SportNI Sports Sustainability Fund

AFI is pleased to announce we have been awarded a total of £9,652 from the SportNI Sports Sustainability Fund. Funding was open to all Northern Ireland clubs with applications to be submited by the National Governing Body (AFI). The Belfast Trojans were the only club to apply requiring assistance – the full £9,652 has been awarded to the Belfast Trojans.

AFI and member clubs have so far received just under €70,000 in COVID sustainability funding from both Sport Ireland and SportNI, with a further €14,336 raised in the Super Bowl Super Raffle earlier this month.

AFI Partner With Hope Through Football Foundation

American Football Ireland (AFI) are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership between AFI and the internationally renowned, Hope Through Football Foundation. Founded by NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl Winner Rod Woodson, Hope Through Football is a non-profit association created so that coaches and players can develop, expand and sharpen their football knowledge and skills, all while learning character and life skills. The foundation offers a platform which allows highly experienced coaches and players to share their knowledge and wisdom of the game to football lovers all over the world.

“This is a phenomenal day for our sport and members. We are delighted to agree a partnership with Coach Woodson and the Hope Through Football Foundation. The potential for the growth and development of our members cannot be understated. This partnership will improve the standard of coaching across all areas of kitted, flag and youth football within our association. It is our hope as a board, that this opportunity will also encourage more AFI members to get involved in coaching, and ultimately encourage more young males and females to become involved in playing our sport at all levels. This is a fantastic opportunity for the sport of American football on our island, and I encourage all members to embrace and soak up all the knowledge which Hope Through Football can bring forward” Aidan Maguire, AFI President.

Hope Through Football Founder/NFL Hall of Famer, Coach Rod Woodson stated “Hope Through Football and #sharetheknowledge are super excited to embark on this relationship with American Football Ireland. Opportunities can be explored together with the forward thinking process of AFI. We look forward to a long and growing relationship to benefit the football community in Ireland, whilst bringing international relationships closer. We would like to thank AFI for allowing us the opportunity to be involved.”

Irish Wolfhounds Senior Team Head Coach, Ciaran O’Sullivan stated “Before I was approached by an old friend of football in Ireland, Coach Tariq Ayub of the London Olympians, I had already tuned into several Hope Through Football virtual seminars. I was impressed by the quality of the information being shared, the level of coaches delivering the seminars, the understanding that football is a global game played at all levels and most of all the caliber of the people involved starting with Coach Rod Woodson whose passion for football is infectious and uplifting even in these dark days. When Coach Ayub explained that HTF wanted to explore the possibility of a working partnership with AFI I was delighted to get both parties in the same virtual room working on a partnership. I am looking forward to working with Coach Ayub and Coach Woodson to ensure our players and coaches get the most out of this amazing resource. As Head Coach of the Irish Wolfhounds Senior Team, I will be advising our players and coaches make the most of this wonderful opportunity. At the same time hope that every club in American Football Ireland gets involved and we work to improve Irish football together.”

Coach Tariq Ayub, #sharetheknowledge stated “I am very pleased to help develop the relationship with AFI and Hope through Football. At the core of this is the ability to share knowledge and grow the sport we all love. Immensely proud and pleased Coach Woodson and the AFI have entrusted me with this endeavour. I look forward to working closely with coach Ciaran O’Sullivan.”

“At this time, I would like to thank Coach O’Sullivan and Coach Ayub for putting the wheels in motion so that this partnership could be discussed and agreed. Thank you to Coach Woodson for showing a commitment in helping us grow as an association from a knowledge-based standpoint” Aidan Maguire, AFI President.

American Football Ireland now looks forward to a long and healthy partnership with Hope Through Football. Stay tuned to our website and social media, as our first live session will be coming to a screen near you shortly.

Super Bowl Super Raffle – Winners Drawn

The Super Bowl Super Raffle, hosted by American Football Ireland and GalaBid, has now concluded and winners have been drawn. A total of €14,316 was raised for our member clubs – many thanks to everyone who supported the raffle and American football here in Ireland.

All winners have been contacted by email (please check Junk/Spam folder).

 

€500

Sold by Westmeath Minotaurs

 

TWO NIGHT STAY FOR TWO PEOPLE AT THE CROWNE PLAZA BLANCHARDSTOWN

A two course evening meal on one night and breakfast each morning included

Sold by Belfast Trojans

 

2 X AER LINGUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL CLASSIC TICKETS

Compliments of corporate.ie

Sold by Maynooth University Hurricanes

 

€50 ONE4ALL VOUCHER

Compliments of Garland Drake

Sold by Wexford Eagles

 

AMERICAN FOOTBALL THEMED FOOD HAMPER

Compliments of Garland Drake

Sold by North Dublin Pirates

 

EMERALD SPORTS BUNDLE:

– SIGNED JERSEY BY SUPER BOWL WINNER WILLIAM PERRY

– JIMMY GAROPPOLO 49ERS JERSEY

– €30 EMERALD SPORT BREAKS CREDIT

Compliments of Emerald Sports Breaks

Sold by Cork Admirals

 

£25 EP SPORTS VOUCHER

Compliments of EP Sports

Sold by Belfast City Lions

 

SET OF 4 TAKE & BAKE COOKIE JARS

Compliments of Amarc Catering and Events

Sold by Trinity College Dublin

 

£100 ADVANCED OVERWATCH VOUCHER

Compliments of Advanced Overwatch Ltd.

