Champions stand firm & shutout NKR.

The Belfast Trojans strengthened their grip in the SBC North division as they beat the North Kildare Reapers 48-0 at Deramore Park.

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.

PHOTO: Bob Given Photography

Tigers tame Trojans in epic encounter at Deramore Park.

The Belfast Trojans fell to a narrow defeat this past weekend, losing 27-20 to visiting American college team the Sewanee Tigers.

It was a valiant effort from the four-time reigning champions, a performance and scoreline that will go down in the history of the game on these shores. The NCAA Div III Tigers were impressive with both sides of the ball performing at a level rarely seen in this country. Their defence gave the Belfast offence difficulties all day, while their offence was relentless in pounding the ball as well as finding tall receivers on the outside.

It was Sewanee who opened the scoring a superbly thrown deep ball caught by a wide receiver in the corner of the endzone. In the 2nd quarter and it was 14-0 on a similar play, with again their receiver who eclipsed the 6 foot mark going up and snagging the ball despite the blanket coverage by Trojans cornerback James Gallagher. However the Trojans showed they weren’t here to be in awe of the American squad and responded before the break. James McKelvey found rookie Jack Millar in the corner of the endzone and the rookie did the rest to cut the deficit. Into the 2nd half and it was the Tigers who added to the scoreboard first, with a tough run from their running back punching it in from close.

The moment of the game, however, was soon to follow and if you see a better touchdown in any form of football this year you will be doing well. On the ensuing kick off, Matt Armstrong fielded the ball and took a few steps forward. He then hit the brakes and laterally passed the ball to Jona Siri on the other side of the field. Siri then put the foot on the gas and weaved through the Tigers kickoff unit with some fantastic blocking. The home crowd went wild and Siri’s highlight went viral. David Colvin scored with less than two minutes remaining to make the score 27-20 to Sewanee, a smart grab on a post route with McKelvey putting the ball on a dime.

That was all she wrote, though, as Sewanee ran out the clock, handing the Trojans their first loss of the season, albeit a heroic performance from Belfast against a team with such resources and knowhow. A fantastic day was had by all the visiting Tigers squad, staff and parents and indeed the hundreds of spectators that enjoyed their day out at Deramore Park watching American Football in Ireland.

The Trojans return to SBC action this Sunday at home to the North Kildare Reapers with kick off at 2pm.

PHOTO: IAN HUMES

Trojans pass tough Dublin test.

The Belfast Trojans moved to 3-0 on the season with a hard-fought 25-8 win over the much-improved Dublin Rebels in Santry.

The Rebels pushed the four-time reigning champions all the way, but it was a game the Trojans always seemed in control of after grabbing the early lead. This allowed their stout defence to hold Dublin to just one score on the afternoon.

It was very much a case of bend-don’t-break on defence for Belfast, with the defensive line severely depleted due to injury and unavailability. Despite giving up a few chunk plays to impressive Rebel running back Wello Omo, the Trojans defence made huge stops at the right times and constantly terrorised quarterback Andy Dennehy in passing situations. The Trojans opened the scoring on their first drive. After some strong running by Jona Siri, Belfast found themselves in a long third and goal situation.

With plenty of coverage being rolled over the top of Dave Colvin and Dave Richardson on one side, James McKelvey looked the other way to rookie Jack Millar and the 18-year-old climbed the ladder to haul in the pass and keep the feet in bounds, a stunning catch from a player in just his third game of American football.

A superb interception from Rick Duffield on an errant throw from Dennehy soon gave the Trojans fantastic field position and it was Neil Montgomery doubling the score, rumbling in from 10 yards out for a trademark rushing score. After a pair of early picks, Dennehy settled in and orchestrated a superb Dublin drive, Omo and Sean Leamy running some perfectly executed draws and screens, with the former South Dublin Panther Omo crossing from 15 yards out around the right side to make it 12-8.

Just before the break though the Trojans hit back and it was Siri with the touchdown, a fantastic 50 yard run enhancing his MVP claims already in this young season. Into the third quarter and both offences stalled somewhat. The Trojans went three-and-out on their first drive, while the Rebels were able to move the ball between the 20’s but inside the redzone the Belfast defence stiffened and turned the ball over on downs.

The game was still in the balance with around six minutes left in the final quarter before the ever-reliable partnership of McKelvey and Richardson put the final nail into the Rebel coffin. A fantastic play action pass from the quarterback found last year’s leading SBC scorer wide open, before scampering 50 yards untouched for the touchdown.

The game ended 25-8 to the Trojans, a perfect warm up for their historic clash with American outfit the Sewanee Tigers on May 14 at Deramore Park.

PHOTO: PixlFlix

Despite big scoring, the Trojans won’t settle for complacency

The Belfast Trojans beat the South Dublin Panthers 63-7 in dominating fashion to move to 2-0 on the 2016 season.

