Welcome to World Footy News Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 04:45 am ACDT

Dublin Eagles swoop on 2004 Ireland Championship

  • Thursday, September 16 2004 @ 02:01 am ACST
  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 3,676
Europe What a big week in world footy! Last weekend saw the premiers decided in many leagues around the planet (see other stories). In Ireland, the Dublin Eagles, dominant all season, have won the 2004 Australian Rules premiership, defeating the Dublin Demons at St Anns Park, Raheny, on Saturday September 11th.

The Eagles lost only one game all season, to the Leeside Lions. As reigning International Cup champions, the Irish league can rightly claim their premiership decider to be a significant event in world Australian Rules football. In the semi-final round, the Eagles defeated the Clare Crows and the Demons knocked off the Leeside Lions in a bit of an upset, after the Lions had defeated them by a big margin during the minor round.

The Grand Final was a tight contest. The Eagles won the toss and kicking with the wind managed to build a lead before the Demons fought back in the second quarter. A steadier just before half time helped the Eagles' cause. The second half saw the Eagles build a lead again, before a late rally by the Demons, who would ultimately rue their inaccurate kicking. With the pressure building, the pace quickened despite tired legs but the Eagles managed to hold on as rain set in, securing their first ARFLI premiership. After a powerful year they were worthy recipients of the John “Locke” O’Sullivan Perpetual trophy. Final scores were Dublin Eagles 12.8 (80) defeated Dublin Demons 9.15 (69)

This year's ARFLI season was the fifth, with the honour roll now showing the record as Dublin Eagles winning one (2004), Dublin Demons two (2000,2001) and the Leeside Lions two (2002,2003). The final placings for 2004 were the Eagles first, Demons second, Leeside third, Clare fourth and the Midland Tigers fifth. Unfortunately the foundation ARFLI club, the Belfast Redbacks, folded part way through the season due to lack of players. The Dublin Demons did not finish the season completely empty-handed, having won the pre-season Outback Super-10s trophy.

Attention will soon turn to the ARFLI structure for 2005. There is talk of implementing an "Aussie quota" to ensure teams have a minimum number of locals - this practice is common in other countries. There is also hope that the league will expand with new teams in Dublin and Galway, and a comeback from the Belfast Redbacks (relocated to Mid-Ulster) and Drogheda Dockers. Of course, a lot of work will have to be done to make this a reality, but it is good to see some positive signs for footy in Ireland. Selection for the national squad (dubbed the Green Machine at the last International Cup) has begun, as has fundraising for the 2005 tournament in Melbourne, Australia. No doubt ARFLI would like to hear from any people or companies that can help with fundraising to ensure the 2002 champions make it back to defend their title.

Below are some shots from the Grand Final. The Dublin Eagles are blue and yellow, and the Demons double blue.