Irish defeated in home opener

Airdrie Irish Wk3

Irish’ defensive back James McNeill returns a punt as the Airdrie Irish lose 44-0 to the Fort McMurray Monarchs (in Edmonton Eskimos jerseys) in Alberta Football League action at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park on Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 in Airdrie, Alta. Britton Ledingham/Airdrie Echo/Postmedia Network

Britton Ledingham – Airdrie Echo – Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Airdrie Irish football team is looking to pick up their first win of the Alberta Football League season.

The club has a 0-3 record so far following a 44-0 loss to the Fort McMurray Monarchs in the home-opener at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park, June 11.

“They have a really strong offence,” said Irish president Matt Squires.

The Monarchs, dressed in borrowed Edmonton Eskimos jerseys following the fires that evacuated residents from Fort McMurray over a month ago, came out charging with Jourdain Alexis scoring a touchdown on the opening kick-off return.

“He’s phenomenal,” said Squires.

The Irish defence kicked into gear holding the Monarchs to 14-0 at halftime.

“I’m really proud of the guys to hold them to the score that they did as long as they did,” said the president of the second-year team that lost to the Monarchs 100-0 on the road last season.

“I think our defence did remarkably well.”

Squires said a couple mental errors and some bad luck let the Monarchs widen the gap.

The Irish were short defensive back Gavin McNutt for the second half with an early third-quarter injury.

The Irish fumbled a kick return, which the Monarchs recovered on the 10-yard line and capitalized with a touchdown.

Irish quarterback Jordan Groves managed the helm in the home-opener.

The team’s two other losses this season were 15-1 to the Lloydminster Vandals, May 28, and 30-17 to the Edmonton Raiders, June 4.

Squires is optimistic and said the Irish had a chance to win the first two if the offence could gel.

The Irish host the Calgary Wolfpack at 3 p.m., June 19.

“Being at home again I think that’s a good opportunity [to win],” said Squires, who is among several veterans of the Wolfpack now on the Irish.

“It will be a fun game.”

George McDougall High School alumnus Doug Robertshaw is on the Wolfpack roster.

The Irish host the St. Albert Stars at 3 p.m., June 25 and the Calgary Gators at 3 p.m., July 9.