AFI Madden Championship Games Results 2020

The inaugural AFI Madden Championship Series has come to an end! A total of 62 games were played across the two championships, with 64 players from 22 clubs competing but only 2 could prevail as champions! Here’s what happened in each final.

PS4 Championship Game

In probably one of the best Madden games you will ever see, Jonathan Hedley of the Belfast Knights took on Jahn Dasini of the Cork Admirals. Jonathan started the game on fire and had built up a 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, with most people thinking that this would be a blowout. Jahn then settled into the game and got onto the scoreboard in the second quarter, giving himself a chance as the score at halftime was 17-7 to Jonathan.

Jahn would then continue to build momentum, recovering an onside kick to start the second half and scoring on the resulting drive to bring himself well back into the game. The lead then swapped between the players several times with Jahn having a 35-31 lead with 13 seconds left on the clock. Jonathan then executed what has to be the clutch play of the tournament to score a touchdown and regain the lead with only 8 seconds left on the clock. Jahn was unable to score in the remaining time and the game finished 38-35 to Jonathan who was crowned the inaugural AFI PS4 Madden Champion!

Xbox One Championship Game

The second final of the day saw Darren Quinn of the Donegal/Derry Vipers face James Smyth of the South Dublin Panthers in what was another close game with the lead changing sides on multiple occasions. It was a lively start to the game with Darren getting on the scoreboard first and taking a 14-7 lead into the second quarter, with James adding a field goal in the second quarter to take the score to 14-10. A key point in the game saw Darren sack James QB at the end of the second quarter whilst in Darren’s’ red zone, meaning that time would run out and James getting no points to close the second half, when it was highly likely he would get a 3 points through a field goal. Half time score: 14-10 to Darren.

Undeterred, James came out the second half and scored on the first drive to take the lead. The lead would change several more times. James was chasing the game at 4 points down with less than 2 minutes to go when the play of game saw Darren intercept James at the 50-yard line, effectively ending the game. Darren managed to add another score before the full-time whistle, with the game finishing 35-24 to Darren who was crowned the inaugural AFI Xbox One Madden Champion!

Huge thanks to our two special guest commentators: Gary Sommerville (Paddy Pigskin Podcast) and Chris Simpson (twitch.tv/trumpetmonkey) for the past two weeks – awesome job, the NFL Network will surely be calling soon!

Open Letter from AFI President, Orla McAleese

To our membership,

I wanted to write this open letter to all of you, our members, in light of recent events that occurred inside and outside of our football family.

We are living in strange times; COVID-19 has made us look at how we live and how we go about our daily lives differently, and it is becoming the “new norm”.

It has affected our sport and we are putting the plans in place, with a roadmap, to return to play so you can enjoy football again.

It is a slow process but, like everything we have done as a board over the past three years, it will be done to the best of our abilities, with the outside expertise we need from our sporting partners, and with the greatest ease and safety for you and your clubs.

Over the last few weeks there has been a global movement against racism. As an association we have not responded. I wanted to take my time to think about what I would say but my lack of words has spoken louder than anything I could have said. I have always considered AFI as a progressive and inclusive association and I am proud that our membership is made up of such a diverse group of people.

I have seen so many words, in the past couple of weeks, to explain how people are feeling including statements from departments within our own association. The words I wish to see more the use of are respect when we practice diversity and inclusivity, and integrity in doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

It has become evident to me that we need to be doing more. As an association, we need to reinforce our core values and beliefs, we need to provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who takes part in our sport.

To many it may look like that, as an association, we are not doing anything and are staying silent, but the board has been working together for many weeks to introduce a new diversity project and for that we need your help.

Over the coming weeks, we will be contacting our members to learn about your experiences while participating in the sport. We will be appointing a workgroup to consider the feedback and use those learnings to develop an action plan to ultimately promote and grow respect for diversity within our association, starting within our clubs upward. We want to establish a safe and supportive environment and platform for our members to express their views.

I understand that we need to do better. We, as a national governing body, need to be leaders in setting the standard. Campaigns come and go; social media posts and profiles change daily and there will always be another good cause to support. Our plan for diversity will live on and become part of our association. It will become part of who we are, and we will speak as one voice across the different elements of our association. I call on you all to help us and make it a living reality.

Orla McAleese

President

American Football Ireland

SportNI Safeguarding Children and Young People – Online Workshops Now Available

Sport Northern Ireland have launched their new online version of the Safeguarding Children and Young People course. This will allow Northern Ireland coaches and volunteers to gain the required safeguarding certification they need to coach/volunteer with persons under the age of 18 (flag and youth football). The first dates have just been announced – please find these and further information at http://www.sportni.net/clubs-coaching/safeguarding.

Spaces are limited so if you as a coach or volunteer need this certification, please sign up as soon as possible.

