Category: Game Report

Champions

CHAMPIONS AGAIN! 9 TIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

SHAMROCK BOWL XXXI

Shamrock Bowl XXXI had more than a little touch of history about it. The meeting between the reigning champions the Dublin Rebels and the Carrickfergus Knights in the big game has previous, you see. The game would be contested by the two teams with the most final appearances ever in the National Championship game.

The Knights came into the game off their first division title since 2011, and an overtime victory over early season front runners the U.L. Vikings to make it to their 10th final appearance.

The Rebels also came in to the game as divisional winners for the second year in a row, after victory over the Belfast Trojans, in a repeat of the 2016 final, to book the 12th trip to the big dance for the Dublin club.

The last time the two teams met in the final was 2004, when the Rebels came away with a 24-22 win that included a final play, goal line stop from the men in black. That was the 3rd meeting in 4 years in the final for the teams, each time the Rebels coming out on top. The Knights would be looking to put a stop to final losses to their opponents, and hoped to secure their first title in 15 years.

SHOWTIME!!

Coin Toss
Coin Toss – Photo Courtesy of Keith Elgin Photography

 

While the Knights ran out on to the field in Tallaght Stadium to The Prodigy’s “The Day is My Enemy”, the Rebels would march out in military fashion to “The Imperial March”, before turning it up to 11, as AC/DCs “Back in Black” rang through the stadium. The stage was set, the performers ready, it was Showtime.

The Knights would receive the opening kick-off, and begin to drive the ball across the ground with backfield tandem Gareth Millar and Darren Montgomery picking up a couple of first downs. This came to an end after tackles from Middle Linebacker Bobby Smith, and a stonewalling tackle from Shadowman Sports Defensive MVP Ross McCooey, one of 6.5 tackles on the day for number 51.

Ross McCooey
Shadowman Sports Defensive MVP “#51” Ross McCooey – Photo Courtesy of Laszlo Gezco Photography

 

The ensuing punt hung up for an age, before returner Sean Douglas was able to secure the catch. Literally as Douglas caught the ball he was hit by the coverage team, but bizarrely no flag came. The Rebels took over from the 5 yard line. A fumbled snap on the first play from scrimmage, would put the Dublin Offense in an early hole, eventually forcing a difficult punt from inside their own Endzone.

The Rebels defence would continue where they left off, lead by that man McCooey, forcing a quick 3 and Out. Douglas this time in the backfield, would get the Offense out of their own Redzone, getting 15 tacked on to the end of a 9 yard run.

TURNOVER CITY

At the turn of the quarter, and after a quick completion from Quarterback Andrew Dennehy to Jonas Kubis D’Agostin, and an 8 yard rush from Running Back Dave McMahon, the Rebels would go to the air again. Looking for the deep ball to Tight End Ciarán Fitzpatrick, the tipped ball found its way to Carrickfergus Safety, Stephen Davison, who intercepted the ball and returned it to the Rebels 45 yard line.

The Dublin defence didn’t take long to get their team the ball back. Defensive End Gary Twamley first punched the ball out tackling the Knights Running Back, but the Knights recovered the fumble. On the very next play, looking for a big chunk of yardage, Rebels Safety, Keith Foster, would jump the deep route and pluck the ball from the air.

Unfortunately, the Rebels Offense were having trouble clicking, gaining yards through the running game from Wellington Omorodion and Pete McMahon, but subsequently losing those yards with mental errors and penalties.

The majority of the remaining half turning into a field position battle between Rebels Punter Paul Grogan, and Marty Caskey for the Knights.

However late on in the first half, with the Rebels Offense driving, Carrickfergus Defensive Back Josh Davis jumped a route out wide, and took the ball, with green grass in front of him, speedster Kubis D’Agostin, was able to chase down the turnover at the 30 yard line.

After some successful plays in the ground game thanks to Quarterback Spencer McDowell, and tailback Millar, the Knights found themselves deep in the Rebels redzone, the team in yellow would hit pay dirt. On the QB Bootleg, McDowell looked for number 1 receiver, Caskey, in the back corner. Caskey secured the catch with a toe tap, to give the Knights the lead. A fumbled snap on the point after attempt, meant the Rebels defence kept the score at 6-0 at the Half.

ODIN ANSWERS

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

 

The Rebels Half-Time team talk wrote its self, focus and execute.

 

A spark was needed, and it sparked like a lightning bolt. Roaring out of the blocks, the Rebels Offensive line took control of the game, and running like thunder, tailback Wellington Omorodion would take the ball 59 yards over the turf on 5 consecutive carries. On the next play Dennehy would hit Wide Receiver, Cathal Keane in the Endzone to bring the Rebels level. The PAT was unsuccessful, but the drive summed up the Rebels offense for the second half, and the Shadowman Sports Offensive MVP was shared between Omorodion and Keane.

