It looks like IAFA’s record setting growth in recent years is set to continue into 2017 with a new record number of clubs entering teams for the 2017 season.
The application deadline for the 2017 season is now closed. All 22 clubs who played in 2016 are returning again. They will be joined by newcomers Antrim Jets to give the us 23 applicants – breaking last years record number. Additionally three teams have expressed an interest in fielding 2nd teams – up from a single team in 2016. All this means that, pending audit, up to 26 teams could be playing competitive league football in 2017.
IAFA has come a long way from 2002 when only 4 teams played competitive football. As recently as 2009, there were only 7 teams playing competitive 11-a-side full kitted American football. While many sports in Ireland were hit badly by the recession, the IAFA has had the opposite experience with unprecedented growth – the number of teams has nearly quadrupled during this period.
Last month, the IAFA Board established a Competitions Committee comprising of a Board member, official, team manager and a coach to review the league structures for 2017. Cillian Smith, Derek Ward, Barry Kiel and Andy Dennehy will revert with recommendations in the coming weeks.