Aug 292013
 
Luke Ivers

Luke Ivers, Matthew Groves, Solomon Peter, Darragh McDonnell. Four Dublin Rhinos, four members of the Ireland U20’s starting defense who were victorious yesterday evening over Canadian team the Greendell Falcons.

Against all odds the young Irish team made up of players under the age of 21 from teams around the country stood together and put on show a performance to be remembered. A performance that will be remembered. For the first time ever an Irish team has defeated a team from North American, no small feat.

Matthew Groves applying pressure to Greendell QB

Matthew Groves applying pressure to Greendell QB

Leading 22-6 going into the half, the Irish team had to hold the Canadian’s off for just 2 quarters of football as the light was fading in Westmanstown. The second half went to the Canadians as they clawed back to within 2 points but ultimately the Irish defense held strong and a 22-20 victory was the result.

Darragh McDonnell (DE), Solomon Peter (DB), Matthew Groves (DB) and Luke Ivers (LB) put in impressive performances for the Rhinos contingent with highlights coming from Luke Ivers and Matthew Groves. Groves constant pressure forced the Greendell QB to turn the ball over numerous times – including an interception to our own Luke Ivers who returned the pick for an Irish touchdown.

Luke Ivers' interception TD

Luke Ivers’ interception TD

Congratulations to our Rhinos for showcasing their talent and proving that they are right up there with the best in the country in their age group.

To become a Rhino and join our young players among the ranks of the best in the country Contact us where you will receive the coaching and experience necessary to become one of the best.

Jun 102013
 

When you lose 38-6 to the undefeated Shamrock Bowl champions at home just 7 days before, travelling to meet them on their own field with less than 20 players does not bode well. Not when they have a squad of 50 anyway. And to add to the difficulty of the game mother nature decided to send out her best weather with the sun beating down on all below.

 

Sunny conditions and a squad light on numbers made for a difficult game

Sunny conditions and a squad light on numbers made for a difficult game

 

But the Rhinos are no strangers to adversity, and the Rhinos are not one to roll over and give up either. And with that they took to the field and forced the Trojans to fight for every yard. The Trojans scored two touchdowns in the first half, one in the air and one on the ground. A third score was added in the second quarter through the air. On the Rhinos next possession quarterback Arun Mooney hit receiver Alex McGuirk for 30 yards through the air on a promising drive, unfortunately the Trojans put a stop to it just after with an interception.

The defense did what it could to slow the Trojans attack

The defense did what it could to slow the Trojans attack

Cornerback Adam Skelly, no stranger to an interception, added the first of his own for the game during the third quarter. He added a second later in the half to add to his impressive tally for the season. But the game continued in the same manner, the Trojans added more scores both on the ground and through the air. The Rhinos made it as difficult they could for the home side but the conditions were not in their favour.

Adam Skelly, interception magnet

Adam Skelly, interception magnet

The final score of 31-0 ends a disappointing season for the Rhinos where they finish at 2-6. After a .500 season in 2012 at 4-4 the Rhinos had hoped for more than a mid table position this year, a year of disappointing results highlighted with a 7-6 win over the Dublin Rebels the Rhinos will now be looking to improve on this years achievements and push for a better standing in 2014.

While the game was lost, the Rhinos were not defeated and will be back stronger in 2014

While the game was lost, the Rhinos were not defeated and will be back stronger in 2014

Jun 032013
 

The Rhinos welcomed the Belfast Trojans to Castleknock college for the first of their back to back games to round out the 2013 regular season. The last time these two sides met the Rhinos pushed the Trojans as close as any team has since the beginning of their unbeaten streak starting in 2012 only losing out on the upset 24-20 after a failed 2 point conversion to tie the game was returned for a score the other way.

 

The defense spent a lot of time on the field today

The defense spent a lot of time on the field today

 

While the Rhinos had hoped for a similar performance against the current Shamrock Bowl champions, with their unbeaten streak standing at 16 IAFL games, it was going to be a lot to ask. The Rhinos were soon to find out that the Trojans had improved on their previous season both on and off the field. Travelling to Dublin with a 50 man strong squad and a balanced run and pass game that leaves every team chasing from behind. The Trojans were able to score early and often and the defense was fighting an uphill battle from the get go.