Sold by Dublin Rebels

 

$50 NFL SHOP VOUCHER

Compliments of Paddy Pigskin Podcast

Sold by Belfast Knights

 

KINETICA PROTEIN STARTER BUNDLE:

– PROTEIN POWDER

– METAL SHAKER

– PROTEIN BARS

Compliments of Kinetica Sports

Sold by North Dublin Pirates

Super Bowl Super Raffle – Fundraiser For Clubs

The “Super Bowl Super Raffle”, hosted by American Football Ireland and GalaBid, provides a safe way for clubs to raise much needed funds in what has been a very challenging year, with great prizes on offer – support your local club!

This fundraiser was created in lieu of Super Bowl parties not being allowed to take place this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Super Bowl parties are critical events for our clubs as they provide the main source of fundraising income each year.

All member clubs will have their own Super Bowl Super Raffle link to sell tickets, with 80% of funds raised going directly to the club. Ticket sales will close at 8pm on Sunday 7th February 2021 with the draw taking place later that evening. Winners will be notified by email and the results will be posted on www.americanfootball.ie

 

SUPER BOWL SUPER RAFFLE 2021 Prizes

€500
Two Night Stay For Two People At The Crowne Plaza Blanchardstown

A two course evening meal on one night and breakfast each morning included

2 x Aer Lingus College Football Classic Tickets

Compliments of corporate.ie

€50 One4All Voucher

Compliments of Garland Drake

American Football Themed Food Hamper

Compliments of Garland Drake

Emerald Sports Bundle:
– Signed Jersey by Super Bowl winner William Perry
– Jimmy Garoppolo 49ers Jersey
– €30 Emerald Sport Breaks credit

Compliments of Emerald Sports Breaks

£25 EP Sports Voucher

Compliments of EP Sports

set of 4 Take & Bake Cookie Jars

Compliments of Amarc Catering and Events

£100 Advanced Overwatch Voucher

Compliments of Advanced Overwatch Ltd.

$50 NFL Shop Voucher

Compliments of Paddy Pigskin Podcast

Kinetica Protein Starter Bundle:
– Protein Powder
– Metal Shaker
– Protein Bars

Compliments of Kinetica Sports

 

Terms and Conditions

Two New Clubs Granted AFI Member Status

The AFI Management Board has approved associate membership to two new clubs: Belfast City Lions and Thomastown Tigers. Both will compete at flag football level. Welcome to AFI!

There are now 31 member clubs of American Football Ireland:

Club

Competing Teams

Antrim Jets

Senior Football & Flag Football

Belfast City Lions

Flag Football

Belfast Knights

Senior Football & Flag Football

Belfast Trojans

Senior Football & Flag Football

Causeway Giants

Senior Football & Flag Football

Cill Dara Crusaders

Senior Football

Cork Admirals

Senior Football & Youth Football

Cork City Outlaws

Flag Football

Craigavon Cowboys

Senior Football & Flag Football

Donegal/Derry Vipers

Senior Football, Youth Football & Flag Football

Downpatrick Saints

Flag Football

Dublin Bay Raptors

Flag Football

Dublin City Quetzals

Flag Football

Dublin Rebels

Senior Football, Youth Football & Flag Football

Edenderry Eagles

Flag Football

Galway Warriors

Flag Football

Louth Mavericks

Senior Football & Flag Football

Maynooth University Hurricanes

Flag Football

Meath Bulldogs

Senior Football

NI Razorbacks

Senior Football

North Dublin Pirates

Senior Football & Flag Football

South Dublin Panthers

Senior Football, Youth Football & Flag Football

Thomastown Tigers

Flag Football

Trinity College Dublin

Senior Football & Flag Football

UCC Raiders

Flag Football

UCD

Senior Football & Flag Football

UL Vikings

Senior Football

Ulster University Elks

Flag Football

West Dublin Rhinos

Senior Football

Westmeath Minotaurs

Senior Football & Flag Football

Wexford Eagles

Senior Football

Resignation Of Finance Officers

Chief Finance Officer Conor Gibney and Finance Officer Michal Kazio have stepped down from their positions after over two years of volunteer service. Conor and Michal played critical roles in producing the first set of fully audited accounts – a requirement set by Sport Ireland due to an increase of funding. Furthermore, they developed a payment policy and introduced online banking which removed the need for cheques, streamlining our financial processes and improving transparency.

