Youth League 2019: Cill Dara Crusaders

The fifth team competing in this year’s youth league is one of the originals, only under a different banner. The Cill Dara Crusaders have adopted the previous South Kildare Soldiers Youth Team and hope to emulate the success the Soldiers had at this level. The IAFL 2 club are keen to develop this section of their programme and get their young players some much needed match experience.

How are preparations for the youth season coming along?

“It’s been a slow start for us as we struggled to confirm training grounds, but we are starting to roll now.”

What do you hope to achieve this season?

“This year is about building for the future. We have a team of young rookies who have no experience at all and need to learn the basics. Winning games is important, and we hope to give a challenging experience to everyone we play.”

How important is youth football to your clubs’ overall football programme?

“Youth football is vital to the sport as a whole. Every team should be getting involved. Even if you only have two players, get them onto one of the other teams. Ourselves and the Cowboys have used each other’s players through the years, and it has been of huge benefit.”

What key points do you emphasise to your players?

“Teamwork. Family. Effort.”

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting to play American football?

“Try it out. Try different clubs and find one that suits you. Enjoy the greatest sport I was lucky enough to find. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will find a spot on a football team for you.”

Join The Cill Dara Crusaders

The Crusaders youth team trains from 12pm to 1.30pm at the Newbridge College Grounds on Sundays. They provide the equipment, all you need is boots and a gumshield. Text or call 0879507054, email cilldaracrusaders@gmail.com or message the Cill Dara Crusaders Facebook page for more information.

Youth League 2019: Louth Mavericks

The Louth Mavericks are another new team to the youth league this year, as the IAFL 1 club looks to build on their senior and flag programmes. The Mavericks are based in Dundalk and have been working hard to give 15 to 18 year olds in the area the opportunity to play American football.

How are preparations for the youth season coming along?

“Slowly but surely. As it is our first year developing a youth team, it took a while to get numbers up to where we wanted them to be but now, we’re starting to look ready to take on the league.”

What do you hope to achieve this season?

“The main focus of youth this year is to prepare new players and give them a basis in which they can enter adult football with key skills and techniques, as well as offering something new and different to those who might not have the most experienced sporting backgrounds and skills.”

How important is youth football to your clubs’ overall football programme?

“Recruitment is always a process which takes many forms and our youth team is an important part of that.”

What key points do you emphasise to your players?

“As all coaches should at all levels – we drill the fundamentals. Heads up, safe tackling. The basics of routes. How to block and get off blocks. Things that all football players should know.”

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting to play American football?

“Our advice would be to come on down to a training session. No one knows how to play until they do it and don’t worry about a lack of knowledge or fitness, that’s what the training sessions are for!”

Join The Louth Mavericks

The Mavericks youth team trains from 6pm to 7.30pm at the DKIT fields on Wednesdays. They provide pads and helmets free of charge for all youth members. Text or WhatsApp 0858172974 if you’re interested in joining or message the Louth Mavericks Facebook or Instagram pages.

Youth League 2019: Antrim Jets

The Antrim Jets formed a youth team in 2018 and will compete in the league for the first time when they are one of the hosts for game week 1 next Sunday. It is an exciting time for the IAFL 2 side, having prepared for so long, they are now ready to take on IAFA Youth League.

How are preparations for the youth season coming along?

“The players and coaches are looking forward to it and are eager to see their hard work pay off.”

What do you hope to achieve this season?

“We hope to give the players experience in full contact football and to prepare them for the next step into senior football.”

How important is youth football to your clubs’ overall football programme?

“We feel that youth football is vital as it teaches the fundamentals to the youth players and ensures a steady flow of experienced players into the senior team.”

What key points do you emphasise to your players?

“Play safe, play fair, play hard.  But most importantly, have fun.”

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting to play American football?

“It is the greatest team sport in the world. You’ll make lifelong friends and learn how to be disciplined and a team player.”

Join The Antrim Jets

The Jets youth team trains every Sunday at the Antrim Forum, from 1pm to 3pm.  Players only need boots & gumshield as the team supplies the rest. Contact the Antrim Jets Youth Team Facebook page or email gerrymccabe26@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

 

Youth League 2019: South Dublin Panthers

Next up in our youth team interviews, we chat with 2019 Shamrock Bowl finalists and youth league debutants, the South Dublin Panthers.

How are preparations for the youth season coming along?

“Preparations are coming along great; we have a great bunch of enthusiastic athletes who are all eager to play and learn. This has made training sessions flow really well and allowed the athletes to pick up the fundamentals really quickly.”

What do you hope to achieve this season?

“While winning is always fun, our goal first and foremost is to give our athletes a fun environment to learn the fundamentals of the game. We have a great team of qualified coaches with both Shamrock Bowl and international experience and believe that we can put the athletes the best possible position to allow them to learn, have fun and succeed.”

