Tag: Cathal Keane

REBELS SEND GOVOVAN THE VIKING BACK TO VALHALLA

Rebels put Vikings to the sword

The Dublin Rebels played host to the University of Limerick Vikings this past weekend, bringing memories of past battles between the two mainstays of Irish American Football flooding back to many.

A touchback gave the Rebel Offense their first possession of the game at their 25, with an air of anticipation, as future superstar QB Jack Fagan led the team out first.

“Pete McMahon” – Photo Courtesy of VSquared Photography

In an effort to establish a tone for the afternoons proceedings, RB Pete McMahon ran hard and fast behind an aggressive O-Line, introducing himself early to the Vikings Defence, putting his pads through defenders who could do very little to stop the runners momentum. Keeping the visitors on their toes, Fagan ripped off a darting run himself through every level of the Defence.

Ball security issues did rear their head for the Offense, 2 bobbled snaps and a fumble in play, were nervy moments for the home team, but quick adaption between teammates soon saw Fagan connect with a lofted Endzone pass to receiver Andrej Barlafa, meeting right at the pylon to give the Rebels the lead. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful. 6-0, Rebels after a near perfect opening drive.

A swarming Rebels Defence, anchored by veterans Steven Walsh and Ross McCooey, stuffed the visiting Offense through the middle, giving the game its first three-and-out.

Not to be outdone by his teammate, Andrew Dennehy came out eager to prove that no matter who gets the snap, the Rebels are a danger to score, and score they did, a bomb to Jonas D’Agostin Kubis, had the young Receiver racing away from the Vikings Defence, giving the Rebels another 6 points on a two play drive. A successful conversion through Wellington Omorodion set the score at 14-0.

An excellently placed kick off, gave a hungry Rebel defence great field position. A combination of quick penetration and suffocating coverage landed a ball in the hands of Kevin Fitzgerald, one play, one interception.

Fagan on the field again, with a Defence well aware of what he can do, facing across from him. He faked the hand-off to McMahon, and breaking tackle after tackle, darted into the Endzone to tack on more points to a fast-growing lead. 20-0, following a failed conversion.

“Rebels Offense” – Photo Courtesy of VSquared Photography

“In order to WIN the game, you must first not LOSE it”

Hoping to get anything going from their Offense, but facing a D stocked with established studs across the whole 11, positive yards were difficult to come by for the visitors. Line-backing tandem Matthias Durot and Senan O’Mahony viciously cutting down ball handlers. The visitors were forced to hand excellent field position to an energized and in-rhythm Offense.

After being pushed back 10 yards due to a holding penalty, it was an opportunity for McMahon to accrue more yards in this first quarter, dancing in for a touchdown on the drives third play. Bringing the score to 26-0.

On the next UL offensive drive, the dominant Rebels Defensive line broke through on the first play, allowing for a diving interception from DB Kevin Fitzgerald, sending out the Offense once again.

An incompletion threatened to bring the game back down to earth for the Dublin team, only for McMahon to once again sprint across the field to cross the pylon. A gaping hole created by the O-Line gave Game Offensive MVP, Fagan all the room he needed to walk across for the conversion.

Another well-placed kick off from Sean Butler closed out the quarter. 34-0, an exhibition of how powerful the Rebels can be.

The second quarter started off with the visiting team backed up at their own Endzone, two incompletions and a crunching group tackle, aided by a holding penalty to bring them back ten yards, forced the Limerick punting unit to be called out. A great return, by Special Team Game MVP, Cathal Keane, probing the Red zone yet again, giving the Offense a comfortable starting point. An errant pass from Dennehy found the hands of Viking Liam Ryan, the Limerick Defence hoping to spark something by gaining possession back for their teammates.

Looking to gain yards back quickly through big plays, Limerick lofted a ball deep, sound coverage allowing Safety Keith Foster to break it up with both hands.

