(c) UL Vikings
The University of Limerick Vikings made their international debut in impressive fashion claiming the EFAF Atlantic Cup II narrowly defeating Netherland’s Lelstad Commanders 19-18 on Sunday, June 27 in Belfield, Dublin.
The EFAF Atlantic Cup is the Western European Championship for amateur clubs with the intent in providing teams with gaining international experience and getting used to a higher level of competition. The Challenge Cup provides the same opportunity for teams from countries in Eastern Central Europe.
For three of the four Atlantic Cup participants, this tournament was their first international competition as the Luxembourg Dragons are the only team that played in the 2009 Atlantic Cup. The three other federations nominated different teams – as Brussels Bulls represented Belgium this year, the Vikings qualified for their 2009 Shamrock Bowl victory, and Netherlands selected the Lelstad Commanders to represent their country.
The Atlantic Cup II proved to a thrilling game as the Commanders came out strong and held a 12-3 lead at start of the fourth quarter. Not giving up, the Vikings with the leadership of Quarterback Liam Ryan – who was named 2009 University of Limerick Vikings Offensive Player of the Year – made a heroic comeback with two fourth quarter touchdowns.
The tying touchdown was scored with only 51 seconds remaining and from a drive which saw the Vikings covert a fourth and long with a reception thrown by quarterback Liam Ryan to a receiver down field. Adrian Garvey’s extra point proved to be the winning score.
The Vikings defeated Luxembourg’s Dudelange Dragons 58-14 in the semi-final to earn a spot in the EFAF Atlantic Cup II championship game.
Along with the Vikings three consecutive Irish American Football Shamrock Bowl titles, this victory makes the UL Vikings the first Irish team to win a major International championship.
The Atlantic Cup title earned the University of Limerick Vikings the honor of being ranked as one of the top 20 teams in the EFAF in 2010 being named number 19. The Vikings are the first team to achieve a top 20 ranking since the Dublin Celts in 1990.
This is a remarkable achievement for a team from Ireland considering that EFAF currently has 20 member countries and several hundred clubs.
Watch the EFAF Atlantic Cup II…>
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) would like to honor the University of Limerick Vikings on their success by naming them IFAF.org June Team of the month.