Ireland: Big Win For The Waterford Wolves

Waterford Wolves 36
Mullingar Minotaurs 6
Harbour Field 14.07.13

Sunday saw the high flying Waterford Wolves hit Harbour Field, Mullingar, to take on the Mullingar Minotaurs. Two teams with very different fortunes, Mullingar hadn’t yet tasted victory in IAFL D1 and they were hungry, the Wolves on the other hand were coming in on the back of two good wins and with a 4 and 1 record.

Mullingar won the toss and took to the field with their offence, only to have to kick the ball away after three downs. The Wolves knew they had to hit the struggling Minotaurs and hit them hard. Any sign of weakness could easily see this talented team that is down on their luck get firing. But #37 Aaron Walsh playing at quarterback expertly led his offence down the field, finishing with a bootleg run, to take the ball into the end zone himself to give the Wolves the perfect start. After another three and out by the Minotaurs, Walsh started the offence back down the field again finishing the quarter on the Mullingar 25 yard line.

The second quarter saw the Wolves start in prime position and were made to work hard before #37 Walsh took the ball in for his second touchdown of the game from the 12 yard line. #12 David Kelly playing at tight end converted the two point attempt after a great catch from an Aaron Walsh pass. The Wolves were 14 to 0 up and flying high. Mullingar weren’t prepared to lie down and leave it all one way though, Mullingar quarterback #13 Conor Brennan was unlucky not to connect with his receiver after a forty yard pass which would surely have put points on the board, but with three and a half minutes left on the clock and Mullingar backed up, running back #96 Jason McBride broke free of the Wolves defence to take the ball in with a 65 yard run. This was the first touchdown the Wolves defence had given up on the road this season.

This seemed to refocus the Wolves though, on the very first play in the next sequence #21 Kevin Butler ran 44 yards to give the Wolves great field position and to ultimately see #22 Ger O’Keeffe – The Pocket Rocket take the ball into the end zone. The Minotaurs fought back, with #86 Adam Corcoron intercepting an Aaron Walsh pass. Again this seemed to refocus the Wolves as #69 Lee Butler playing at Linebacker picked the ball from the air on the Mullingar quarter back #13 Brennan and returned the ball 63 yards to score his first touchdown for the Wolves. The first half finished with the visitors leading 28 to 6.

As the temperatures soared the third quarter started but as #22 O’Keeffe took the ball in for his second touchdown of the game and Waterfords fifth it became clear that today was Waterfords day. This didn’t stop Mullingar from fighting with everything they had though and it was clear to see when #80 Shane Walsh let his frustrations overflow with an outburst at the officials when he felt he was unfairly judged to be out of bounds on a reception. This cost his team a 30 yard penalty and was clearly the wrong thing to do, but it did show that although down the Minotaurs were not out, there is a passion and intensity in this team and when they get going they will be hard to stop.

Unfortunately though for the Minotaurs the scoring wasn’t finished yet for the Minotaurs as #26 Alan Magner playing defensive end got through on quarterback Brennan in his own end zone forcing him to throw the ball away which was ruled intentional grounding due to the lack of a Mullingar player in the area it was thrown. The ensuing penalty gave the safety to the Wolves and with it a 36 to 6 score line. The fourth quarter although played hard with receiver #80 Walsh for Mullingar needing assistance to leave the field after a crushing tackle by the Wolves linebacker #69 Lee Butler. But for the best part Waterford controlled it well. The only glimmer of hope coming from a second pick of the game for Mullingar #4 Bob Madden, playing at Corner Back intercepting Walshs pass only to be hit just as quickly by The Wolves #30 Mark Dunphy.

The game finished 36 to 6 for Waterford and left them remaining top of the table in IAFL D1, a position reinforced by the Meath Bulldogs last minute win over North Kildare, this now sees Waterford two points clear at the top with only two games left. I asked Alan Magner afterwards if this was going to affect the team pressure wise only to be told “We don’t feel pressure, we bring the pressure”. Two weeks’ time sees the Wolves back in the RSC to take on Tullamore Phoenix in their last home game this season, this is going to be one hell of a match, Tullamore will want to make up for the loss earlier in the season and the Wolves will not want to lose this winning run of form.

Greg Barrett