In a first for this game, the Vikings Offense strung plays together pounding the ball up the middle through Adam O’Mahony. Soon enough the home Defence tightened up, closing down gaps and forcing a turnover on downs.

A comfortable lead allowed the Offense to rotate in players throughout the game including more plays for the first Rebel to be born in the 21st century, Calum Walsh at Wide Receiver. A still determined Vikings front line stopped big gains in the run game, bringing out the home teams punt unit for the first time this afternoon. Now looking for any avenue to gain yardage, the visiting Offense could find no opening in a Defence that had shown little or no cracks all game, punts being exchanged by both teams, a rare sight in the day’s proceedings.

“Rebels Offense” – Photo Courtesy of VSquared Photography

Hardnosed and powerful running from both star running backs, Wellington Omorodion and Pete McMahon, marched the Rebels in position to score once more, Omorodion finding the Endzone to extend an already substantial lead, a tipped pass batted down the conversion attempt to close out the first half. 40-0, Rebels.

A strong theme for the day, the Defence refused to give up any yardage yet again, forcing a punt.

A gritty Vikings D shut out runs by both Fagan and McMahon, who could not find the Endzone, a rare unfruitful drive by the Offense.

The Flying Romanian

After huge pressure from Defensive linemen Walsh and Simon Mackey, errant throw found the hands of Rebels Corner Andrei Vlad Vasilescu, who, determined to get the Defence in on the scoring action, dived outstretched for the pylon, providing the game’s only defensive touchdown and Game Defensive MVP honours. The 3rd forced turnover by the Black Tide. An unsuccessful PAT put the score at 46-0.

Another day, another drive, another excellent defensive effort, and the shut out would remain alive, a dream for any Defence. End of the 3rd Quarter, 46-0, Rebels.

A long, winding trademark run from Omorodion, who looked like a blur on his way, to the Endzone yet again, begin the 4th quarter. Capped by a McMahon conversion, the scoreboard showed 54-0.

Backed to their own 5-yard line, down 54, the visitors punted once again, a poor bounce forced the returner the wrong direction, only returning the ball this time to where it initially bounced.

Unfortunately, on the ensuing drive, a Vikings player would go down injured with 7:50 left to play in the game. The player was brought to the hospital in the ambulance and after communicating with both teams the final whistle was blown.

Speedy recovery

We all play this game out of pure love for the sport and hate to see anyone go down with such an injury, everyone in the Rebels community wishes the player the best and a speedy recovery in the future.

The Rebels move to 5-2 on the season and will square off with neighbours the South Dublin Panthers in a game with heavy playoff implications on Sunday July 15. The game will take place in the National Sports Campus and kick-off is at 12pm.

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

Team Ireland U20 Interview

DUBLIN REBELS NEWEST UNDER 20 IRISH INTERNATIONALS GIVE EXCULSIVE INTERVIEW

TIME TO MAKE HISTORY!

On Saturday April 8th 2017, another milestone in Irish American Football takes place. The next group of under-20 athletes from Ireland will make their International debuts. The game will see the Team Ireland under-20s take on an AFW Elite High School select team. The game takes place at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown with a 1pm kick off.

Three more young Dublin Rebels will make their International bow, Jack Fagan, Cathal Keane and Ciarán Fitzpatrick. Friends since secondary school, Rebels teammates, and now set to make their International debuts together, we caught up with the guys to get their thoughts on the game, and football in general.

 

Hi Guys, so you all started with the Rebels 4 years ago, what drew each of you to American Football?

Cathal:     The combination of skill, strategy and violence is what attracted me to American football. I got hooked on tuning into Sky Sports’ NFL coverage every Sunday, and it was only a matter of time before my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to have a go at playing the sport myself.

Jack:     In secondary school Cathal brought in a football we started throwing it around and it was fun. Started watching some games and soon after found out about the Rebels, came down to one training and after that I fell in love with the sport. I guess I can thank Cathal for introducing me to it.

