By Chelsea Kemp, Airdrie Echo/Hanna Herald/Strathmore Standard
The Irish stormed in for the first home game in Airdrie, defeating the Parkland Predators 29 to 8.
“It feels good to get our first win of the year,” said Jason Warnock, defensive coach for the team.
The team’s first game of the year in Airdrie was greeted with wind, rain and cold.
“It’s a shame the weather was so bad, I’m hoping the weather will be better for the next one to get the community and the fans to come out,” said Warnock.
The Irish have had a rough start to the season, and are looking to make changes and start winning more games.
The win came after losing their first game 88 to 0 against the Fort McMurray Monarchs and their second game 44 to 10 against the St. Albert Stars.
“The wins will come, but the important part is attracting the right players and creating a long standing program with roots in the community,” said Warnock.
The team is in its third year of expansion in the Alberta Football League (AFL).
As a reality the new team, this is their third season, the Irish face a unique struggle in continuing to grow and build up their success.
“As an expansion team we always have challenges,” said Warnock.
The team is focussed on building of their experiences from last year to begin playing harder and better each game this season.
The team has a plan to improve over the course of the season. They are focused on building the team’s fundamental of play, promoting player culture and actively recruiting more players.
“There are so many aspects to improvement and identifying areas that can be impacted and worked out,” said Warnock, explaining how different aspects will help focus on ensuring that the talent is coached up to match the teams overall goals.
These factors will help the team to better work as a cohesive unit and bring them success on the field.
“You want to do your best and be respectful, while doing your best to win,” said Warnock.
A positive and respectful culture will be critical in the team’s success.
“We have a full coaching staff with lots of experience,” said Warnock
The coaches of the team are going to use their years of knowledge to help the team chase success during the AFL season.
The greatest strength of the team lies in the Irish’s defence and evolving offense. The intense aggressiveness and talent of the defence is making the team major competitors, said Warnock.
“We’re trying to start moving up in the AFL.”