Cathal Keane
Joint Shadowman Sports Offensive MVP #82 Cathal Keane – Photo Courtesy of Laszlo Gezco Photography

 

The Rebels Defence, not to be outdone by their offensive counterparts, came out firing on all cylinders, and stuffed the Knights on the next drive, tackles from Matthias Durot, McCooey again and capped with a big tackle for loss from Twamley.

The Punters would duel it out again over the next 3 series, flipping the field each time. Until Douglas produced a moment of magic, this time forgoing the Fair Catch, making the first two men on the scene, miss, and taking off, weaving through the Knights coverage team. A Knights penalty on the return would set up the Rebels Offense on the Knights 30 yard line.

THUNDERSTRUCK

Wello Omo
Shamrock Bowl 31 MVP #28 Wello Omorodion – Photo Courtesy of Ian Humes Photography

 

Wello Omorodion, stepped back into the back field, and as the big men up front handled business, thunder struck again, and sprinted to the Endzone to put the Rebels in front from 30 yards out. Putting the icing on a rushing day that saw him rack up 145 yards on the ground, and put his name forward as an overall game MVP award contender. The PAT snap was miscued and the attempt failed.

If the previous two Defensive series for the Dublin side hadn’t made their point, the next drive did, they will not be broken again in this game. After quick tackles from Bobby Smith and Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, on consecutive plays, Safety Senan O’Mahony would get in on the Pick Party. McDowell under pressure from Twamley, and linebacker Conrad Cook, juggled the snap before launching an errant ball directly into O’Mahonys hands for the Interception, you might say an InterSenan!

The Rebels Offense back out on the field for the next drive, seemed to exchange plays with the referees, first gaining big yards on the ground and through the air, followed by giving up yardage to penalties, this resulted in a stalled drive, and the ball was punted again.

With Knights now down by a score, and failing to pick up a first down in the second half, they had no choice but to take some risks in the passing game, but the Dublin Rebels defensive backs were quick to make it a no fly zone, and in a busy day for the punters, Caskey was back to kick again.

With time running at about 6 minutes left in the game, the Rebels offence had the game in their hands, and put together the longest drive of the day. Behind more runs from Omorodion but facing a 3rd and long, Dennehy looked for Keane again, hitting the young Receiver streaking down the sideline. Number 82 Keane going up and clutching the ball from above the covering Cornerback, he would tack on some extra yards on the run for a 38 yard completion and a key first down, moving the chains and keeping the clock rolling.

FLYING POULTRY?!?

Again the Offense would exchange plays with the Referees, having a trip to the Endzone for Omorodion called back. A false start penalty would leave the Rebels at 3rd and 29, Goal to go. The toss play to Omorodion, looking for the edge to churn clock and gain some yards, he hits the breaks, and launches the ball to flight, the ball takes off like a glorious frozen chicken.

But Wide Receiver Sean Leamy in miles of space managed to haul in the wobbled pass, and made his way towards the Endzone, being stopped shy at the 2 yard line. The 27 yard completion cementing, Wellington Omorodion, as the Shamrock Bowl XXXI MVP.

With 2 yards to go to break the plain, it seemed fitting the Back would get the ball himself, but the Knights held firm, and made the stop at the 1 yard line. Turnover on downs, and a very outside chance the Knights could save the game.

But like we said earlier, the Rebels Defence had already decided how this game would end, and with 99 yards to go, no first downs in the half, and time running out, no-one would deny the Bad Guys in Black.

In the next 4 passing attempts, the Knights would complete 1 for 2 yards, giving the ball back to the Rebels with 29 seconds remaining.

With not enough Time-outs remaining to halt the inevitable, the Rebels Offence took to the field.

G.O.A.T!

Led by Quarterback Andrew Dennehy who would kneel out the clock to secure his and the Dublin Rebels record 9th National Championship and Shamrock Bowl Victory.

GOAT
National Title #9 – Photo Courtesy of Terry McCann Photography

By Paul Grogan

REBELS SINK ADMIRALS IN STRATEGIC BATTLE

REBELS ROLL OUT OF REBEL COUNTY WITH ANOTHER WIN

On Sunday, the reigning Shamrock Bowl champions Dublin Rebels made the long road trip to Cork, to take on the Cork Admirals for the first time since 2012. With the home side Admirals making waves early in the season after their return to the Shamrock Bowl Conference, the day held an air of promise to the great game ahead.

