Vikings vs Mavericks:  Division One Championship Game Preview

The University of Limerick Vikings and the Louth Mavericks will square off once more this Sunday, July 9th with the American Football Ireland Division One title on the line. Garryowen RFC in Limerick is the venue and kickoff is scheduled for 2pm. It will be advantage UL who are effectively the home side, and the students will be hoping for a strong turn out of support. The Vikings also have a slight edge in the series, having claiming a close 12-6 victory over the Mavericks the last time these teams met. That particular bout was a tight, defensively focused affair and both sides will be hoping to generate more big plays and points. It was evident from the outset of the season that these teams were destined to clash in the final, and while neither’s path has been straightforward all their hard work has finally paid off. 

After defeat at the hands of the Minoaturs in last year’s Championship game, UL will be out for retribution this weekend. “We set out this year to right the wrong of last year’s devastating loss” Vikings Linebacker Oisin Walsh tells us.  According to Walsh, one victory in particular this season proved to be “pivotal”.  That was the day they went on the road to Castleknock and defeated the Rhinos, despite the weather and their transportation conspiring against them. “That was the moment we knew our ambitions for the season were becoming a reality”. The Vikings bus broke down en route, leaving them temporarily stranded in Roscrea, but they eventually made it to Dublin.  

“Our Semi final against the Rhinos was the first time all season our offense and defense were fully synced. It was a complete performance with both sides of the ball firing on all cylinders, and we hope the same will occur on Sunday”.

For the Mavericks, getting to this point with everyone intact has proven to be a tricky affair. “Our biggest challenge, as with every team at some point, is players getting injured or being away for whatever reason. “ says Mavericks founding player and all around legend Declan Mulvihill. “It is a tough sport and the only way to play is at full speed. Sometimes with all the effort in the world, unfortunate things will happen and players get knocks. We have been very good at filling in the gaps however and our record speaks for itself. “

Mulvihill expects more of the same from the Vikings in the Bowl game, and doesn’t anticipate any offensive fireworks. 

“I don’t think it will be a high scoring affair. Both defenses are top tier. That’s no secret. Both teams have what it takes to win ugly also. It is probably as tight a game to call as you can get in Ireland. That said, I think it will be far from boring to watch. We have enjoyed putting the ball in the air all year and if they try that as well then there will be plenty of excitement”.

Entry to the Division One Championship  game is free of charge, and there will be food, ice cream and entertainment provided! So if you’re out West or in the Limerick area this Sunday, make sure you get down for what is sure to be a great game of American football!

All photos courtesy of @mcilwaine_sports_media

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