Report and photos by Jason Duddy
Game day 2 would see the Cowboys play divisional rivals Belfast Knights and Belfast Trojans. The Knights and Trojans played the first game of the day, with the Knights coming out on top 33-28. The Cowboys then took on the Knights in game 2. We had few new members on the roster for this game as well as the most of the team returning so there was no lack of choice.
The Cowboys started off a bit slow, with the Knights finding joy up the middle. However, in time the Cowboys got into the game and started to play the way we know we can. The coverage was better, the play calling from Ben Fallon was great and the offense was clicking. Scores from Niall Quinn & Peter Loughran with Jamie Wilson’s extra point made It 13-7 at half-time to the Cowboys. The Knights didn't get another score in the game, in fact it was the defense who were having as much joy as anyone.
In his first ever flag game, Joseph Marley got an interception on a crucial play, while Matthew Kelly came away with a pick 6. Ben Fallon also got on the score sheet in this game, while also throwing a few touchdowns to his teammates, one of which was Conrad Smith who would go on to prove very useful in the second game.
The Knights may have tired near the end but that doesn't mean the second half was easy for the 'Boys. David McMichael made some great flag pulls throughout the day with Lawrence Ruddock also getting in on the action with a few batted balls and an interception in the first half. The score in the end was 39-7 to the Cowboys but the Knights played well and for only 5 players, playing 2 matches in a row must have been hard.
The third and final match of the day was between the Cowboys and the Trojans. A repeat of the last week where the Cowboys won, and this time the Trojans were out to stop them from winning again.
It was tough battle with the Trojans scoring early on leaving the Cowboys to play the catch up game. That didn't faze them however, as Ben, Conrad, Jamie, Peter and Niall all took the field with simplified the plays which saw the Cowboys first score as Ben threw to Conrad Smith. The extra point by Jamie was good which brought the Cowboys into the lead. Defense was strong and kept the Trojans out for the rest of the half however they were still deadly and their #10 was having us on our heels at times until we switched up tactics.
In the second half, our defense and offense stepped up another gear. Offense got on the field with Ben connecting again with Conrad and Peter to make it 21-6 in a matter of minutes. On defense, Andy Herron who also had a great game, came up with 3 sacks and a pick six which furthered the score even more. As usual Matthew, Bob, Chris and David all made great flag pulls throughout the game.
Conrad then turned it up a gear, coming up with interceptions left, right and centre, as well as getting extra points and sorting out defense in place of the missing Jo. He also filled in for Lawrence along with Peter - having those two in the back is a devastating look. They helped strengthen the defense even more, leading to the ‘Boys only conceding 19 points in 2 games. Again, Peter took up the QB role closer to the end and connected with Ben more than once to get the score even higher.
A highlight of this game for me was Jamie's TD run from our own 5 yard line - you can always be sure he will have a run of some sort and he was given the ball and just like that, getting through bodies, he was away. Final score: 33-12.
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