The Eagles soar!
Winning start as visiting Pirates sunk
The Wexford Eagles got their season off to a winning start when they defeated the North Dublin Pirates on a 34-8 scoreline in the first-ever competitive American Football game for the local side. Watched by a large and enthusiastic home crowd in Gorey, the Eagles dominated the game from start to finish.
Wexford Eagles 34 North Dublin Pirates 8
After winning the pre-game coin toss and electing to receive the opening kick-off, the County Wexford side marched straight down the field. Running backs Tommy Martin, Craig Broom and Liam McLaughlin all had good gains, as did wide receiver Terry Carey.
On just their sixth play, the Eagles scored their first competitive touchdown when quarterback Sam Doran linked up with tight end Darren Greene on a seven-yard pass. Terry Carey converted the extra point, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Pirates looked to strike back quickly, but linebacker Artur Guz and defensive lineman James Crean combined to force a fumble, which Crean duly recovered. Taking advantage of excellent field position, the Eagles scored another touchdown after just three plays. Carey again converted, putting Wexford up 14-0.
On their next drive, Dublin scored their only touchdown. They successfully completed a two-point conversion, making the score 14-8, but that was as close as the visitors would come. The Eagles scored on each of their next three possessions, while forcing the Pirates to punt on two occasions.
Perhaps the major turning point came near the end of the first-half. With the Eagles leading 27-8, the Pirates were driving when their quarterback threw his only pass of the day. Eagles safety, Johnny Kavanagh, intercepted the ball, handing possession back to Wexford.
With time running out, Doran connected on a long pass to Terry Carey, taking the Eagles all the way down to the opposition's eight-yard line. With only four seconds remaining in the half, the Eagles called time out, giving them time for one final play.
For the fourth time, Doran connected with Greene, who shook off a big hit from the Pirates' defensive cornerback before diving into the endzone. Carey's conversion made the score 34-8, and there was no way back for Dublin.
The game actually ended prematurely. As time was running out in the third quarter, the heavy hitting inflicted on the Pirates by a determined Eagles defence finally took its toll.
The visitors suffered one final injury and had to concede that they could no longer continue the game. After a brief meeting between the officials and opposing coaches, the game was awarded to the Eagles.
Asked for his reaction after the game, coach Kevin Klatt said that he couldn't single out any individual player as being responsible for the win, commenting: 'Every Eagles player who suited up today played, and there wasn't a weak link on that field. The team gave everything we asked of them and more'.
Coach Ivan Lynch added that he was amazed at the turn-out and support of the home fans.
The Eagles' next game is on Sunday, May 15, when they travel to Belfast to play the PSNI Razorbacks.
The next home game will be May 29, when the Eagles host the Galway Warriors.