Aug 132018

Cowboys 14-16 Rhinos


For the first time ever, the West Dublin Rhinos have their hands on silverware (it’s actually crystal) – but it didn’t come easy.

The Rhinos had to battle back from 14 points down against a Craigavon Cowboys team that looked rampant early on.

Receiving the ball, the Cowboys drove through Andy Herron on the ground and he finished his own move after just three minutes. Marty Dixon’s PAT made it 7-0. 

The Rhinos offence couldn’t answer immediately, but the D began to get to grips with the Cowboys somewhat, with Adam Skelly, Andy Meehan and Junior Groves all making big plays. 

However, it would be the Cowboys who would strike again. This time, Christian Cowan would throw a beautiful rainbow over the coverage of Pat Gahan and Luis Alberto would make a brilliant over the shoulder catch and accelerate to the house.

Backs to the wall, the Rhinos responded. Their next drive would see the offence go the length of the field, with QB and game MVP Paul Richardson lighting up the game with his hard-nosed running, with help from Ian Fanning, Robert Pops Chris Hutchinson and Paddy Roche.

Richardson would finish the drive with a 1-yard run and Paul Hosford’s PAT would cut the deficit to 7. 

A huge defensive stand before the break saw the Cowboys forced into a 3rd and 28 situation, with momentum starting to swing before an elongated half time.

After the break, it would be Richardson who got the Rhinos on the board again. His run, sprung by Hutchinson and David Hosford, would see him break away from despairing Cowboys before crossing the goal line. A botched PAT, however, would leave the Rhinos trailing. 

As the game ticked down, the Rhinos D stiffened and Barry Bolton, Darragh McDonnell and Nico Marrimpoey ensured the Cowboys impressive running game couldn’t chew up too much time. 

That left the Rhinos with the ball and a chance with 5 minutes left. Chewing up ground and getting down to the 11-yard line with 3.15 remaining, the Rhinos had a field goal opportunity. 

This time Bolton’s snap, Pops’ hold and Hosford’s kick were all perfect and the short field goal sailed between the posts to give the Castleknock side their first lead of the game. 

The Rhinos D still had to defend against a Cowboys O capable of scoring on any play – but it took just one play to do that, with Pat Gahan intercepting Cowan’s pass to give the Rhinos the ball on the Cowboys’ 41. 

Richardson would use three downs to gain 10.5 yards and a first down that allowed him kneel out the clock and seal a famous victory.

Thanks go to the Craigavon Cowboys for another spectacular game and to the Wexford Eagles for putting on a brilliant day.

Thanks as always to our sponsors Woolshed Baa & Grill and Health Services Staffs Credit Union Limited.

West Dublin Rhinos – IAFL-1 Champions 2018


(Pics: Nicola Reddy Photography)

 Posted by at 22:15  Comments Off on Rhinos – IAFL-1 champions
Jul 302018

Vipers 8 – 24 Rhinos

THE RHINOS QUALIFIED for the IAFL-1 with a 24-8 victory over the Donegal/Derry Vipers on Sunday.

Travelling to Limavady, the Rhinos knew they would face a hard-hitting, fierce challenge from the IAFL-1 North winners. 

Before the game, head coach Barry Bolton told his side that “big-time players make big-plays in big-time games” – if that was the case, Bolton found big-time players across his squad.

The day could not have started any better for the Rhinos as David Hosford’s opening kick-off was spilled and the Vipers left pinned inside their own 10. A fumbled toss on the first play saw Bolton himself recover the ball, giving the Rhinos offence the ball on the Vipers 6.

It would take just two plays for the Rhinos to find the endzone, as Paddy Roche ran between left tackle Darragh McDonnell and left guard Finlay Dargan for a touchdown. Paul Hosford would tack on the extra to leave the Rhinos 7-0 up with scarcely a minute played.

That hard work from the Rhinos O-line – including Stephen Egan, Eric Fitzgerald, Chris Cullen, Bolton, Paul O’Donnell and Graeme Taylor – would see the unit named game MVP for the Rhinos.