After the opening kick-off was boomed out far beyond the Endzone, the strong wind behind it would set out an important factor for the day.

The traveling Rebels would come roaring out of the gates, when back up Punter and human wrecking ball Simon Mackey, would start off with 2 backfield tackles including one sack to really set the tone, despite Defensive End partner Gary Twamley missing the trip. After going 3 and out the Cork team would have to punt, against that wind. Unfortunately for the Rebels this would also be the last play for Mackey, as he would pick up a knock that meant he couldn’t continue.

The Rebels offence taking to the field under the leadership of signal caller, Andrew Dennehy, would pick up just where the defence left off. From the first play from scrimmage, Dennehy would hand off to running back Pete McMahon, who would beat the entire Cork defence to the edge, and speed to the Endzone, giving himself an early birthday present, and maintaining his score in every game this season. The 2 point conversion attempt was failed after Cork ILB Harris Monagan got into the backfield.

On the ensuing drive, the Rebels defence continued to bring relentless pressure on the Admirals offence, again leaving the home side no choice but to punt. On this occasion the punt would leave the Rebels inside their own half for the first time in the game. After some good runs from running back Sean Douglas, Dennehy called for the pass, after a short completion again to Douglas, the shifty back would tack on a huge chunk of yards after the catch, to flip the field in the Rebels favour.

On the very next play, Dennehy would again go to the air and hit receiver Ciaran Fitzpatrick on the seam, bulling through the safety to break the plane for 6 points. Again the Cork defence would stop the conversion attempt.

HORSEMEN OF THE APOCOLYPSE

The game would continue in a similar vein, the Admirals offence struggling to move the ball after hammering tackles from lineback-ing foursome, Conrad Cook, Damien McHale, Matthias Durot and Raphael Meyer.

After the following punt, the game would take a turn. On a second and long, the ball handed off to McMahon, Safety Cathal Buckley would hit the alley hard and punch the ball out, recovering his own forced fumble, giving the Cork offence their best field position of the game.

Cork quarterback, Stephen Hayes, would make no mistake, and after a quick pass to Tight End Paul O’Driscoll to pick up some important real estate, would give the ball off to running back Vladamir La Greca. Making the most of some good blocking from the big boys up front, the speedy back, would race in for the touchdown. Kicker Kieran Murphy would ping over the extra point to bring the Admirals within 5 points of the Champions.

With the home side starting to get a foothold in the game, the next drive was vital to the course of the game, the Rebels would again come out firing, and after good running from Douglas, and a completion to WR Cathal Keane, the Dublin team would find themselves inside the Cork redzone after a 30 yard run from Dave McMahon to bring the traveling side to the verge of the Endzone. That would bring the opening quarter to an end.

Cathal Keane
“#82 Cathal Keane” – Photo courtesy of Trevor O’Connell

On the next play, Dennehy took to the air, searching for Keane in the Endzone, contact in the Endzone brought a flag, and to the surprise of both sidelines, the call was for the home team. After the penalty, the Rebels failed to get back to the original line of scrimmage, and the Cork side would take over on downs.

REBELS LOSING AT HALFTIME

The SBC newcomers would again make it count. After some more great defensive plays from the Rebels defence, and in a punting situation, the Admirals would call and execute the fake punt to pick up the first down. In almost identical fashion, the following downs followed a similar pattern, 3 stops, and this time the homeside found favour in the adjustment the Rebels made to their fake punt, and executed the fake in the opposite direction. After a final 4th down, the Admirals would pin the Rebels deep in their own Redzone.

After penalties and some good defence forced the Rebels to punt from their own 10, the Admirals again found themselves in good field position and finally hit pay dirt. First Hayes hitting TE O’Driscoll and RB La Greca for some good pick-ups, La Greca would find just enough room to punch in the score. The extra point was waved no good, to the surprise of almost everyone in attendance, as the kick seamed to split the posts again from Murphy.

At the end of the half the score sat at 13-12.

The third quarter would turn into a defensive slug fest and positional battle. Stops from both teams would lead to punting exchanges between the Admirals, and the returning Paul Grogan for the traveling team. The latter, punting into the wind again for the entire 3rd quarter.

As the game rolled into the 4th, the score sat on edge with the smallest possible margin separating the sides. The change of ends and thus direction of the wind would change the course of play. The Admirals now driving inside the Rebels half would try to go long, the deep ball from Hayes hung up in the elements, and with the first of his two picks for the day, Shadowman Sports Defensive MVP, Ricky Paisley would grasp the ball from the air and take off down the sideline.

