Category: News

Rebels Reign Ended By Admirals

“Captains”. Photo courtesy of Terence McCann

 

The Big Dance. The Show. The Championship. The Final Showdown. The pinnacle of domestic Irish American Football. 

 

Every team in the preseason believes they can make it, every coach and every player across the country aspires to lift that trophy in August. When it’s all said and done, after all the heartbreak and close games, two teams square off in Tallaght Stadium for the right be called the best Football team on the island of Ireland.

Shamrock Bowl 32 was held August 19th between SBC South champions Dublin Rebels and the Cork Admirals. This season’s third meeting between the two sides with both previous games being won by less than 7, nothing less than a close game could be expected. 

QUICK TRICK KICK TO START

A failed Admiral onside attempt provided the Rebel’s possession for the game’s opening drive. Lead by Quarterback Andrew Dennehy, in search of a historic 10th Shamrock Bowl victory, a feat not reached by any player, the Rebel offence had difficulty breaking through a hard-hitting aggressive Cork Defence, punting on their opening possession. 

 

An energized and hungry Rebel Defence started the game with suffocating pocket pressure, forcing two incomplete passes to force a second put of the day. A good punt pinned the Rebels back to inside their own five yard line, a quick 3 and out meant punting this time from their own Endzone, a trend of Defence beginning to show through in the years biggest game. 

Tackle for loss! Photo courtesy of  Ian Humes Photography

Looking to get the days first first down, the Admirals looked to the air. Completing a pass over the middle to place the ball 10 yard from the Endzone and providing the afternoon’s first Redzone visit. Instant pressure from LB Robert Smith shut down an initial rush attempt. Following a broken pocket and rolling to his left, Admirals QB Stephen Hayes lofted a ball to the back corner of the Endzone, hitting Simon O’Keefe, breaking the tie with 6, a missed extra point put the Admirals up by 6.  

Looking to respond, the Rebels offense, featuring the first drive of the game from young QB Jack Fagan came out swinging for the fences. Fagan left his mark on the game immediately, reading the Defence and rattling off a trademark QB keeper, along with powerful running from one of a two-headed monster backfield, Pete McMahon, exemplified how dangerous they can be.

 

An unfortunate holding call denied a Rebel first down on third down, an incomplete pass brought the punt team onto the field, but the offence had a heartbeat now, and was not going to be kept down.

“SWARM” Photo courtesy of Bob Given Photography

Incomplete passes and penalties forced by the Rebel Defence lead to a quick 3 & out and gave the ball back to the Rebels. 

 

Marching down the field, with a healthy diet of running up the gut of the Defence, both Wellington Omorodion and McMahon gashing through Corks Defence, brought an end to the 1st quarter. However, a fumbled exchange and an incomplete pass forced the Rebels to attempt a field goal, which sailed left. 

 

“You Shall Not Pass” Photo courtesy of Ian Humes Photography

Untimely penalties forcing the ball backwards, coupled with a stalling aerial attack resulted in an interception from safety Keith Foster. The ball back with the Rebels, along with the game’s momentum.  

A holding penalty on the drive’s first play set the offence back, and unable to recover lost yardage, punted to the visitors yet again.  

 

#FORTHEBRAND

In a matchup of the league’s best Defenses, punting was common, shown yet again after the Rebels shutting down the Admirals run game. The Admirals would, in turn, return the favour. Stopping all attempts to gain positive yardage. A bobbled snap on the punt to cap off the drive put Cork in prime position to extend their lead. 

 

Time running low in the first half, and reminiscent of their first score, a lofted pass from Hayes to the corner of the Endzone found its target, Jahn Dasini. A trick 2-point attempt failure to follow, the Admirals took advantage of the field position and extended their lead to 12 heading into the half. 

“Under Pressure.” Photo courtesy of  Terence McCann Photography

A promising Admirals drive to open the third quarter was quickly snuffed out and possession was handed back to the Rebels offence. Penalties reversing any positive play on the ensuing drive lead to the familiar site of the punt team. The return put the Admirals offense into the Rebel half.

