Tag: Jack Fagan

REBELS TAKE ROUND 1 AGAINST ADMIRALS

DUBLIN REBELS DEFEAT CORK ADMIRALS IN RAIN SOAKED BATTLE

The forecast fluctuated all week, and no-one was sure prior to game day what weather would greet the teams as the Cork Admirals would make the road trip to Dublin to take on the Dublin Rebels.
But this is Ireland, so obviously, rain.

And rain it did, the entire first half of the game would have a consistent downpour throughout, and that led to a hard hitting and old school style affair. Games like these, with conditions like these, are usually decided by the turnover battle, and that proved as true as ever.

The Rebels received the opening kick-off, but after some tough running from Tailback Pete McMahon, the Admirals forced the punt.

On their first drive of the game the Admirals took advantage of their possession. After being stuffed on first down, a face mask penalty gave them great field position, and from there Cork QB Stephen Hayes hit Team Ireland under 20 receiver Jahn Dasini for the opening score. The touchdown going in from 40 yards out. The Admirals tacked on the PAT to take an early lead against the reigning champions.

Old school Slugfest

The first quarter remained a slugfest from there, with both teams trading short runs, incompletions and punts to bring it to a close, neither Defence breaking or bending.

As the second quarter got underway, with the Dublin team in possession, the turnover battle began to heat up. An errant throw from veteran leader Andrew Dennehy gave Cork their second interception of the day, the first being a long bomb earlier in the game, which could be considered more as a successful punt.

That brought the Rebels Defence back on to the field. Some hard hitting, and key tackles from DBs Kevin Fitzgerald and Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, as well as Linebacker tandem Matthias Durot and Aybars Bayram made life difficult for the Admirals Offence, and gave the ball back to the men in black.

“Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu” Photo courtesy of VSquared Photography

Starting the drive on their own 27, the Rebels would maintain possession for most of the remainder of the half. Meticulously moving the ball through the running of duo Pete McMahon and Shamrock Bowl MVP Wellington Omorodion, combined with some passes from Dennehy to Tight End Ciarán Fitzpatrick, and Wide Receiver Andrej Barlafa. The Rebels were deep into the Cork redzone, but could not break the plane. Going for it on 4th down, the Admirals Defence stiffened, and did not let up.

A quick 3 and out from the Admirals, and great field position from a short punt, gave the Rebels one more opportunity before the half. Some good pressure from the Admirals D-line, hitting Dennehys hand mid throw led to a 3rd and final turnover for the Rebels Offence for the game. The Cork side kneeling out the half from there. The turnover battle at the half read 3-0 to Cork, and the scoreboard reflected it, the Admirals up 7-0.

Adjustments needed to be made at Half Time, and they were.

Second Half – Different Game

The second half had the visiting side receiving the ball, the rain easing off slightly. A short kick gave the Admirals a good starting point. However that’s when the returning 2016 Rebels Defensive MVP Kenny McCarty would make his presence known. A tackle for loss and the first sack of the game for McCarty on consecutive plays, forced the Cork team to punt.

“Kenny McCarty” Photo courtesy of VSquared Photography

The Rebels offence came out onto the field, this time with heir apparent, Jack Fagan under centre. Fagan called his own number, and broke his first play of the game for a 65 yard run to kick start the Dublin offence. Two players later the young QB would hit favourite target and fellow Podcaster Ciarán Fitzpatrick for the Touchdown. The wet conditions causing the Rebels to go for 2, was unsuccessful.

“Jack Fagan” Photo courtesy of VSquared Photography

After the ensuing Kick Off, the Rebels defense wanted in on the scoring party, and after a tackle for loss from combined “Team America” members McCarty and Conrad Cook, the next play the Dublin side pounced.

After being picked off twice by Cornerback Ricky Paisley in last years meeting, Cork QB Hayes, had wisely not targeted his side of the field all game, until now. A mistake. Paisley jumped the flat route like a cheetah pouncing on its prey, clean hands with the catch, and gone racing for 6, to give the Rebels the lead. The scoreboard this time dictating, go for two. Game Offensive MVP Pete McMahon, punched the ball in to give the Rebels the 14-7 lead.

