The Belfast Trojans booked a place in Shamrock Bowl XXX with a hard fought 10-7 victory over SBC South Winners UCD at Sportslink in Dublin. The win means that the Trojans have made it to their fifth consecutive national championship game and will take on the Dublin Rebels, Ireland’s most successful American Football Club, who defeated the University of Limerick Vikings 20-12 in the other SBC Semi Final.
Shamrock Bowl XXX takes place at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin on Sunday August 7th, Kick off is 3:00pm.
Tickets are available now and you can get yours here
We hope to see you there as the Green Machine tries to secure their fifth national championship
The four-time reigning champions will now travel south to take on UCD, who won the SBC southern division.
It was scorching hot day in Belfast for the wildcard encounter with the Knights and it was the Trojans who stormed out to a dominant 14-0 lead inside the first quarter.
Jona Siri was once again the Trojan hero, notching a hat-trick of touchdowns on the day, the first a superb outside run handing off two would-be tacklers before crossing from 40 yards out. It was soon 14-0 when James McKelvey found David Richardson with a trademark pass with the wide receiving showing nifty feet in the back of the endzone to extend the lead.
Fantastic work on defence, when a Rick Duffield interception set up short field position for Belfast, meant Siri again rushed for a touchdown after moving into the redzone.
It was another fantastic drive from the Trojans offence with the running game hitting stride as David Colvin returned to the backfield for the first time this season. After the slow start, Carrickfergus hit back through a Marty Caskey field goal and a Adam Devenney touchdown pass to Josh Davis.
However Siri again took the wind right out the Knights sails on the ensuing kick off, following his blockers 100 yards for another textbook return touchdown.
Into the second half and the game became scrappy with a number of penalties halting any flow to the game. Indeed a Rick Duffield field goal in the third quarter was the only Trojan score of the 2nd half with a number of penalties killing drives, mistakes that simply won’t do against a top-class UCD squad this coming Sunday.
A late Gareth Millar score for the Knights closed the gap but the result was never in doubt as the Trojans got the job done to move on to the SBC Semi-final.
UCD awaits for the Trojans on Sunday, a clash that has been long in the making given that the teams haven’t squared off in any of the Trojans last four title-winning campaigns.
Quarterback Tom Donovan is the premier dual-threat signal caller in Ireland and will test the Trojans’ defence while the UCD defensive unit, as with most student squads, will be fast and athletic.
It should be fantastic semi final with a place in the showpiece Shamrock Bowl final at stake.
On Sunday 17th of July the Irish American Football post-season hits Belfast with a bang and the Trojans are right at the heart of it all.
Deramore Park plays host to not one but two playoff matches across two of the three national divisions. The first match of the day is the IAFL1 Semi-Final which kicks off at 11:00am with the visiting Louth Mavericks, the number two seed in the IAFL1 North, taking on the Belfast Trojans 2nd’s who defeated the Mavericks in Dundalk last weekend to claim top spot in the division. It’s all to play for as the winner will earn the right to face either the Cork Admirals or the Westmeath Minotaurs in the IAFL1 Bowl in Cork on Sunday August 14th.
Once the dust has settled on the IAFL1 Semi-Final, the road to the Shamrock Bowl begins with the SBC North Wildcard Playoff. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:00pm. The Trojans are in their first wildcard playoff game in five years and face stiff opposition in the shape of local rivals, the much improved, Carrickfergus Knights. The Trojans have never won a Wildcard game in their history and despite a 40-7 victory over the Knights earlier in the year they know that they must be at their very best to fight for the right to take on SBC South winners University College Dublin in the SBC Semi-Final in Dublin on July 24th.
Can the Trojans claim victory not once but twice this Sunday and take a step closer to the chance of post season glory? Be sure to get down to Deramore Park this Sunday July 17th from 11:00am to find out. There’ll be all the usual gameday entertainment with live commentary, music, barbecue, outside bar, merchandise and of course free pizza from our gameday partners Pizza Co.
Make sure you don’t miss out!
However the reigning champions will have to do it the hard way with a tough wildcard matchup with Carrickfergus coming up in less than a fortnight.
