Tag: SBC

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

DUBLIN REBELS AWARDS NIGHT 2017

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.

The night began with a few words from our Chairman, Vinny Dooley, who then introduced Daniel Meehan, from Shadowman Sports, our clubs main sponsors.

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.

Retired Numbers

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.

Logo

2017 SEASON, ANOTHER GOOD ONE!

DUBLIN REBELS 2017 SEASON IN REVIEW

The Dublin Rebels came into the 2017 season off the back of breaking the Belfast Trojans stranglehold on the Shamrock Bowl. Winning the Championship, by scoring the game winning Touchdown with 12 seconds left on the clock. A first title since 2011, and with the promise of competing for National Championships again, was a big draw in recruitment.

The majority of the 2016 team has returned this year, with notable exceptions, Defensive player of the year Kenny McCarthy not returning, and the retirement of Fergal “Sunday” O’Hanlon. With the already returning squad, a strong rookie class, and the return of some veteran players, including human wrecking ball Simon Mackey, the Rebels would set up for a strong run at attempting to repeat the previous year’s lofty heights.

TOUGH START

The opening game of the season brought a trip to UCD, the first meeting in two seasons, the last of which the students came out on top. The Rebels took the victory, with a debut score for RB Pete McMahon, and another rushing touchdown, from Sean Douglas, coupled with receiving Touchdowns from Peter Keely and Cathal Keane thanks to the arm of Andrew Dennehy, the Rebels took home the points, with a final score of 28-13. There were some negatives to the game, as it brought injuries to several key starters on offense, with Wello Omorodion, Sean Leamy and Paul Grogan, all missing future games.

Photo courtesy of Laszlo Gezco Photography

 

Game two brought the first meeting of this year’s two Shamrock Bowl finalists, when the Carrickfergus Knights came to Dublin. The game was a tight tense affair, with the Rebels offense giving up a plethora of turnovers to the resilient Knights. The game remained scoreless until the fourth quarter, when Simon Mackey provided one of the moments of the season, with the infamous “Swan Lake” play, where he leapt and spun into the Endzone to break the deadlock. The game was capped off with Pete McMahon adding another score to close the game out, 12-0.

The next game up was a trip to Kildare to take on the North Kildare Reapers. The game was notable for the emergence of young signal caller Jack Fagan, given the reigns to the offense, after a brief cameo from starting Quarterback Dennehy. A tough heart-filled performance from the home side, caused problems for the traveling Rebels at times, but in the end would succumb to a 37-0 defeat. Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu would continue his run of games with at least one interception through 3 games. It would also see the rare Defensive Tackle Interception, when Paul Kirkwood snagged one from the air. Scorers on the day were again, Pete McMahon and Sean Douglas(2), a first TD throw from Fagan to Ciarán Fitzpatrick, and a thunderous 30 yard run from Steve Walsh.

ADMIRALS SUNK

Up next for the Rebels, was a road trip to Shamrock Bowl Conference newcomers/returners, the Cork Admirals. The game would see the return of Grogan to the offense, and in what would be more impactful on the day, his punting. As this game turned into a strategic battle, field position came at a premium. The Rebels linebacking corps of Matthias Durot, Conrad Cook, Damien McHale, and Raphael Meyer would all rack up 4+ tackles each. The men in black would come away winners after rushing scores from Pete McMahon, and Dave “Rev” McMahon, as well as one through the sky from Dennehy to Fitzpatrick.

Dave McMahon
“#7 Dave McMahon” – Photo courtesy of Trevor O’Connell

At the half way point of the regular season, the Rebels looked to be in good shape for the second half of the season. With strong performers across the board, a number of key players to return and a record of 4-0, there was a lot to be positive about. Further south, the UL Vikings had really set the pace for this year’s Championship. They also boasted a record of four wins from four games, however could also count massive victories over the Reapers and UCD, 92-0 and 76-6 respectively. Despite travelling to Dublin, for both sides next game, meeting the current champions on their home turf, U.L. had a lot to be confident about. At least one of the teams would lose their perfect record on that day.

The game was an exciting affair for the neutral, as both sides clicked on offense, and after long drives, traded scores, and the lead back and forth. Ultimately it was the visitors and league pace setters, the Vikings that came away with the victory 28-22. A Pete McMahon touchdown, coupled with another “Rev” McMahon Touchdown and one more through the air from Dennehy to Keane would conclude the Rebels touchdowns for the day. A welcome sight for the Rebels was the return of Wello Omorodion, who would also get into the Endzone on a 2 point play. Ultimately this showed that the Rebels weren’t going to have it all their own way, and that the Vikings would be strong favourites to win the Shamrock Bowl at this point of the season.

