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.
The Cowboys were first to get on the board, after an almost perfect drive ended with a 5 yard passing touchdown from Peter Loughran to Conrad Smith. Stephen Brennan kicked the extra point to take the score to 7-0. It didn't take the Minotaurs long to respond, after running in a touchdown and kicking the extra point making the score 7-7. After the ensuing kick-off, the Westmeath team would take the lead after a pick 6 and converted PAT. The score remained 7-14 deep into the second quarter before an assertive offensive drive took the Cowboys to the Minotaurs 3 yard line, where Peter Loughran then ran in it. The point after try was blocked meaning the score was 13-14 to the Minotaurs at half time.
The Minotaurs would extend their lead early in the third quarter, courtesy of an outside toss and successful PAT, which took the score to 13-21. The Cowboys would regroup and respond with a score of their own, thanks to Peter Loughran finding Conrad Smith in the end zone once again for a 5 yard passing touchdown. Peter Loughran then hit Luis Alberto for the 2 point conversion, tying the game at 21-21. On the Minotaurs next offensive drive, their running back fumbled the ball on the Cowboys 20 yard line, which was recovered by Lawrence Ruddock. The Cowboys offense were unable to progress down the field resulting in a punt at the end of the third quarter.
The Cowboys defense would once again come up with a vital turnover in the fourth quarter courtesy of a Gareth McShane interception on the Cowboys 25 yard line. On the next play, Peter Loughran found Luis Alberto deep, whose catch and run resulted in a 70 yard touchdown, giving the Cowboys their second lead of the game. The point after try by Stephen Brennan was good, meaning the score was 28-21 deep into the fourth quarter. The Minotaurs continued to show poise and composure and were rewarded with a 35 yard passing touchdown with just under two minutes to go in the game. The Westmeath team then went for it all and tried for 2 points, only for the receiver to fall short and the score line to stand at 28-27. The onside kick was duly recovered and the Cowboys secured the first down they needed to allow them to kneel out the game and win the IAFL 1 Bowl! Cowboys outside linebacker Shayne Mone was named the Billy Anderson MVP for a terrific performance.
We must give huge credit to the Westmeath Minotaurs for their determined fight and gutsy call at the end. Thank you to Navan RFC for a fantastic facility, to the IAFA for organising, to Gold Star Coaches for providing transport all season and to the Flamin' Grill for breakfast. Finally, thanks to all our family and friends who came down to support us - we couldn't have done it without you.
Thanks to Eamon McCormick and Ian Humes for the brilliant photos.
Search By Date