Cill Dara Crusaders 13-39 Trinity College

After seven weeks since the shootout with the UL Vikings, the Crusaders were back in action against Trinity College. Trinity was unbeaten entering the game with the impressive stat of 0 points conceded from their opening three games. They also had not played for seven weeks after their break during the exam period. Both teams were prepared for a fierce battle.

Trinity won the toss and elected to receive. This was justified with an opening drive touchdown, but the XP was pushed left and wide. The Crusaders offence knew they had a difficult task ahead against a thriving defence and wanted to set the tone on their opening drive. QB Jordan Farrell went through the air heavily on the opening drive and found Rob Brown open on multiple throws for huge yardage. Within a handful of plays, the Crusaders found themselves in the redzone. Despite an offensive penalty, Jordan lofted a beautiful throw to his younger brother and trustee receiver Kealan for the home side’s first TD of the day in the right side of the endzone. Running back Luke Carey stepped up to stroke the XP between the uprights to put the Crusaders in front 7-6 early in the 1st.

The score seemed to spark the Trinity side. They managed to quickly cross the whitewash twice further before the conclusion of the opening quarter. The defence must be commended for their efforts following the opening quarter and, in particular, the 2nd quarter. The defence held the Trinity offence scoreless for the quarter, with defensive coach Kyle Dooley coming up with his first interception of the season, which was one of the highlight plays of the day. Kyle had one of his best performances in a Crusader shirt and was a standout in a defence which saw some excellent individual displays from Karl Bracken, Nathan Purcell and Tom Gbenoba, to name but a few. A redzone stop by the defensive just before the half gave the Crusaders the belief that they could build in the 2nd half.

The Crusaders knew they needed to start the 2nd half strongest. After another steady drive to the redzone, the home side looked set to make it a one-score game. However, the offense was undone by a tremendous defensive read in the endzone, who secured their first pick of the day. However, hope was quickly restored on the next play when linebacker Nathan Purcell came up with a fumble recovery (Purcey also claimed an INT during the game), and the offence was back on the field. From this point, the Crusaders indeed witnessed the strengths of the Trinity defence.

Both offences were forced into possession changes, with the Crusaders starting deep inside their half. However, Trinity managed to claim their 2nd interception in a short period, with the defensive back returning a pick 6 for the quarter’s only score.

As the game entered the 4th quarter, there remained a level of belief. This was helped when Luke Carey was able to cap his most robust performance of the season by punching the ball in from 6 yards to add to his 113 scrimmage yards. The run game proved a key asset throughout the day for the Crusaders, with the offensive line creating ample space for all of the running backs to benefit from.

The Crusaders couldn’t add to their total in the final quarter as Trinity scored two further touchdowns. A mention must be given to Thomas Brocklebank and Dan Griffith on the XPs. Both players finished the play with the ball, especially Dan, who ended within the Trinity redzone before being tackled and denied a stunning return.

For the Crusaders final offensive drive, QB2 Sidney Pindi stepped in under centre and showcased his wheels to gain some yards. Expect to see more of him as the season progresses!

It was not to be for the Crusaders in their 3rd game but outside hopes of a playoff spot remain with a showdown with the Donegal Derry Vipers on the final day likely to see the victor advance to the playoffs. Much football must be played before that, however.

Congratulations to Trinity on their victory, and we look forward to the rematch in July. But, for now, the Crusaders will turn their attention to the other undefeated team in Division 1 and a meeting with a familiar foe in Mullingar, Westmeath Minotaurs.

A big thank you for all the support on Sunday, and we hope to see you all in Mullingar on the 19th June.

Captains:
1. QB Jordan Farrell
4. LB Erik Louivere
9. LB Kyle Dooley
17. RB Luke Carey

Defensive MVP: Kyle Dooley
Offensive MVP: Kealan Farrell
Overall MVP: Luke Carey 

#jointhecrusade

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