Game Reports

LIGHTNING 06 V DRAGONS 28 11th August '13
IAFL-1 Week 16:
Game Report
Jimmy Englsih

Westmanstown Sports Ground was the Venue as the Lightning entered the Dragon's Lair for what would be the Home team's final game of the season. The teams ran out to blustery conditions, with the sunny sky threatening to break at any minute. Drogheda won the toss and elected to receive the ball. A 20-yard return by Oisin Dowling saw the Lightning Offense open the game. A combination of QB running and RB Mick O'Shea moved the ball well to the outside, but found nothing but a solid wall of defenders through the middle. They advanced the ball well, but a great turnover from their opponents saw the Dragons Offense take to the pitch. The Dragons had plenty of previous success with their offense, and this game was no different. RB Dave Edwards made huge yardage on the ground, with a lot of help from his O Line. Edwards got the ball the entire way to the 2-yard line, where after two unsuccessful pass attempts, QB Conor Murphy slammed it through the Defense into the End Zone. Mick Duncan's PAT made it 7-0 to the Dragons.

The Lightning started to feel the heat from the defense early in the 2nd. Veteran Linebacker John Durrad and D Tackle Gus Zigmantavicius got closer and closer to sacking Drogheda QB Dan Finnamore. Finnamore was lacking options at WR and was hunted every time he rolled out to pass. Hit after hit was put on the young QB, and at one stage it looked like he didn't want to get back up off the ground. Defensive tackle Anto Burke was one of the many Dragons players who got to Finnamore through the middle. The pressure paid off big time when Dragons LB Aidan Waters intercepted a pick and ran it back for 6,helped on his way by a fantastic block from Defensive End SJ McKell. The Dragons Defense were flawless in their inside penetration. In fact the only yards that Drogheda picked up were to the outside of the line. The second Quarter was completed when QB Conor Murphy completed a superb pass to WR Mick Duncan, who hauled it in the end zone for the score. At the half the Dragons led 21-0.

The third Quarter saw a slightly shaky start from the O Line, who became porous and allowed inside blitzes from Drogheda's defenders. This culminated in a blocked field goal, which denied the Dragons another 3 points. A swift talking to from Coach John Collins fixed this problem and they were soon back to their excellent form. Mid way through the third they sprang RB Dave Edwards free, allowing him to blaze forty yards down the field for his 7th TD of the season. The defense continued to show why they are a force to be reckoned with, providing two fumble recoveries from Gus Zigmantavicius and a pick each for Aidan Waters and DE Boris Sellak, the former robbing Aidan of his fourth pick in a very acrobatic fashion.

Drogheda's backfield made them plenty of yards to the outside in the fourth quarter, eventually getting them to the goal line. Dan Finnamore eventually punched it through after two strong Defensive stops. The score stood then at 28-6 to the Dragons, as Drogheda failed to convert on their two point try. Dragon’s rookie Running Back Jamie Falloon looked impressive on Offense when he came in to give Dave Edwards a breather. He held on to the ball well, despite some big hits from Drogheda defenders.

The game finished 28-6 to the Dragons, although this score does not represent the hard fought battle that took place .The Lightning never gave up, and showed grit and heart to give the Dragons a hell of a game. The Dragons will look to build on this season’s success and move forward to the next one. They are now eagerly awaiting the score from Drogheda's next fixture against Kildare, and must rely on Drogheda to beat the Reapers next Sunday. A win for Drogheda will see the Dragons take the title. Regardless of the outcome of that game, this has been a turnaround season for the West Dublin team and marks the start of a new era in Dragon's History.

PHOENIX 00 - DRAGONS 31: 14th July 2013

IAFL-1 Week 14:
Game Report:
Conor O'Driscoll

Last Sunday 14th July, in Westmanstown Garda Rugby Club, the Dublin Dragons reignited a fiery rivalry under a blazing sun with nemesis Tullamore Phoenix. Hoping to make a huge day of such an important game, the Dragons players, coaching staff, and management expended a determined effort to getting friends, family and general well wishers to attend the clash. And this effort was well rewarded, as Dragon Nation showed up in force. In contrast, the Phoenix has fallen on hard times, with 17 tough, battle hardened players showing up to leave it all on the field, and indeed they did.
The game started as a cagey affair, with both defences dominating up front and stuffing the run. Dragons QB Conor Murphy also saw passes either clip off fingers, or go inches off target. The highlight of the opening sequences was some booming punts from Mick Duncan, who continually pinned the Phoenix offense behind the 20.