 

The Trojans came out on top in the trenches against the Rhinos offense

The Trojans came out on top in the trenches against the Rhinos offense

 

The opening Trojans drive left the score at 7-0, followed by a stalled offensive attempt by the Rhinos. The defense stood firm and forced a 4 & out on the Trojans second drive of the game to give a glimmer of hope to the home side. But it was one of the few times the Rhinos defense could stop the Trojans offense. The Trojans offense put up 4 scores in the first half and the Rhinos could not respond. The defense was making the Trojans work for every yard though and nothing was being given up easy. The Rhinos offense could only manage to grind out a handful of first downs in the first half against the Trojans defense.

 

The second half began as the first ended with the Rhinos trading a punt of their own for a score to the Trojans offense. Until cornerback Adam Skelly stepped in and made a play, stepping in front of a Trojans receiver and intercepting the pass before taking it 35 yards to the end zone, untouched thanks to the blocking from the rest of his defense. The point after sailed wide and 6 was all the Rhinos would be posting on the score board today.

 

Adam Skelly on the way to the end zone

Adam Skelly on the way to the end zone

 

The Trojans added another score in the third, and a final in the fourth quarter to round out the final score at 38-6. A solid performance from the champions could not be stopped by the Rhinos which drops them to 2-5 and out of the playoff race for the Shamrock Bowl.

 

 

May 112013
 

Defense was the order of the day, again. With neither teams offense putting any points up during the game, it came down to which defense could out perform their opposite numbers.

 

Defense was the order of the day

Defense was the order of the day

 

After both teams had their initial drives stalled by the opposing defenses, the Rhinos defense stepped up to the plate early. Linebacker Brent Trull pulled down a pass from the Cowboys quarterback and followed his blockers into the endzone, after the point after attempt it was 7-0 to the home Rhinos.

 

With blockers in front, Brent Trull went untouched for 6 points

With blockers in front, Brent Trull went untouched for 6 points

 

Both teams offenses on the day had their share of big plays, mostly on the ground. With both teams moving the chains on occasion through some strong running. It was inconsistent at best for both sides though and amounted to nothing resembling a score. The Cowboys pushed into the Rhinos half and on 3 occasions during the game opted to attempt a field goal. The Rhinos defense blocked 2 of these attempts at the line of scrimmage and the third was unsuccessful.

 

It was the Cowboys offense who came closest to putting a score on the board driving the ball inside the Rhinos 20 yard line late in the 4th quarter but the Rhinos defense held firm and forced the 3rd field goal try out of the Cowboys which was blocked. The Rhinos got the ball back and ran some valuable time off the clock before a favourbale bounce on a punt by Fintan Corr who kicked the ball standing on his own 8 yard line took the ball inside the Cowboys 10 yard line. Time expired as the Cowboys tried to get the ball moving with their backs on their own end zone.

 

QB Jonathan Northcutt narrowly missed Wellington Omorodion deep on this pass

QB Jonathan Northcutt narrowly missed Wellington Omorodion deep on this pass

 

The Rhinos squeezed out a much needed victory to bring their tally to 2-4. With the hopes of playoff football still possible, the Rhinos have the daunting task of playing the undefeated Belfast Trojans back to back next month and need to pull off something special to continue their season.

Apr 292013
 
Rhinos defense ready to launch into action

The second meeting between these two sides this year started as the first had finished. Neither offense could build any momentum, there was a slurry of simple mistakes and penalties which stalled drives and turnovers that led to scores would be the downfall of the Rhinos on this occasion.

 

 

With the defense stopping the Knights opening drive the Rhino’s offense took the field and after gaining a first down a fumble recovered by the defense set the Knights up to put 6 points on the board. A successful point after kick left the score at 7-0 to the home side.

