THE DONEGAL-DERRY VIPERS went 6-0 for the season and now have a Bowl Game final to look forward to this coming weekend.
Donegal-Derry Vipers 30-0 NI Razorbacks
By Dermot Brown
As the IAFL season draws to a close and moves into the post season only two teams remain, Our boys the Vipers and the Wexford Eagles.
Donegal-Derry Viper Danny Mullen Hurdles a Defensive Player from NI Razorbacks. Photos: Dean Cullen
The Viper’s last game of the season was to be held in Newforge Country Club in Belfast, weather reports were sketchy and promised some torrential down pours and general Irish weather, however the only rain seen during the game was the pain dropped on the Hogs by the men in Red and Gold.
Speaking to head Coach Jason Brock and Defensive Coach Paddy Maguire before the game, they promised a rotation of squad players in the hope to limit fatigue on players starting in next week’s IAFL2 bowl game in Westmanstown at 2pm in Dublin.
The game began with the Vipers receiving the ball on the kickoff. QB Danny Mullan hit receiver Ryan Brolly whilst under pressure from the edge rushers of the Razorbacks for a ninety yard touchdown, the extra point added by kicker Gary Melly.
The Mullan/Brolly relationship on the field has gone from strength to strength in these last couple of games, the have scored multiple touchdowns and revamped a labouring offense that was hurting due to injuries.
The Vipers brick wall defence once again stood strong, something that is expected now with the wealth of experience and talent available to Coach Maguire.
Good field position was offered up by the defence and it wasn’t long before Mullan and Brolly would hook up again for the teams second touchdown, this time a sixty yard float over the top of the Razorbacks Defensive backs for an easy grab and run, Melly added the extra point to make the score 14-0.
The Black Swan intercepts the Ball and drives up field
The Viper offence deserved the credit for keeping their QB clean for another game once again. The dominated in the pit, O-Linemen Leon Brown and Barry O Kane had standout performances punishing and crippling the Razorback’s defence on screen plays and short runs up the gut. Offensive Tackle Ray Dowd sustained an ankle injury late on in the game and now faces a race to be fit for next week in Dublin.
The next score came after a long drive down the field, Mullan threw completions to Tight End Thomas Comiskey and Darren Gibson and Running back Cathal Curran made the tougher yards up the middle to land the ball in the Hog’s Red Zone.
Once again Ryan Brolly was able to run into the End Zone after some exceptional blocking on the outside from Receiver Eugene Mc Laughlin, Melly was once again on point and kicked the extra point taking the score to 21-0 at the half.
The second half started fast and furious for the Viper defence, Linebacker Niall Lyons and Defensive End Corey Mc Kenna stopped the Hogs onslaught early on, the gang tackling was there for all to see and it ended up being incomprehensible who made the final tackle for the safety and the games nest score, the Razorback Running back was brought down in his own End Zone by multiple tacklers as the Hog’s O-line disintegrated under pressure. Score 23-0.
The next score came after an excellent offensive drive ended up on the Hogs five yard line, After a failed QB sneak left Mullan without a helmet, backup Quarterback Nic Young was brought in to finish the drive and he easily punched the ball over the line and the extra point was added, score 30-0.
Vipers Offensive Line hold up the Defense
What followed in the fourth quarter was the Viper defence not giving up on anything, scathing attacks and relentless pressure gifted the guys two defensive interceptions; the games only two turnovers. Linebackers Kyle Mc Ananey and Coilin Mc Ginley were the ball hawks this time round, the latter nearly getting over the line for a pick six, it was not mean to be however.
Head Coach Brock decided to rest Mullan for next week’s bowl game and Young managed to sneak in for his second rushing touchdown and the final score of the afternoon, Melly once again was on target and had his best outing of the season kicking five extra points and missing only once on a difficult fifty yard field goal into the wind. The Vipers also had three trips to the End Zone beaten back by the Belfast Boys who showed some resilience that was lacking in most of the game toward the end.
It has been a long hard season; any team that goes on an unbeaten run of games is under intense pressure after every game they win. The Wexford Eagles who are also unbeaten needed to win yesterdays game 44-0 and only managed a score of 14-0, this let the men in Red and Gold reign supreme at the top of the table going into the post season bowl game. Next week will be one of the more hotly contested in recent years, the Eagles have the option to remain in IAFL2 regardless of the score but the Vipers yearn to be top of the table and Bowl champions to boot, Only four more quarters remain who will come out on top to be crowned champions only time will tell.
Is it next Sunday yet?