Commissioner Brian Cleary “It was a pleasure to work with both Conor and Michal over the last two years. Their hard work was invaluable to improving our financial governance which resulted in significant increases in our funding. They have been a true asset to the AFI and I would like to wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.”

Interim President Aidan Maguire “On behalf of American Football Ireland, I want to take this opportunity to offer our thanks and sincerest gratitude to both Conor Gibney and Michal Kazio. During their time within AFI, they played a key role in setting up a reformed finance department, while also putting systems in place to help AFI succeed long into the future. Both Connor and Michal embraced their roles as volunteers and ultimately the sport of American football. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”

Following a thorough recruitment process, Alan Browne was appointed as Chief Finance Officer in October 2020 and has since been undergoing a transition period with Conor and Michal.

Women In Sport Leadership Programme 2021

Last October, Sport Ireland endorsed a Women in Sport Leadership Programme which was being ran by Swim Ireland. As a result, AFI recommended 3 female candidates who were accepted onto the 8-week programme and who successfully completed the course.

Now this same opportunity has arisen again for 2021 and AFI would like to put forward more female candidates to participate in this prestigious programme. Please see further information about the course as well as testimonials below.

This programme is open to all female members of AFI. Participation in this programme will be funded by AFI pending successful completion of the course.

Due to time restraints, interested candidates should complete the form at this link and submit it by 10pm on Monday 18th January 2021.

This eight-session course will take place online over an eight-week period from 7pm – 8.30pm.

  • Course 1 – Commences Monday 1st February and finishes on Monday 22nd March
  • Course 2 – Commences Tuesday 2nd March and finishes on Tuesday 20th April

The aim of the course is to provide training, guidance and expertise to support women to thrive in leadership positions in sport. The interactive practical classes allow each participant to work and focus on their own development while learning from others as part of a team over an extended period. There will be some group and individual exercises during the programme and the size of the class is limited to 16 to ensure everyone has the opportunity to fully engage and reach their full potential.

 

The course is specifically designed for female leaders within your organisation. Those selected should already be in a leadership position or be a female recognised by your organisation as having the potential to take on a leadership role in the near future.

 

Course Content

The course modules include the following core topics:

  • Leadership and Values
  • Networking and Collaboration
  • Handling Challenging Situations and Developing Resilience
  • Crisis Management and Influencing in leadership
  • Communications and Developing Your Personal Brand
  • Wellbeing
  • Change Management
  • Governance

Participants will also receive a one-on-one coaching session and support in producing their own Personal Development Plan. Modules will also include inputs from guest speakers relating their own personal leadership experiences.

Frieda Gallagher, Donegal/Derry Vipers & AFI Diversity and Inclusivity Committee Member

A lot of effort was put into this course from Lisa Clancy and Sarah O’ Shea. Well researched and interesting guest speakers attended every class. Each session was a networker’s heaven, with so many NGB’s represented on the course. It gave female leaders and administrators the tools, techniques and skills necessary to undertake senior positions efficiently and a greater confidence within clubs, leagues, regional and national level.

 

Helen Smyth, Belfast City Lions & AFI Flag Football Committee Member

The course was really good! I got a lot more out of it than I expected and it was useful for career/personal development kind of things too, not just sports related things. Lisa and Sarah who ran it were great and really helpful and all the guest speakers they had on were all so interesting and had a lot of brilliant advice. It was so nice to get to meet lots of other women from different sports and backgrounds and I've definitely made connections that will hopefully be useful for flag and I think some of the girls would be up for giving flag a go too! Was honestly such a good experience!

Kelly Dwyer, Louth Mavericks & AFI Officiating Committee Member

Throughout the course, I was impressed with the level of knowledge, experience, openness and honesty of the women delivering the course; Sarah O’ Shae and Lisa Clancy. I felt the course content was educational and empowering  for participants. I enjoyed that the course was delivered through a variety of means including zoom, one-to-one mentoring, guest-speaker talks, group tasks; thereby keeping engagement and interest in the course content high. Having completed the course, I feel that my contribution to AFI will be more impactful, refined and better-informed. Overall, I felt the course was as follows:

  • Excellent in educating, upskilling and preparing it’s participants for leadership roles.
  • Excellent in tackling and dismantling some barriers to female participation in sport and leadership, examples include low confidence and Imposter Syndrome
  • Excellent fostering many positive relationships within the Irish's sport community and within the AFI female community.
  • Excellent at motivating it’s participants to continue and increase their engagement with sport.
  • Excellent at encouraging it’s participants to take up leadership roles within sport and/or professionally.

