Craigavon Cowboys’ ongoing renaissance will continue on Sunday with a Dublin date that could lead to a return to the 1980s glory days.
Cowboys finished as winners of the inaugural Shamrock Bowl in 1986 and now stand one win away from the Irish American Football League semi-finals.
Sunday’s cross-border challenge against Dublin Rebels is part of the Wildcard Weekend programme and victory would hand Cowboys a last-four date in Belfast on July 26 against Trinity College.
Greg Loughran was part of the original Cowboys set-up that captured the Shamrock Bowl on three occasions and the current club president can recall the modern incarnation’s semi-final defeat in recent seasons.
“This current group has been developed off the back of that semi-final squad a few years back,” said Loughran, who also serves as head coach. “We do not have a winning record but face Dublin Rebels thanks to the Wildcard system.
“I can still remember the boost provided by our three previous Shamrock Bowl wins and how it helped lift everyone.
“Each season since that semi-final we have managed to show improvement and, as a result, everything starts to become that bit easier.
“We have growing sponsorship support and will take a coachload plus a few cars down to Dublin for support.
“Brendan McAleese, a former Shamrock Bowl champion with our club, is now coaching North Kildare Reapers so has promised some extra backing.”