The Belfast Trojans kick off their 2019 season this coming Sunday as they take on the University Of Limerick Vikings.
It’s been a long wait for the Trojans since last year’s campaign ended in heart-breaking fashion in Dublin as they lost to the Rebels in July to end the season trophyless.
It’s been three years now since the Trojans were crowned Shamrock Bowl champions and both players and coaches will be champing at the bit to climb back to the top of the mountain once again.
The long trip to Limerick will as usual be a tough test for the Trojans, with the Students looking to re-establish themselves as a powerhouse of Irish American Football.
Significant losses in the squad have led to the Vikings falling down the ladder somewhat, but as their younger players start to gain more experience they will surely once again prove themselves a more than capable outfit.
For the visiting Trojans there has been change at the top with Mark McGrath stepping down as head coach and handing over the reins to veteran quarterback James McKelvey, who transitions into his new role on the sideline.
Much of the Belfast offensive personnel has remained the same, with Mark McVeigh leading the way under centre with arguably the best combination of skill position players in the country in Jona Siri, Neil Graham, Dave Richardson and Tom Morris.
A full season with all those players firing on all cylinders has the potential to put up large numbers and the addition of veteran runner Gareth Millar helps to bolster the backfield.
The Trojan defence continues to grow as plenty of starter return while the offseason recruitment also picked up a number of useful pieces. Off the field, Teddy Canty has stepped in to coach defensive line and his input will be valuable to that group.
Another exciting season is in store then for Belfast’s premier American Football club, with all eyes firmly set on returning to the Shamrock Bowl in early August. Kick off in Limerick is 1.00pm this Sunday 24th March.