A 1-2 punch just after half time that shook the Cork team.

The Rebels Defence had bought themselves a ticket back on to the field after the kick off, thanks to their score, but they wanted off. So on the very next play, they reacted quickest to a dropped hand off, and Conrad Cook came away with the ball to even up the turnover battle at three a piece.

However, the Cork Defence was not ready to give in, and made a strong goal line stand to stop the Rebels from gaining daylight on the board. McCarty had other ideas, and picked up his second Sack of the game and forcing a punt from inside the Admirals Endzone.

Turnover Fest

A booming punt sailed over the returners head, having adjusted his position from the games earlier, much shorter punts. As the readjustment was made to the ball however, it ricocheted off his foot, and the Admirals recovered. Hayes then targeted Paisleys side of the field just once more, but the Game Defensive MVP had his second interception of the game. That’s what Paisley does when Cork throws his way, he catches it. Get out of jail card cashed in after the muffed punt.

The slugfest continued from there, with both teams trading blows, but neither offense gaining much ground. One extraordinary play, when Cork had a quick completion on a short route, Cornerback Raphael Meyer punched the ball out, the returning McCarty managed to contort his body mid air to pluck the ball down. Fumble recovery or Interception? Answers on a postcard, either way it epitomized his game, and brought it into the 4th quarter.

Back in position, Fagan looked to move the chains and the clock. After runs from McMahon and Omorodion, and hitting BFF Fitzpatrick with some short completions, the Rebels punted.

Yet again that Defence wanted more turnovers, and on a tipped pass, Safety Keith Foster showed his safe hands, clutching the ball down, safely, out of the air. A 3rd Interception, and 5th turnover of the game for the Dublin side.

Fagan was back at it again, this time calling his own number to churn the time. And after an initial good tackle from the Cork Defence to stop the play, the Admirals #65 came crashing in from behind on the signal caller, extremely late, leading with his helmet and cracking the back of Fagans head. The referee made the targeting call and #65 was ejected from the game, meaning he will miss the return game in 2 weeks time in Cork.

Pinned Back

A little more time off the clock thanks to the automatic first and some runs from Omorodion, including hitting the truck stick, ate up some more time, and a booming punt from Game Special Teams MVP Sean Butler, had the Cork team pinned inside their own 5.

The Admirals proved they were for real, and would not have their spirit broke. Some quick passes, and runs up the middle got them out of initial danger, but that man McCarty again, a Tackle/Forced Fumble/Fumble Recovery, triple combo would give the Rebels offence the ball back, and surely end the game?

Some more hardnosed running from the McMahon/Omorodion tandem brought the game down close to the two minute warning, and after Butler again pinned the Admirals into their 5, the warning was called.

“Pete McMahon” Photo courtesy of VSquared Photography

The Cork team was not done, and on the first play inside the two minutes, Hayes dropped back into his own Endzone, and threw a dart, hitting Dasini again, in stride, and it was a foot race. Dasini took off and went 85 yards for the score, and an opportunity to change the result.

The Cork side admirably went for 2, but the Rebels said No.

The ensuing onside kick was chipped up into the waiting hands of Tight End Peter Keely, who claimed the ball, and gently lay down to put the game to bed.
One final kneel down brought the final whistle, to take the Dublin Rebels to 2 and 0 on the season, and a place on top of the divisional table.

The next Rebels game is another home tie, on April 22nd against division opponent, Trinity College. The game is due to kick off at 2pm in Sportslink.

By Paul Grogan

UL Vikings away

QUEST FOR GLORY BEGINS….

REBELS GET SEASON STARTED WITH AWAY WIN AGAINST UL VIKINGS

Football is back. That is to say Irish American Football is back. A busy “Off” season had the Dublin Rebels win their first Atlantic Cup trophy, as well as adding a new Head Coach in Brian Dennehy. Sunday saw the first game of the 2018 season kick off with a road trip to Limerick for the defending champion Dublin Rebels.

The opponents were old foes, the University of Limerick Vikings.

