By Ben Fallon
Over a week on from the historic day in Dublin, B Team QB and Captain Ben Fallon details the days events and how they captured the Glas Bowl...
B Team with the Glas Bowl. Top (L-R) Flag Coach Jo Buchanan, Manny Bell, Ben Fallon, Flag Rep Niall Quinn.
Bottom (L-R) Paul McCartney, Gavin McConnell, Chris Watt, Owen O’Neill
Credit: Terence McCann Photography
DUBLIN - It was cold, wet, and overcast - three things we have come to expect from Dublin in November. Another trademark of this time of year? The Craigavon Cowboys hoisting a league trophy in the Irish American Football Association.
On Saturday, 2 November, the Craigavon Cowboys B team and five other flag football clubs from around the country converged on the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin for the inaugural Glas Bowl Conference playoffs. The ‘Boys arrived with an arduous task ahead of them - with only seven active players on their roster and ranked as the #3 seed, they would need to play three consecutive games with limited substitutions to leave as league champions.
The Cowboys path became immediately more difficult moments into their first game against the #6 seed Belfast Trojans. Tight end Peter Lundy suffered a horrific (and more than likely career-ending) knee injury that saw him rushed away for immediate medical attention. Losing the league’s best jump-ball receiver forced Craigavon to alter their offense play calling, but scoring wasn’t needed in their opening matchup. Craigavon’s stifling defense, led by three interceptions from QB Ben Fallon, shut out the Trojans 26-0 as they cruised into the semi-finals against the Cork City Outlaws.
The Outlaws boasted a roster full of American players, but the Cowboys weren’t intimated. Homegrown talent and rookie of the year finalist Chris Watt (who denies any relation to the NFL trio of Watt brothers) made Ireland great again by harassing the Outlaws quarterback all game, forcing errant throws and critical turnover on downs. The game was ultimately decided on the Cowboys final offensive drive, with what has been since deemed The Immaculate Glas Bowl Reception. On fourth and goal with less than a minute remaining, Fallon threaded a pass to veteran hall-of-fame center Manny Bell in the endzone. Swarmed by Outlaw defenders, Bell displayed tremendous football IQ and intentionally deflected the pass to Watt, who stepped over the goal line for the game-winning touchdown, 19-14.
The #5 seed Maynooth Hurricanes, who upset the South Dublin Panthers and Louth Mavericks to reach the Glas Bowl Final, greeted the Cowboys in the championship matchup. Torrential rain also greeted both teams. A very sloppy final was just what Cowboys Owen Oneill needed, as he tracked down Maynooth players all game long with critical tackles and pass breakups. Despite tremendous play from Oneill, the Cowboys trailed for almost the entire game. That’s when the game - and the Cowboys season - experienced it’s NFL Films Turning Point moment. Linebacker Paul McCartney stepped in front of a pass and picked off the Hurricanes QB to turn the tide. From that moment, Glas Bowl Final MVP Gavin McConnell took over the game. Playing on only one knee and with only one healthy eye, McConnell reeled in highlight catch after highlight catch, including a diving reception in the endzone for the game-winning score. Chris Watt sealed the championship on the next play with a safety, and the Cowboys won the first-ever Glas Bowl Final, 30-20.
Ahead of our second Rookie Roadshow in Banbridge this week, we caught up with WR Peter Lundy to get his views on being a Cowboys Rookie...
WR Peter Lundy pictured as part of the flag B Team who recently won the Glas Bowl, as well as being an IAFL1 champ.
Big day tomorrow for the Cowboys flag teams, as after a tough season, both teams have made the playoffs, with the A Team securing a 7-1 regular season record and the B Team getting a 5-1 regular season record. We chatted to Flag Team Rep Niall Quinn to get his thoughts on the season and the big day tomorrow...
Niall Quinn (left) and Jo Buchanan (right) with the Emerald Bowl after last years successful finals day.
Ahead of this Sunday’s Rookie Roadshow in Portadown, we chatted to WR Neil Maxwell to see what he thought of his first year of football...
#1 Neil Maxwell returning the ball against the Louth Mavericks.
The Craigavon Cowboys American Football club are recruiting!
Fresh off our IAFL 1 Bowl win, the Cowboys are now back in the top division of the Irish American Football League, the Shamrock Bowl Conference, and are looking for all shapes, sizes and abilities to join us for the upcoming 2020 season. Join one of Ireland’s oldest American Football programs on our campaign for our 4th National Championship. We’ve 4 rookie tryouts coming up on our Rookie Roadshow:
Sunday 3rd November – Annagh Utd 3G Pitch, Portadown - 12pm - 2pm
Sunday 10th November – Havelock Park, Banbridge – 12pm – 2pm
Sunday 17th November – Cathedral Road 3G, Armagh – 1pm – 3pm
Sunday 24th November – Pollock Park, Lurgan – 12pm – 2pm
If you’d like to attend, please enter your details into the form below and which show(s) you’d like to attend.
Our qualified coaches and current players will put you through your paces in our NFL style Combine and other drills. Our Head Coach Greg Loughran looks to “consolidate our position at the highest level, and looking to recruit players who are keen to be coached and learn the basics of our sport. We offer specialised positional coaching and a warm welcome to anyone who would like to be part of our club’ All you need is suitable footwear, water and the determination to take someone’s position - so why don’t you give it a go?
For more information follow us on our various social media!
Facebook – @CraigavonCowboys
Insta – @craigavoncowboysIAFL
Twitter – @CowboysIAFL
On Saturday, we celebrated an extremely successful year as we continue to grow from strength to strength. Players and volunteers were awarded trophies to recognise their efforts and achievements. Huge thanks to the Seagoe Hotel for hosting such a wonderful evening.
Saturday night was a very special night as we inducted the 14th member into the Craigavon Cowboys Hall of Fame.
Manny Bell is the epitome of Cowboys football, he has made huge contributions both on and off the field over his 12 years with the club. On the pitch, he has been a team mate that everyone who has passed through the club could rely on even if you had just started playing as well as a force to be reckoned with, often playing many different positions as and when the team needed him to.
Manny has constantly been involved off the field in numerous board positions as well as various coaching positions in the senior team and as head coach of the junior team. He has given so much time and energy to the club, his commitment and passion has inspired so many and this entry into the hall of fame last night is fully deserved.
Huge congratulations Manny!
It’s that time of year once again where we reflect on our clubs achievements in the past 12 months and reward those individuals who have shone through in all different aspects of the each team. All awards are voted on by club members (players, coaches & associate members) so each winner will be decided by their peers.
The Craigavon Cowboys returned to Portadown with the IAFL 1 Bowl in hand on Sunday past, following a dramatic 28-27 win over the Westmeath Minotaurs. The weather was perfect for football as was the pitch at Navan RFC. The game started with both teams showing nerves as the first quarter ended scoreless before the game came to life in the second quarter.
By Liam Grimley
In our final IAFL 1 Bowl Chat, with finish off with an interview with Head Coach Greg Loughran and a preview to this Sunday’s Bowl Clash with the Westmeath Minotaurs, written by our reporter, Liam Grimley...
Head Coach Greg Loughran braving the elements against the Wexford Eagles earlier in the season.
Pic credit: Eamon McCormick
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