Trojans in town as Cowboys aim to get the season back on track

Craigavon Cowboys show off the Irish National Flag Football Championship prize. Pic by J and C Whelan.
Craigavon Cowboys show off the Irish National Flag Football Championship prize. Pic by J and C Whelan.

Craigavon Cowboys will welcome the defending Shamrock Bowl champions to town on Sunday for the opening home fixture of the Irish American Football League.

Belfast Trojans visit the People’s Park aiming to inflict a second defeat on the Cowboys following a 26-20 reverse away to Trinity College Dublin for the Portadown players.

“We lost in Dublin with the game going into the final 20 seconds but we could not score on the last drive,” said Cowboys’ Mark Beattie. “It was a disappointing day as we moved the ball comfortably but were unable to convert on key plays.

“A few individual errors cost us some touchdowns in Dublin and this Sunday should also prove a tough game, with the first of the season for the Trojans.

“We hope to take advantage of having that extra fixture behind us.

“Our pre-season recruitment was really positive and players such as Tony Keegan, Johnny Hood and Jakub Kowalczyk have all come on board.

“Gavin McConnell, Owen O’Neill and Darren McCann have each graduated from our youth programme, so that is exciting.”

Play will start at 2 o’clock, with all support welcome down in People’s Park.

Cowboys’ winter schedule included victory in the Irish National Flag Championship.

Progress arrived into the play-offs as north division champions - with the final stages featuring tests against Dublin Vipers and Westmeath Minotaurs across, respectively, the semi-finals and Emerald Bowl showpiece.

A 30-26 defeat of Vipers was followed by a convincing 36-0 clean sweep over Minotaurs.

Peter Loughran was selected as the Most Valuable player of the tournament.

“We are very proud to say we are now the Irish champions,” said Beattie. “It is down to the hard work of flag manager Niall Quinn and the players.

“A trip to Denmark is in the planning stage to represent our league and the whole Craigavon Cowboys club within the European Championships.”