THE COMEBACK AFTER THE SETBACK

Photo courtesy of  Bob Given Photography

 

After getting the ball back through a once more unbending defensive effort, a long bomb to WR Cathal Keane to open the final quarter put the ball deep in the heart of Admiral territory, and the best opportunity of the day for the offence. A run from Omorodion and a footrace to the pylon later, and the Rebels have their first points of the day. A successful two-point conversion from Simon Mackey brought the score to 8-12 Admirals.  

“Flash”. Photo courtesy of  Ian Humes Photography

Momentum now fully with the “home” team, and another defensive stop to add to the tally, and the Rebels have the ball. Adhering to the classic, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, QB Andy Dennehy tossed the ball to Omorodion again, weaving past defenders and putting everyone else in his rear view mirror the Rebels put points up again, and took the lead along with it, the 2-point attempt fell short, bringing the score to 14-12 Rebels. 

A balanced approach to the offence from the Admirals, who now found themselves playing from behind for the first time, failed to score, turning the ball over on downs.

“Hops”. Photo courtesy of Terence McCann

More penalties set the Rebel offence back, and with their heals getting closer to their own goal line, a trick punt on 3rd down was blocked, recovered by the Admiral Defence for a score, re-taking the lead, a failed 2-point attempt kept the gap at 4 points. 

 

Needing a score late in the game, and marching down the field, the aggressive Cork Defence would show through once more, intercepting a pass.  

 

Seeing the clock tick down, a defensive stop with under a minute left forced the Admirals to take a safety, cutting the gap to 2, and giving the ball back to the home team. 

 

With over 50 yards to go to the Endzone, Cork prevented anything over the top, forcing a turnover on downs.

One kneel from the Cork QB ran the clock down and gave the Admirals their first ever Shamrock Bowl, winning by 2 points in a hard-fought battle. 

 

 

by Calum Walsh

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

 

Dublin Rebels – South Division Champs!

Rivalry Suggestions Squashed!

In what may be the shortest travel for an away game for any team this season, and kick-off two hours earlier than usual, the 5 and 2 Dublin Rebels took the field at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown for a division matchup against the 3-4 South Dublin Panthers, with a shot at the SBC South title, and a home semi-final on the line for the Rebels.

The stage was set, and as the game kicked off, returner Cathal Keane would set the tone, providing the Rebels Offense with excellent starting field position for the game’s first drive. Behind an O-Line that would control the trenches throughout the day, and coming off a huge game on the ground last week, Pete McMahon ran with vigour, finding holes and exploding through gaps in a porous Defense from the home team.

Combating a holding penalty, with an Andy Dennehy to Paul Grogan connection to regain the lost yardage and setting McMahon on his way to score the game’s first points. The Rebels held the first lead of the afternoon, and would never let up. 6-0, Rebels.

“Raphael ‘Raf’ Meyer” Photo courtesy of Terence McCann Photography

A crunching tackle from defensive end Simon Mackey on the ensuing kick-off gave an already motivated Rebel Defense a standard to live up to. Feverish ball-hunting and a hit from safety Raphael Meyer that wouldn’t be out of place in an NFL highlight reel established a tone for the game that was impossible to ignore. Seemingly instant pressure on every down, lead to an ill thrown pass finding CB Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu for his second INT in the past two games, a defensive showing with a taste of everything they had to offer.

Quite possibly the scariest backfield tandem in the league, QB Jack Fagan and current Shamrock Bowl MVP, Wellington Omorodion took the field less than 20 yards from the opposing Endzone, trading runs to either side, and despite having a score called back for holding, little could be done to stop Wellington as he steam-rolled towards the goal line, carrying any defenders brave enough to grab hold of him into the Endzone. The two-point attempt would fall through the back of the Endzone incomplete. 12-0.

Inspector Clouseau stealing from Pink Panther?

Good blocking and vision on the return gave the Panthers starting field position near their own 40. Seeing the RB fighting for positive yards, Line-backer Matthias Durot saw his opportunity to pick his pocket and ripped the ball from his hands, and placing it right back into the hands of the momentum filled Rebel Offense to close out the first quarter.

Two huge runs being called back due to penalties, and the wet conditions leading to incompletions through the air resulted in a 4th down incompletion and a turnover on downs.

