The Belfast Trojans kicked off their 2015 campaign with a comfortable 33-8 victory over the South Dublin Panthers in Westmanstown.
Quarterback James McKelvey threw four touchdown passes, two to 2014 offensive MVP David Richardson, as the Trojans rolled to victory in defence of their crown. The eight Panther points came via a safety and interception return after miscues from the offence, meaning the Trojan defence started the year with an impressive shutout, as well as notching a safety of their own.
The reigning Champions have been labelled as slow starters in certain areas, but they came out of the blocks firing in Dublin. A three-and-out was immediately backed up by the offence, with David Colvin catching a swing pass from the backfield and taking it in from 20 yards to open proceedings. After an ambulance delay, the Trojans picked up where they had left off prior to the break. McKelvey found Richardson for the third time in the first half with a perfectly flighted ball to double the advantage for the visitors.
A Rick Duffield field goal made it 17-0 at the half, with the Defence led by Patrick McElkerney up front and the vaunted linebacking corps not allowing a first down. A mix up in a handoff between McKelvey and Colvin led to a safety soon after halftime, but that was soon put behind them as Richardson once again made light work of the Panther secondary to go in for the second time on the afternoon. The veteran signal caller made it four on the afternoon, finding youngster Kris Donaghy for his first score of the afternoon in the fourth quarter, while not even a late pick-six by the incoming Donaghy could dampen a fantastic start to the season for Belfast.
The Trojans return to action in a fortnight’s time, with another trip south to take on the North Kildare Reapers.