The Clash of the two perennial titans of the IAFL took place at the University of Limerick in the eagerly anticipated matchup between the Dublin Rebels and the UL Vikings. The last time these teams met were in last year’s Shamrock Bowl with the Rebels coming out on top. There was a lot on the line in this match up, as the winner would have the inside track to the divisional title and a home field semi-final playoff game. Both teams entered the game undefeated at 5-0. Games between the two are usually close, low scoring, contentious affairs, would the same hold true this time?
It very much seemed that way at the end of the 1st quarter as there was no score by either team, and looked like another defensive battle was in store. The Vikings offence had some success in the 1st quarter but their old enemy the penalty flag killed two promising drives and kept them from sustaining any momentum.
The 2nd quarter seemed to start the same as the first when James Twomey raced 60 yards for what seems to be the go ahead score, however, flags fell late and the touchdown was called back. The Rebels’ running game continued to struggle to manufacture any yards as the Viking defence gave little away. The stalemate was broken midway through the 2nd when an Adrian Garvey pass found Sean Goldrick, who broke a tackle to sprint through for a 45 yard touchdown. The Vikings converted the two point conversion, and the Rebels got the ball back, hoping to put together a scoring drive but that was ended by an interception by Liam Ryan deep in Viking territory. It looked as if the Vikings would go into the half with a 8-0 lead, however, with just 3 seconds left on the clock, Marc Ashworth handed off to Adrian Garvey who took the ball off tackle and, like a freight train and with a field full of blockers in front railroading any defenders in their path, he rambled 61 yards for a second Vikings touchdown as time expired.
The Vikings defence continued to assert itself it after half time, as they have done all season long, and there were some highlight hits from Dayton McPherson and Brendan McCarthy. It was also another stellar performance from the front four of Coen, Carr, Cahill and O’Carroll, who harassed Rebels QB Andy Dennehy all game long, so it came as no surprise that the Rebels’ offence continued to struggle.
As usual, the unsung heroes of the offence were the offensive line, which constantly created running lanes and held solid in pass protection, enabling the unit to continue to move the chains. They pushed the Vikings run game down the field, and along with some well executed pass and catch plays from Ashworth to Craig Switzer, it was again Garvey who capped off another nice drive with a 7 yard TD run.
The 4th quarter went the same way as the 3rd as the Vikings offence and defence continued to dominate their opponents. Adrian Garvey punched in another touchdown from 8 yards out to cap off the scoring.
The final score of the game was UL Vikings 29 Dublin Rebels 0. Next up for the Vikings two road games, firstly against the Dublin Dragons on the 27th May. This is followed by a visit to the Tullamore Phoenix on the 2nd June which sees a close to the regular season.
UL Vikings 29 - 0 Rebels
- A Garvey to S Goldrick 45 yd pass - 2 pt conv successful (G Carr to J Twomey)
- A Garvey 61 yard run (Kick failed)
- A Garvey 7 yard run 2 pt conv successful (M Ashworth Rush)
- A. Garvey 8 yard run - 1 pt conv successful (G Carr)