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Match of the Round

Match of the Round 6/8/16

ARFLI Grand Final – Leeside Lions v Belfast Redbacks

Mardyke Arena, Cork plays host to two of the fiercest rivals in Irish Aussie rules. The Leeside Lions take on the Belfast Redbacks in tomorrow’s Grand Final blockbuster with the Lions playing in their first Grand Final since 2011. The Redbacks are ‘big dance’ specialists, having qualified for their fifth consecutive ARFLI Grand Final.

This past year has been a big one for the ARFLI as a focus on reformation of the structures of the league took to the forefront. The establishment of ‘carnival footy’ has been the major structural change to the league. This saw carnivals held in the home city of each of the four competing league teams with Galway, Cork, Belfast and Dublin hosting carnivals throughout the season.

The Leeside Lions were the first side to lock in their place for the Grand Final having done so on the back of a ‘clean sweep’ – winning 9 from 9 games, a first in Irish League history. The Lions squad has been boosted this year by the large number of players from the local university team, the UCC Bombers. Being the first to qualify gives the Lions a much deserved home advantage which could prove pivotal to the outcome of this game.

The boys from Belfast will be a formidable opponent and could shatter the Lions hopes of a perfect season. They’ve qualified for their fifth straight Grand Final and the experience of playing on that first Saturday in August gives them a massive advantage if the game goes down to the wire. They also have the largest proportion of players in the Irish Warriors squad contesting the AFL Europe Championships the following week so that’s not to be underestimated.

Will the ARFLI be crowning a new champion on Saturday in the form of the youthful Leeside Lions or will it be the experienced and battle-hardened Belfast Redbacks. This one is set to be a ‘corker’ and isn’t to be missed. With the ball up set for 3pm get down to Mardyke Arena for the culmination of the 2016 ARFLI season.

Coach’s thoughts – Leeside Lions, Chris O’Brien

“The game will be won by playing our fast, precise style of footy. Players to watch are our Aussie gun, Matty Moore, and experienced players like Eoin Sull, Ian Sull and Cian Quigley that have been here before with the Lions and the national team on many occasions.

A younger crop of guys who have experience players with the Irish Warriors in various tournaments over the last couple of years, most notably, Muiris Bartley and Conor O’Halloran in IC14. We also have a good crop of youth and experience heading to London representing the national team in a couple of weeks’ time for the AFL Europe Championships.

The feeder club, UCC Bombers, have given the Lions a boost this year not only with players but an exuberance for the game and a sense of freshness to the squad that will hopefully reap benefits in the Grand Final against a tough Redbacks team.

We wouldn’t be where we are without the help of Tadgh from our sponsor, Blockagebusters, his generous contribution has allowed us to book training fields, help with insurance and physio bills, especially in the lead up to the final”

 

Oxford Univesity take on Amsterdam.

Oxford University visited Amsterdam for their end of season tour, bringing with them 15 men and 6 ladies ready for some footy and lots of Amsterdam madness!

 

The main fixture saw a 10-a-side game of 20 minute quarters take place on the Grandstand pitch at SportPark De Eendracht. With a mixed bag of weather, from bitterly cold and windy to crack open the sunscreen. It was clear that the team who made best use of the conditions would be in pole position for the win. The first quarter was an even affair, with neither team really stamping their authority on the game and the Devils, kicking against the wind, taking a slender lead into the first break. In the second quarter things really started to open up for the Devils and they made sure they took advantage of the wind, kicking 7 goals in the quarter and taking a commanding 43 points lead into the main break. From there the game was the Devils to lose. Oxford fought hard in the third term and applied some good pressure in the middle but weren’t able to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard and the Devils lead by 51 points at the three quarter time. During the fourth quarter the Devils kicked with another 7 goals, however Oxford didn’t let them have it completely their own way with some big hits still being laid in the last term. The Devils came out victorious 20.19 (139) to 7.6 (48).