An interception by linebacker Eoin Fox stalled the Knights early in the second quarter. This was followed by an interception of their own for the Knights defense. After a Wellington Omorodion reverse moved the ball up the field, a tipped pass of quarterback Jonathan Northcutt was interecpted by the Knights defensive line. The Rhinos defense stepped up to the challenge of a short field and forced a quick 3 & out to get the ball back to the offense.

 

LB Eoin Fox (86) leading the defense

LB Eoin Fox (86) leading the defense

 

Fuelled by the defenses quick turnover the Rhinos offense stepped back onto the field and on 3rd down quarterback Jonathan Northcutt hit receiver Wellington Omorodion 20 yards downfield who made a defender miss and sprinted down the sideline for a 55 yard touchdown, with the extra point success the score was tied at 7-7 going into the half.

 

Rhinos QB Jonathan Northcutt waiting for the snap

Rhinos QB Jonathan Northcutt waiting for the snap

 

The second half was similar to the first, with turnovers and penalties disrupting the flow of the game. An early drive from the Rhinos with receptions from Alex McGuirk moving the chains fizzled out in Knights territory with a failed 4th down attempt. The Knights put together a solid drive in the 3rd quarter capping it off with a 20 yard run into the endzone capped off with the extra point to put the score at 14-7 to the home side.

The closes the Rhinos could come to equalising the game was on a drive where a 30 yard reception to full back Jeff Scott was called back by a penalty. With luck not on their side today the game finished as a 14-7 loss for the Rhinos leaving them at a troubling 1-4 for the season.

Fullback Jeff Scott had this 30 yard catch and run wiped out by a penalty

Fullback Jeff Scott had this 30 yard catch and run wiped out by a penalty

 

Apr 152013
 

After starting the season 0-3 and just one week removed from a 23-0 beating, the Dublin Rhinos tore up the form book and scored a massive upset over the Dublin Rebels.

After a heavy loss to the Craigavon Cowboys, Head Coach Mark Lawless could have been forgiven for looking at a date with Ireland’s most successful side as a particularly unwelcome fixture.

Instead, the Rhinos, led by first-time starting quarterback Jonny Northcutt, dug deep and withstood everything the Rebels had to throw at them in a thrilling final quarter.

QB Jonny Northcutt on his first start

QB Jonny Northcutt on his first start

The day hadn’t started particularly well for the Rhinos, who ceded possession early in their first drive, then struggled to contain the Rebels running game.

Simon Mackey, who had dominated the February meeting between the sides, picked up where he left off and gashed the Rhinos defence for a rushing touchdown, his third against the men in red this season. Andy Dennehy’s pass was deflected on the two-point conversion, leaving the Rhinos 6-0 down.

RB Robert Pops grinding out yards

RB Robert Pops grinding out yards

Any foreboding or sense of déjà-vu was premature, however, as the Rhinos reacted excellently to the score, clogging the middle of the line and delivering a number of big hits, first Barry Bolton getting to Mackey, then Fintan Corr separating Andrew McMahon and the ball.

Rhinos defense upends RB Mackey

Rhinos defense upends RB Mackey

The impetus created by the defence spurred the offence, and Northcutt on.

The second quarter saw the Rhinos march down the field, with Robert Pops and Shaun Douglas both gaining yards as the wind played havoc with any notion of a passing game developing on either side.

The wind was a huge factor for both teams

The wind was a huge factor for both teams

On a third and eight from the Rebels 22, however, that notion would be exploded.

Northcutt took the snap and retreated, eyes downfield, before arcing a perfect pass over the head of Keith Foster. Alex McGuirk, whose catching chances had been limited throughout the day, showed no signs of rust as he rose spectacularly before bringing the ball in safely in the endzone.

Paul Hosford added the point after, to give the Rhinos a one-point margin at the break.

Rhinos offense first points of the season, enough to seal victory

Rhinos offense first points of the season, enough to seal victory

The second half would become a war of attrition, with penalties pock-marking the game and the tension ratcheted up. The Rhinos defence would force a turnover on downs before a fourth quarter showdown on their own goal line.

