Eagles blank Razorbacks
Inspired by a resurgent and explosive defensive performance, the Wexford Eagles continued their unbeaten run by demolishing the visiting Razorbacks of Northern Ireland, 34-0, at the Garden City G.A.A. grounds in Gorey.
The Eagles are now 5-0; victory in their final regular season game would see the Wexford side become the first 'rookie' team to go undefeated in the 30-year history of the league.
The game sprang to life midway through the first quarter. After having been thwarted on their first possession, Wexford began to shred the Razorbacks' stubborn defence.
Wide receiver Terry Carey was the first to score, racing more than 40 yards as the large and enthusiastic home crowd roared their approval. Carey also kicked the conversion, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
Kenny Rothwell, Henry Foxton, Killian Magee and Declan Scott ensured that any Razorback runner who crossed the line of scrimmage was quickly wrapped up. Not a single pass was completed by the Razorbacks all day.
Michael Hassett and Carl Coates blanketed the Razorbacks receivers, while Wexford's Johnny Kavanagh intercepted two long-range efforts and made a spectacular play on another pass attempt to break up what looked to be a certain completion.
In return, the Eagles high-scoring offence added two more scores in the first-half. With six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Wexford capped a long drive by handing the ball to fullback Liam McLaughlin, who stormed through the centre of the line and dragged what appeared to be four Razorback defenders over the line for a touchdown. Carey converted to make the score 14-0 in favour of Eagles.
The final score of the half came with just six seconds left in the second quarter. Quarterback Sam Doran first faked a hand-off to running back Craig Morrell, then made another fake to Paulie O'Brien before rolling to his right.
Doran then launched a perfect pass to tight end Darren Greene, who raced up the right sideline for the Eagles' third touchdown. The conversion was blocked, so the Eagles led 20-0 at the half.
Any hope the Razorbacks had of getting back into the game was extinguished in one incredible series early in the second-half. On just the third play of the third quarter, the Eagles fumbled the ball away, and the Northern Ireland side recovered near the Eagles ten-yard line.
The Eagles defence returned to the field and ferociously defended their goal-line. In fact, between huge hits by the Eagles front four of James Crean, Seán Griffiths, Luke Kenny and Dylan Gregan, combined with two penalties, the Razorbacks not only failed to score a touchdown, but they were actually driven back and out of field goal range.
The Eagles' offence, however, were far from finished. Clearly spurred on by the defensive stand, Wexford drove to midfield. Doran then rolled to his right and, finding no receivers open, tucked the ball under his arm, eluded half the Northern Ireland defence and raced into the endzone for a spectacular touchdown.
The final score came after a very long run from Eagles running back Craig Broom. Four plays later, Doran rolled to his left. Clearly fearing a repeat of the previous touchdown, the Razorbacks quickly stepped up to stop the Eagles quarterback, who flipped the ball into the endzone, where Carey made an amazing diving catch for his second touchdown. Carey's conversion made the final score 34-0, leaving the Eagles undefeated.
On August 21, the Eagles travel to Galway to take on the Warriors in the final regular season game.