How important is youth football to your clubs’ overall football programme?

“We all know how much of a niche American football is in Ireland and because of this we believe youth football is not just important to our organisation, but to the sport in Ireland in general. Youth football allows more people to get involved in all areas of the sport, from coaching and playing to watching.

With regards to the Panthers, youth football gives us another avenue to get athletes and coaches on board. It also extends our reach to youth football ages and allows us to give these guys a chance to play football before turning 18.”

What key points do you emphasise to your players?

“First things first we emphasise that the athletes should have fun and have a fun environment to play a great game in. After that we encourage the athletes to work hard and treat themselves and one another with respect. If we can achieve these things, we believe we give the athletes the best opportunity to learn, grow, achieve and have a good time doing so.”

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting to play American football?

“Give it a go! Come along to one session to see if it’s for you. Football is a great sport with positions for people of all shapes and sizes and a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Not to mention it’s immensely fun to play, watch and coach.”

Join The South Dublin Panthers

The Panthers train every Saturday from 12:00 at Garda Rugby Club, Westmanstown. The Panthers provide all equipment needed, all you need is boots and a gum shield. Contact their Facebook page, Instragram (southdublinpanthers) or through their website www.southdublinpanthers.com for more information.

Youth League 2019: Cork Admirals

The 2019 Youth League kicks off in just over a weeks’ time, with a record 7 teams competing. We caught up with last years champions Cork Admirals to find out a bit more about their youth football programme and their preparations for the 2019 season.

How are preparations for the youth season coming along?
“Preparations are going well; the lads are learning fast and picking up the playbook.”

What do you hope to achieve this season?
“What we’d like to achieve is to get all of our youth players to experience the game of football and to increase their knowledge of the game.”

How important is youth football to your club’s overall football programme?
“The youth programme is hugely important to our overall football programme as we have had youth players progress from the youth team to the senior team and contribute straight away for the last three years. We see it as an integral part of our recruitment every year.”

What key points do you emphasise to your players?
“The key points we emphasise to our players are to play safely, support their teammates and enjoy the game.”

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting to play American football?
“I would tell anyone thinking of trying the sport to give it a go & to keep at it, it can take a few training sessions to find your feet & to try as many different positions at possible when starting out. It’s a great team sport.”

Join The Cork Admirals

The Admirals youth team train on Tuesday nights from 7.30pm to 9pm and Sunday from 10am to 1pm at the PBC Sports Grounds in Glasheen. The club will provide helmets & pads for youth players. Contact club president Stuart Donaldson (086 775 2302), head coach Alan Lomasney (086 220 2093) or assistant head coach Conor Linehan (087 661 9774) for more information.

Applications For The 2020 Adult Kitted Season Now Being Accepted

We are now accepting applications for the 2020 Adult Kitted Season. All member teams and those that have expressed an interest in submitting a team for 2020 should have received an email. If you have not received this email, please contact the Commissioner immediately. The deadline for submission of application forms is strictly the 15th October 2019.

EBC 2019 Week 1 Preview

IAFA Flag Football Emeald Bowl Conference 6th season is kicking off today. We thought we’d spend the next few weeks introducing all twelve teams competing for a place in the playoff, a chance to win Emerald Bowl 6 and a shot at being called 2019 National Flag Football Champions. That being said, all twelve teams are made of the best flag football you can get in the country today which is deemed to be this season the most competitive one yet.

The EBC 2019 season will kick off with nine teams and nine games in the People’s Park, Portadown. You can find all fixtures from this page Flag Football | EBC. The nine teams are the Belfast Knights, Belfast Trojans, Craigavon Cowboys, Dublin Bay Raptors, Dublin Rebels, Edenderry Eagles, Louth Mavericks, Meath Bulldogs, Westmeath Minotaurs.

This week, we had the pleasure to chat with team managers and head coaches from three of the teams playing this Saturday. We talked to Robbie Caldwell, head coach of the Louth Mavericks; Ian Shaws, head coach of the Belfast Trojans and Gytis Stankevicius, team manager of the Meath Bulldogs.

Louth mavericks - robbie calwell, HEAD COACH
GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Mavericks

IAFA: Second appearance in the EBC with a close loss in Emerald Bowl 5 to the current and two-time champions, Craigavon Cowboys. Tell us a bit about how this all sunk in and about your preparation for the upcoming EBC 2019 season?

RC: Any loss is hard to take, it was an extremely hard-fought final that could have went either way.

Throughout the season we showed a lot of grit and determination in pursuit of the championship. These season’s preparations have been taken to a new level. We’ve many veterans back as well as some new blood. The intensity and desire from the players to win is greater than ever. Training seasons have been not only modernised, but revolutionised. At this stage, everyone is just raring to get on the field.

IAFA: What is your main goal this season?

RC: The main goal is and always will be to win the Championship.

