Date: 01 Jun 2014
Home: Waterford Wolves - 7
Away: UL Vikings - 35
The in-form UL Vikings took to the field against fellow South Conference challengers the Waterford Wolves on Sunday as they looked to cement their place in this years playoffs. The Vikings came off the back of a dominant performance against IAFL-1 graduates the North Kildare Reapers whilst the Wolves were still on the hunt for their first victory in the Shamrock Bowl Conference.
It wasn’t a great start by the Wolves as they went 14-0 behind in the early stages of the game. Failing on 3rd down, the Wolves opted to punt, only for it to be blocked and taken to the house by defensive tackle John Mullen. Early nerves began to settle in the ‘Wolfpack’ camp as on the next drive, Craig Switzer stripped the quarterback on a run play as he sprinted to the endzone to compound a poor start for the Wolves offence. Adrian Garvey converted both PAT’s as the Vikings took an early advantage.
Despite the offences struggles, Waterford’s defence was standing firm. The Vikings were beginning to work their way through the gears on offence, but the Wolves were able to deal with anything that was thrown at them. However, problems on offence caught up with the Wolves once again, as they lost possession on another fumble recovery, this time scooped by Eoin Whelan, deep in their own territory. Marc Ashworth sprinted in from 6 yards out, before receiving the 2pt conversion himself off a Garvey pass to extend the Vikings lead. Garvey also added a further score before the break as he finished off a strong rushing drive, to make the score 28-0 to Limerick after the failed PAT.
The Wolves entered the second period with the aim of improving upon their first half performance. However, their misfortunes continued as Quarterback, Eoin Reidhardt had to leave the field through injury, which will be a huge loss for the Waterford side. Despite this, stand in quarterback Ryan Byrne took the reigns and helped the Wolves get on the board as he ran from 80 yards to give them their only score of the game.
As the game entered the final quarter, the Wolves worked hard to keep the Vikings offence at bay, with the hope of giving their own offence a chance to get back into the game. Michael O’Coinn had a standout performance on defence, coming up with important stops time and time again. However, their efforts were duly undone as familiar mishaps on offence began to creep back in. After another fumble recovery inside the Wolves 20, the Vikings stretched their lead further as Ashworth ran in from 2 yards to complete his scoring for the day, with Garvey again converting the PAT, to give the Vikings a deserved 35-6 victory.
Since their opening season defeats, the Vikings have been dismantling teams with ease. They have strength across the team with all phases getting on the score sheet in this game and must be well fancied to finish the regular season with a (6-2) record based on current form. Their defence is solid, and put in another superb shift today with Darren Gleeson and Ian Cahill racking up 5 sacks between them, with the latter scoring the game-day MVP as awarded by the commentary crew.
Meanwhile, the Wolves tenure in the top flight is becoming increasingly threatened. Their fixture list has been challenging, but they have performed admirably thus far. However, their last game against the West Dublin Rhino’s could well be the relegation decider, and if quarterback, Eoin Reidhardt remains sidelined; their fight for survival could become a lot more difficult.