Unhappy with only one forced turnover, Durot saw his opportunity once more, and the game Defensive MVP took it happily, like a carbon copy of the first, wrenching the football away and bringing the Offense back on the field, hoping to see an improvement on the previous outing.

“Wellington ‘Wello’ Omorodion” Photo courtesy of Terence McCann Photography

Running through defenders as often as around them, Omorodion reminded the Panther Defense of the dangers of falling asleep when facing an Offense as heavily armed as the Rebels. Big gains on the ground laid the groundwork for a fingertip grab over the middle from Paul Grogan, strolling through the heart of the Panther defense to walk across the line for the games 3rd score of the day, and the veteran Tight Ends first since returning from a long injury layoff. A bobbled snap forced the conversion attempt to fail. 18-0 Rebels.

A Bird? A Plane? No it’s Mackey!

Carrying on from a great performance last week, the Rebel Defense gave up no yardage on the ground or through the air, LB Robert Smith slicing and dicing through the line to get into the backfield on almost every play to force a punt. In a change from what many regular humans can do, Special Teams Swiss Army Knife Simon Mackey ghosted through the punt teams line and after a Superman-like take off, blocked the punt. Mackey then came inches away from recovering the very same ball he laid out to block. The Rebels Offense being gifted the best field position of the season through incredible defensive effort.

Pete McMahon came close to his second TD of the game, being tackled twice on the 1-yard line, that 1 yard would be covered by a QB sneak from Dennehy to add to the first half score line. Adding to his rushing total, Dennehy walked in the two points from two yards out on the following play. 26-0

Swallowing up anything in their path the Defense forced another punt, this one bouncing out of bounds at the 5-yard line.

Backed up at the 5 yard line, the Champions took to more dominant running, led by Offensive MVP Alfredo Meneses the Rebels domineering O-Line gave the offense some breathing room. Incompletions and solid tackling from the home Defense brought out the Rebels punt team for the first time in the game.

The change of possession didn’t last long.

An errant throw from the Panthers QB Ian Cahill would fall gracefully into the hands of Meyer for yet another takeaway for the Rebels Defense. Incompletions, not helped by the rain soaked game, and a lack of running room forced the Rebels into a rare 4-and-out, giving the ball back to the home team.

The home offense continued to struggle to get any yardage versus the monstrous defense, and a bad snap on a 4thdown punt play, placed the Rebel offense deep in scoring position.

Keeping the game on the ground, and with a good lead, Omorodion punched in his second TD of the day, extending the lead further. 32-0.

Consistent tackling and air tight coverage forced the home team to punt yet again.

Continuing to show the depth of the Rebels squad after a plethora of changes, and facing third and long, Dennehy threw a rainbow to rookie WR David Duffy, who rose to make a spectacular high point grab at the 6 yard line and energize the Rebels side-line. McMahon followed through on Duffy’s big play, crossing the goal line to add to his tally for the season, 38-0.

“Conrad Cook” Photo courtesy of Terence McCann Photography

Determined to get in on the scoring party, and get the Defence on the scoreboard, LB Conrad Cook plucked an interception out of the air, and took off like he was running the 40 at the NFL combine, took the ball all the way back for 6 points. Omorodion followed up his teammate, and fellow Team Bicep member and converted the two-point attempt. 46-0.

So Close But So Far…..

Not to be outdone by his defensive teammate, stalwart Ross McCooey saved what should have been the play of the day for last. With 2 seconds remaining on the clock and the Panthers finally knocking on the door of the Rebels Redzone, a tipped pass looped high into the air, falling into the arms of the waiting McCooey on his own 21 yard line. Number 51 took off towards the sideline, a powerful stiff arm followed, then a high step to avoid a diving tackle, it looked like McCooey would take it to the house, but the wheels seized up, and despite tacking the return 78 and a half yards, the final few inches eluded him to finish the game without the score the play thoroughly deserved.

“Ross ’51’ McCooey” Photo courtesy of Terence McCann Photography

The Dublin Rebels finish the regular season 6-2, winning the SBC South, earning a bye and home field advantage for the play-offs, and going on to host the winner of the Belfast Knights versus Belfast Trojans Wildcard game next week,  in a Semi-final on the 5th of August at Sportslink in Santry.

By Calum Walsh

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