That would be a lead the Rhinos would never relinquish, thanks in no small part to a mean defence that has shipped just 25 points in its last five games. Plays from Pat Noonan, Adam Skelly, Luke Ivers and Brian Martin meant that a strong Vipers running game couldn’t get a foothold in the game. 

The winning Rhinos team.

Skelly would create the next opening for the Rhinos offence after he wrestled the ball from a Vipers runner, allowing Rui Almeida to secure the ball. 

The Rhinos offence wouldn’t be able to capitalise, with Paul Hosford’s field goal drifting wide. 

The end of second quarter would see Skelly create another opening. He was quickest to react to David Hosford’s punt and downed the ball on the Vipers 2. Another solid defensive stand would see the Vipers punting from their own endzone and the Rhinos offence came out with not much time, but good field position.

Strong running from QB Paul Richardson and RBs Ian Fanning and Robert Pops would put the Rhinos just outside the redzone with time running out. That allowed Paul Hosford to hit a 44-yard field goal for a 10-0 half time lead.

Pat Gahan goes low.
Pic: Desmond Loughrey Photography

The Rhinos offence took the field receiving the ball and feeling confident for the second half. Again, Richardson, Pops and Fanning led the way, with David Hosford and Roche adding yards before the QB was able to force himself into the endzone. Hosford again hit the PAT for 17-0. 

The Rhinos D continued to hold fast with Karls McGlynn and Fanning covering the pass along with Gahan and Shane McKeogh adding pressure up front. That pressure would get the ball back for the Rhinos and two massive Richardson runs had them on the 15-yard line as the 4th quarter ebbed away. Richardson would break the line and rush into the endzone for his second TD of the day, with Paul Hosford again adding the PAT for 24-0.

The Rhinos D would be denied a shutout by the Vipers, who have shown this season they can pass on any team in the country. First a long pass was met with a high-point catch a run that McGlynn managed to end at the Rhinos 5. Then, after a number of stuffed runs, a well thrown and excellently caught slant put the Vipers on the board. A sweep for the 2PAT would make it 24-8.

The Vipers would attempt an onside kick, but it bounced into Bolton’s hands and the Rhinos O was able to salt away the ball to cap a brilliant victory.

Paul Richardson has a fist pump as he goes into the endzone.
Pic: Desmond Loughrey

Thanks to the Vipers for the hard-hitting, tough and fair game as well as their brilliant hospitality before and afterwards. After playing each other three times in a year, the Rhinos can say that the Vipers are a wonderful addition to the league both on and off the field. 

Thanks also to our sponsors Health Services Staffs Credit Union Ltd and Woolshed Baa and Grill, as well as those who travelled to watch.

We move on to the IAFL-1 bowl in Gorey on 12 August against the Craigavon Cowboys. 


 Posted by at 17:25  Comments Off on The Rhinos are bowl-bound!
Jun 282018

Rhinos 42-6 Jets

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The Rhinos went to 5-2 and clinched a playoff spot with a win over a tough Antrim Jets side on Sunday.

The win also clinches a first-ever winning season for the club.

In the early going, the defences were on top, with Rhinos MVP Matthew “Junior” Groves dominating from DE, finishing the day with 3 sacks and 3 TFLs.

A phenomenal Jets punt left the Rhinos with an 88-yard field late in the 1st quarter, but strong running from David Hosford, Ian Fanning, Jonny Northcutt and Chris Hutchinson led the home side to the redzone. Penalties, however left the Rhinos with a 3rd and 18 from the 28. The long distance was soon eaten up by QB Ethan Foster, who weaved his way to the endzone.

Foster would soon find Hutchinson through the air to double the lead before half-time.

Foster would add another on the ground right after the break, with the Rhinos D led by Groves, Andy Meehan and Adam Skelly getting the ball back quickly.

That allowed Jimmy English the opportunity to break tackles en route to the endzone.

However, the Jets were not done and a brilliant outside run from Khadhum Hasson found paydirt. A 2PAT was stuffed by the Rhinos D.

Foster had time in the fourth quarter to cap his hat-trick of rushing TDs, before the Rhinos D got the turnover it had been craving.