IAFA: The EBC is now the premier league of Flag Football in Ireland. How did you approach this new season knowing you were going to compete against the best in teams in the country?

RC: Every training session, our Offence comes up against the best Defence in 

blackboard-mavericks

the country and our Defence comes up against the best Offence in country. I firmly believe that we are the best team in the league and come November 2nd, we’ll have proven that.

IAFA: Based on the EBC 2018 season, which of the other EBC 2019 teams do you think will give your team the biggest challenge this season??

RC: That’s an interesting question to ask. We’ve competed against and beat most of this seasons schedule before. The Edenderry Eagles will be an interesting team to come up against. We didn’t get the opportunity to play them last year but they got to the playoff and competed in the Jacksonville Jaguars 7’s tournament, so there must be something there. Aside from that, whoever we’ll meet in the final.

IAFA: What would make your team have the edge over your other EBC competitors?

RC: Our commitment towards excellence. Everyone is striving to be the best player and teammate they can be. We’ve established a culture where everyone is working for each other and for the common goal. We had genuine athletes with high levels of footballing intelligence. A quarterback who can throw Endzone to Endzone. Receivers who will win contested balls time and time again even in double coverage. A blitzer who will be in on quarterbacks in less than 2.5 seconds. Defensive backs who know what opposition players are going to do before they even know themselves.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

RC: Everyone. To select just a few would be a great disservice to the rest of the team. If you take your eyes off one player, they will burn you.

IAFA: The International Federation of American Football, governing body for everything American football internationally, are increasing their focus on making flag football a bigger part of growing American Football on all continents, and therefore IFAF are spending more time and effort in international events and possibly creating a “champions league” of flag football. Would this be something your club would look forward to if you were to be champions this season?

RC: Firstly, when we are champions this season. Absolutely! The opportunity to compete against and beat teams from around the world would be incredible. We’ve developed a style of play that is unrivalled and unique to ourselves. From what I’ve viewed on the international scene, I haven’t seen a team that could match us either. It would be another title that we’re more than happy to take home.

IAFA: With the increased emphasis on having more women involved in playing or managing sport, what are you doing to recruit more female members into your club?

RC: Increasing female participation in the sport is something that the club is committed to. Over the course of the preseason we had five female players. However, unfortunately due to work and other commitments we’re currently down to two. Really, there needs to be a multitude of things done which we are working on. This season we want to highlight the talented female players we have. By showcasing their talents, we would hope that they will help garner the interest of others to participate in the sport. Many of the players are actively trying to encourage the women in their lives to join our American footballing community. We’ve also been in contact with a number of female influencers in the region and are hoping to work closely with them in the future to help boost the profile of the sport.

IAFA: With the newly revamped National Programme kicking off for Flag Football this year, will your focus be a little different than just winning the season this time?

RC: It’s excellent that the National Programme is starting up again. However, winning will always be our main priority. When the national team comes recruiting, we know it’ll have a strong Mavericks presence.

IAFA: For any potential volunteers considering joining an American football team, what roles would you have available?

RC: A videographer and statistics analyst. I’m a big advocate of watching tape from training and games to go back over how everything went in order to see anywhere that that can be further improved. With the help of a videographer and statistics analyst, we’d be able to gather better quality videos and interpret more clearly the effect of each play and the opposing formations.

IAFA: What advice will you give your players before their first game?

RC: I genuinely can’t fully answer that due to the expletive laden and emotional nature of my pregame talks. However, it will generally focus on the greatness of them as a unit, how they have all the skills necessary to beat anyone and a bit of degradation about the opposition.

Belfast Trojans - IAN SHAW, HEAD COACH
EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Trojans

IAFA: Second appearance in the EBC. You were also short of playing in Emerald Bowl 5 last year. Tell us a bit about how this all sunk in and about your preparation for the upcoming EBC 2019 season?

IS: Losing in the wildcard round to a very good Edenderry side was tough to take, as is any playoff loss. It helped put a promising debut season into

perspective; we knew we were capable of making the playoffs and this season’s preparation has been geared around going further this time around.

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

IS: The goal for the upcoming season is to build on last year’s performances and continue our progression as a team. With the talent and effort in this squad, the sky really is the limit.

IAFA: The EBC is now the premier league of Flag Football in Ireland. How did you approach this new season knowing you were going to compete against the best in teams in the country?

IS: Our schedule is definitely a step up

blackboard-trojans

from last season where we were met with a few forfeits. However, our team has improved immensely over the past 18 months. It’s not a fixture list we’ll shy away from – that’s what the EBC should be all about, the best competing against the best..

IAFA: Based on last season records, which of the other EBC 2019 teams do you think will give your team the biggest challenge this season?