Quick reminder that coaches and volunteers must also be vetted (find out how to here: https://www.americanfootball.ie/governance/vetting/).

Semi-Final Results: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

With 60 games played, only 2 games remain as we are now at the Championship Game stage of both the PS4 and Xbox One series! 64 competitors from 22 clubs started the journey and we have now whittled our way down to only 4 competitors remaining. Here’s what happened at the semi-final stage.

Jonathan Hedley of the Belfast Knights was the first person into the AFI Madden 20 PS4 Championship Game having won 31-14 in the semi-final played last Thursday against Killian O’Loughlin of the MU Hurricanes.

Jahn Dasini of the Cork Admirals then beat Rory O’Dwyer of Trinity College in a nail bitter 31-28 win in the first semi-final game played on Sunday. Watch it again: https://youtu.be/NLf4bj65btQ.

Jonathan and Jahn will go head to head for the PS4 Championship this Sunday at 1pm – watch it live at twitch.tv/americanfootball_ireland.

In the Xbox One championship, James Smyth of the South Dublin Panthers beat Conor O’Neill of the Belfast Trojans in an all field goal affair, winning 12-9 after overtime! Watch it again: https://youtu.be/JtGj04VJruQ.

Darren Quinn of the Donegal/Derry Vipers then beat Ross O’Neill of the Downpatrick Saints in the last semi-final with a full-time score of 24-7, with the score being 0-0 at half time! Watch it again: https://youtu.be/GuWRo7B2qdc.

James will take on Darren for the Xbox One Championship this Sunday at 2pm – watch it live at twitch.tv/americanfootball_ireland.

Huge thanks to our two special guest commentators: Gary Sommerville (facebook.com/paddypigskin) and Chris Simpson (twitch.tv/trumpetmonkey) – it was a highly entertaining afternoon and we can’t wait to do it all again this Sunday!

Statements Of Intent (Flag & Youth)

A reminder to all clubs that statements of intent (non-binding) to compete in the 2020 flag and/or youth seasons should be sent to AFI by the deadlines set below:

  • For flag football, by 8pm on Thursday 18th June. This should be sent to robbie_ca@americanfootball.ie
  • For youth football, by 8pm on Monday 22nd June. This should be sent to bill@americanfootball.ie

Start A Flag Football Team

Have you ever thought of starting your own American football club? Perhaps you are part of a club that doesn’t yet have a flag football team? Starting a flag football team is relatively simple which can reap huge benefits – this article will tell you the fundamentals of starting a flag football team.

Why Start A Flag Football Team?

Flag football is one of the most fun and challenging non-contact sports there is. It is similar to tag rugby – rather than a physical tackle, the players flag (tag) must be pulled which signals a tackle. This therefore takes the physical side of football out and focuses more on skill.

For a new club, it is a cost-effective way to play competitive football as well as an excellent starting block for developing the club – this could be to build the flag football programme and introduce more flag football teams (second team etc) or to develop the club and introduce a kitted team – there is a huge scope of development opportunities!

For established clubs, adding a flag football team to your club can attract more members as it appeals to a wider audience as well as provide a way for your club members to stay engaged in football during the kitted off season. It is also an excellent opportunity to introduce new people to the sport, who then build on the fundamentals they learn in flag football which allows them to feel more comfortable if they decide to try kitted football.

Finally, flag football is a sport for all. The AFI leagues allow for males and females aged 16+ to play, and with the Irish Wolfhounds flag programme being rebooted, there is even the chance to represent Ireland!

What Is Needed To Start A Flag Football Team?

What makes a club is the people behind it. For new clubs, we recommend assigning a chairperson, a treasurer, and a secretary at a minimum to help with the functions of the club. A head coach will need to be appointed at a very minimum whilst we also encourage other coaches to be assigned e.g. offensive co-ordinator, defensive co-ordinator. AFI provide coaching courses throughout the year that will allow coaches to gain certification. Volunteers are always great to have in positions such as videographers (for game review and see where to improve on) and photographers (to help with your social media presence). When it comes to players, we would recommend having game day squads of at least 10 players – flag football in Ireland is played 5v5. This allows for substitutions in instances of injury etc.

Equipment wise, you will need footballs, flags and cones (of which our partners at Football America UK sell starter packs) at a minimum. For competitive matches, all players will need jerseys that are of the same colour and style and which have numbers. Shorts with no pockets are also mandatory (to reduce the chance of injury).

Who Do I Contact For More Information?

Contact the Director of Flag Football Robbie Caldwell at robbie_ca@americanfootball.ie.

Quarter Final Results: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

We are one step closer to declaring champions as the quarter final stage has now been completed! Well done to Jonathan Hedley of the Belfast Knights who scored the most points in this round as well as in the entire championship series so far with 87. Jonathan and Killian O’Loughlin of the MU Hurricanes both won by the largest margin in this round with 52 whilst Killian, along with Ross O’Neill of the Downpatrick Saints, put on defensive masterclasses and didn’t allow their opponents to score a single point.