 

Next up was the Mixed Game, with three of the Oxford Ladies donning Devils jerseys for the chance to face off against their team mates. The format was 9-a-side non-contact footy, with each team being joined by six men from the main fixture. This was truly a game of two halves with Oxford racing to a half time lead of 15 points with some great footy on show by the ladies and accurate goal kicking. The Devils turned things around in the second half, showing off their silky skills and took the lead with less than two minutes left on the clock. Oxford then turned on the magic to kick a great team goal and the scores were level with 42 seconds remaining. The clock seemed to slow down (well, at least to the Devils fans on the sidelines) and Oxford were applying some great pressure, the Devils defence doing everything they could to keep Oxford at bay. As the clock ticked, 3, 2, 1 – Oxford couldn’t find a clean enough possession to get a shot on goal and the final siren sounded. The first draw of the season, and what a game it was. Frantic play at the end to get a winner, but to no avail. The final score ended up Amsterdam Devils Mixed 6.6 (42) to Oxford University Mixed 6.6 (42). 

 

After the game we hosted a BBQ with mouth watering burgers, hot dogs and potato salad on offer. This was devoured before a #nofilter photo could be taken unfortunately but the food was definitely enjoyed by one and all. Followed by a presentation for the Best On Ground and Hard Nut from each side in the Men’s fixture and the two Best On Grounds in the mixed fixture (see below for the winners). A mini boat race was the prize for the award winners, with Oxford showing their boat race experience winning by one person, in a three person race. Sensational viewing!  

 

Both teams then headed to Drovers Dog (Dog 3) for a social event that consisted of more drinking games than anyone could keep track of. It was at Dog 3 where Oxford challenged the Devils to an eight person boat race. Chests were puffed out and there were death stares across the table, but none of that mattered as Oxford continued their strong form with another victory by one person. The Devils were clearly gutted but couldn’t take anything away from what was clearly an experienced boat race team! 

 

A fantastic day of footy and socialising was had by all. Look out for the return fixture next season, and the Devils making improvements in their boat race form!

 

Devils BOG: Julian Poole

Devils Hard Nut: Reinier Jacco Maarten Vriend

 

Oxford BOG: Sean Morris

Oxford Hard Nut: Wande McCunn

 

Ladies BOGs: Liz Murray (Devils) & Emma Coulson (Oxford)

 

Written by Neil Cooke for AFL Europe

The University of Sydney is on the ball

In a landmark day for AFL Europe we can announce our inaugural Ball Sponsorship Partner as The University of Sydney. The partnership will see our two internationally growing organisations join forces to take Australia’s national game to schools and universities across the UK and Europe.  There are already a number of exciting joint initiatives in the pipeline and 2014 will also see the University of Sydney having a visual presence on all balls sold and distributed from AFL Europe.

“Having an iconic Australian higher education institution sign up like The University of Sydney is a real vote of confidence that we are heading in the right direction and shows that a world renowned establishment has seen the value of partnering with our vibrant and growing organisation” Ben MacCormack – AFL Europe CEO said.

“We are looking forward to developing some unique concepts to further grow both of our brands in Europe and in particular within high schools and universities. This provides both our members and the wider public the opportunity to discover more about living and studying in an amazing country and city whilst also learning more about our most Australian of sports” MacCormack continued.

The partnership will see ex state league footballer and The University of Sydney’s representative Jack Lawson travel around European schools promoting the university with a football in hand. There will also be a number of joint gala days showcasing the best of the University and AFL Europe.

“The University of Sydney is really excited about this partnership with AFL Europe.  As Australia’s oldest and largest University we pride ourselves on our international student body so it is exciting to team up with an exciting, international organisation that is taking our indigenous game to the world,” Jack Lawson – Recruitment Assistant (Europe) at The University of Sydney explained. “Together we feel we can use our respective strengths and networks to spread the word about the best sport in the world and Higher Education in Australia”, he added, showing no bias whatsoever.

“The synergies between what we are both looking to achieve in Europe were too great to ignore and we couldn’t be happier to have The University of Sydney on board” MacCormack concluded.

Regular joint promotions will be seen throughout 2014.

If you are a teacher or connected to a school and would like your students to experience Australian Football please contact us at john.lawson@sydney.edu.au or tia.bool@afleurope.org