 Rebels. 

With a bitter taste still lingering in their mouth, led by Siri, the Trojans took little time to respond, resulting in a near 70-yard sprint to opposite end of the field. The two-point attempt falling short of the goal-line. The scoreboard read 6-6, tied game. An eventful first quarter of football. 

Off again. With little rest, the Offence gained positive field position through a combination of a good kick-off return and 15-yard pass interference call going the Rebels’ way.

While QB Dennehy kept spreading the targets throughout the offence, and positive chunk running plays coming against an athletic defence, the Offence stalled out, starting Slot Receiver Connor Ryan succumbing to an injured calf. 

A proficient Belfast offense, lead in no small part through James McKelvey marched downfield through the air and on the ground, having to use two timeouts in order to reassess their approach to the Rebels defence. A long drive resulting in a one-yard rush TD by feature-back Siri. This time choosing to kick, the PAT was converted. 13-6 Trojans  

With time running low and QB Jack Fagan in the game, the Rebels attempted to throw downfield, ending the half in a completion to clutch TE Ciarán Fitzpatrick, but time ran out as the pass was completed.

Second Half

Restarting the game on Defence and looking for vengeance, the Rebels defence began the second half swarming to the football in groups, led by veterans Mackey, McCooey, and Defensive Co-Ordinator Steve Walsh forcing the Trojans to punt. 

“Rebels Defense” – Photo courtesy of Ian Humes Photography

Dennehy back under centre the Trojan defence stood firm, lead by the ironically named ‘Average’ Neil Graham. The trend of defence winning out continued a staunch effort in the secondary finishing out the 3rd quarter and handing the ball back to Fagan and the Rebels. The score remained 13-6 Trojans. 

A short pass to RB Pete McMahon fooling the defence gained the Rebels good yards, before missed plays handed the ball back following a blocked punt. The second half continued to prove to be a defensive battle.

With little recent success through the air, the Trojans relied on their workhorse and offensive weapon, Siri, in order to break both a tackle and the plane of the Endzone for a touchdown, for it to be called back due to a violation. Seeing their chance, the Rebel defence stood firm and succeeded in forcing a punt, instead of giving up 6 points.   

Conscious of time and score the Rebels fed their star wide receiver of the day D’Agostin, completing two huge plays in order to advance up field. An unfortunate fumble soon allowed the Trojan offence full control of the game once more.

Through an almost picture-perfect sequel to the first, and with time against the visitors, after breaking through the first line of defence, Siri broke through to the Endzone for the home teams 3rd touchdown of the afternoon, getting home from 70+ yards out again. A trick play on the PAT gave the Trojans the two points afterwards. 21-6 Trojans. 

“Jonas D’Agostin Kubis” – Photo courtesy of Ian Humes Photography

Like an animal backed into a corner the Rebels Offence came out with teeth showing in a last-ditch effort to salvage the game. Using the sideline and the passing game as their tools the Rebels broke the plane through a back shoulder throw to Wideout Cathal Keane, following a huge diving grab from D’Agostin. A two-point conversion later and it was a one score game. 21-14 Trojans. 

An unsuccessful onside kick attempt, recovered by the Trojans allowed the eventual victors to kneel the clock out, ending a tumultuous and action-packed game of football. 

 

The Dublin Rebels fall to 3-2 on the season, with the next game a rematch of the 2017 Shamrock Bowl Final against the relocated and renamed Belfast Knights on June 24th @2pm in Sportslink, Santry.

By Calum Walsh