Be sure to follow us on Twitch (twitch.tv/americanfootball_ireland) to catch the live streams of the games!

At this stage of the tournament, only 8 clubs remain represented, each with 1 competitor left. The quarter finals saw the UL Vikings and West Dublin Rhinos bow out of the championships.

Now we enter the semi final stage, which will take place between 1pm and 5pm this Sunday (14th June). See below the match-ups for each championship!

Special Guest Commentators: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

We are delighted to announce our special guest commentators for both the semi-finals and finals of the 2020 AFI Madden Championship Series!

Gary Sommerville
Gary is a former Dublin Rebel who now lives in Boston, USA. You may recognize his voice during commentary as he is the host of two podcasts; Paddy Pigskin which discusses all things football on both sides of the pond, and Barstool Biology which breaks down popular scientific topics over a beer with experts in their field.

Chris Simpson
Chris is also a former Dublin Rebel who is now a Partnered Twitch Streamer with over 10,000 followers on his channel twitch.tv/trumpetmonkey. Chris is also an EA Gamechanger and reigning Twitch Rivals Madden Superstar KO Champion!

Gary and Chris will be providing live commentary on the matches as well as chatting to players pre and post-match. Thanks to Gary and Chris for coming onboard, we can’t wait!

Round 2 Results: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

Round 2 saw 32 competitors fall to 16 across the two championships, with a wide array of score lines! Well done to Rory O’Dwyer of Trinity College who scored the most points with 65, to Killian O’Loughlin of the MU Hurricanes who won by the largest margin with 49 and to Chris McCallum (Belfast Trojans) and James Smyth (South Dublin Panthers) who shut out their opponents.

Be sure to follow us on Twitch (twitch.tv/americanfootball_ireland) to catch the live streams of the games!

Playstation 4 Round 2 Results
Club Name Score Name Club
UCC Raiders James O’Driscol  14-63 Killian O'Loughlin MU Hurricanes
Trinity College Eoin Maguire 41-28 Eoin Hughes Craigavon Cowboys
Cork Admirals James Hogan 17-14 Nathan Hearty Louth Mavericks
Dublin Rebels Wello Omo 37-65 Rory O'Dwyer Trinity College
Galway Warriors Johannes Ritter 14-30 Jahn Dasini Cork Admirals
Belfast Knights Jonathan Hedley 30-7 Padraig Fitzsimons Downpatrick Saints
Donegal/Derry Vipers Mike Naulty 38-24 Alan Campbell MU Hurricanes
West Dublin Rhinos Pat Gahan 21-10 Ryan Eccles South Dublin Panthers
Xbox One Round 2 Results
Club Name Score Name Club
South Dublin Panthers Matthew O'Meara 28-9 Karl Fanning West Dublin Rhinos
Belfast Trojans Conor O'Neill 23-8 Daniel Noctor Wexford Eagles
MU Hurricanes Aidan Ryan 7-35 Jamie O'Brien UL Vikings
Craigavon Cowboys Peter Loughran 0-9 Chris McCallum Belfast Trojans
Belfast Knights Paul Crothers 0-27 James Smyth South Dublin Panthers
MU Hurricanes Luke McIntyre 24-13 Peter Phillips Causeway Giants
Louth Mavericks Jack Compton  10-33 Ross O’Neill  Downpatrick Saints
Donegal/Derry Vipers Darren Quinn 43-13 Anthony Morris NI Razorbacks

At this stage of the tournament, only Trinity College has managed to retain their initial competitors, with both making it through to the quarter finals. We bid farewell to a further 8 clubs in round 2, meaning that only 10 of the initial 22 clubs remain represented across the two championships.

Club Round 1* Round 2* Quarter Finals*
Antrim Jets 1 0  
Belfast Knights 3 2 1
Belfast Trojans 4 2 2
Causeway Giants 3 1 0
Cill Dara Crusaders 4 0  
Cork Admirals 3 2 2
Cork City Outlaws 2 0  
Craigavon Cowboys 4 2 0
Donegal/Derry Vipers 4 2 2
Downpatrick Saints 3 2 1
Dublin Rebels 3 1 0
Galway Warriors 2 1 0
Louth Mavericks 4 2 0
MU Hurricanes 4 4 1
NI Razorbacks 1 1 0
North Dublin Pirates 3 0  
South Dublin Panthers 3 3 2
Trinity College 2 2 2
UCC Raiders 3 1 0
UL Vikings 4 1 1
West Dublin Rhinos 2 2 1
Wexford Eagles 2 1 0
*Competitors

The draw for the quarter finals of both championships will take place at 9pm tomorrow night (Wednesday 3rd June 2020) on our Facebook page.

