Editor’s Note: Please welcome Sean ‘Gibby’ Gibson to LaxAllStars.com! I met Sean at the MAH in the Czech Republic last year, and we got to talk about Ireland Lacrosse, how box lacrosse is growing over there, and how there was even a fledging Irish Box league. Now Gibby comes over to supply us all with a great update on all their progress.
A Brief History of Irish Box
Irish Indoor lacrosse has been slowly developing for the last several years since 2006. Back then, we had the Dublin Box Lacrosse League (DBLL) and it was fairly successful in terms of introducing the game to Ireland. We then participated in the 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia, marking the nation’s first ever participation in a major international box lacrosse competition.
The DBLL conitnued until 2010, when the league ceased, in order to lay the foundations for the Irish Lacrosse League (National Field League). Once that league stabilized, and riding the success and efforts of our national indoor team in the 2011 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, the National Indoor Lacrosse League (NILL) was reborn out of the ashes of the old DBLL.
Due to the lack of viable indoor facilities, the box game has been modified to a 4v4 set up with fully kited out goalies (thanks mostly to Irish International Goalie Mike Cregan). We play with some minor rule changes to facilite the smaller venue, but the game has blossomed and the intensity seems to grow week on week. Most importantly, it’s great to see the version of indoor lacrosse growing in Ireland.
Last year’s NILL was run over five weeks, with the three teams playing two 30 minute games per night, leading to an eventual league winner.
The 2012 NILL saw the Darkside, led by Irish Internationals Padraig O’Leary, Conor Walsh, and development team player Scott Heisler; narrowly defeat the StormTroopers in the final game of the season. Paul Murran (StormTroopers) took home the honors for league MVP, Tadgh Bolger (StormTroopers) was the defensive MVP, Ciaran Boylan (Darkside) took rookie of the year, and the Thunder’s Sean Gibson captured the league scoring title. That’s me. Awkward.
2013 NILL First Half Update
This year (after a league vote by the players), the league has expanded its schedule to eight weeks, running from January to the end of February, and we are currently four weeks into what is shaping up to a great season of indoor lacrosse here in Ireland. To date, the league has about thirty players involved, split across the three teams, and two full time goalies in Colm Murphy and Daniel Jones.
Week one saw last year’s runners up, the StormTroppers, jump out to an early lead albeit on goal differential. The StormTroopers were led by Michael Kennedy and Cillian Murphy on the scoresheet and despite an early 5-5 draw versus the Darkside, the StormTroopers ran up a 13-3 drubbing of the Thunder. The third game of the evening saw the Thunder losing a close one to the Darkside 4-3.
Week two saw the playing field level out a bit as the players started to settle in with their teams. The StormTroopers were too much to handle for the Thunder, but the gap was closed to a 6-3 win. The Thunder would earn their first point of the season in the second game of the evening drawing 8-8 with the Darkside in a fiercely contested game. Leaving the marquee matchup StormTropper vs Darkside reserved for the late game. It was a see-saw affair which eventually saw Conor Walsh’s Darkside on the recieving end of a 6-5 loss.
Thunder would build on week two’s draw, and newly signed player Sean O’Shawnessy immediately helped out on the offensive end. The Thunder, led by Sean Gibson and Sean O’Shawnessy, pulled off an upset over the league leaders StormTroopers, reversing the result from the previous week, 6-3.Woes would continue for the StormTroopers, as they sputtered out of the blocks in the second game of the night dropping an 8-4 loss to the Darkside who were led by Padraig O’Leary’s four goal performance. In the final game, the Thunder worked a well-balanced offensive attack; with goals coming from O’Shawnessy (4), Gibson(2) Andy Gordon, Richard Blanc, and Conor O’Brien; to defeat the Darkside 9-7 in the late game of the evening. The results levelled things in the table and set-up a great week four.
This week (week four), started out with another one goal game between the StormTroopers and the Darkside. The StormTroopers bounced back (avenging week three’s result) through Michael Kennedy’s hattrick enroute to a 6-5 win. In the second match of the evening, the StormTroopers’s David Lusby and Michael Kennedy each found the scoring touch finding the net three times to lead the Troopers over the Thunder 9-7.
The final game of the evening was yet another one goal game, with the Darkside getting a late goal from James Hearn to come away with a narrow 9-8 victory over the Thunder. The Darkside’s Mark Colgan was on fire potting his first four shots of the game with Padraig O’Leary earning himself a hattrick while the Thunder’s Gibson had four in the loss.
So after four weeks of play, the National Indoor Lacrosse League has seen already been a huge success with the action getting stronger each week. The results at the midpint break see the StormTroopers on 16pts, the Darkside on 11pts, and the Thunder on 7.
We are looking forward to the second half of the season and what twists and turns it may bring. Check back in four weeks when I wrap up the season and announce the league winner. Until then you can always check out the Ireland Lacrosse website at http://www.irelandlacrosse.ie or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ILNILL for results every Wednesday.