O’Conner is still as spry as an Irish mountain yearling. That’s not just a bunch of blarney either.Shamus O’Toole, Special Correspondent to KPGFootball
If you are traveling next week with the Centre Colonels to Ireland to watch or play the game against the University of Limerick Vikings, don’t say the word “football” and think the European listener is envisioning what you envision. Football is an altogether different sport anywhere across the globe apart from America.
That is why football, “American style,” is almost always modified with the descriptor, “American.” That doesn’t mean there is any shortage of players over in Europe unable to play the American form of the game. That doesn’t mean a team from there should be discounted or overlooked.
Centre College flies out the first part of the week to take on the Vikings on the Vikings’ home turf. These Vikings aren’t from Berry College. These Vikings are Irish.
They have a superstar player. His name is Seamus O’Conner.
O’Conner is a bone-fide superstar. He leads an accomplished team.
When Centre College de-boards its plane, they will find a team in the University of Limerick which is a three (3)-time Irish American Football National Champion. They will also encounter the reigning Atlantic Cup Champions.
O’Conner will also be an anomaly of sorts to the Colonel squad. How many stars around the Southern Athletic Association in the NCAA do you suppose sport 20-year former careers as Marines? I wouldn’t think many.
We were able to talk to a University of Limerick “super-fan.” His name is Shamus O’Toole. We asked him why the University goes by the name “Vikings” in Ireland.
O’Toole told KPGFootball, “Limerick was founded by the Vikings around 922 AD. I suppose the name just stuck.”
When asked about O’Conner, he told the magazine, “Seamus is splendid. Thing is, no one who follows the team knows exactly how old Seamus is. Best guess, Seamus is in the neighborhood of 45, but certainly no younger than 40.”
O’Toole continued, “Still, as for Seamus’s play, O’Conner is still as spry as an Irish mountain yearling. That’s not just a bunch of blarney either.”
Overall, and as best as we can tell, the SAA’s premier returning offense will have to deal with a formidable defensive club in the Vikings. The defense has completely shut down opposing offenses thus far this season.
These irishmen are tough, fast, and physical. The Colonels will have to be likewise for this trip to be as rewarding of an experience as those making it hope it to be.
Centre College enters the game with the Vikings, coming off an impressive end of season rout of another Viking squad at Valhalla in Berry, Georgia. Centre jumped out front early against Berry College and coasted in for a 49-27 final margin which wasn’t as close as the final score suggested.
Center ended the ’21 season 8-2 and third place in the always tough SAA. The Colonels return in ’22 with a team largely in-tact and boasting many of the same stars as the players who led them the year prior.
Up front defensively the Colonels return a player in Oliver Hunter who one national college football publication ranked the third best overall defensive lineman in the country in NCAA, Div. III football. Hunter is a kid drawing considerable NFL interest as no fewer than double-digit NFL franchises have expressed interest in attending Hunter’s “pro-day.”
Offensively, All-conference QB, Trentin Dupper returns and he has reliable downfield targets to find in both Christian Billiter and Sam Murray. Look for Scotty Brown to get in on the action early and often.
At the RB position, the Colonels will turn to Will McDaniel to fill the rather large shoes left when last year’s leading rusher and all-conference player, Patrick Edwards, graduated. If the McDaniel name sounds familiar to you, it should.
Former head coaching legend, Joe McDaniel, and his son, Tim (Will’s father), have played significant roles in Centre Football’s burgeoning tradition. Will’s father, Tim, is the school’s all time leading rusher; for now anyway.
Will “little McDaniel” make a run at Dad’s rushing record? Will will (redundancy intended) begin that assault in earnest this coming Fall; or at least that is our magazine’s prediction.
All in all, the Colonels better take this opponent, and this trip, seriously as we are sure the coaching staff has stressed. This won’t be a bunch of “Joe Slappies” the team finds when exiting the tarmac. These Vikings are a championship caliber ball club.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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