The Vikings this season have moved their home games to the UL Bohemians Rugby Club, and that was the venue for the game between two of Irish Footballs powerhouses. The Rebels were missing a number of key starters from the team that won last seasons Shamrock Bowl for the trip down south. The Vikings had a number of retirements in the off season, paired with some key players transferring to other clubs, and star Quarterback Raymond Burke now plying his trade in mainland Europe. This was a chance to blood a number of rookies on both sides of the ball for both teams, alongside some of their largely experienced veterans.

Knockdown blow

The first quarter was all about the run game for both teams, with Limerick relying heavily on young power back Adam O’Mahony, while the Dublin Rebels countered with the One-Two punch of Backs Wello Omorodion and Pete McMahon. And it was the Rebels that would strike first, with Omorodion going in for 6, after a long drive, dominating the time of possession. The PAT was unsuccessful.

The Rebels Defence continued to control the game, led by perennial badasses Ross McCooey and Simon Mackey causing constant pressure, racking up tackles and making life difficult for rookie signal caller Jack Litherland. Things got more difficult for the young player, when Center Graham Murtagh went out for the game, after having his leg rolled up on by a UL player, after being tackled.

UL Vikings Away 3

After a change of possession and subsequently a change of ends at the quarter, Omorodion showed off his arm. Ironic that it be coated in camouflage, and usually invisible to the naked eye. The running back completed a strike to Wide Receiver Jonas Kubis D’Agostin for a 60 yard touchdown to double the Dublin teams lead. Again the PAT failed.

The lead gave the Rebels a chance to get their own young Quarterback Jack Fagan into the game, taking over from usual conductor Andrew Dennehy. The Vikings front, led by John Mullen, made life difficult for Fagan, and as the half came to a close, he was picked off by longtime Viking Linebacker Darragh O’Callaghan.

Same again please

Having deferred the option of the ball to the second half, the Rebels opened up the third quarter on Offence. Again, running was the name of the game, and McMahon and Omorodion continued to make first downs, churning up the yards and churning up the clock. With the Dublin side both figuratively and literally running the game, several rookies made their Rebels debuts, contributing plays on both sides of the ball for the travelling side. With Fagan continuing to orchestrate the Offence, he was helped out with some additional possession, thanks to an interception from Conrad Cook on the Defence for the men in black. The score remained unchanged until that man Omorodion scampered into the Vikings endzone for his second rushing touchdown. Not to take all the glory, Wello was quick to celebrate with his Offensive line, key to which on the day was the Game Offensive MVP, Lewis Cummins, making huge vital blocks in the run game, and a wall-esque performance in the passing attack. Omorodion would punch in the 2 point conversion over the turf.

The third quarter finished out as a battle in the trenches, as much of the day had been, and went back and forth in the middle of the field of play for most of the remainder of the game.

The Rebels Defensive front did not let up throughout the game, and were determined to hold on to their shut out. They were made to work for it. After pinning the Rebels on the edge of their own endzone, and exchanges of possession, the Vikings Offence made a rare redzone visit, after some short completions and runs, facing fourth down, the Game Defensive MVP, Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, picked off the pass.

With Fagan in at Quarterback, two plays later the Vikings D would return the favour, with Craig Switzer picking off the pass and seeming to return it for 6. However the score was called back after a targeting penalty flagged on the Vikings after the interception. This lead to the change of possession standing, but the player penalized for targeting ejected from the game by rule, and further unsportsmanlike penalties taking the Vikings back into their own half.

On the very next and penultimate play of the game, Conrad Cook came up with his second pick of the game to cement the win, and allow Fagan to kneel out the clock.

The final Score Dublin Rebels 20-0 University of Limerick Vikings.

next game…

Next up for the Bad guys in Black is a trip to Lucan on March 25th to take on the South Dublin Panthers.

By Paul Grogan

Kickoff

HISTORIC 100TH REGULAR SEASON WIN

DUBLIN REBELS FIRST IRISH TEAM TO ACHIEVE 100 REGULAR SEASON WINS

On the face of it, last Sundays match up in Kilcock between the Dublin Rebels and the North Kildare Reapers was just like any other regular season match up, what was different about this match was its potential to set another historic benchmark for the Rebels.

