The 2022 American Football Ireland regular season has all but come to a close and the playoff matchups are set. It’s been a cracking few months of games, and from the outset we had a pretty good idea of who would end up in contention for a place in this year’s Shamrock Bowl game.
UCD, Dublin Rebels, South Dublin Panthers and the Cork Admirals will all take to the field in just 10 days time to juke it out for a spot in the final. And while the smart money has been on a Rebels/UCD title decider all along, it wouldn’t be wise to discount the others just yet.
Keep reading for our playoff preview and who we think will be lifting the Shamrock Bowl on the first Sunday in August!
Semi Final: Dublin Rebels V South Dublin Panthers
After finishing the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record, the Rebels are primed to carry that momentum into the postseason and a championship run. This one will be a rematch of both teams final regular season game, which saw the Panthers fall on a scoreline of 42 – 13. The 2019 finalists season culminated with a 4-4 record, better than was expected given the departure of their Head Coach halfway through. Grasping the 4th seed in itself is admirable, but we just don’t think the Panther have the juice to cause any problems in this semi final. It’s hard to see any outcome other than a Rebels victory here; they are on a roll and will be very hard to stop.
Gaelic Gridiron Prediction: Rebels win comfortably.
Semi Final: UCD V Cork Admirals
The students shot off to a 6-0 start before being slowed slightly in their last two games. A tight draw away to their semi final opponents in the last week of the regular season sets this one up nicely. Will the 2018 champions find an edge this time around, or will the perennial semi finalists finally make the jump? They pretty much had playoff football locked up at the halfway point of the season, and despite a bumpy conclusion to their regular season slate, should be able to rekindle that spark that drove them to such a dominant start. Alan Lomasney and his Leesiders sit only one game behind UCD, but will they be able to contain the high powered offense when it matters? Arun Mooney & Co outscored opponents by 173 points this season and you can bet they will be firing on all cylinders come July 24th.
Gaelic Gridiron Prediction: UCD, but not by much.
(Predicted) Shamrock Bowl:: Dublin Rebels V UCD
This one has more or less been on the cards since the 2022 season kicked off. The South Dublin sides boast two of the best Quarterbacks in the country, as well as the top rated scoring offenses overall – leading the league in both receiving and rushing touchdowns. We got a sneak peek of a potential Shamrock Bowl tie when these two met back in June. The Rebels relied on a last minute TD to secure a win in that one, but it was a very close and exciting game by all accounts. UCD will be on a mission to assert themselves as the number one team in the country as well seeking their first ever championship game berth and title, but the Rebels momentum may prove to be just too much to overcome again. We can expect an absolute cracker of a high scoring game in this one as the top two teams in the country battle for bragging rights and a chance to lift the coveted Shamrock Bowl trophy.
Gaelic Gridiron Prediction: These two go back and forth but the Rebels have the upper hand and hold on to complete the perfect season.