Home Game Day 2 Report by Dave Shaw ⚔️🏈
“𝗧𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗠𝗢-𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘂𝗺 𝗶𝗻 𝗕𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝘄𝗯𝗼𝘆𝘀”
Another beautiful day in Belfast saw the Trojans welcoming the Craigavon Cowboys to Deramore Park. The home side came into the game at 3-2 after a big win on the road last week against the Westmeath Minotaurs. The visitors came in at 0-6, struggling in this year's Premier Division. However, a tight 7-0 win for the Trojans in the reverse fixture earlier this year would give the Cowboys hope coming into this one.
The home side won the toss and opted to receive. The opening drive was littered with penalties early, before RB Mohamed Ramadan broke a big run to get into Cowboys territory. QB Dom Lynn dropped back to pass and evaded pressure to get the ball to Ramadan near the sideline, and the veteran RB did the rest, running it into the endzone through some would-be tacklers. K Ryan Brolly duly dispatched the PAT and the Trojans took a 7-0 lead in the 1st quarter.
Craigavon took over on the next drive, welcoming QB Christian Cowan back from injury, hoping to respond. However, the Trojans defence were in defiant mood and swarmed all over any attempts from the Cowboys and forced a punt. The next drive saw the Trojans struggle to gain any meaningful yards, with penalties and good tackling from the the visitors. An incomplete pass on 4th down saw the ball back in the Cowboys hands to start the 2nd quarter.
A couple of bruising runs saw Craigavon get down near midfield. Cowan dropped back to pass down the right sideline, but a great play from DB Maks Dimitrov saw him come up with his 2nd interception in as many games. The men in green took over on offense again.
Strong running from RB Kieran Tomlinson saw the chains move before Lynn dumped a pass off to Ramadan, who broke 4 tackles before eventually being forced out of bounds inside the Cowboys 20. More electric running from Tomlinson saw the Trojans get down inside the 5 yard line. A hand-off up the middle to Ramadan saw him get into the endzone untouched for his second score of the day. The PAT attempt was blocked and the score say at 13-0.
The following kickoff saw great coverage from the Trojans Special Teams unit, pinning the Cowboys deep in their own territory. The visitors managed to move the ball however with Cowan completing some passes over the middle. A couple of runs were stuffed by a tenacious Trojans D, and the Cowboys opted to go for it on 4th down and 1 to go. The men in green stood firm and managed to tackle the runner behind the line of scrimmage, with LB Stuart Leckey leading the charge.
The Trojans offense took the field again with time winding down in the 2nd quarter, already in the Cowboys half. Another strong effort from the offensive line and Ramadan saw a big rush down inside the 20 yard line. A couple of faltering plays saw it reach 4th down. It was that man again, Ramadan who took in inside run for 5 yards to move the chains. On 1st and goal from the 8 yard line, QB Lynn stepped back and found his brother WR James Lynn on an in-breaking route for another Trojans score. Brolly put the PAT through and the half came to and end with the Trojans holding a 20-0 lead.
The second half started with the Cowboys receiving the ball, hoping to put something together to get some points on the board. A few positive plays for the visitors were soon overshadowed by a mixup on a hand-off which saw the ball fumbled and siezed upon by the Trojans D. Another turnover and the ball back with the home offence. A couple of short completions were all the Trojans could muster, as the visitors sent pressure from all over at QB Lynn. A tipped incomplete pass on 4th down saw the ball back with the Craigavon side.
The Cowboys struggled against a stout Trojans D and were forced to punt, putting the Trojans back inside their own 20. 3 consecutive runs from Tomlinson saw the Trojans get 3 first downs and move the ball within the Cowboys half. Another strong run from Ramadan on the next play got the ball within the 20. However, penalties and miscues on offence saw the ball move backwards rather than forwards and again, the Trojans failed on a 4th down pass attempt.
The men in green stood strong on defense and limited any momentum the visitors hoped to achieve. Again, they forced a punt from within the Cowboys half. This time Ryan Brolly fielded the punt and evaded numerous tackles to take the ball close to halfway for the offense.
Strong running again from Ramadan and RB Lorcan Quail got the ball down to within 20 yards of the endzone. Ramadan took another hand-off and followed huge blocks from the offensive line all the way to the endzone for his 3rd score of the day. A mixup on the snap on the following PAT saw Brolly trying to evade tacklers to make it to the endzone but to no avail, leaving the score at 26-0.
With time running out, the Cowboys tried to get things moving, but were foiled again by the Trojans defence. DB Chris Hill came up with an interception in his own half which saw the Belfast side take over again. Some powerful running from HB Niall Mullan saw the clock continue to tick and eventually the home side were able to kneel the game out for the win.
A shutout win at home but still plenty to work on for the Trojans. Big thanks to the Craigavon Cowboys for providing a hard-hitting, competitive game as always. Attention now turns to the visit of the South Dublin Panthers on the 18th June as the Trojans continue to push for a playoff spot.
📸 Ian Humes Photography
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