Photo By:Mark Hill

As the game wore on, the Dragons Oline started to find its rhythm, and running lanes for Dave Edwards started to open up. He took full advantage of these lanes, running the ball with authority, and ripping off several 10 yard plus runs. The Tullamore defense toughened up however, and served up a nice 3rd and long at midfield for the Dragons offense to chew on. This was where Conor Murphy showed his teeth, and stepped up in the pocket to throw a dart to Wide Receiver Mick Duncan, who added some tough after the catch yards and set the Dragons up with a first and goal at the nine. The Dragons run game smelt blood, and Dave Edwards and the Dragons Oline pushed the ball over the line for the first score of the game.

With fantastic performances from all 3 levels of the Dragons defense, they quickly got the ball back in the hands of the offense, and more fine running from Dave Edwards and Peter Worthington set up a 4th down in field goal position. General footballing juggernaut Mick Duncan spanked the ball well over the bar to give the Dragon a 10-0 lead.
On the only kickoff from Mick Duncan of the day that didn’t go for touchback, ballhawk Eoghan Whelan blew up the block and stone walled the kick returner with a crunching tackle. More fine play from the Dragons defense, with choking pressure from the pass rush, most notably from the inside partnership of Augustas Zigmantavicius (affectionately known as Gus) and Conor Tyrrell, added to blanket coverage from the secondary gave the Dragons the ball at midfield. The drive stalled after one first down, and the Dragons elected to try an improbable 42 yard field goal. Mick Duncan let off a fine kick, that looked a dead certainty to go over the bar, unfortunately it went just wide right. The Phoenix got the ball determined to shorten the lead before the end of half. They started the drive with a rocket down the field for a long completion. They threatened to score, until a fine pass defense from Jayme Sejean ended the half 10-0.

The second half began much the same as the first, with Tullamore playing tough defense up front, barricading the run, and administering a dynamic pass rush to ensure Conor Murphy had no time in the pocket. Buoyed by earlier success, the Tullamore QB tried once again to push the ball down the field. This time Brian Tyrrell punished this invasion of his territory with a fine interception.

As well as the support of the fans, the Dragons sideline had staunch support from selfless volunteers bringing water up and down the field to hydrate thirsty players. This support proved invaluable as the Dragons were able to stay fresher, and the offense utilised this to make a huge drive down the field. They breed a hardy bunch down in Tullamore, and the defense would simply not give up, stopping the drive short, and sending the Dragons offense away scoreless. The Phoenix offense returned to the field, and elected to use a designed QB run to the right, the Dragons defense contained this, but the QB employed great improvisation skills, pulling up the run, and throwing a missile down the field for another big completion. The Dragons front 7 were simply too stout and fresh, as they toughened up to stop the drive.

As the Phoenix defense finally began to wear out, fantastic blocking by Derek McGarr, the rest of the Oline, tight end Brian Cleary, and even the receivers paved the way for another rushing TD by Dave Edwards who rewarded his blockers by showing power, elusiveness, and great field vision. Nose tackle Gus made his dominance pay, as a blocked punt set the offense up with great field position. And QB Conor Murphy was finally rewarded for his masterful game management when he fired the ball 20 yards through the tightest of windows for a touchdown to Mick Duncan. Even the defense got involved when SJ Mac Kell scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.

A fine day of football was capped off when after the final whistle, players and fans from both sides enjoyed some barbequed food made by tireless helpers to end the day. The Dragons next game is away to the Mullingar Minotaurs on Sunday July 28th at 2pm

DRAGONS 14 V WOLVES 02: 26th May 2013
IAFL-1 Week 9:

Game Report

This past weekend saw the Lucan based, Dublin Dragons win out over the IAFL-1 table toppers the Waterford Wolves. The Wolves held the top spot with a 2-0 unbeaten record and needed to beat their next opponent, the Dublin Dragons in order to stay on top. The pitch at Waterford Regional Sports Centre was immaculate and a crowd of 100 plus fans came out to watch the game.