IS: Louth Mavericks and UCC are both talented teams with a point to prove having narrowly missed out on Emerald Bowl 5 and playoff respectively. We had the opportunity to see UCD and Dublin Bay Raptors at a gameday last season and they looked dynamic and disciplined enough to give any team problems..

IAFA: What would make your team have the edge over your other EBC competitors?

IS: I can’t really speak for other programmes, but I know our coaching staff and off-field team are among the most committed and determined that I’ve ever had a chance to work alongside.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

IS: We have a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball. We are blessed to have Alex Kusmirek among our ranks, who is widely regarded as one of the best defensive backs in the country – particularly given his recent success as a Shamrock Bowl winner and with the Irish Wolfhounds.

IAFA: The International Federation of American Football, governing body for everything American football internationally, are increasing their focus on making flag football a bigger part of growing American Football on all continents, and therefore IFAF are spending more time and effort in international events and possibly creating a “champions league” of flag football. Would this be something your club would look forward to if you were to be champions this season?

IS: That’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it. Our focus has to be on winning the Bowl before anything that comes after it. That said, I have always been a big fan of the various “Champions Bowls” played across the continent as a way of growing the sport internationally.

IAFA: With the increased emphasis on having more women involved in playing or managing sport, what are you doing to recruit more female members into your club?

IS: We’re arranging some upcoming trial days for female players – keep an eye out on social media! This season has also seen the first ever female Trojan captain in Helen Smyth who is returning after an exciting rookie season. We have also added some new female players to our Trojans 2ndssquad.

IAFA: With the newly revamped National programme kicking off for Flag Football this year, will your focus be a little different than just winning the season this time?

IS: Our players’ focus will be on performing to the best of their ability on a game by game basis. That’s how they’ll be selected for the national team. I’m looking forward to seeing the revamped National Team and think it’s exactly what the sport needs in order to progress to that next level.

IAFA: For any potential volunteers considering joining an American football team, what roles would you have available?

IS: A little bit of anything and everything! Stats takers on gamedays, referees, film crew for recording sessions or even coaching roles within our squads. The only requirement is a love of the game.

IAFA: What advice will you give your team before their first game?

IS: Remember what brought us this far. This is our chance to do something special.

MEATH BULLDOGS - Gytis Stankevicius, Team Manager
EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Bulldogs

IAFA: Second appearance in the EBC. You were also short of making the playoff last year. Tell us a bit about how this all sunk in and about your preparation for the upcoming EBC 2019 season?

GS: Not going to lie, last season we were underprepared. Flag was seen as something to bridge the gap between

the kitted football seasons. As such we struggled to maintain a consistent squad of players with dedicated assignments and well drilled out plays. A lot of things had to be adjusted to on the fly and at times this really showed.

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

GS: This season we hope to lay the foundation for taking the Bulldogs flag football out of the contact team’s shadow. Grow the squad and define a more rigid and robust structure for the team. We are very competitive in nature so winning is always an objective but we’re prioritising establishing a future for the team.

IAFA: The EBC is now the premier league of Flag Football in Ireland. How did you approach this new season knowing you were going to compete against the best teams in the country?

GS: We believe the challenge will only make us a better team. We’ve worked hard both on the strategy as well as the

blackboard-bulldogs

physical aspects of the game and are keen to see what the other teams can do. We know our strengths, but we will not miss out on the opportunity to learn an integrate effective styles of play from any opponent.

IAFA: Based on last season records, which of the other EBC 2019 teams do you think will give your team the biggest challenge this season?

GS: It is really difficult to say, both Trinity College and West Meath Minotaurs were exceedingly tough opponents. I’m sure each and every team on the roster whether competing again or just starting up have been busy preparing and improving so it is hard to call who will be team to watch this year.

IAFA: What would make your team have the edge over your other EBC competitors?

GS: Again, it would be tough to decide as we haven’t yet seen what the other teams have to offer. But I believe we have a versatile squad of talented players able to play on multiple positions both sides of the ball.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

GS: We have made some changes to the line-up since last year with our QB stepping away from the game, Andy Lynch will be filling that position so we’re looking forward to seeing how he holds up. Matthew Clarke and Darragh Hogan have proven themselves as capable receivers on the kitted team so you should keep an eye out for them as well.

IAFA: The International Federation of American Football, governing body for everything American football internationally, are increasing their focus on making flag football a bigger part of growing American Football on all continents, and therefore IFAF are spending more time and effort in international events and possibly creating a “champions league” of flag football. Would this be something your club would look forward to if you were to be champions this season?

GS: Absolutely. Not sure what more to say other than that we would be thrilled to take part in a higher level competition.

IAFA: With the increased emphasis on having more women involved in playing or managing sport, what are you doing to recruit more female members into your club?

GS: Friends and family of the club for the moment. But we do have plans to reach out to clubs and schools to focus our recruitment drives towards female players.