It was another comfortable win for the Trojans who were firing on all cylinders from the first whistle, in their SBC home opener at Deramore Park. Once again it was The Jonathan Siri Show as the running back and kick returner scored four all-purpose touchdowns to lead the way for the four-time reigning Shamrock Bowl Champions.

Siri opened the scoring on the first offensive drive with a 30 yard run, stiff arming one defender and breaking down the right sideline for six points, the PAT added by Rick Duffield. The returning David Richardson extended the lead on a touchdown grab that showed the clockwork timing between himself and quarterback James McKelvey goes from strength to strength. Siri punched one in from close range after a neat Michael Kane interception, his first since joining the Trojans from nearby rivals Carrickfergus, and it was 28-0 at the half with another Trojan newcomer, former Ulster Rugby forward Neil McComb using his tall frame to climb the ladder and haul in a perfectly thrown touchdown pass from McKelvey.

The second half was strange in the fact the Belfast offence didn’t see the field for the whole of the third quarter! That man Siri again took the opening kickoff return back to the house before the Panthers punted it, somewhat foolishly, to the same man in the ensuing drive and number 12 did the rest.

The Trojans defence surrendered their first points of the season at the end of the third as injuries took their toll, with a nice touchdown pass and catch by the Panthers getting them seven on the board. Another punt return touchdown, this time by Matt Armstrong, was added by the Trojans and there was still time though in the fourth for promising rookie Jack Millar to catch his first touchdown pass, showing nice feet to stay in bounds. Conor Fearon reeled in backup quarterback Mark McVeigh’s pass to complete the scoring and the comprehensive victory for the Trojans.

There’s no rest for Belfast as they the make their first journey to Dublin this coming Sunday to take on old rivals the Rebels. The Rebels have started the season well, beating both Carrickfergus and the Panthers in comfortable fashion, but the date with the Trojans will be a much tougher test than either of those squads.

PHOTO: PixlFlix

SBC title defence starts with a bang!

The four-time reigning, defending Shamrock Bowl champion Belfast Trojans started their 2016 campaign in emphatic fashion, trouncing the Craigavon Cowboys 62-0.

After their first game of the season was postponed, the Trojans were champing at the bit to get into competitive action and it was the perfect performance and scoreline to put the rest of the SBC on notice.

The trio of Dave Colvin, Matt Armstrong and Jona Siri were unstoppable all game and opened the scoring with back-to-back-to back touchdowns in the opening quarter, through the air to Colvin followed by a pair of rushing touchdowns to the running back duo. Colvin made it 28-0 early in the second period with another smart catch from a James McKelvey pinpoint throw, while it was Siri again running through would-be tackles for the fifth touchdown, after James Gallagher intercepted a wayward Peter Loughran pass.

Colvin notched his hat-trick shortly before the interval, catching a slant pass and holding off three tacklers to find the endzone. Belfast rotated in the second half, with the majority of the squad getting ample game time.

It was Armstrong extending the lead early in the second half with another trademark burst up the middle. Colvin added a rushing touchdown back in his customary running back role, and first year Trojan Conor Fearon added the final score on a tough catch in traffic over the middle.

The defence as ever was superb, shutting out a disappointing Cowboys unit. Neil Graham delivered shuddering hit after shuddering hit, while Connor Whitla also got an interception and new Trojan Michael Kane recovered two fumbles on special teams.

Belfast’s SBC team return to Harlequins RFC for their home opener on Sunday 24th April as they welcome the South Dublin Panthers, but before that the IAFL1 squad have their first home game of the season on April 17th as the Louth Mavericks visit.

Our boys get ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ to assist Special Olympics.

The Belfast Trojans have joined forces with Special Olympics Ulster to call on people to get ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ this December.

This unique event will see supporters jump into the icy waters of Belfast Harbour whilst raising money for Special Olympics athletes.

Chairman Barry Keil said: “The Belfast Trojans are pleased to be able to get involved and support the Special Olympics Ulster Polar Plunge this year.

“We hope that the team and our supporters will get on board with this great initiative and wish everyone luck with their fundraising for the big day.”

It is hoped the event will raise thousands of pounds to support local Special Olympics athletes.

Separate plunges are also taking place at locations around the country on the same day as part of a fundraising drive to support the sports charity organisation, which recently sent 88 athletes to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Special Olympics Ulster provides sporting opportunities for 2,043 athletes with an intellectual disability in 84 clubs across the region.

To sign up to take part in the Special Olympics Ulster Polar Plunge, register at www.specialolympics.ie or contact John Kivlahan on 028 9023 9023.

Registration costs £15 and plungers are asked to raise an additional £5 which will go directly to supporting Special Olympics athletes.