The Trojans finished the regular season with a 6-2 record, meaning they finished only second in the SBC North behind the Dublin Rebels; the first time in five years that the Trojans failed to top the division. It was a bright start to the season for the Trojans powering their way to a 4-0 start, highlighted by a dominant 62-7 win at home to the South Dublin Panthers and a fantastic 25-8 road victory over the division-topping Rebels.
However Belfast fell to their first defeat of the season in Limerick against the Vikings, a tough 16-13 loss at the end of May where quarterback James McKelvey was forced to miss out due to unavailability. Mark McVeigh stepped in admirably under centre and just failed to lead a fourth-quarter comeback.
A 40-6 win over Carrickfergus ensured the Trojans bounced back to winning ways quickly but it was to be a second defeat of the season two weeks later as the Rebels claimed their best victory of recent times, a narrow 8-7 win at Deramore Park in desperate conditions. In a sloppy game played in torrential rain, the Trojans turned the ball over twice on the Rebels two-yard line and couldn’t find a way back into the game, despite the defence stifling the Dublin offence the majority of the game.
A few home truths were told following the second loss of the season and with the Rebels beating the Vikings, they wrapped up top spot meaning the Trojans now must strive to win the Bowl coming from a wildcard spot. The final game of the regular season against Trinity however showed Belfast back to their very best.
Despite missing David Colvin and Neil Montgomery on offence and Connor Whitla on defence, the defending champions fired a warning shot across the league, beating the students 40-7 in a replay of the last two Shamrock Bowl finals. On offence the Trojans were back to their very best, with McKelvey finding Dave Richardson for two touchdowns through the air and rookie runner Sam Kelly getting on the scoresheet.
The defence did their part as well with Michael Kane and Alex Kusimerek each having interceptions to lead Belfast past TCD.
The Trojans now take on the Carrickfergus Knights at Deramore Park on 17 July in the Wildcard game before a potential semi-final clash with SBC South winners UCD.
“The Bot” is a bona fide Belfast landmark , one of the city’s most vibrant night spots and the premier venue to watch live sports. This partnership will see the Botanic Inn become the social home of the Trojans and their growing army of supporters.
The partnership, which also involves The Botanic Inn’s sister property the Wellington Park Hotel, offers the opportunity for the Trojans to grow their following within the Belfast area whilst also offering accommodation opportunities for the increasing number of international teams that are keen to come to Northern Ireland to take on the four-time national champions.
The Trojans are also delighted to announce that in 2017 we will be bringing the incredible Belfast Trojans Super Bowl party to the Botanic Inn and Wellington Park Hotel. Ireland’s biggest event of it’s kind and the first true standout party of the year will be bigger, better and accessible to an even greater number of the burgeoning community of American Football fans across Northern Ireland.
We are immensely excited by this opportunity to grow hand in hand with a Belfast institution like the Botanic Inn, we are sure that the partnership will see the Trojans continue to go from strength to strength.
Despite resting a number of starters on defence after a tough game with Sewanee college last week the unit performed superbly, shutting out a useful Reapers offensive attack. It was David Colvin who opened the scoring for the Trojans, hauling in a short pass on third down before eluding a would-be tackler and scampering another 60 yards for the first touchdown of the day.
Soon after and it was David Richardson getting on the board after a perfectly thrown pass by James McKelvey, the receiver hauling in a textbook over the shoulder grab and crossing for six. Colvin added his second of the game midway through the second quarter with McKelvey locating the single coverage and dropping it over the top with precision to make it 20-0. More stout work from the Belfast defence allowed the Trojans another offensive drive and a trademark short yardage plunge from Neil Montgomery made it 27-0 at halftime.
Although there were some early mistakes in the second half the Trojans soon the specials teams took over, with Jona Siri scoring yet another punt return touchdown after some fantastic running and downfield blocking. The Trojans spread the scoring around with Matt Armstong finally notching halfway through the final quarter and there was time for rookie back Jake Warry to get on the scoresheet to round off the Belfast domination.
There were signs of a flat performance from the reigning champions, coming so soon after the epic clash with Sewanee and upcoming game the UL Vikings , however the result was never in doubt and the Trojans will be ready to fire on all cylinders when they travel to Limerick for the game of the season so far on Saturday 28th May.