A couple of Newtownstewart ‘Warriors’ have helped Ireland retain their Australian Rules Football European Championship.
Victory in the final came even sweeter for 28-year-olds Benny McDevitt and Kevin McSorley, defeating the Great Britain Bulldogs by a solitary point thanks to a goal with only eight seconds left on the clock.
With the sound of the final buzzer, the two elated Tyrone men enjoyed the celebrations after a tough week of competition at the DCU Sportsground in Dublin.
Although the strong favourites heading into the tournament, The Irish Warriors team were pushed all the way throughout the competition.
Benny said they had to “dust away the cobwebs” against the Swedish Elks in their first group game and were delighted to get a win and get off to a positive start.
Then in their next outing against the Denmark Vikings, Ireland went behind by over 30 points after being blown away in the opening stages. It required a strong second half comeback to seal an important win that proved to be a turning point in the competition.
With momentum now going into their final group game, the Irish lads put in a domineering performance against the Croatia Knights, sealing their final spot with a 70-point plus win.
Benny, who was operating in the back line for the Warriors said the final was a tense affair with only five members of the panel who won the trophy the previous season.
The lead exchanged hands throughout in the close encounter, with the GB team going into a five point lead with only a couple of minutes to go.
With a goal needed (worth six points) there was scenes of elation among the Irish team and supporters when Mark Leavy from Mullingar kicked the winning goal moments before the sound of the buzzer.
“It was amazing to be a part of this winning performance,” said Benny. “We left it late, but it was amazing to win the trophy in the end. Four games in seven days was tough but it was great to be involved in the tournament, and help retain the title for Ireland.”