AMERICAN FOOTBALL | Mavericks make it 2–1 with victory over the Minotaurs

IAFL1 | Louth Mavericks 33–11 Westmeath Minotaurs

The Louth Mavericks team that played the Westmeath Minotaurs. PICTURE: ADRIAN CRAWLEY

After two games on the road against the South Kildare Soldiers and high flying Craigavon Cowboys, the Louth Mavericks brought their IAFL1 season back home to Dundalk Rugby Club on Sunday when they squared up to the Westmeath Minotaurs.

The Mavericks went into the game with a record of 1–1 for the season. Their recent loss to the Cowboys was a tough pill to swallow so the local side knew they had to up their against a tough physical midlands team.

In keeping with all recent matchups between the Mavericks and the Minotaurs, the game started off with sheer aggression and brute force as both teams tried to get a stranglehold on the game.

The Mavs offence, led by Alex Simms, made good yardage only to be stopped by the tenacious Minotaur defence and it was the visitors who drew first blood with a field goal.

On the next drive, the Minotaurs pinned the Mavs deep into their own half of the field but some powerful running by rookie running back Daniel Finley brought the Mavericks across halfway.

A sublime tiptoe catch by Klaidas Granickas on the one-yard line gave the Mavericks the opportunity they needed and veteran Connor Rice rushed over for the score to put his side 7–3 up with two minutes left in the half.

The Minotaurs, however, struck back immediately with a long bomb to get within two yards of the Mavs goal line and they powered over for a touchdown of their own before converting their two-point attempt to take an 11–7 lead into the half time interval.

The Mavericks received the ball at the start of the second half and a great return by Eamon Ward brought them up to their 40-yard line.

This gave the Mavs offence a big boost and quarterback Rob Shelvin connected with rookie wide receiver Oisin Finn who took it to the house for a 50-yard touchdown!

This was the start of the best quarter of football in the Mavericks’ history. The defence was lifted by the excellent work by the offence and on the miniature drive, the ball was intercepted and returned deep into the Minotaur half.

Two plays later, Rob Shevlin found Klaidas Granickas open in the corner of the end zone to score his first touchdown for the club.

Not to be outdone, the Mavs defence got the ball back for the offence immediately with some hard hitting tackles from defensive veterans Mick O’Shea, Gregory Paul, Dermot O’Grady and Donal Drew.

It wasn’t long until the Mavs scored again as Oisin Finn scored his second touchdown of the game — his third of the season; quarterback Shevlin again connecting with the 18-year-old who took it to the house from 40 yards out.

Both teams traded drives until the Mavs defence got their second turnover of the quarter. A high snap forced the ball into the backfield and the defensive line swarmed on it, giving their offence field position in their opponent’s’ 20-yard line.

Powerful run blocking by the Mavs offensive line brought the ball up to the two-yard line and Connor Rice again powered it over for his second touchdown of the day.

At the end of the third quarter, the Mavericks led 33–11 after converting a brace of two-point attempts and missing two.

As the sun beamed down on Dundalk Rugby Club, the Mavericks continued to push forward in the fourth quarter but were unlucky not to score again.

The defence, however, remained defiant and fought hard to keep the Minotaurs scoreless in the second half to secure a well earned 33–11 win.

The Louth Mavericks will now turn their attention to another tough match-up this Sunday, May 21st when they face last year’s IAFL2 champions, the Derry/Donegal Vipers.

The Mavericks will hope to build on the momentum gained after this latest victory and will be ready for the strong northern team. Kick-off is at 2pm in Dundalk Rugby Club.

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