IAFA: With the newly revamped National programme kicking off for Flag Football this year, will your focus be a little different than just winning the season this time?

GS: We are focusing on growing the team and establishing a stronger core of fundamentals.

IAFA: For any potential volunteers considering joining an American football team, what roles would you have available?

GS: We have few roles that we would like to fill such as director of social media and recruitment officer.

IAFA: What advice will you give your team before their first game?

GS: Discipline on both sides of the ball. Follow your assignement. Win or lose as a team.

 

What We Learned from GBC’s Week 1 Games

The set – Portadown, People’s Park – mostly sunny with a comfortable 17°C.

The teams: Belfast Trojans 2nd, Belfast Razorbacks, Cork City Outlaws, Craigavon Cowboys, Downpatrick Saints, Galway Warriors, Louth Mavericks 2nd, South Dublin Panthers, and West Dublin Rhinos.

Four teams, the Cowboys, Outlaws, Panthers and Razorbacks have scored more than average of 35 points per game, with the Razorbacks scoring the most points on the day with a 64-28 win over the Warriors.

Cowboys, Panthers, Razorbacks and Mavericks are all 2-0 to kick off their season with the Cowboys topping the table with a better point difference.

Four teams had a tough start, Warriors, Saints, Rhinos and Trojans but will have a chance to get back into it on October 5th in Castleknock.

All in all, a good kick off for the inaugural season of the Glas Bowl Conference. It will be interesting to see how the top four teams will fair when playing against each other and who will come on top. It would also be good to see if the the 0-2 teams can pull off a come back and make the playoff by season-end. The top six teams at the end of week 4 will be eligible for a playoff birth.

Next up – week 2 games in Castleknock on the 5th of October.

Current Standings

GBC Week 1 Games Results

National Flag Football Programme Gets a Reboot

While the Irish Wolfhounds senior team are travelling for a friendly game against Belgium this weekend and with the Flag Football 2019 seasons kicking off today, we thought it be appropriate to announce the reboot of the National Flag Football programme under the Wolfhounds’ banner.

The Irish National Flag Football programme has had a few spells over the years, with most recent tenures seeing the Irish team travelling to Italy in 2013 to compete in the European championship and in 2016 hosting a few European teams for a friendly tournament.

IAFA has invested a lot of time and personnel in making the National programme a very important factor in the growth of American Football in Ireland and a key element in the development of a competitive national programme. 

To add to that, Flag Football has also been growing organically over the years and is now reaching a wider population making the sport more than just an entertaining passtime but rather a very competitive platform to be part of. IAFA Flag Football officially started over 5 years ago and has seen it pool of teams growing from 8 competing in one league to what is now 25 teams across two leagues.

The  International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is also actively ramping up its initiatives to make Flag Football an international and competitive sports with of these initiative beeing the most recent IFAF European Championships which took place just last week in Israel ans seeing the Danish men’s team and the Spanish women’s team taking their respective trophies.

Finally, and to add to the mix, the Federation of Irish Sport is running it 20×20 campaign to create a cultural shift in our perception of girls and women in sport which will be achieved by increasing visibility of women’s sport.

All that been said, it is our pleasure to announce the rebooting of the Irish National Flag Football programme, or most commonly know as Irish Wolfhounds Flag Football, starting today and this time we will be catering for both an all-female flag football national team alongside an all-male national flag football team. Our objective is to enter both teams in the 2021 European Flag Football Championship and spendng the next 24 months building up two very competitive rosters to take on the best in Europe in 2020 and 2021.

IAFA will soon be announcing the coaching staff who will take on the challenge but the first step will primarly be taking place during the two 2019 running flag football seasons where players (male and female) will scouted to build up a potential list of male and female players to train in 2020. This will be followed by a sets of try outs taking place in early 2020. Both men’s and women’s team will be opened to anyone 16 years and upward.

Whatch this space for further exiting updates on the Wolfhounds Flag Football.

GBC 2019 Week 1 Preview

IAFA Flag Football inaugural Glas Bowl Conference is about to kick off this Saturday. We thought we’d spend the next few weeks introducing all thirteen teams competing for a place in the playoff, a chance to win bowl and a shot at being promoted to the EBC for the 2020 season. That being said, all thirteen teams are either brand new teams or returning teams in need of development to be more competitive.

The GBC 2019 season will kick off with nine teams and nine games in the People’s Park, Portadown. You can find all fixtures from this page Flag Football | GBC. The nine teams are the Belfast Razorbacks, Belfast Trojans 2nd, Cork City Outlaws, Craigavon Cowboys 2nd,  Downpatrick Saints, Galway Warriors, Louth Mavericks 2nd, South Dublin Panthers, West Dublin Rhinos.

This week, we had the pleasure to chat with team managers and head coaches from three of the teams playing this Saturday. We talked to Robert McCann, head coach of the South Dublin Panthers; Niall Quinn, team manager of the Craigavon Cowboys 2nd team, and Aaron Buckley, team manager of the Cork City Outlaws.

