Ireland: Waterford Wolves vs Kildare Reapers

The Waterford Wolves and the Kildare Reapers played their first game ever in the new IAFA League 1 fixture in the RSC Sports Grounds in Waterford on Sunday the 3rd of March 2013.

We had already locked horns with the Reapers in a Charity event last November .That game ended 7-7 so we knew this was going to be a close game. Both teams had added quality players to growing squads ,this would be their day to cement a place in their respective squads .

The day started with a message to state our starting DT won’t be playing as his wife had gone to Hospital to give Birth in the early hours of the morning. BANG! my thinking was is this an omen of what the day would hold for us. We were then informed the Happy couple had a new baby girl to add to the Wolves fan base. I made an announcement that a contract that would be signed by the players would state that Children would not be born within the Football Season from now on .That got the required laugh that I wanted as I sensed the players were starting to feel the pressure of the event that would take place in their home Stadium with their family friends and a large number of football fans who came to see the first ever game of American Football played by a Team from Waterford. 

The Weather behaved itself which is a rarity in Ireland,overcast and cold but the large crowd that turned up to support both teams team didn’t mind as they wanted a football game with all the trimmings and boy did they get it.This was my first game as Coach on the sideline and it was a day I will not forget in a hurry as both teams put me through Hell and back.I was grey before the game ,but I aged beyond belief in the time span of the contest and I can only imagine what it is like to Coach at both College and professional levels.
The game started with the Reapers going on a long drive with some fine play from their QB who did a fine job guiding his troops down the field. They have a talented backfield who caused us all kinds of problems and their WRs also added to my greying hair .This is a talented group of people who took pride in what they were doing.Our Defense were bending but trying not to break.We broke and the Reapers score a TD but,thankfully we stopped them on the conversion attempt.

We then had the ball on Offense and like the Reapers put a long drive together,Passing and running were the ingredients to use driving down the Field.Bang we are in the End Zone and we make the Conversion attempt .Both teams then traded defensive game time as the Offense on both teams made ground, but didn’t effect the scoreboard.

The Wolves were next to score and we made the conversion attempt.We held the lead until it was under serious pressure by a great drive by the Reapers that burnt up a lot of the clock.With less than 1 minute 35 seconds left on the game clock we had a great Defensive Line stand for two plays and then the Reapers punched the ball in for the TD.Now came one of the biggest plays of the game.The Reapers were now ready to draw level with the two point conversion if made .The crowd really started to give their voice to our cause as they had done all day. They could sense the win was within our grasp if we could hold out.

The Jersey # 55 was worn in memory of the Wolves former Head Coach Dave Collins for this game only, and it was with this in mind that our middle LB who was wearing #55 was to sack their QB and preserve our lead 14-12. Our QB ran out the clock by taken and knee and we had won a hard fought battle.Both teams were cheered off the park by the large crowd and deservedly so.

Waterford Wolves 
Coach Collins

Also, we've received the report from the Kildare Reapers as well, and we're publishing a statement from Paul McKay.

"We played played with heart but I think all of us knew we could have given a little more, there's no worse feeling than loosing but being within 2 points of winning your first competitive game is an achievement in itself.. We don't make excuses and full credit to Waterford, they seized the day and deserved their win, it's bitter sweet for me because on the one hand we lost and that's major disappointment,  but on the other hand I know how the Wolves must feel winning their opener. As both of us set up kitted teams at the same time, I can't help but be a little happy for them. I think we both played an entertaining game and proved IAFL Div 1 teams mean business!" - Paul Mckay (Chairman/WR at NKR Football)