Neither team had success on their opening drives and when the Wolves regained possession on the 30 yard line, Quarterback Eoin Reihardt connected with Running Back Ger O' Keffe for a 1st down. The Wolves then conceded a penalty, there was a turnover after the Quarterback was sacked on a 3rd down by Augustas Zigmantavicius. This would be one of six sacks Zigmantavicius would have in the game. The Dragons kept possession of the ball for the remainder of the first quarter. Dragons' Quarterback Conor Murphy ran 5 yards for a 1st down and on the next play he connected with Wide Receiver Mick Duncan for a 12 yard gain. The Dragons managed a 1st down, thanks to a QB run up the middle. The quarter ended with the Dragons still in possession.

The second quarter had the Waterford supporters cheering, when the Dragons' 4th Down pass was intercepted by Linebacker Micheál O'Coinn for a turnover. The Wolves made some gains with Running Back Kevin Butler, but they couldn't capitalise and their Quarterback was sacked again. The Dragons didn't fare much better in their next series of plays and saw their own Quarterback sacked by Defensive Back Cian Rienhardt. When the Dragons did get the ball back, they conceded a penalty on a 1st down and this pushed them dangerously close to their own line. The Wolves' defense hit hard and forced the Dragons' Quarterback into his own endzone and they conceded the 2 point safety. The Wolves' Quarterback was again sacked and they failed to gain a 1st down. The final play of the quarter was a catch by Dragons' Receiver Mick Duncan, giving them a 1st down.

At the beginning of the third quarter, the Dragons lost possession of the ball on a 2nd down. The wolves returned the favour on the very next play and this was a key turning point in the game. The Dragons dominated the third quarter, marching the ball up the field and found themselves on the Wolves' goal line. Running Back Dave Edwards ran in the Touchdown and Receiver Owen Dunne converted the 2 extra points. The Wolves gained some short yards, only to have a pass intercepted by TK Fowler with some strong defensive play by Niall Burke.

The fourth quarter saw Wolves' Defensive Back Tomas Kirik intercept a Dragons' pass and he ran 30 yards down the field. A backward pass saw possession return back to the Dragons and they took full advantage. Some great rushing yards from Half Back Peter Worthington brought the Dragons within scoring distance again. Fullback Jimmy English punched in the Dragons' second Touchdown of the game for 6 points. The Wolves desperately needed to score and Running Back Kevin Butler weaved through the Dragons' defense for one last charge. The Dragons held strong though and finished the game 14 - 02.

The Dragons' next game is away to the Drogheda Lightning on June 16th at 2pm and the Wolves play the Tullamore Phoenix in Tullamore on June 9th at 2pm.

DRAGONS 12 V PHOENIX 15: 05th May 2013
IAFL-1 Week 6:

Game Preview
By:Conor O'Driscoll

This Sunday sees the Tullamore Phoenix host the Dublin Dragons at the Tullamore Rugby club in a matchup between two teams with a history of angry football games against each other.

Although The Phoenix are coming off a tough loss, they boast a physical defense that flies around the field, a solid running game, and two talented double-threats at Quarterback, both equally adept at running the ball, or throwing it to their equally talented receiving core. The Dragons are coming off their first 11s win in a very long time and will be looking to make it two in a row. Their defense will have to maintain the stingy showing against Meath, and the offense will need to start scoring touchdowns.

This promises to be an exciting, hard-hitting, intense football game that will go down to the wire. Make sure to make it down to Tullamore Rugby Club for 2pm Sunday 5th of May for what promises to be an exciting, hard-hitting, intense football game that will surely go down to the wire.

So join the Facebook event here.