Round 1 Results: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

What a round one we were treated to as 64 competitors became 32 across the two championships! Well done to Jack Compton of the Louth Mavericks who scored the most points (77) and won by the largest margin (56 points) and to Padraig Fitzsimons (Downpatrick Saints), Jahn Dasini (Cork Admirals) and Luke McIntyre (MU Hurricanes) who shut out their opponents.

Playstation 4 Round 1 Results
Club Name Score Name Club
Trinity College Eoin Maguire 33-22 Aidan Clarke Cill Dara Crusaders
Galway Warriors Colin O'Halloren 7-22 Nathan Hearty Louth Mavericks
West Dublin Rhinos Pat Gahan 33-10 Karl Tizzard Donegal/Derry Vipers
South Dublin Panthers Ryan Eccles 49-10 Pat Travers Cill Dara Crusaders
MU Hurricanes Alan Campbell 54-21 Rob Caldwell Louth Mavericks
Downpatrick Saints Padraig Fitzsimons 24-0 Ross McKenzie Causeway Giants
Causeway Giants Adam Wilson 29-36 James Hogan Cork Admirals
Belfast Trojans John McGinnis 14-38 Rory O'Dwyer Trinity College
Wexford Eagles Michael Hasset 10-28 Johannes Ritter Galway Warriors
North Dublin Pirates Shane Greaney 17-45 Mike Naulty Donegal/Derry Vipers
Craigavon Cowboys Neil Maxwell 3-42 Wello Omo Dublin Rebels
Belfast Knights Jonathan Hedley 40-7 Danny Quilter UL Vikings
Craigavon Cowboys Eoin Hughes 21-19 Niall Houlihan UL Vikings
North Dublin Pirates Daragh Maher 0-17 Jahn Dasini Cork Admirals
Belfast Trojans Max Hardy 24-38 James O’Driscol  UCC Raiders
MU Hurricanes Killian O'Loughlin 28-10 Peter Murphy UCC Raiders
Xbox One Round 1 Results
Club Name Score Name Club
Donegal/Derry Vipers Darren Quinn 17-13 Liam Ryan UL Vikings
Antrim Jets Odhran McCool 20-43 Matthew O'Meara South Dublin Panthers
Louth Mavericks Declan Mulvihill 14-23 Daniel Noctor Wexford Eagles
NI Razorbacks Anthony Morris 22-7 Callum McCurry Donegal/Derry Vipers
Cork City Outlaws Wolf Gallagher 24-30 Paul Crothers Belfast Knights
Cork City Outlaws Ronan McAleenan 10-24 Peter Phillips Causeway Giants
Cork Admirals Ayo Mumuni 3-19 James Smyth South Dublin Panthers
Cill Dara Crusaders Paul Furlong 21-77 Jack Compton  Louth Mavericks
West Dublin Rhinos Karl Fanning 44-14 Ben Prizemam UCC Raiders
Craigavon Cowboys David McMichael 14-27 Jamie O'Brien UL Vikings
Downpatrick Saints Darren Rooney  17-27 Aidan Ryan MU Hurricanes
Dublin Rebels Ross McCooey 6-45 Conor O'Neill Belfast Trojans
Belfast Knights William Boal 11-47 Chris McCallum Belfast Trojans
North Dublin Pirates Darragh Lyons 21-28 Peter Loughran Craigavon Cowboys
Cill Dara Crusaders Jordan Farrell 6-31 Ross O’Neill  Downpatrick Saints
MU Hurricanes Luke McIntyre 38-0 David King Dublin Rebels

Credit to the MU Hurricanes who were the most successful, with all 4 of their competitors making it through to round two, whilst the South Dublin Panthers saw their 3 entrants make it through also.

Out of the 22 clubs represented in round one, there will only be 18 represented in round two with the Cill Dara Crusaders taking the worst blow, losing all 4 of their competitors whilst the North Dublin Pirates lost all 3 of their competitors.

Club Round 1* Round 2*
Antrim Jets 1 0
Belfast Knights 3 2
Belfast Trojans 4 2
Causeway Giants 3 1
Cill Dara Crusaders 4 0
Cork Admirals 3 2
Cork City Outlaws 2 0
Craigavon Cowboys 4 2
Donegal/Derry Vipers 4 2
Downpatrick Saints 3 2
Dublin Rebels 3 1
Galway Warriors 2 1
Louth Mavericks 4 2
MU Hurricanes 4 4
NI Razorbacks 1 1
North Dublin Pirates 3 0
South Dublin Panthers 3 3
Trinity College 2 2
UCC Raiders 3 1
UL Vikings 4 1
West Dublin Rhinos 2 2
Wexford Eagles 2 1
*Competitors

The draw for round two of both championships will take place at 9pm tomorrow night (Wednesday 27th May 2020) on our Facebook page.

