By Peter Cowan
Your Craigavon Cowboys have made it to the IAFL 1 Bowl and will face off against the West Dublin Rhinos in Gorey, Wexford on 12th August 2018.
But how did the men in orange get here? The gruelling season began five months ago, all the way back in March, with the Cowboys still smarting from their loss to the Louth Mavericks in last year’s IAFL 1 Bowl. It was an offseason of building on the previous year’s success, with former offensive lineman Mark Beattie taking the reigns as defensive co-ordinator and quarterback Christian Cowan returning from study (and balling) abroad in England and Sweden to coach the offense. Continuity is key though, and the Cowboys were blessed to have Greg Loughran return for an 11th year as head coach.
Only 2 days to go! As we continue the build up to Sundays game against the Warriors, we spoke with Cowboys Vice President Sean Byrne to get his thoughts on the year so far and the game on Sunday.
As the days get less and less until we take on the Galway Warriors in the playoffs, we caught up with player and board member Jason Duddy.
Preview of Sundays must win game against the NI Razorbacks at Peoples Park Portadown. Kick-off is 2pm.
Game preview of our senior teams upcoming match away to the West Dublin Rhinos.
At the half way point of the season, we caught up with defensive co-ordinator Mark Beattie to talk about the season so far, and the games to come.
The Cowboys Alumni Game 2018 is scheduled for Sunday 17th June when your 2018 Craigavon Cowboys take on local rivals NI Razorbacks at Peoples Park Portadown! There will be a special presentation pre-game (1.30pm, kick off 2pm) to some former members of the club as well as free pizza and beverages at half time. Catch up with old team mates whilst supporting your old team! The team will then be heading to the Parkside Bar after the game for drinks and food - everyone welcome. Bring your family and friends along with you to share your stories! More details will be released in due course - hope to see you there!
With game 4 on the horizon, we spoke to defensive captain Jo Buchanan on his time with the Cowboys, his playing experience and thoughts on the season so far.
You have been with Cowboys now for a number of years, what was it that attracted you to the sport and primarily the Cowboys?
“I was 14 when I started playing, with my interest coming from the NFL and how technical the game is. At that time, the Cowboys were the only team to have football for that age (cadet flag). I went a couple of times, then started a flag team in my home town. When I turned 18, I was ready to start playing kitted football so the Cowboys was the obvious choice with their history and having previously trained with them.”
Our Game Previews are back for 2018! Preview for Sundays game against the Antrim Jet is available below, of which you can also download.
As game 2 against the Antrim Jets fast approaches, we spoke in-depth with long serving Cowboy Manny Bell on his playing career so far and hopes for this season.
This is your 11th year as a Cowboy, what is it that keeps you coming back for another season?
“What keeps me coming back after 10+ years is, the sport itself, the craic, the competitive experience and sure what else would you do on a Sunday? Sit and watch mind bending telly? I love knowing that Sunday is my day to get together with a great bunch of lads, have a bit of banter and then smash each other in the mouth, dust yourself off and go again.”
You have moved all across the offensive line positions in your time playing as well as jumping across to the other side of the ball when needed, what has been your favourite position and what is it about O-Line you love?
“I have played across the line and to be honest I’ve enjoyed each position at different times in my career as a Cowboy, I really enjoyed playing centre while playing with Big John Scott and Mark Beattie as guards, I also enjoyed playing guard with the late Terry Lynch and Paul Braniff at centre. But I’m really enjoying playing left tackle at the minute, it’s more of a thinking position rather than brute force like guard and centre.”
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