With a fourth and goal just inches from the line, the Rebels snap was fumbled and Stephen Byrne gratefully dived on it.

Rhinos defense held firm for 3 quarters after giving up opening quarter TD

Rhinos defense held firm for 3 quarters after giving up opening quarter TD

The Rhinos would punt before having to make another goal line stand with time running out.

Dennehy scrambled for what felt like an eternity, before firing a dart that would fall incomplete as the clock expired and the Rhinos claimed their first-ever win over their cross-town rivals. Final score Rhinos 7 -6 Rebels.

Apr 072013
 
Impressive fair catch by Barry Bolton

The first real away game of the season for the Rhinos started about as bad as it could have, having to stop en route to Craigavon so one of the players could be taken to hospital by ambulance.

Rhinos defense lined up

Rhinos defense lined up

 

The day didn’t get much better. Travelling lighter on numbers than would have liked, a number of players stepped in to unfamiliar positions for the game and the end result somewhat reflects that.

Rhinos defense tackling QB Loughran

Rhinos defense tackling QB Loughran

Offensively it was the third game in a row where the Rhinos failed to score and it was evidently beginning to frustrate the Rhinos players and coaches alike.

Offense ready to run a play

Offense ready to run a play

Defensively it was the second game where 20+ points were given up. For a defense that prides itself on keeping offenses out of the end zone it was a disheartening start to the season.

Impressive fair catch by Barry Bolton

Impressive fair catch by Barry Bolton

There was quite a somber atmosphere on the bus journey back to Dublin, starting the season 0-3, not having put any points on the board in those 3 games and knowing we play the Dublin Rebels again in a weeks time. It was time to reflect on the season so far and dig deep to make sure the slide doesn’t continue.

Mar 032013
 
LB Nick Newby blocked a punt with a sensitive region

What can be said about a 0-2 score line that isn’t immediately obvious?

Rhinos and Knights line up for battle in the trenches

Rhinos and Knights line up for battle in the trenches

The game was all about defense. Both teams defense kept the opposing offense out of the end zone for all 4 quarters. In a game so tight it was the smallest of mistake which would ultimately result in a loss rather than a tie.

 

A blown play resulting in a fumble, playing out of our own end zone the Rhinos fumbled the ball and the Knights recovered it for a safety.

Robert Pops running the ball

Robert Pops running the ball

The 2 points gained from the safety was insurmountable for the Rhinos and a 0-2 loss was the end result. While some may look at the score line and think it was a boring game it wasn’t as bad as it looks. Both defenses performed remarkably, snagging turnovers from the offense at every turn which made it an end to end game – without the scores to show for it.

LB Nick Newby blocked a punt with a sensitive region

LB Nick Newby blocked a punt with a sensitive region

The loss puts the Rhinos at 0-2 for the season, next up Craigavon Cowboys.

Feb 272013
 

The Rhinos were beaten 22-0 at the hands of the Dublin Rebels in both teams opening game of the 2013 season. With a lot of new faces on both sidelines this match up had an air of uncertainty to it. The Rhinos with a new quarterback looked to oust the Rebels with their new running back.

 

The Rebels receiving the ball on the opening kick off straight away put the ball in the hands of running back Simon Mackey, a trend which would develop as the game went on. The Rhinos defense stopped the Rebels offense twice in the first quarter forcing punts, while a penalty on the second punt gave the Rebels an additional first down. This was converted into 6 points when Simon Mackey took a hand off up the middle into the end zone early in the second quarter.

Gavin Barr & Robert Pops making the first tackle of the season

Gavin Barr & Robert Pops making the first tackle of the season

It was the second quarter when the Rhinos stumbled, giving up a second Mackey touchdown on a big play down the sideline. This was followed by a third score on the back of the Rhinos only turnover of the game, this time by Rebels quarterback Andrew Dennehy on a sneak from the goal line.