Coaching Course: Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity

AFI is delighted to inform you that through UK Coaching, coaches can access the online course ‘Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity’ for free!

Usually £18, the course is accessible via the organisation’s learning and development platform and will remain free of charge until the 31 August 2020.

The mental health of the population is being challenged during this isolating time. Through this course, coaches will be able to increase their knowledge of mental health, and confidence when applying the learning into their coaching practice.

Specifically, learners will be able to:

  • Welcome and support people living with mental health problems in their sport and physical activity sessions
  • Increase their knowledge of mental health problems
  • Apply the learning in their coaching practice
  • Make their club or organisation more inclusive.

All you need to do is click here where you will be able to purchase the course for free.

AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

American Football Ireland is delighted to announce the first AFI Madden Championship Series! There will be two championships in this series – one for PlayStation 4 players and one for Xbox One players, with Madden 20 as the chosen version of the game on both platforms. The winner of each championship will receive a €50 voucher!

Please note: this is open to AFI members only, not the general public.

How will it work?

AFI member clubs will hold their own internal club tournaments to decide a club champion for each platform (i.e. PlayStation and Xbox). The club champions will move on to the AFI Madden Championship Series, where they will face champions from other clubs in a knockout format.

We also ask for a runner up to be provided for each platform from each club, who may also make it to the AFI Madden Championship Series, depending on the number of club champions we receive. Should runners up be required, they will be selected by random draw.

The AFI Madden Championship Series will be managed by AFI and a live draw for each round will take place on Facebook. Players will then have 3 days to arrange a day and time to play and also to play the game. For example, if the draw takes place at 8pm on a Wednesday, the players will then have until 9pm Saturday of the same week to play the game – it is up to the players to arrange the game between themselves. The final will be a day and time agreed by AFI and both players.

What do we do next?

Every club administrator has been contacted by email with further information – please check your junk/spam folder if it does not appear in your inbox. Clubs will each devise their own way of determining a club champion and runner up – details of club champions and runners up must be sent to AFI no later than 6pm on Wednesday 20th May 2020. Failure to return the form by then will result in your club not participating in the championship series – late returns will also not be accepted. The live draw for the first round will take place at 9pm on Wednesday 20th May 2020.

The below is an initial list of championship series rules to help you complete your internal club competitions. AFI reserves to right the amend/remove/add to these rules.

Match Rules

We will be using the following rules when the championship series begins, so we recommend that you also use the same:

  • Fatigue: On
  • Injuries: Off
  • Even Teams: Off
  • Quarter Length: 6 Min.
  • Game Skill: All-Pro
  • Accelerated Clock: 20 Sec
  • Weather: Off

Team Selection

Players can pick any of the 32 NFL standard teams – Pro Bowl/Ultimate Team/Any Other cannot be used. If players are using the same team, please ensure that the uniforms are different – at a very minimum, using a different jersey colour. Players are permitted to change teams for each round of the championship series.

Live Streaming

AFI will look to have streaming capabilities in place by 20th May. Further communication on this will follow.

Behaviour

Players are expected to show good conduct at all times. Any threatening behaviour, foul language, or any unsportsmanlike conduct may result in disqualification from the championship series.

Disputes

Any disputes will be determined by the AFI Board and the decision will be final.

2020 Senior Kitted Season Cancelled

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary “The AFI board held an online meeting to discuss the current ongoing situation and the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has been decided that the 2020 Senior Kitted season will be cancelled in its entirety. A number of factors were considered in making this tough decision. There remains uncertainty as to when this crisis will end, which makes it very difficult to publish a schedule that will allow for enough time to prepare and complete a season for our members. It may also prove very difficult to secure ambulance bookings for fixtures due to the increased workload of our front-line services. We are also very aware of the financial difficulties our clubs and members may be facing during this time and do not wish to add any more pressure than what they are already facing. Ultimately, we need to put our members physical and mental welfare first before football.

We will continue to monitor the situation and, if circumstances allow, we are open to the possibility of hosting a 2-3 week tournament at the end of the summer for clubs that wish to participate and have some form of kitted football in 2020.

With immediate effect all current Adult Kitted, Coaching, Officiating and Non-Playing memberships will be extended until 30th September 2021 and there will be no need to purchase or renew your membership for the 2021 season.

No decision has been made yet in relation to Youth and Flag football. We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with our directors in the coming weeks and update you when we have a clearer picture on the possibility of the Youth and Flag seasons going ahead.

It is important to note that we have put our insurance on hold at this time and under no circumstances is any physical footballing activity to take place until further notice.

Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and we will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. If you have any queries please contact me at brian@americanfootball.ie.”

COVID-19 Statement

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary

“In light of this mornings announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, AFI have decided to postpone all football activities including practice sessions, scheduled games and combines up to and including the 29th March.