LB Rui Almeida dropped into coverage and picked off a deep pass and when he turned upfield, a Rhinos convoy ushered him to the endzone for a pick-6. PATs on the day came from Paul Hosford (4) and David Hosford (2).

Thanks to the Jets for a great, clean, enjoyable game and to our officials on the day.

We thank as always our sponsors Health Services Staffs Credit Union Limited and Woolshed Baa & Grill.

Pic: Zaq Wood.


 Posted by at 09:35  Comments Off on Rhinos down Jets to guarantee winning season
May 212018

Rhinos 23 – 21 Cowboys

THE RHINOS IMPROVED to 3-1 on Sunday, coming out narrowly on top of a titanic battle with the Craigavon Cowboys.

With both sides looking to avoid a second loss of the season, this was always going to be tough sledding and it was the Cowboys who started the better of the two, forcing a goal line interception from Rhinos DB Adam Skelly. 

Running back Andy Heron and TE Conrad Smith put the visitors in the redzone, but a stiffening Rhinos D held them to a field goal attempt that drifted wide.

That miss was forgotten soon after, however, as the Cowboys drove through Heron and Smith again, before Jo Buchanan would punch in the TD. A bobbled snap limited the damage to 6, but the Rhinos would only be behind for seconds.

Following the score, Ian Fanning took the kickoff 90 yards to level the game and Paul Hosford added the PAT to put the home side ahead.

Another strong defensive stand put the Rhinos in position to drive, with returning QB Ethan Foster, Jonny Northcutt and Robert Pops leading the charge. In the end, it would be Foster who crossed the plane to make it 14-6 at the half.

After the break, both sides went full on for the win and it was Heron who levelled the game with a massive 50 yard run. Again, the Rhinos would be forced to go to the well.

When they did, they found plenty in reserve as Foster once again found the endzone, scrambling a designed pass home. However, Hosford shanked the PAT wide right.

That opened the door for the Cowboys, who hit a 65-yard pass from Christian Cowan to Anton Nulty that was added to to put the visitors 21-20 ahead with just 4 minutes left. 

The Rhinos needed a long drive and a score and managed to find both. A 4th down conversion by Foster kept the drive alive while Northcutt and Fanning kept the chains moving. Penalties from both sides in the redzone left the Rhinos on the 15 with 5 seconds remaining. 

A perfect snap from Barry Bolton was held by Foster and Hosford knocked the kick through to give the home side the lead.

A clever kick off from David Hosford took time off the clock as the Cowboys were left with 65 yards in 3 seconds. An attempted hook and ladder was snuffed out and the Rhinos took the win.

Next up, we head to Mullingar to take on the Minotaurs in two weeks.


 Posted by at 14:28  Comments Off on Rhinos leave it late to overcome Cowboys
Mar 272018

Rhinos win!

The Rhinos open the 2018 IAFL 1 season with a 27-0 win over the Galway Warriors.

The Rhinos travelled ready to play but found the early going tough on offence.

Luckily the defence was holding it down with MVP LB Paul Richardson recovering a fumble to set up a score from Rhinos QB Ethan Foster. Paul Hosford added the extra.

Another fumble recovery in the second quarter, this time from Karl McGlynn, gave the Rhinos a platform to score again. This time, following hard running from Richardson, it was rookie Chris Hutchinson who got into the end zone.

In the second half, it was the defence who did the scoring. First, Richardson ran back an interception and Hosford added the PAT.

Then, Nico Marrimpoey intercepted a pitch to roll in for another 6. This time it was David Hosford who added the PAT to give the Rhinos the 27-0 win.

The Rhinos return to action on 8 April at home to the North Dublin Pirates.

As always, thanks to our sponsors Woolshed Baa & Grill and Health Services Staffs Credit Union Limited!


 Posted by at 18:31  Comments Off on West Dublin Rhinos (1-0) 27 – Galway Warriors (0-1) 0
Jul 072014

PLAYOFFS! Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs.


That is all that is on Rhino minds right now after a 7-0 victory over the Waterford Wolves secures a 5th place seed into the playoffs and a match up against the UL Vikings on July 20th. Three teams finished with a 3-5 record and battled for 2 wild card positions but the Rhinos held the head to head tie breaker over both those teams and come out on top of the pile.

