The Belfast Trojans return home to Deramore Park for the first time this season as they take on division rivals, University College Dublin this Sunday. The Trojans are off the back of a tough road game against the University of Limerick Vikings in which they came out 16-3 victors and their target is to extend that momentum with a win this weekend.
The four time Shamrock Bowl champions primary goal this season is to reach the final once again, having been narrowly defeated in the semi-finals last term. Captain and Trojans Quarterback, Mark McVeigh fully expects the team to be in contention for the title this season as he hopes to guide the team that one step further. ‘My ambition for this season is to lead the Trojans to a winning performance in the bowl game. I think we have the talent to compete with any team in the league. The expectation for the season ahead is for us to develop that talent and learn from our mistakes; if we can do that consistently we will be a tough team to beat.’
The Green Machine had their ups and downs in 2017, but McVeigh firmly believes that the team can overcome those misfortunes and continue to improve as the season progresses. ‘A 4-4 season and ultimately losing in the semi-final was a disappointing result given the standards that had been set in previous years. We were unable to offer a consistent, high-level performance for an entire game. At times, we played some very good football that teams struggled to deal with but we also made too many mental mistakes and costly errors.’ ‘The coaches addressed this in the offseason and have put an emphasis on knowing your assignment and executing when given the chance. There is a great atmosphere around the group this year and a desire to right the wrong of last year.’
The Trojans have big aspirations for the season ahead and McVeigh believes that the team is capable of achieving great things. A lot of the pressure will fall on his shoulders, as he aims to lead the team back to the Bowl game this summer. By working on his own personal goals, he hopes that it can transcend into success on the field. ‘I want to continue to earn the respect of my teammates and solidify myself as the leader of the team. I hope to set the example both on and off the field of what is required and what is expected of them as a Trojan. On field, I want to continue improving my fundamentals. Every quarterback wants the ball in their hand with a chance to make plays but how consistently you can make the throws hinges on good consistent footwork and solid mechanics.’
The challengers on Sunday come in the form of UCD, a team who are enjoying their own recent success as they sit atop the Shamrock Bowl North division with a 3-0 record. The students offence has been particularly explosive this year and it will provide a difficult challenge to the Trojans. On Sunday, only one team will have their unbeaten record still intact come the final whistle. ‘I’m excited about the game against UCD. They are unbeaten so far and offer a strong test on Sunday. This is our first home game of the season and our first chance this year to take to the field in front of a home crowd. Come Sunday I have no doubt that we will be ready to play and put out a strong performance on the field.’
The Belfast Trojans made the long journey home from Limerick a positive one as they beat the University of Limerick Vikings 16-3 in a close encounter.
Conditions underfoot weren’t ideal at UL Bohs rugby club and this led to a heavy ground attack being implemented by the Trojans offence who managed a brace of touchdowns from running back Jona Siri.
Indeed it was the Trojans who notched the first points of the game. A Stephen Pressley field goal from 40 yards opened the scoring after a strong first drive that was stalled by penalties.
Penalties were the Achilles heel for the offence throughout much of the first half as promising drives were soon halted by untimely procedural flags.
At halftime the score was 3-3 after a UL field goal was successful as time expired at the end of the first half.
However the Trojans came out of the break with all guns blazing and immediately grabbed the lead. Strong running work from Siri and fullback Mohamed Ramadan got the Belfast offence into the redzone and the drive was capped on third down when Siri kept his legs churning to cross from six yards out.
The Trojans defence was playing lights out and this continued right through the second half. After Scott Fischaber’s first half interception, Jonny Bryans came up with a key interception late in the fourth quarter to cap a wonderful display by the rookie safety.
Siri put the game to bed soon after, going around the left side to score from 22 yards out to complete a hard-fought win over a Vikings squad that was unrecognisable from the outfit that challenged for Shamrock Bowl honours over the past few years.
The Trojans now take a week off before playing their home opener against the potent University College Dublin on Sunday 29 April. Kick Off from Deramore Park, Belfast is 2.00pm.
The Belfast Trojans kicked off their 2018 campaign with a comfortable 30-14 victory over Trinity College Dublin in Santry.
It was a long preseason for the Trojans after kicking off their preparations in January, but the hard work paid off as they came out the blocks fast to lead 23-0 at halftime.
Running back Jona Siri opened his touchdown tally for the season early in the first quarter, scampering around the left side to cap a superb 10-play drive as the Trojans offence began the season in style.
More great defensive work from the Belfast defence led to the first turnover of the season as Scott Morrow came up with the interception on an errant throw from the Trinity quarterback.
It was soon 14-0 as Mark McVeigh found Neil Graham over the middle, who stiff armed a defender and bolted 60 yards for his first offensive touchdown.
Another defensive stop gave the ball to the Belfast offence, though this time it was only a field goal as Stephen Presley knocked it through the uprights to extend the lead.
Again the defence stood strong and gave the Trojans the ball with around 1:20 on the clock and it was a perfectly executed hurry up drill. Two penalties backed the offence up but smart work from Dave Richardson brought the Trojans out to midfield before Jona Siri made another house call, taking a pass 50 yards to the endzone, shaking a would-be tackler in the process.
The opening salvos of the second half followed a similar pattern to the first, as the Trojan offence pounded the ball on the TCD defensive front. Strong work from Siri would lead to Graham notching his second score of the game running wide open down the middle to score from 15 yards out after a nice pass from signal caller McVeigh.
At 30-0 up and rotation beginning to play a part, Trinity showed heart to show some resistance as they found the endzone twice in the fourth quarter as their air raid attack finally clicked.
However the result was never really in doubt as the four-time Shamrock Bowl champions did enough to secure an opening victory.
The Green Machine head back on the road this coming Sunday as they face the long trip south to take on the University Of Limerick Vikings.
The Belfast Trojans continue their preparations for the 2018 season with two open tryout sessions where new players, both experienced and inexperienced will get the chance to join Northern Ireland’s most successful American Football club.
If you are male, over the age of 18 and interested in taking on a new challenge then this is the opportunity for you.
The open sessions will take place at Aquinas 3G pitches just off the Ravenhill Road in Belfast on Sunday October 8th and Sunday October 15th 2017. Registration will open for new players at 9:30am and the training sessions will begin at 10:00am.
Trojan Coaches will put newcomers through a variety of football drills designed to identify the players who have what it takes to be a Trojan. We are looking for players with all levels of experience and in all positions. There’s a chance there for everyone as long as you show up willing to compete.
New players only need to attend one of these sessions to be considered for the team. No equipment is necessary apart from outdoor training gear and shoes suitable for wear on a 3G surface.
See you there. Get ready to be a Trojan!
The Belfast Trojans are delighted to team up with the Queens University American Sports Society to provide coaches for their Try American Football event at the Queens PEC at 6:00pm on Monday October 2nd 2017.
Trojan Coaches will be on hand to run participants through drills that highlight the challenge and fun to be had playing American Football. This event is open to both males and females and all you require is some training gear suitable for some outside exercise.
If you’re looking for something new to try this could be the chance to get involved in one of the fastest growing sports in Europe. Click the link below for further event details
For our game versus Centre College Colonels, we invite you to get your Belfast Trojans program, GameDay, online.