Liam Ryan – “A loud Limerick crowd would be a big advantage for us”
The UL Vikings face into a massive game this Sunday in Garryowen RFC as they take on the Cork Admirals in the quarter final of the Shamrock Bowl.
The Limerick side just missed out on qualifying straight into a home semi-final on the last day of the regular season following a loss to the Dublin Rebels. Vikings wide receiver Liam Ryan believes that the loss that took his side’s record to 7-1 could end up being a blessing in disguise for the team.
“It was a tough loss to the Dublin Rebels but we pushed the defending champions very close and we felt we left some points out there. Its given the team a bit of a kick up the ass that we needed. I think if we had gone undefeated all season there may have been a bit of complacency that might have crept in. Now we know that we have a lot of hard work to do to win it out and the training sessions the last two weeks have been intense.”
The last time the Vikings met the Admirals was back in April at the UL Sports Grounds, with the home side coming out on top by a point in the dying stages of the game. Ryan says he expects another tough battle against a top side with some talented individuals.
“The last game vs Cork was decided in the last minute of the game where we scored a TD (touchdown) and 2 point conversion to win by a point. Cork are a serious outfit, well coached by a couple of Americans so it will be another cracking game. Their Quarterback Stephen Hayes is on the Irish team and one of the top QBs in the country and Harris Monaghan leads their Defence from Middle Linebacker.”
Sunday marks the beginning of the play-off stages of the Shamrock Bowl conference, every side still involved will have their eyes firmly fixed on the top prize in the Irish American Football League.
The Vikings have claimed the trophy on three occasions in ’07, 08′ and 09′ and Ryan himself was on the team for all three titles. He says his side’s goal is to win the Shamrock Bowl again, however their attention at the moment is firmly fixed on Sunday’s game.
“As the saying goes, we are taking it one game at a time at the moment. The focus is 100% on Cork. If we win that, we travel up to Carrickfergus to play the Knights in a semi final but we will take that as it comes. The goal is still to win the Shamrock Bowl but we have left ourselves a huge amount of work to do. The first step is on Sunday.”
The game will be hosted at Garryowen RFC in Dooradoyle, and Ryan believes a noisy home crowd could make a difference come game day.
“It should be a good game and if anyone is interested in the NFL it is worth coming down to see the sport in real life. A loud Limerick crowd would be a big advantage for us as well!”
UL Vikings v Cork Admirals Sunday, 23 July, 2pm.