We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks and keep you updated on any plans to reschedule the season.

We have a few options to consider including a new, reduced schedule commencing end of April/start of May. We may also consider all postponed games as 15-15 ties as per the bylaws. We need further time to consider the options and want to be fair to all clubs for the remainder of the season.

We urge all our members to follow the advice of the HSE in an effort to contain this outbreak and hope you and your families all stay safe and well.”

AFI Division 1 & 2 Bowls: Venue Confirmed

The AFI board of management is delighted to confirm that the 2020 AFI Division 1 and Division 2 Bowl games will be a double header event on Sunday 2nd August and will take place at the excellent facilities of Navan RFC.

Navan RFC have previously hosted a number of AFI events including the Irish Wolfhounds vs Belgium Barbarians game in 2018. Further details of the day will follow in due course.

Navan RFC

New Commissioner Appointed

AFI is delighted to announce that Brian Cleary has accepted the position of Commissioner following a recent recruitment campaign. Brian brings a wealth of experience to the association as well as having served as Commissioner on an interim basis in the past. All general queries as well as queries relating to senior kitted football should be sent to Brian at brian@americanfootball.ie

Congratulations Brian and best of luck in the position!

Commissioner: Brian Cleary

2020 AFI Flag Football Season

Preparations are underway for the 2020 AFI Flag Football season, which will start in August. Following the re-brand of the association to American Football Ireland, there have been changes made to the official names of the flag football leagues as follow:

The Emerald Bowl Conference, premier league of flag football in Ireland, is now known as the AFI Flag Premier Division, where the teams will compete for Emerald Bowl VII.

The Glas Bowl Conference will now be called the AFI Flag Division One, where the teams will compete for Glas Bowl II.

If you are interested in entering a new flag football team or would like to join an existing one, please contact us via our contact form here.

2020 Divisions and Bowl Dates

The AFI 2020 season fast approaches, with the season starting on Sunday 8th March. 20 teams will compete across 3 divisions, with bowl games scheduled for early August.

AFI Premier division

  • Belfast Trojans
  • Cork Admirals
  • Craigavon Cowboys
  • Dublin Rebels
  • South Dublin Panthers
  • UCD
  • UL Vikings
  • West Dublin Rhinos

Shamrock Bowl: Sunday 9th August

AFI Division 1

  • Belfast Knights
  • Cill Dara Crusaders
  • Donegal/Derry Vipers
  • Louth Mavericks
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Westmeath Minotaurs
  • Wexford Eagles

AFI Division 1 Bowl: Sunday 2nd August (Doubleheader)

AFI Division 2

  • Antrim Jets
  • Causeway Giants
  • Meath Bulldogs
  • NI Razorbacks
  • North Dublin Pirates

AFI Division 2 Bowl: Sunday 2nd August (Doubleheader)

Press Release: American Football Ireland

Following a unanimous vote at Januarys SGM, the Irish American Football Association (IAFA) has changed its name to American Football Ireland (AFI), effective immediately.

AFI President Orla McAleese “This is a very exciting time for American Football Ireland. We are going into a new decade with a new brand and look. While we are evolving our name rather than completely changing it, it was the best strategic move for the association. It is important not to forget the 34 years the association has been part of sport in Ireland. That history will never be forgotten, it is part of us and what we are made of. We are just beginning a new step in our journey.”

Official logo of American Football Ireland

New Associate Member Clubs

At the recent SGM, 8 flag football clubs were made associate members of our association. We would like to extend a warm welcome to each and look forward to seeing their progress in the future:

  • Edenderry Eagles​
  • Dublin Bay Raptors​
  • UCC​
  • Ulster Elks​
  • Downpatrick Saints​
  • Norton Wasps​
  • MU Hurricanes​
  • Cork City Outlaws​

Further details of the SGM will be released at a later date.

New Board Members Appointed

American Football Ireland are delighted to announce two appointments to the management board. John Lynch (Wexford Eagles) and Paul Kirkwood (Dublin Rebels) have been co-opted on to the board with immediate effect. We would like to extend a warm welcome to both and wish them all the best in their roles.

Further opportunities to join American Football Ireland management can be found here.

2020 Senior Kitted Schedule Announced

The American Football Ireland 2020 Senior Kitted Football schedule has now been released which includes 89 domestic games across 3 leagues as well as 2 exhibition games, with teams visiting from Great Britain and USA.

The season will start on the 8th March, with all three American Football Ireland college teams in action as UCD take on the UL Vikings in the Shamrock Bowl Conference and Trinity College hosting the Wexford Eagles in IAFL 1.

This year will see a significant change as there are 11 Saturday domestic games scheduled. In previous years, there have been limited Saturday games per season, so 2020 will see the most Saturday games ever played.