Sitting at 4 and 1 on the season, with results throughout the league, the Rebels next game at home to Trinity meant that a win would guarantee Play-off football for the Dublin side. The Trinity side, depleted from the team they had earlier in the season, were still in the playoff hunt themselves. The Rebels would come away comfortable winners on the back of a strong running game and mean defence. The game finished 38-12, and made sure of the home teams spot in the play offs.

TOUGHER FINISH

With two games remaining the Dublin Rebels sat second in the South Division behind the dominant Vikings. Those final two games would be, first against four time Shamrock Bowl winners the Belfast Trojans, and the return game away, to the Vikings. A tougher run in you will not find to end the regular season.

First the visit of the Trojans to Santry. With the scoreboard deadlocked at zero into the 2nd quarter, up stepped Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, with another pick, this time doing for 6 points. After a forced fumble on the next drive, taken away from the Trojans, Dennehy would go to the air, hitting Jonas D’Agostin Kubis for the touchdown. The experienced signal caller was in scintillating form, connecting with 7 different receivers on the day. 14-0 down the Trojans rallied, and managed to bring the game to a 14-13 score line with a little over a minute left in the game. Needing to win in order to win the Northern division the Trojans had to go for 2. If they were successful it would have left Dennehy and his offense in the same situation as last year’s Shamrock Bowl final, down by 1 with a minute to go. The Rebels defence stepped up though, and the conversion attempt failed. After recovering the onside kick, the Rebels kneeled out the clock to take the win 14-13.

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

And so, to the final regular season game. A meeting with the UL Vikings, in Limerick, the battle to take the division, and the number 1 seed for the play offs. The stage was set for a phenomenal game, the Rebels needed to win by 7 or more points to win the division, the Vikings would take it with any win, a draw, or even a loss by 6 points or fewer.

While the first meeting of the sides in Dublin saw the Rebels rely heavily on the success of their run game, this game would show just how balanced their offense is. With Andrew Dennehy under Center he would take to the air early, and often, connecting with Grogan, Keane, Fitzpatrick and D’Agostin, each on multiple occasions. While the Rebels defence, who had difficulty in the first match up stopping the Vikings O, began to wreak havoc in the back field, led by Linebacker Robert Smith racking up tackle after tackle behind the line of scrimmage, with the ever present support of Matthias Durot, and the beast that is Simon Mackey. Dennehy had himself a day, connecting through the air for three touchdowns and a 2XP, with Fitzpatrick on one touchdown and D’Agostin on the rest, and rushing for one 2XP himself. Those extra points proved to be the difference in the division. As the clock wound down, the Rebels defence found themselves backed up deep in their own redzone with a minute left in the game. After several defiant stops, the Vikings chose to go for the field goal, knowing the 3 points would win the division for them despite the loss. But the Rebels defence was not to be denied, and burst through the Vikings wall to block the field goal, securing the division, home field advantage, the number 1 seed and a Bye into the Shamrock Bowl Semi Final, where they would end up meeting the Belfast Trojans for the second time this season.

The last time the Rebels and Trojans met in a Shamrock Bowl Semi Final, the two teams combined for a total of 104 points, so this game held the air of promise and lots of scores. It did not disappoint.

The Rebels had no intention of letting up and came out firing on all cylinders. Showing the depth of their ability out of the backfield, the Rebels would jump out to a 24-7 lead, with rushing scores from Wello Omorodion, Pete McMahon and Sean Douglas. The Trojans battled back into the game, managing to get as close as 24-20, the Rebels offense dug in, and not to be outdone by his backfield mates, Dave “Rev” McMahon, would punch in the final touchdown for the Rebels. The Trojans managed to get into the Endzone again, with the score at 32-26, and Trojans ball, the game would end when that man Simon Mackey burst through the line and took down the Quarterback. The Rebels were going back to the show. As the current champions, you always have a massive target on your back, and coming through the season with a single loss in making it to the Shamrock Bowl could be considered a great success. But the Dublin Rebels would only be happy to retain their Championship!

Rebels on 3
Pumped up – Photo Courtesy of Laszlo Gezco Photography

The Dublin Rebels headed into their 12th Shamrock Bowl Final, in search of their record 9th National Championship, against old foes the Carrickfergus Knights. If you want to recall how that turned out you can read the game review “here

GOAT
Title #9 – Photo Courtesy of Terry McCann Photography

By Paul Grogan