AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Vipers coach thrilled by turnout at first ‘try-outs’

COACHES at newly former Irish American Football team ‘Donegal-Derry Vipers’ were ‘thrilled’ by the interest shown in the club after almost 50 people turned out for its first training session.

And as Derry’s first ever American Football team prepare for the beginning of the Irish American Football League next March, Head Coach, Jason Brock is optimistic about the club’s prospects given the standard set at last Sunday’s ‘try-out’.

Almost 50 people turned out for American Football team, Donegal-Derry Vipers first training session.

Almost 50 people turned out for American Football team, Donegal-Derry Vipers first training session.

When club organisers and coaches turned up on a frosty morning to open the gates at the Aileach Football Club in Burnfoot, they were greeted with a queue of cars full of American Football enthusiasts, eager to make the cut for Brock’s squad.

Club founder, Cathal Curran explained how organisers were ‘uplifted’ by the interest shown in the Donegal-Derry Vipers after that encouraging first training session.

“We were more delighted,” said Cathal.”The week before the first session I didn’t sleep much at all, everything was riding on it, and a bit of doubt was creeping in to be honest.

“I wasn’t sure that people would turn up, or worse still, only a handful of people would come. James Fox, (who helped establish the Vipers), was still very confident, however, given the media coverage the club received.

Players are put through their paces by Vipers Head Coach, Jason Brock.

Players are put through their paces by Vipers Head Coach, Jason Brock.

“The article in the ‘Derry Journal’ last week got us another 20 emails alone from prospective players interested in attending.

“We have an active ‘Player Chat’ group set up on ‘Whatsapp’ with 78 people on it and growing, but, as with most clubs that use chat groups, only about 10-15 people would comment on it on a regular basis, usually the people that are the characters in the team.

“I knew they were coming for sure, they were organising lifts and chatting about how excited they were and how much they were looking forward to it.

“Thankfully people turned up in great numbers. In fact, 47 people in total were there to try out and a couple more people came along to watch. It was very uplifting.

“The gates were locked outside the grounds when we pulled in,” he explained. “We could see a couple of cars pulling in behind us but our view was blocked and we couldn’t see what was behind them.
“So when we finally got into the ground and got out of the car, we saw a massive queue of cars down the road pulling in. It made the four months of hard work worthwhile.

“This was the best feeling in the world and of course, it had to be recorded. (You can see the video from the Vipers first training session at www.derryjournal.com)

The session attracted players from both GAA and rugby background and others with a keen interest in American Football and Cathal was surprised by the standard.

“The majority of players were all beginners, although there was a couple of guys with experience, including one man with American links.

“Overall it went fantastically well. Once we got ourselves settled and introductions were completed, Head Coach Jason Brock took the reigns.”

With the first game in the IAFL coming up quickly, coach Brock will be putting together a squad he feels capable of challenging for promotion and he will soon decide on who will occupy the quarterback role.

“Jason’s aim will of course be fulfilling the first fixture and forming a competitive team, not to mention sorting out the prized position of Vipers’ starting quarterback.

“There are a number of people trying out for this position as expected and Jason has said no decision will be made until he has analysed all the footage from our in-house video editing studio over the coming training sessions.”

Tickets on Sale

“We have a Fantastic ticket deal in place for our fans,” added Cathal. “Full access to our three home league fixtures for the 2015 season for only £10 and children U16 go free.

“This will include a complimentary hot dog and a soft drink on arrival for each of the three games. There will also be a great half-time show at each fixture combining dance and song by local performers.

To purchase a Ticket from the club please checkout the details on the club website, www.donegalderryvipers.com