Ricky Paisley
“#5 Ricky Paisley” – Photo courtesy of Trevor O’Connell

The Admirals would rally and make the stop, forcing the punt again. This time, Paul Grogan now with the wind behind him, would launch the punt, inside the Cork 10 yard line. The Cork side would fail to leave their own 30 even after the kick away.

BEASTMODE!

Dennehy would step back on to the field and after quick completions to Grogan and Keane, in the backfield, up stepped Dave “Rev” McMahon.

And boy, can the Rev run.

McMahon would take the ball, and like a hammer, would pound the ball in for 6 points. Like all of his RB stablemates, Rev wanted to keep being fed. Again taking the hand-off and force his will on the defence, to tack on the 2 extra points. Capping off a day where he would total 111yards on 15 touches, with a touchdown and 2XP, to be named the Shadowman Sports Offensive MVP.

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

With the Admirals now chasing the game and being forced into passing situations, Paisley would take his second pick of the day, and after big stop to keep the Admirals in the game, ILB Durot, would pick off Hayes again, to close out the game.

next game…

The Rebels reach the mid-point of the regular season with a perfect record, and move on to a home contest against the UL Vikings in Santry on May 28th. In a game that will no doubt have a huge impact on the fate of the division, and the path to the Shamrock Bowl, it will be a game not to be missed.

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

DUBLIN REBELS BEAT CARRICKFERGUS KNIGHTS IN TIGHT GAME

REBELS KEEP ROLLING AFTER TIGHT DEFENSIVE BATTLE WITH KNIGHTS

To say Sunday’s meeting between the Dublin Rebels and the Carrickfergus Knights was a defensive battle would be an understatement. The scoreboard only saw its duck broken in the fourth quarter.

While the reigning Champions defence dominated their side of the ball, the offensive unit made life hard for themselves. Receiving the opening Kick-off, the Rebels offence would take to the field missing several key starters from their line-up.

Pete McMahon, making his first start with his new team, continued where he left off in game one, racking up yardage across the ground, gaining a first down on the first play from scrimmage. From there the Defensive battle would begin. The Knights defence holding firm, led by MLB Spencer McDowell, who would also lead the offence on the day.

CERBERUS??

The Rebels would dominate the ground game throughout the day, the 3 headed monster of McMahon, Sean Douglas, and Dave McMahon rushing for over 180 yards between them on the day. Douglas adding over 100 yards total in the return game also.

Meanwhile the Knights ground attack remained in negative equity at the end of the game. This was due in no small part to an outstanding display from the Rebels defence.

Sacks seemed to be the food the defence would feed on for the day, see they’re hungry. Lead by 2 each total for D-linemen Steve Walsh, and Captain Gary Twamley, the defence would rack up 3 more. The secondary not to be outdone, got involved with sacks for Senan O’Mahony and Kevin Fitzgerald, the latter pairing his sack with an interception on the day.

Another member of the dangerous Rebels secondary would take the Shadowman Sports Defensive MVP game honours, Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu, racking up 4 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 passes defended and an interception.

Dublin Rebels Defensive MVP - Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu
Defensive MVP – Andrei-Vlad Vasilescu

 

Knights quarterback McDowell was under pressure all day long, but did manage some success through the air, having 12 completions for 100 yards.

At the start of the fourth quarter the score remained deadlocked, the Rebels having the ball on the Knights 2 yard line. Having ventured into the Red zone through long completions from QB Dennehy to leading Receiver Cathal Keane, and the hard running of the three headed monster.

SWAN LAKE, ALMOST!

From here the next play would belong more on a Ballet stage than a football field. A running play given to veteran player and possible cyborg, Simon Mackey. The ball handed to Mackey, a bone crunching lead block from Steve Walsh, what happened next stunned the crowd in attendance. Mackey would leap through the air with the grace of Baryshnikov to hurdle a would be tackler, followed by a pirouette the Latvian dancer would be proud to call his own, and crossing the Goal line for the opening score of the game! Click here for video

After another defensive stop from the Rebels wall, Shadowman Sports Offensive MVP for the game Pete McMahon would continue his scoring form, high-stepping past tacklers for the Touchdown, and put the game to rest.

Dublin Rebels Offensive MVP - Pete McMahon
Offensive MVP – Pete McMahon

It wasn’t pretty, but the Champs win their 1st home game of the season and continue their quest for back to back Shamrock Bowls with a hard won victory over the long time rival Knights.

next game…

Our next game is April 30th, when a trip to North Kildare Rugby club to take on home side the North Kildare Reapers is on the cards. Kick off 2pm.

By Paul Grogan