SOUTH DUBLIN PANTHERS - Robert McCann, HEAD COACH
GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Panthers

IAFA: You previously competed in the EBC, which is now the premier league of flag football in Ireland, unfortunately your team did not make the cut and have to compete in the newly formed and lower GBC league. How did you take to the news?

RMC: We see it more as an opportunity to build for the future. We have a lot of new players in the squad

and the GBC, which we believe will be just as competitive, is the perfect competition for them to learn and grow.

IAFA: This is the 3rd season your flag team is now competing for, how did you approach your pre-season preparation?

RMC: We have a lot of young guys who have been with the team since the start. We’ve built this year’s team around them and our preparation has been to cater to their strengths. Training has been intense, competitive and fun.

IAFA: What are your goals for the season?

RMC: Here at the Panthers, our flag program is to build for the future, introduce athletes from other sporting backgrounds to American Football, compete and most importantly have fun doing it. Coming off the back of a

blackboard-panthers

historic kitted season, we have built a strong flag team to go out and compete this year. Our goal is to challenge for the division and earn promotion to the EBC.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

RMC: We are a team and every player is an important part of it. Certainly for me the two youngest members of the team, Jack Doyle and Stephen Gillis are two guys who have a bright future in Irish American Football.

IAFA: What other team do you think will provide your biggest challenge?

RMC: The only team we have played before as an organisation is the West Dublin Rhinos so we are looking forward to that match up vs our neighbours. The rest of the league is an unknown right now. We look forward to seeing what they have.

IAFA: Since most teams in the GBC are new or in development, what would you can have your team have the edge over other teams in the GBC?

RMC: Our experience playing some of the top flag football teams in the country is great to have under our belts but we still got to do our jobs and play panthers football. We’re not taking any game for granted.

IAFA: With the newly revived National Flag Football programme kicking off this month, will your focus be a little different than just winning the season?

RMC: I believe we have a team of athletes that can compete at international level. My job is to prepare them for our season, keep them focused and win our games. If they can get noticed by the program and get a call up, that is a bonus. They will earn it in season.

IAFA: Alongside the 20×20 campaign to increase female participation in all sports, IAFA have very much emphasised on having more female involved in playing or managing our sport. How are you considering recruiting more female members for your club?

RMC: We are all about inclusiveness but it’s been tough retaining female members this season. Like with a lot of people, men and women that started training with us at the start of the season, there’s been a couple of clashes with other sports and activities that they are already involved in and they haven’t been able to continue with us. We as a club need to focus more on recruiting women into the sport. We are looking into linking in with the local rugby clubs and running a female only team in 2020.

IAFA: For any potential volunteers considering being involved in American Football, what roles would you have available?

RMC: Our Flag Football programme is on the lookout for one or two assistant. They wouldn’t need any experience to start. It would be great to have a helping hand setting up practices and managing the team. Let the players play and the coaches coach.

IAFA: With the season kicking off this weekend, what last advice will you give your team before their first game?

RMC: There’s incredible talent and chemistry in this team. Things will go our way and some things won’t, just be there for your team mates, enjoy every moment and the w is yours for the taken.

CRAIGAVON COWBOYS 2ND - Niall Quinn, Team Manager
GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Cowboys

IAFA: Your club already has a flag football team competing in the EBC, you have decided to enter a 2nd team in the new GBC league. What is your objective behind this?

NQ: Main goals for the GBC team is to give new members an opportunity to play as much as possible on the field. Our team motto is FUN. We want our

team to have fun playing flag. We try not to take it too serious to make it more enjoyable. Of course we want to win but it’s about building a team bond.

IAFA: Since most teams in the GBC are new or in development, what would make your team have the edge over other teams in the GBC?

NQ: Our experience from playing in the Champions bowl (European competition) and some of the members form last years championship winning team will have a wise eye on the game. Hoping it pays off and new members learn from their experience.

IAFA: What of the other GBC teams do you think will give your team the biggest challenge this season?

NQ: I think all the other teams will give us a good game. We are hoping for a few wins. The biggest challenges will be the Mavericks and Trojans I would think but you never know until the final whistle.

blackboard-cowboys

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

NQ: Our championship winning Quaterback from last year, Ben Fallon, will be heading up our GBC team he will be leading the offence. New team member Neil Maxwell will be quite the eye opener as well as a few un suspecting guys that will be the back bone to our Defence like Jason Duddy

IAFA: With the newly revived National Flag Football programme kicking off this month, will your focus be a little different than just winning the season?

NQ: Yes for the Cowboys it’s about building a team win or loose. Having fun, enjoying the game and learning plays and techniques so that next year they can progress to the A team in EBC.

