Injuries took their toll as Tullamore Phoenix suffered the heaviest defeat in their history away to UCD on Sunday, bringing an end to their playoff hopes for the 2012 season.
A day that started in farce ended in a heavy defeat for Tullamore Phoenix on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Dublin.
The game, due to kick off at 2pm, didn’t start until 3.30pm as the UCD ambulance – required by Irish American Football League rules – broke down on the way to the ground.
By the time the match did kick off, Tullamore had been in Belfield three and a half hours which goes some way towards accounting for their sluggish performance throughout the game.
The game started brightly for Phoenix with a strong defensive stand on the first drive of the game to force UCD into a three and out. However, Tullamore conceded an unnecessary penalty on their punt return, giving them poor field position.
Starting their first offensive drive deep in their own half and with a rookie offensive line, the pressure soon told as Phoenix conceded a safety on just their third offensive play of the game.
With the momentum of a surprise 2-0 lead behind them, the UCD offence took to the field looking to improve on their 4-4 record from 2011 and soon found themselves 10-0 after their quarterback took advantage of poor Tullamore coverage to find a wide open receiver.
Phoenix found themselves 16-0 down two plays later after QB Erin Kelly threw his first interception of the game while trying to find Aaron Fennally at tight end.
As the game continued, it became clear that the injuries to Tullamore’s offensive line and linebackers were proving a step too far and a clinical UCD offence took advantage, racking up a 50-0 win, the biggest defeat in Tullamore Phoenix history.
The result leaves Phoenix with one win and three loses in four games and out of the playoff hunt.
Speaking after the game, head coach John Judge commented, “Injuries cost us today. We were short on numbers and UCD took advantage of that. The lads who did play did their best but there was nobody to replace them when they got hurt or tired and that’s what cost us.
“If we can get new blood, both playing staff and coaches, we’ve shown that we’ve got more than enough ability to compete at this level. The rebuilding for the 2013 season starts here.” If you are interested in playing or coaching American football, Tullamore Phoenix train each Thursday at 6.30pm and Sunday at 12 noon in Tullamore Rugby Club. Alternatively, John Judge can be contacted on 086-8615689.