Oisin Russell-Conway protecting the QB

Oisin Russell-Conway protecting the QB

This game was both a relegation battle and playoff contender for both teams. The win in favour of the Rhinos has cemented the Wolves in the relegation spot after they finish their inaugural SBC season 0-8. The Rhinos victory catapults them towards the playoffs.

Defense pitch a shut out

Defense pitch a shut out

Both teams fought tooth and nail for the victory on the day and both defenses put up performances to remember but it was QB Arun Mooney who broke the deadlock by calling his own number, taking the ball to the pylon and crossing the goal line from inside the 5 to put the home field Rhinos ahead. Paul Hosford dialled up the extra point to round the score to 7-0.

Paul Hosford adding the PAT to the games only score

Paul Hosford adding the PAT to the games only score

A season that started 0-4 was turned around by some hard fought battles and a regular season record of 3-5 is the reward for the Rhinos as they prepare for the third wild card appearance in club history. The Rhinos face the Vikings now on the 20th July at 2pm in the University of Limerick.


The Rhinos would like to extend their thanks to the Wolves and all the spectators on the day who took part in the Rhinos HB Ice Cream Sunday, a whopping €250 was raised in support of Down Syndrome Ireland on the day.


Jun 302014

Two wins in a row has been enough to change the tide of the Rhinos season. After an 0-4 start to the season, pulling the win/loss column back to 2-4 has opened up the prospect of playoff football for the Rhinos.

Playoff football runs right through Trinity, the only undefeated team left in the Shamrock Bowl conference. When the two sides met earlier in the season, Trinity were the victors with a comfortable 27-0 scoreline. Since then not only have they gone undefeated but they also ended a 2 year winning streak belonging to the Belfast Trojans making Trinity the team to beat.

There's no escaping from LB Paul Richardson

There’s no escaping from LB Paul Richardson

No mean feat. And it wasn’t going to be the Rhinos playing spoiler this weekend as Trinity visited the sunny green expanse of Castleknock College rearing to continue the form they have shown all year, and that they did.

A final score of 53-6 to the students says it all. They were able to score seemingly at will as the Rhinos defense struggled to contain the potent Trinity offense who attacked both on the ground and through the air.

Dan Breslin picking up yards

Dan Breslin picking up yards

Dan Breslin stepped in at QB for the injured Arun Mooney and was able to pick up a consolation score in the second half but the damage had been done and Trinity continued to score into the 4th quarter. The quest for the Shamrock Bowl in 2014 certainly involves a match up with Trinity if they continue to perform at this level.

LB Paul Richardson literally knocking guys off their feet

LB Paul Richardson literally knocking guys off their feet

At 2-5 the Rhinos hopes to join Trinity are not yet over. With two wildcard playoff spots on the line and holding the head to head over the two other teams with 3-5 records, the Rhinos can secure a wild card match up against Limerick with a victory over Waterford next week.

Jun 142014

A tale of two halves. More so than usual this time around.

The opening whistle sounded on the 13th of June but the final whistle wasn’t blown until the 13th of July.

Paul Minogue returning the second half kick off

Paul Minogue returning the second half kick off

The first half was played in Carrickfergus on a beautiful June summers day. The Rhinos travelled north fresh on the back of their first victory of the season and looked to continue that, opening the scoring on their first drive with a pass from Arun Mooney to Tom Fanning who had the strength to hold off 2 defenders as he found his way across the goal line from 30 yards out. And in typical Rhinos/Knights fashion the defenses kicked in, and hard too. Neither team would give up much on the ground or in the air and it was the Rhinos touchdown and two point conversion that separated the sides at half time, 8-0. As the first half came to an end, nobody expected the half time would last a full month.

Rhinos offense lining up

Rhinos offense lining up

An injury to one of the Knights players during the first half saw the ambulance in attendance transport the player to hospital. In circumstances like this the game is put on hold until the ambulance returned however in this instance the ambulance could not return. The bizarre situation became more bizarre when the second half was rescheduled to be played out at a neutral venue in the week between the final regular season games and the wild card playoff games.