The opening kick-off would be received by the away side, the drive stalling after some good play from the Reapers defence regaining the ball for their offence.

From there the stifling Rebels defence would take over, led by internet viral sensation Simon Mackey, who would record 6 back field tackles, 1 Sack, and 5 Tackles for Loss. This was helped by Shadowman Sports Defensive MVP, Paul Kirkwood, the Defensive Tackle eating up blocks all game, and coming up with one of the plays of the day, recording the rare DT Interception.

Paul Kirkwood D MVP
‘Defensive MVP Paul Kirkwood’ – Photo courtesy of Dublin Rebels

 

The Reapers opening offensive drive would come to an end when Cornerback Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, came away with yet another interception, maintaining his run of at least one pick in each game this season.

On the next drive, the Rebels offence would kick into gear, and following runs from Sean Douglas, and Pete McMahon, would be knocking on the door of the Reapers red zone. Cue, Steve Walsh.

FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE!

Not to be outdone by fellow Defensive Lineman, Simon Mackey’s recent exploits carrying the rock, the big man would add to his own highlight reel. Walsh taking the hand-off from 30 yards out, would burst through the offensive line, and showing a light-footedness of a man half his size, floating over the turf for a huge gain, before changing, like a transformer, into a Mack Truck, and bulldozing over the Safety, coming up just short of the goal line. From here, and in much less spectacular but no less satisfying fashion, the veteran would crack the goal line for 6 points.

After the next defensive stop, the ensuing punt would reach the hands of Sean Douglas, maintaining his growing reputation as one of the most dangerous returners in the country, would take the kick the length of the field, crossing the goal line for the Touchdown.

Seán Douglas
‘Seán Douglas’ – Photo courtesy of Charmaeducs Photography

The remainder of the half would continue on in similar fashion, with the Rebels defence stopping the Reapers offence from gaining any momentum, and the offence, under the guidance of Ireland Under 20 Quarterback and Captain, Jack Fagan, racking up yards on the ground through Douglas and McMahon, both crossing the pylons for a further 2 scores, a single extra point added by Raphael Meyer in the days only successful kick at goal.

It wasn’t until late in the Half that the reapers offence would get going, QB Luke Bailey would hit some quick short passes to TE Rob Hall, who would tack on the yards after catch and take the Reapers deep into the Rebels red zone. Unfortunately, for the Reapers, an errant snap would sail over Baileys head, taking them out of range, and after a swarming pass rush swallowed up the QB, Kirkwood would snatch up the previously mentioned interception to end the half.

SECOND HALF

Kickoff
‘Rebels Kickoff Team’ – Photo courtesy of Charmaeducs Photography

The 3rd quarter, commenced and continued in unspectacular fashion, with little of note happening. Apart from some more good running from the Rebels backfield, and completions from Fagan, and back up QB John Sherman, to TE Fitzpatrick, the scoreboard remained as it did at the half.

As the fourth quarter approached, the Rebels offence would turn the screw, the Reapers, many of who commendably played Ironman football for the duration of the game, showing huge heart, as is their calling card this season, would begin to tire.

Another Pete McMahon rushing score capped off another solid balanced drive for the travelling team. The final score would come late in the game, when QB Fagan would link up with Shadowman Sports Offensive MVP for the day, Ciarán Fitzpatrick again for 6 more points.

Ciarán Fitzpatrick
‘Offensive MVP Ciaran Fitzpatrick’ – Photo courtesy of Dublin Rebels

As mentioned earlier, this game had potential to hit a historic milestone for the Rebels. And after this victory, the Rebels achieved their 100th Regular season victory in the Irish American Football League. A first and only in the game in Ireland, setting yet another standard in the Irish game for the Dublin Rebels.

The Scoreboard closed off with a score of Rebels 37-0 Reapers.

next game…

The Rebels go to 3-0 on the season, with a long trip to Cork on May 14th to meet the Cork Admirals.

by Paul Grogan

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