 

It was clear to see that this was both teams first game of the season, there were mistakes and penalties by both teams which would usually not be seen later in the season but nerves were high and players were anxious to make a big play.

Rhinos Offense ready to take on the Rebels Defense

Rhinos Offense ready to take on the Rebels Defense

There are of course positives which can be taken from the game. The defense kept a clean sheet in 3 of the 4 quarters, while two of the three scores allowed were as a result of a turnover and a penalty. The defense came away with two turnovers, a fumble recovery and yet another interception from cornerback Adam Skelly who has started 2013 as he finished 2012. New quarterback Arun Mooney supported by his offensive line finished the game without taking a sack and showed glimpses of what he is capable of.

Quarterback Arun Mooney in his first game

Quarterback Arun Mooney in his first game

It may not have been enough to win the game but it is a solid first step on a long road to the Shamrock Bowl, one which the Rhinos will fight to bring to Castleknock. The next step is the Carrickfergus Knights who the Rhinos take on in Castleknock College this Sunday, 3rd of March at 1pm. We hope to see you there.

 

Jun 282012
 

THE Dublin Rhinos season came to a shuddering halt at a rainswept Castleknock College at the weekend, as the Carrickfergus Knights came out on the right side of a 7-2 scoreline.

Once again, the Rhinos offence just couldn’t get enough scores to see them over the line as their defence put on an heroic stand.

On a rainy day, with converted wide receiver Sean Power at quarterback, the Rhinos ground game would have to be firing on all cylinders to see off the Knights, having been on the winning side of a 7-3 scoreline up north a fortnight ago.

 

Rhinos Defence held the Knights until the 4th quarter.

Rhinos Defence held the Knights until the 4th quarter.

 

Unfortunately for the home team, that wasn’t the case as the yellow and black defence swarmed everything that was run at them. Robert Pops and Shaun Douglas both made first downs, with Power attempting to break the resistance, but the Spencer McDowell-led Knights defence would hold firm.

A Fintan Corr punt return would put the Rhinos in good field position, but the ensuing field goal effort was blocked.

Fintan Corr returning a punt into Knights territory

Fintan Corr returning a punt into Knights territory

 

As the second half wore on and the spectre of overtime hung in the air, mistakes piled up. Missed kicks from the Rhinos offence were offset by Trojan efforts by their defence. Eoin Fox made the play of the game with a spectacular diving catch, while Adam Skelly also added an interception.

Nick Newby and Stephen Mooney anchored the Rhinos line, stopping the Knights time and again, while Corr, Fox, Dan Breslin and Sam Monson ensured the ball could not move into any dangerous territory.

After a third miss from a field goal, the Knights took over and the rain began to pour. For many, that set the tone of inevitability as the Knights stand-in QB Spencer McDowell hit two huge passes and a QB sneak to take a 7-0 lead.

Adam Skelly snatches the ball away from the intended Knights receiver

Adam Skelly snatches the ball away from the intended Knights receiver

 

The Rhinos would attempt to drive back down the field, but were stopped by a Gary McElkerney interception, which allowed the Knights run the game out. With eight seconds left, they would run a punt back into the endzone, giving the Rhinos a safety, but expiring the clock and setting Carrickfergus up for a semi-final against Limerick this weekend.

After a perfect start to the season against Tullamore, the Rhinos would lose three in a row, scrape a win over the Dublin Dragons, lose against Trinity and finish 4-4 after two wins against Craigavon and Carrickfergus.

The rollercoaster ride ended on Sunday, after a second playoff appearance in the team’s existence. Having lost starting QB Stephen Macken to emigration and his backup Joe Grey to injury, as well as depletions to the linebacking and receiving corps, the Rhinos will rightly be proud of their achievements this year, but will set their sights at a Shamrock Bowl appearance in 2013.

The Rhinos would like to extend our thanks to all our fans who came along to support us over the 2012 season, whatever the weather you were there supporting us and for that we thank you and hope to see you on the sidelines again next year.

Rhinos family and friends brave the weather to show their support.

Rhinos family and friends brave the weather to show their support.