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Belfast Trojans claim their fifth Shamrock Bowl

Belfast Trojans celebrate with young fans after their 24-10 win over South Dublin Panthers on Sunday Belfast Trojans celebrate with young fans after their 24-10 win over South Dublin Panthers on Sunday
By David Mohan

BELFAST Trojans claimed their fifth Shamrock Bowl at Energia Park in Dublin on Sunday as they overcame the South Dublin Panthers 24-10.

Trojans got off to the dream start when Tom Morris received the opening kick and took it all the way to the house with Ben Sloan kicking the extra point to make it 7-0.

It would get even better for Belfast as Jona Siri skipped around the Panthers defence to score on a 15-yard run with Sloan again good from the PAT as Trojans went up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Belfast controlled much of the second period, but were unable to get into the endzone as a Sloan field goal on the stroke of half-time left his side 17-0 ahead and well on course for victory.

South Dublin needed a big start to the third quarter and they got it as they picked up huge yardage from a long pass and finished the drive in the corner to bring it back to 17-7.

This gave them momentum and having got the ball back, they drove downfield and kicked a field goal to make it a one-score game heading into the fourth quarter.

It was all to play for and Trojans needed something big to regain control of the game.

They got that as quarterback and Head Coach James McKelvey got in with a QB sneak from the one with the extra point converted to make it 24-10.

Panthers continued to look for a way back, but the Trojans’ D stood up and closed out the game as the Belfast club claimed their first Shamrock Bowl since 2015.

“One score doesn’t change a game,” said McKelvey in reference to the touchdown from the opening kick-off.

“You’ve just got to be who you are and keep going. You could see how much that meant to us when we scored the third touchdown.

“That’s what it’s all about – you’ve got to lead, got to score and do your job. That’s what this year has all been about.

“It’s fantastic as we hadn’t got to the final in three years, so it was great to be back and great to win.”

It has been an excellent season for the Trojans who lost just one game and got back to winning ways, completing the job on Sunday.

While talent will get you so far, McKelvey said they rediscovered the missing ingredient that separates the best from the rest.

“We just got back to our old attitude of working hard this year,” he stressed.

“That’s something that had been missing as I think we just expected to win and didn’t realise it takes hard work to win. That’s the same as any sport.

“It’s great to have won five of these now, but I’d love another one.”

Game MVP, Tom Morris was naturally delighted with the win and even more so that he helped get his team off to the perfect start on the day.

“I didn’t think I had the best game to be honest and some of the defensive guys were great today, but taking the kick-off to the house felt pretty good,” he said.

“There is the history of the four-in-a-row (2012-2015) so we were just striving to get back. There are a bunch of guys who are playing their last season with the team, so a lot of this was to try and do it for them.

“We knew we were one of the best teams in the country, so it was just a matter of making that statement and doing it.”

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