Ciarán:     Before I started playing I had no particular interest in American Football and I didn’t know much about the sport. But like Jack, Cathal convinced me to try it out and I’ve been hooked ever since.

 

So, all your fault then, Cathal. You host a weekly Podcast with Ciarán and Jack, as well as friend Sean Gorman, how did that come about and where do you see that going in the future?

Cathal:     Anyone who knows us is aware of the fact that we spend a disturbing amount of time talking about American football on a daily basis. We are very opinionated when it comes to the NFL, so we figured that it was only right to start a podcast. We like to think of the show as just a regular conversation between the four of us, but with microphones switched on. Down the road, we will be looking to get some former players and notable media figures on to talk with us.

(Check it out here: NFLTalkPodcast)

 

Do you have a favourite play you’ve had with the Rebels?

Jack:     In my first season playing against the Carrickfergus Knights, at Wide Receiver I got the opportunity to crack block a linebacker and knock him down. Nothing more enjoyable in football, than knocking someone on their backside.

Cathal:     Scoring the opening touchdown in last year’s Shamrock Bowl, without a doubt.

Ciarán:     My favourite play has to be last year’s game winning touchdown in the Shamrock Bowl. We were losing by a point and I was lucky enough to be thrown a great pass to score with only seconds left in the game. That was special.

 

Jack Fagan, Cathal Keane &  Ciaran Fitzpatrick Interview
Jack Fagan, Cathal Keane & Ciaran Fitzpatrick

 

 You each play different positions, what is it about those positions that made you want to play there?

Jack:     Playing Quarterback, feeling like you’ve contributed on every play is definitely something that’s attractive about the position, be it handoff or pass. Also, knowing everything that’s going on, on the field, both with your offence and the defence. In the end I suppose I’m just a control freak and a Glory-seeker.

 

Well you do all play offence, I suppose there’s a bit of that Glory-seeking from all of you!

Cathal:     Coming from a GAA background, I felt pretty comfortable catching a ball. Chad Ochocinco was a guy I loved to watch play, so I guess playing Wide Receiver, I wanted to imitate him to some extent. I love the attention to detail involved with playing the position, specifically from a route-running perspective, the slightest head fake or stutter step can be the difference in getting open.

Ciarán:     I play Tight End and the reason is when I first started playing it seemed like a position that suited my size and build. Once I started to understand the game I loved the versatility of the position.

 

Ciarán, you recently went to London to take part in the Jacksonville Jaguar skills camp, tell us a little about that and how it improved your game?

Ciarán:     It consisted of three full days of nothing but football where I got to train under veteran NFL players. It gave me an opportunity to hone some skills that I had learned back home and develop a deeper understanding of the position I was playing.

 

On Saturday you make your International debuts, what does it mean to you to play for Ireland?

Ciarán:     I’m excited and proud to be able to represent my country and my sport at such a high level. It’s an incredible opportunity to play a team from the US and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Cathal:     To be able to represent your country in any shape or form is an honour for anyone, and to do so in your chosen sport is an absolute privilege. It is also an opportunity for our team to test ourselves against some of the best competition in the world.

Jack:     Representing your national team is an honour and a privilege. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to test your skills against the best in the world. No matter what happens I’m proud to be able to say that I played on the Irish squad.

 

Jack, you’ve also been chosen as Offensive Captain for the team, how will you prepare for that?

Jack:     To me being Captain means two things; being approachable and being respected. You want others on the team to be able to come to you with their suggestions and problems on the sideline, but you also want them to listen to you in the huddle. I hope that my teammates see me that way come game day.

 

Thank you for your time guys, and we all wish you the very best of luck on Saturday.

 

Kick-off is 1pm on Saturday 8th April 2017, at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown. Entry is Free, so please come out and support the guys and the rest of the team Make History, in their first International appearance for Ireland.

 

Interview by Paul Grogan