DRAGONS 00 V REAPERS 02: 12th May 2013
IAFL-1 Week 7:

Game Report
By:Terry Phelan

With rain threatening and the wind gusting, the Dublin Dragons welcomed the North Kildare Reapers to their home field at Westmanstown Garda Rugby Club in west Dublin. Neither team elected to field a kicking squad, setting the scene for yet another defensive battle in the IAFL-1.

The Reapers took possession for the opening drive and straight away Quarterback Ciaran Heneghan scrambled towards the sidelines, shedding a tackle from Dragons’ Boris Selak before absorbing a massive hit from Linebacker Aidan Waters. After fighting for a couple more short yardage gains, the Reapers went three and out, handing possession to the Dragons on their own 32 yard line. Things looked promising for the Dragons as they put together their first drive with noted runs by Tim Kneen and some hard fought gains by Dave Edwards, only to be stopped in their tracks when North Kildare’s Middle Linebacker Andrew Birchal picked off Quarterback Conor Murphy. Taking over at the 50 yard line, the Reapers opened up the Dragons otherwise solid defense with a 17yd catch and run from QB Heneghan to Receiver Sean Leamy. Unfortunately, that was the height of the first quarter as early nerves began to show with both Defenses being drawn offside on occasion, and Offenses jumping the snap to litter the opening quarter with the to-ing and fro-ing of ill-disciplined penalties.

The Dragons opened the second quarter with a big 13yd reception, before a mis-timed handoff fumbled the ball, with the Reapers Dave O’Connor recovering. North Kildare took over on their own 33 yard line and after a short loss of 2yds on a run up the middle, Receiver Leamy made a fantastic catch for a 10yd gain, securing the ball as he hit the ground. This was not enough for a first down and so the Reapers went three and out. Upon resumption by the Dragons, after a couple of downs, a stray snap went over the head of the Quarterback and out the back of the endzone for a safety, putting the first score on the board and the Reapers up by two. Possession went back and forth thereafter with good displays from both sides. North Kildare’s Quarterback rolled out wide to his right on more than one occasion for short gains, with the Dragons’ Quarterback doing likewise. Dragons Half back Jimmy English came into the game and managed a couple of 4 & 5yd gains. The final series of the half fell to the Reapers as they were contained to short bursts up the middle to see out the half inside their own 20.

The second half opened with an exchange of short runs by both teams. A fumble by Reapers QB on an untidy snap was recovered by Birchal but led ultimately to a turnover on downs. It was at this point that the Dragons decided they were going to go for the jugular and what ensued was undoubtedly the “Play of the Game”, with their Quarterback combining with Receiver Mick Duncan for a 50yd reception to land the Dragons firmly on the Reapers’ 19 yard line. The Dragons never made it beyond the 16 yard line and after a couple of short yardage exchanges, the third quarter quietly fizzled out.

The Dragons continued their drive showing promise with an 8yd reception by Receiver Greame Dolan and some solid rushing by Half Back Peter Worthington for a couple of 4 and 5yd gains, positioning themselves inside Kildare’s 20. However, going four and out, the Reapers took over deep inside their own territory after the Dragons failed to capitalise in the redzone. North Kildare started their drive with a nice 12yd reception by Wide Receiver Eoin Hallisey only to have their Quarterback intercepted by the Dragons on third down. The Dragons pounded some hard yards before another 8yd pass to set up first and goal on the Reapers’ 2 yard line. Not for the first time in this matchup were the Dragons within reaching distance of the goal line and one felt they were sure to score this time round. It looked as though this was the case when the Dragons sent a short ball through the middle to Receiver Dolan as he crossed behind the goal line but alas, he could not hang on to it and so another chance went amiss. The Reapers went 3 and out shortly thereafter and when the Dragons got the ball back, you sensed they were forcing the issue a little with urgency coming from all angles. On their final possession, the Dragons Quarterback got picked off for the final time on second down and you just knew with only seconds left on the clock, the Reapers were going to take a knee and run the clock down, which they duly did.

And so for an incredible third time in the IAFL this season, the minimum score possible has decided a game, with the Dublin Dragons being involved in two of those games. On this occasion, it is fair to say that Defense prevailed and that silver won out over gold. Final Score: North Kildare Reapers 2 – 0 Dublin Dragons.