The 2017 BritBowl champions Tamworth Phoenix will make the short journey across Irish sea to take on the 2019 Shamrock Bowl winners Belfast Trojans on the 25th April in the first of two exhibition matches. The second will see the D3 Kentucky based college Centre Colonels travel to Limerick to take on the UL Vikings, which will take place on the 30th May.

The Shamrock Bowl Conference playoffs are scheduled for Sunday 26th July, with the top four teams in the league advancing to this stage following the conclusion of the regular season. The winners of the playoff games will advance to the Shamrock Bowl game, which is scheduled for Sunday 9th August.

The IAFL 1 playoffs are scheduled for Sunday 19th July, with the top four teams in the league advancing to this stage following the conclusion of the regular season. The winners of the playoff games will advance to the IAFL 1 Bowl game, which is scheduled for Sunday 2nd August. This game will be part of a doubleheader which will include the IAFL 2 Bowl game. There will be no playoffs for IAFL 2, instead the top 2 teams in the league will advance directly to the bowl game following the conclusion of the regular season.

Fixtures

Shamrock Bowl Conference

IAFL 1

IAFL 2

Notice of SGM

The IAFA Management Board have scheduled a Special General Meeting which will take place on the 25th January 2020 at 2pm. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Further details of the meeting have been sent to all clubs via email.

20×20: Frieda Gallagher

Whilst we have so far highlighted those whose action takes place on the field, we next speak with Frieda Gallagher who pretty much takes to do with everything off the field as a volunteer. Frieda has held a number of positions within the Derry/Donegal Vipers including Chairwoman.

What sparked your initial interest in American football?

“I’ll be honest, I had no interest in American football, none whatsoever. My partner Cathal Curran turned around to me one day and said I’m going to set up an American football team – I said ‘you’re mad, they don’t even have that sport in the country, don’t be silly’… and the rest as they say is a lot of hard work, swearing, sleepless nights and laughter which led to the formation of the Vipers and that began my interest in American football.”

How did you get involved with your club/IAFA?

“After Cathal informed me he was going to set up an American Football club, I was making tea one day and when I opened the fridge to get milk, I noticed about £500 sitting in the drawer – now things like that aren’t the strangest thing Cathal has done, but I asked the question anyway. ‘Cathal, why is there £500 sitting in the fridge?’ ‘It’s the Vipers fees, I don’t have the bank account set up yet’ (At this stage, we didn’t have a club set up yet, but that’s another story). ‘Grand but why is it in the fridge Cathal?’ ‘Well if you were a robber, would you look in the fridge?’ Fair point, I thought, so that is where my OCD and organizational skills got me involved with the Vipers. We set it up from there along with James Fox and haven’t looked back since. The first few years were very tough, we had no money, no pitch, little equipment and very few volunteers. Now I can say over the past few years, I’ve went from having no brothers, to almost 40 – they can be absolute head wreckers at times, but I wouldn’t change them.”

What role(s) do you currently hold within your club/IAFA?

“I have been the Secretary and the Chairwoman of the Donegal Derry Vipers, currently enjoying my time as an ordinary Committee Member. I can also be found most game days perched on top of a very wobbly ladder with a video camera in one hand and frostbite in the other. As much as I give out, I wouldn’t change it for the world…well maybe a sturdier ladder!”

What is the American football environment like in Ireland?

“It is growing, definitely growing, from when the Vipers first started out. There has been some amazing work done this past few years, but we have a lot more to do. The amount of conversations I have had with people who had no idea there was a league in Ireland, and they are always shocked when I tell them how many teams are in the country. But that’s where we can play a part also, boosting the profiles of the teams, that’s done on the ground, and I’m sure the Vipers will tell you, I’m never done telling people to like/share/tweet etc, but it all helps.”

What advice would you have for a fellow female interested in getting involved in American football?

“Jump right in! As a supporter of a team or further afield in the league, wherever your interest is. I am very lucky that there were trailblazers like Kim Wilton Neville, Orla McAleese, and Emma Burrows already established in the league. I felt very welcome and very comfortable from the get-go, there are plenty of positions available and to be honest, the league just needs our help, male or female, it’s irrelevant.”

Wolfhounds Flag Football – Coaching Staff Announced

With the recent announcement of the reboot of the National Flag Football programme and the appointment of Coach Poznanski as the Head Coach of both the Wolfhounds Flag Football men’s and women’s teams, it is only fitted for Coach Poznanski to pick a crew of experienced coaches to work with in building two competitive teams to take on other National Flag Football teams in an exhibition tournament in the autumn (2020, details TBC) with the ultimate aim to enter both teams in the IFAF European Championships in 2021.

Without further ado, the Wolfhounds Flag Football Coaching Crew.