IAFA: Alongside the 20×20 campaign to increase female participation in all sports, IAFA have very much emphasised on having more female involved in playing or managing our sport. How are you considering recruiting more female members for your club?

NQ: Last year we ran a womens only day wish attracted a good interest. I think this year we will be focusing on Personal trainers and a few other areas to get the word out that this new sport can be very rewarding and woman can be as involved as the men. We have a few plans to run woman only days throughout this season and invite them down to watch a few games.

IAFA: For any potential volunteers considering being involved in American Football, what roles would you have available?

NQ:There is always a need for non playing members to help out with jobs like pitch preparation, video work, and running games and training sessions. Volunteers are a big help to run the back ground work and let the playing team focus on preparing for games.

IAFA: With the season kicking off this weekend, what last advice will you give your team before their first game?

NQ: Have fun! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If your struggling with anything let us know.

CORK CITY OUTLAWS - AARON BUCKLEY, Team Manager
GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Outlaws

IAFA: Inaugural season for your team, tell us a bit about how your team came to be?

AB: We were formed from the ashes of another team last year with a new coach and several new additions

IAFA: What are your goals for the season?

AB: We are going to try and win the league! But as we don’t know what the quality of teams we will face yet, we will first be aiming to reach the playoff and take it from there.

IAFA: How has your team prepared for the upcoming season?

AB: Not as well as we would have liked! As a lot of us in are married with kids and all the time restraints which come with that. However we have trained most of the time twice a week so our basics should hopefully be up to scratch for when the season kicks off.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

AB:Coach and QB Richie Otto has a fast and accurate arm. Also keep an eye out for our new running back Kadar Gyula and his turn of pace.

IAFA: What other team do you think will give you your biggest challenge this season?

blackboard-outlaws

AB: Simply the teams with the most experience, which usually are the flag football teams affiliated with kitted clubs or EBC clubs who have also entered a seconds team (usually long standing flag football organisations).

IAFA: Since most teams in the GBC are new or in development, what would make your team have the edge over other teams in the GBC?

AB: I don’t think we will have too much of an edge to be honest. Our average age is approaching 40 so any advantage we have in experience is counterbalanced by our relative lack of athleticism!

IAFA: What will assure your team meets your goal to reach the playoff?

AB: Staying calm and focused in our upcoming games and doing a hell of a lot more training in the next few months

IAFA: Alongside the 20×20 campaign to increase female participation in all sports, IAFA have very much emphasised on having more female involved in playing or managing our sport. How are you considering recruiting more female members for your club?

AB: Mainly by word of mouth we have been trying to encourage female friends and family to start playing. On our posters and social media we will be making it clear we are open to females too

IAFA: With the newly revived National Flag Football programme kicking off this month, will your focus be a little different than just winning the season?

AB: As a team not really to be honest. We do have a few players with the potential to make the step up but our priorities will be to win each game as they come. If we do that then it will naturally provide the platform for some of our players to shine

IAFA: For any potential volunteers in the Cork area considering joining an American football team, what roles would you have available?

AB: We are always looking to recruit and welcome everyone with open arms. Any volunteer or potential player can find the Outlaws on social media and for sure we will find a way to include them

IAFA: What advice will you give your team before their first game?

AB: Specifically that’s up to the coach on game day. But certainly some advice I would expect us all to heed to would be to go out and enjoy yourselves, be respectful of the opposition and referees. Win or lose, any day you are out throwing a football around is a good day!

Volunteer With An American Football Club

Ever thought about VOLUNTEERING with an American football club?

You don’t have to play to be part of something special. There are many roles available in every club such as coaches, team managers, game day personnel, photographers, videographers, statisticians, graphic design, equipment managers plus many more

Check out our A-Z of clubs and get in contact with your nearest club to get involved:

Thanks to T. McCann and M. Lavery for the photos.

Youth Football: Teams Training Details

The primary purpose of the IAFA Youth Football League is to provide an introduction to the sport and basic skill development of youth players in a fun and safe environment. The Youth League will prepare young players to compete at the senior level.

No prior American Football experience is required. Youth coaches across the league will ensure players receive the proper training to safely and effectively participate in the sport. Many of the sporting skills acquired in traditional mainstream sports of Ireland are transferable to American Football. Even if a player has no previous sporting experience, youth coaches will make sure the player is prepared before stepping onto the pitch.

Age Requirements: Eligible players must have reached 15 years of age to participate in IAFA sanctioned youth competitive games. Players who are 17 on January 1st or later of the current football season year are eligible to play in that year; even after turning 18.

Example #1: Player X turns 18 years old on January 2nd, 2019. Player X is eligible to participate in the 2019 youth football season.

Example #2: Player Y turns 18 years old on December 31st, 2018. Player Y is NOT eligible to participate in the 2019 youth football season. Player Y should participate in senior level football. Senior level’s minimum age is 18.

