Ea­gles soar to first spot

Gorey Guardian - - SPORT -


THE WEX­FORD Ea­gles now sit atop the IAFA-1 af­ter an­other com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory. The most re­cent win, a 35-7 de­mo­li­tion of the pre­vi­ously un­de­feated West Dublin Rhi­nos, came just one week af­ter the Wex­ford side de­feated their arch-ri­vals, the Craigavon Cow­boys, 21-6. #

The Ea­gles’ next test will be a home en­counter against the Gal­way War­riors, which will take place at the Gar­den City G.A.A. grounds in Gorey, on Sun­day, May 20.

The Rhi­nos match saw Wex­ford use a com­bi­na­tion of a pow­er­ful run­ning game on of­fence, with a de­fence that smoth­ered and sti­fled the Dublin side through­out the af­ter­noon.

The Ea­gles won the coin toss and elected to re­ceive the open­ing kick-off. It only took a hand­ful of plays be­fore Liam McLaugh­lin stormed over for the first score. Dar­ren Greene kicked the con­ver­sion, and the Ea­gles en­joyed an early 7-0 lead.

The rest of the game fol­lowed suit, with the Rhi­nos con­stantly frus­trated by the va­ri­ety of the Ea­gles of­fence, cou­pled with the swarm­ing Wex­ford de­fence.

When they tried to run the ball, the Rhi­nos run­ning backs were met with fe­ro­cious tack­les from Wil­lie O’Brien, Carl Coates, Daniel Noc­tor and Paddy Bis­sett, to name but a few.

The Dublin side fared no bet­ter through the air, with Craig Mor­rell in­ter­cept­ing a pass (the Ea­gles’ sev­enth in­ter­cep­tion in just three games), and blan­ket cov­er­age of the Rhi­nos re­ceivers by Ian O’Neill, Dafydd James and Terry Carey.

The Ea­gles of­fence, on the other hand, sim­ply wore down the Rhi­nos stub­born de­fence. In all, six Wex­ford run­ning backs saw ac­tion, and all had sig­nif­i­cant car­ries through­out the game.

Quar­ter­back Sam Do­ran had his most pro­duc­tive out­ing of the 2018 cam­paign, run­ning in two touch­downs and adding a two­point con­ver­sion.

Dar­ren Greene has also now scored in ev­ery game, while Trevor Smith ran in his first touch­down of the year from 20 yards out in the fourth quar­ter.

Tommy Martin and Craig Mor­rell also ripped through the Rhi­nos line for sig­nif­i­cant gains.

‘We talked at half-time about what we needed to do to put the game away,’ said Ea­gles head coach Kevin Klatt. ‘We knew our de­fence could pretty much han­dle what­ever they threw at us, and we made some ad­just­ments to the of­fence that worked re­ally well.

‘We had three pos­ses­sions in that sec­ond-half, scored three touch­downs, with no penal­ties, no punts and not a sin­gle neg­a­tive yardage play. We also got a lot of guys car­ry­ing the ball, which made it even harder on the Rhi­nos. I have to be happy with that kind of per­for­mance.’

A spokesman for the Rhi­nos agreed, say­ing: ‘The Rhi­nos found the go­ing tough…against a Wex­ford side that ex­e­cuted a near-per­fect game plan.’

Wex­ford’s de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor, Craig Mor­rell, put the win - and the Ea­gles suc­cess for the sea­son so far - to the play­ers’ col­lec­tive at­ti­tude.

‘There’s both a phys­i­cal and men­tal tough­ness about this Ea­gles team,’ Mor­rell said.

‘These play­ers are de­ter­mined to win, and now it’s all about keep­ing this mo­men­tum go­ing through­out the sea­son.’

The Gal­way War­riors will try to end the Ea­gles’ un­beaten run, when the sides meet on Sun­day, May 20. The game will kick-off at 2 p.m., and ad­mis­sion is free.

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