BULLDOGS 00 DRAGONS 02: 10th March 2013
Game Report
By:Conor O'Driscoll

IAFL-1 Week 2:
On a cold, blistery day in the Dragon's home field in Westmanstown Garda Rugby Club, the Dublin Dragons and the Meath Bulldogs took to the field in a game were defences controlled proceedings with a savage hand. These two teams were well acquainted with each other, and there was no love lost as the hits came fast and early.
The Dragons kicked off and the Bulldogs made a respectable return to around the 25. With a pacy runningback #26 Peter McMahon, Meath attempted to get him to the sideline from the first drive. The Dragon's defence did an outstanding job getting contain however, and made sure there was simply nowhere for The Bulldog's #26 McMahon to go. This saw to a quick 3 and out and a Bulldog punt that took a cruel wind and unfortunately went for negaitve yardage.

Starting on Meath's 20 yard line, the Dragons went with a fullback dive for a respectable 5 yard gain. Following an offside penalty by the defense, the Dragons were set up on a first and goal at the 10. A series of incompletions and a strip sack recovered by the Bulldogs meant that this great Dragons start went for nought.
Buoyed by their great start, the Dragons' defense picked up right were they left off, controlling the sidelines, and ensuring the Bulldogs had to resort to an inside running game. This was were the Dragons' Defensive Tackles showed up big, stuffing this run for little or no gain. Again The Bulldogs attempted to get their pacy runningback to the sideline, with a very similar result. An unnecesary roughness penalty on a facemask, however saw that the Bulldogs got a fresh set of downs. They were unable to capitalize on it however as they immediately went 3 and out.

With the ball at midefield, the Dragons attempted to get their own running game going, with little success however, as the Bulldogs were able to get great penetration, and set the edge very well versus runs to the sideline. On 3rd down, a 15 yard throw to wide receiver #12 Mick Duncan by QB #15 Conor Murphy, and some strong running after the catch, gave the Dragons a first down at the 15. A flash of elusiveness mixed with power from fullback #44 Timothy Kneen resulted in a 7 yard run. This was followed by a 1 yard gain, setting up 3rd and 2 at the 7. The Dragons elected to try and pitch the ball, but were unable to properly turn the corner, only getting 1 yard. Feeling boistorous with the success of the defense, the Dragons attempted to punch it for a first on 4th down. A well timed middle linebacker blitz came through unblocked and stuffed this run for a loss.

Much of the second half went, and some very fine punting by Mick Duncan ensured that the Dragons controlled the field position game. They were unable to capitalize as a series of 3 and outs and an interception kept them out of the endzone. Frustrated with their lack of success running the ball, the Bulldogs attempted to air it out with their passing game. Tight coverage by the Dragons seconday ensured that they were restricted to very short gains and incompletions. Indeed, they were lucky not to be picked off, as an interception slipped through Outside Linebacker #18 Aidan Waters' finger tips. Just before the end of the half, the Bulldogs attempted a play action pass on their own goal line. Unfortunately for them, middle linebacker #96 Conor Tyrell came unblocked on a blitz and sacked the quarterback for a safety. This was to be the only score of the game.

Fired up after an obviously inspiring half time talk by Head Coach Garland Drake, the Bulldogs penned the Dragons back in their own half for much of the 3rd quarter. Like the Dragons however, they were unable to make superior field position pay offensively. Just before the end of the third quarter, QB Conor Murphy inspired what looked like a momentum swinging drive, with two big completions to wide receiver #80 Graham Dolan, and tight end #45 James Collins. Unfortunately for the Dragons, a myriad of offensive line penalties ensured they stayed mired in midfield.

The fourth quarter was much like the first 3, with much bluster, but little head. Dragons safety #8 TK Fowler recorded an interception, and followed this up with a fine return on a punt return on the following drive. The Bulldog defense continued its fine showing, and kept the Dragons out. With a minute to go, a big completion by the Bulldogs to their running back put the ball on midfield, and giving Meath hope. There was simply not enough time though, and the clock fizzled out, giving the Dragons their first 11s win in a very long time.