Antrim Jets
When?
Every Sunday, 11:00 to 13:00
Where?
Antrim Forum Leisure Centre
Equipment Provided
Helmet and Shoulder Pads
Contact Details
Gerry McCabe (Head Coach) - gerrymccabe26@hotmail.co.uk
Belfast Knights
When?
Every Sunday, 10:00 to 12:00
Where?
Shaws Bridge Sports Grounds
Equipment Provided
Helmet and Shoulder Pads
Contact Details
Belfast Knights Facebook Page
Cill Dara Crusaders
Contact the Cill Dara Crusaders Facebook Page for all details.
Cork Admirals
When?
Every Sunday from 10:00
Where?
PBC Sports Grounds
Equipment Provided
Helmet and Shoulder Pads
Contact Details
Cork Admirals Facebook Page
Dublin Rebels
Contact the Dublin Rebels Facebook Page for all details.
Louth Mavericks
When?
Every Saturday, 10:00 to 11:30
Where?
DKIT Campus Sports Grounds
Equipment Provided
Helmet and Shoulder Pads
Contact Details
Iarla Donlon (Youth Team Coach) - 353858172974
South Dublin Panthers
When?
Every Saturday from 12:00 (Starting 31 Aug)
Where?
Westmanstown RFC
Equipment Provided
Helmet and Shoulder Pads
Contact Details
South Dublin Panthers Facebook Page

Shamrock Bowl XXXIII Preview

The main event in the Irish American Football Associations calendar is finally back once again as the Belfast Trojans take on the South Dublin Panthers for the Shamrock Bowl in its 33rd year. This year’s game will take place at Energia Park, Dublin which boasts excellent modern facilities including a 2,500 capacity seated stand, 3G playing surface as well as multiple spectator bars. There will be food vendors on site as well as Football America UKs travelling shop, with plenty of equipment and NFL merchandise to choose from. Corporate.ie will also have their throwing competition, with brilliant prizes on offer.

Belfast Trojans vs South Dublin Panthers

These two teams are well known to each, having faced each other multiple times in recent years. They last played each other on the 9th June in Belfast, where the Trojans came out 26-16 winners. This would be the first of a string of three defeats for the Panthers to end their regular season whilst the Trojans would win out their remaining four games.

The Trojans finished the regular season as second seeds, gaining home field advantage in the semi-final, of which they overcame UCD 14-0 in a rain soaked game at Harlequins RFC. Both defense’s took advantage of the weather, stifling each other’s offenses as both were finding it difficult to establish an air game in the tough conditions. The Trojans eventually broke the deadlock at the end of the second quarter, ironically through a passing play, before going on to score the games only other touchdown in the second half. Trojans head coach James McKelvey was happy with his team’s semi-final performance and is really looking forward to taking to the field at the Shamrock Bowl once again “It’s been a real journey this year for the Trojans after a good start and winning our first two games but then stalling in the next two. As a team we came together and put in a lot of work to finish the season strongly. Versus UCD we came up against a fantastic team who pushed us in every phase of the game and I was delighted with the win. I can’t wait to play at Energia Park and face a team who I have a ton of respect for.”

It would be fair to say that the Panthers were underdogs in their semi-final when they travelled to the 2018 champions and top seeds, the Cork Admirals. The Panthers scored on their first drive via a 50 yard run, before extending their lead to 21-0 going into the fourth quarter. The Admirals got one back but the resolute Panthers ensured that that would be their only score, with the game finishing 21-6 and the Panthers securing their first ever Shamrock Bowl appearance. Panthers head coach Steve Mack was delighted to cause an upset and is confident his team can come out of the Shamrock Bowl as champions “Obviously a lot of positives and great things achieved this season. Club records on both sides of the ball, Ian Cahill and Eoin Neville setting individual team records too. So a lot of positives. Very happy to have built on last year, getting to the semi-final and beating an undefeated team which is really a testament to the talent this squad has and how hard they work. The Trojans are going to be equally as tough. A lot of people who came into the sport when I did knew them as those groups of perfect teams that could not be beaten and our club and our team has tried to emulate in a lot of ways what the Trojans were doing back then. I’m expecting a very tough game. An entertaining game for the neutral and a great advertisement for our sport in Ireland.”

Location: Energia Park, Donnybrook, Dublin

Kick-off: 2pm

Get Your Tickets Here

2019 Key Stats
Trojans
Panthers
Regular Season Record
6-1-1
4-4
Avg Points Scored Per Game
20.2
20.1
Avg Points Conceded Per Game
9.6
16.0
Defensive Shutouts
2
0
Games W/L By 8 or Less Points
2
5
Most Recent Head To Head Results
09 June 2019
Trojans 26-16 Panthers
20 May 2018
Trojans 48-0 Panthers
07 May 2017
Trojans 9-0 Panthers