Coach Poznanski (GP), while being a keen follower of American Football for more than twenty five years and a fan of sport in general, did not get his first taste of flag football until seven years ago – after being involved in an array of sports ranging from Olympic handball, basketball, or volleyball, amongst others. He had his first try for the Dublin Vipers (formerly Dublin Titans), was hooked right then and hasn’t looked back. While playing for the Dublin Vipers, he took on the position of Director of Flag Football for IAFA from which he recently stepped down from five years of service. Alongside being an IAFA director, Coach GP also coached the DIT Spartans, UCD and South Dublin Panthers flag football teams while also working as a Coach Developer for Sport Ireland for the past 2 years.

Coach Burrows is a sports and well-being coach with 14 years of experience working with recreational, performance pathway, Olympic, Paralympic, and professional athletes. She is currently the Player Development Manager for the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland where she offers career planning and well-being support to professional soccer players. In her spare time Emma is the assistant head coach to the South Dublin Panthers senior kitted team.

Coach Zboyan (pronounced zee-boyan) hails from Seattle (Washington, USA) and is an avid Seahawks supporter.  Coach Zboyan played both kitted and flag football throughout his school and college years. After moving to Ireland in 2012, Todd kicked off his Irish flag football experience with a two-year stint with the Dublin Vipers which included a National Championship winning Emerald Bowl III in 2017. Coach Zboyan then went on to establish the Dublin Bay Raptors in 2018 currently playing in the Emerald Bowl league, leading the team as head coach and quarterback.

Coach McCann began his journey in American Football with the Dublin Dragons back in 2013 and has never looked back. Heavily involved in the re-brand and restructure of the team, he’s one of the founding members of the South Dublin Panthers. In that time, he’s been involved with both the kitted football team and the flag football team as a player, coach and team manager. In 2019 he took over as General Manager of the Panthers and became a defensive coach for the kitted team, helping them to their first Shamrock Bowl Final in their history. He also took over as Head Coach of the flag team, leading them to their most successful flag season to date.

Coach Shaw is a Dallas Cowboys afficionado from Ballyclare, Northern Ireland. Coach Shaw has been involved in American Football since 2015 when he became Head Coach of the Coleraine Elks Flag Football team. After leaving the Elks Coach Shaw became involved with the Belfast Trojans as a positional coach with their kitted team winning a national championship with Shamrock Bowl XXXIII in 2019. He also established the Belfast Trojans first flag football team and was team manager for their inaugural season.

Coach Barnewell was a late starter to playing American Football at 37. Having previously been part of league winning teams in soccer and tag rugby. Playing both special teams and defence for the South Dublin Panthers kitted team he had his season capped playing in Shamrock Bowl XXXIII. With a passion for health and fitness, ‘Barney’ then took the reigns as strength and conditioning coach while also playing centre for the Panthers flag football team as they registered their most successful season to date.

Win A £100 Football America UK Voucher

Just in time for the holiday season! This competition will run over our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles – enter on all three platforms to be entered into the draw three times!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iafaireland/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iafaireland/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iafaireland

Competition closes midnight 24 December 2019 with the winner being announced on Christmas Day – good luck!

Win Your 2020 American Football Ireland Membership Fee Back

Players who have paid their American Football Ireland membership for the 2020 season before midnight on 31 December 2019 will automatically be entered into the draw to win their membership fee back!

One player from each league (Shamrock Bowl Conference, IAFL 1 and IAFL 2) will be chosen at random with the 3 winners being announced on 03 January 2020.

Don’t miss out – purchase your membership today: https://iafa.azolve.com

20×20: Helen Smyth

Next up in our 20×20 series is Trojans flag football player Helen Smyth. Helen started her football career with the UUC Elks before moving to Belfast and joining the Trojans. The current Trojans 1st team captain is also planning on taking up coaching.

What sparked your interest in American football?

“My friend was the coach of the Ulster Elks flag team in my final year of university and until then I didn’t even know American football was a thing. I went along just to see what it was like and didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, and I’ve been playing ever since!”

How did you get involved in your club?

“I joined the Belfast Trojans two years ago. They have regular try out days which I went to and I already knew a couple of people in the club so when I moved to Belfast, it was an easy choice.”

What roles do you currently hold in your club?

“I am the defensive captain of the Trojans 1sts team and I am also on the committee. I was injured at the start of the season so took on more of a coaching/play calling role. I’ve never been so stressed in my life but I actually did enjoy being on the side-lines, so I am planning on doing my level 0 coaching course to get started.”

What is the American football environment like in Ireland?

“There’s a really good balance between the sport being fun and competitive but not too serious. Everyone is really encouraging, and despite a few rivalries, there is good sportsmanship between all the teams.”

What advice would you have for a fellow female interested in getting involved in American football?

“Just go for it! It’s one of the most fun sports I’ve been involved in. There’s such a range of players from people who have played kitted for years to people who have never played a team sport before so there is nothing to be worried about!”