And so the 13th of July saw both teams travel to Navan to play out the remainder of the game. Both teams were ready for a game and as if it had picked up from where it left off, the stalemate continued. Both teams defenses made big plays when it mattered. The Knights looked most likely to score until Adam Skelly intercepted a pass on the goal line, his first of two on the day.

Far from the sunny shores of Carrickfergus @ Navan RFC

Far from the sunny shores of Carrickfergus @ Navan RFC

With the Knights defense shutting down the Rhinos offense, it was squarely on the shoulders of the defense to keep the Rhinos 8-0 from the first half. And that they did with a stout performance rounded out with a second Adam Skelly interception inside 2 minutes of the fourth quarter allowing the Rhinos to take a knee to conclude the month long game.

Jun 022014

The first half of the season finished with zero wins in the Rhinos W column, something that would have to be remedied fast in the second half or the threat of relegation would be inching closer.

Tom Fanning strides down the field for a big gain

Tom Fanning strides down the field for a big gain

Facing off against the newly promoted Reapers in North Kildare was first up on the menu. A win would not be easy, the Kildare side had three wins already under their belt from the other two newly promoted sides and would be looking for another here to push for the playoffs.

Adam Skelly returns an INT while his D drop players

Adam Skelly returns an INT while his D drop players

The Rhinos started the game the stronger of the two sides. Arun Mooney connected with Tom Fanning and Paul Hosford on a number of occasions in the first half and was accruing big numbers through the air. One of said completions landed the Rhinos on the goal line and Mooney kept it himself crossing the line for the opening 6 points. Hosford completed the kick after the score to push the lead to 7-0.

Robert Pops led by Paul Richardson

Robert Pops led by Paul Richardson

The Reapers fought back however and in the third quarter put up a score of their own, their extra point attempt however was blocked and returned by Adam Skelly for 2 points in the Rhinos favour. The score was now 9-6 to the Rhinos. Both sides defense raised their game in the second half and neither would let in another touchdown, but that was not the end of the scoring.

Rhinos D applying pressure

Rhinos D applying pressure

The Reapers scored next and managed to tie the game at 9 points a piece. This led to an interesting if not nervy fourth quarter where the game could still go either way. With the clock inside 2 minutes and the Rhinos in possession of the ball, victory was in sight. With 21 seconds to go in the game Paul Hosford converted a field goal to give the visiting Rhinos a 12-9 lead which they would hold on to until the final whistle.

The game had no shortage of high flying tackles

The game had no shortage of high flying tackles

The first win of the season for the Rhinos who will now look to build on that performance when visiting the Carrickfergus Knights next.

May 122014

At 0-3 the prospect of playing the 3-0 Shamrock Bowl holders would be daunting to most. But not the Rhinos as a mixture of sunshine, rain and defense was the order of the day.

Rhinos Offense

Rhinos Offense

The first half was a very tight defensive battle. The Trojans were moving the ball but the Rhinos weren’t breaking. The first quarter finished scoreless and the second started the same way until the Trojans drove down to the goal line looking certain to score. A penalty, a tackle for a loss, an incomplete pass, a sack on third down and a blocked field goal on 4th down kept the champions off the board. The Rhinos defense were here to play.

Rhinos D notch a sack

Rhinos D notch a sack

The rain continued to pour down in Castleknock and the damper it got the more the ground game started to open up. The Trojans struck first and score before half time, the two point conversion was stuffed but they would lead 6-0 going into the half.

Rhinos D fighting hard

Rhinos D fighting hard

The Trojans got the ball to open the second half and ran the ball down the field capping the drive with a touchdown and successful point after, 13-0. The third and fourth quarter was played out on the Rhinos goal line with interceptions thrown from the offense and goal line stops made by the defense. The Trojans capped their scoring with an interception returned for a score for their third and final score of the game to make it 19-0.

Dan Breslin giving it everything

Dan Breslin giving it everything

Dan Breslin hauled in a 30 yard pass from Arun Mooney in the fourth quarter which turned out to be more of  a consolation than a comeback as the final whistle blew leaving the scoreline at 19-6. A spirited performance by the Rhinos kept heads held high despite sinking to 0-4 on the season.