Notice of 2020 AGM

The AFI 2020 AGM will take place on Sunday 14th February 2021 at 2pm. The AGM will be hosted online using Zoom, in accordance with government COVID-19 restrictions. All clubs and directors are required to have a representative sign into the meeting to discuss association business and take part in the voting/election process. 

Proposals
 
Any club/director that wishes to propose an amendment to the Constitution should forward their proposal to the commissioner (Brian Cleary) on or before the 15th January 2021.
 
Any club/director that wishes to propose an amendment to the Bylaws should forward their proposal to the commissioner (Brian Cleary) on or before the 24th January 2021.
 

Proposals should include three sections as set out below:

  1. Existing wording as per Constitution/Bylaws and the relevant section (if amending current rule).
  2. Exact proposed wording for it to be replaced with (if amending current rule). 
  3. Reasoning for the Proposal. 

Elections

There are 5 positions up for election as follows;

President 

  • 1 x 3 Year Term

Management Board Member 

  • 3 x 3 Year Term
  • 1 x 2 Year Term

All candidates for election must be members in good standing with at least 3 consecutive years affiliation to AFI. All Management Board members are expected to attend monthly meetings, attend occasional midweek training courses and meetings with external organizations. The role of a Management Board member is to promote the growth and development of the sport in line with our governing documents and the Governance Code.

It is important that all these positions are filled for the continued management of the association. It is requested that all clubs disseminate this notice to their members with a view to seeking nominations for election.

The Nomination of Election form can be found on page 45 of the AFI Bylaws which are located here. Completed forms must be returned to the commissioner (Brian Cleary) on or before 24th January 2021. 

COVID-19 Supplementary Funding for Sport

AFI is pleased to announce we have been awarded a total of €58,000 from the COVID-19 Supplementary Grant Scheme with €36,000 awarded to AFI as part of the NGB Resilience Fund and €22,000 between 7 ROI clubs as part of the Sports Club Resilience Fund.

Club

Award

Donegal Derry Vipers

€7696.93

Dublin Rebels

€4561.75

Louth Mavericks 

€905.25

South Dublin Panthers

€5809.58

West Dublin Rhinos

€710.00

Westmeath Minotaurs

€776.39

Wexford Eagles 

€1552.59

Strategic Plan 2021-2026 Release

AFI is delighted to release our 5-year strategic plan. This plan intends to give the management team and members of American Football Ireland (AFI) a focus for the development of American football in Ireland over the next five years and to build upon the existing achievements of AFI.

With thanks to Charmaeducs Photography, Terrance McCann Photography, Ian Humes Photography and Keith Elgin Photography for use of their fantastic images throughout the document.

The plan is built on 4 key pillars:

  • Growth of overall membership – Increase the number of playing and non-playing members from 1650 to 3000.
  • Safeguard the future of our sport – Increase the number of members aged under 21 from 500 to 1000.
  • Be a leader in governance – Excel in Sport Ireland compliance. Have the necessary tools in place to be able to run the association as efficiently as possible.
  • Build our reputation with IFAF – To be included in proposed international games and championships each year at senior kitted, youth kitted and flag football levels.

One of the predominant themes throughout is to increase female participation at all levels as well as developing our youth and flag programmes to increase participation of under 18-year olds. Please see the full plan below or at this link.

AFI Strategic Paln 2021-2016

AFI Sports Capital Grant Webinars

American Football Ireland is delighted to announce two exciting club grant sessions for our clubs. The first session will focus on the Sports Capital Programme for our ROI clubs while the second will look at the relevant grants for our NI clubs. Details are as follows:

  • ROI Sports Capital Programme: Tuesday 17th November 2020, 7pm-8.30pm
  • NI Grant Landscape: Thursday 19th November 2020, 7pm-8.30pm

AFI encourages as many clubs as possible to register for these events.  By attending the online forum, you will be well-positioned to apply for new funding for your club, in a competitive environment. Recordings of the webinar and supporting documents will be made available to attendees following each event.

Each club has been sent details on how to register for the appropriate session – if your club has not received this email, please email jo@americanfootball.ie

Resignation of Orla McAleese

Orla McAleese, Ireland General ManagerOn behalf of the American Football Ireland board, I wish to inform you of the resignation of our president, Orla McAleese due to unforeseen circumstances.

First of all, I would like to acknowledge the tough decision Orla made to step away from a sport and a membership which I know she loved.

Most people in life strive to achieve success. While in her role as president of AFI, Orla has far exceeded success. Her dedication and commitment to American Football Ireland is unmatched and undeniable. In 3 years, Orla has worked tirelessly to develop strong relationships within AFI and with our external stakeholders. As a result, this has really set up AFI for continued growth and success long into our future. She has given up her free time to run and promote our association at all levels. She is a key figure and reason why AFI are on a journey of governance compliance.

On behalf of the AFI board, our administration, our directors and our membership, I wish to say a huge thank you to Orla for all she has done for American Football Ireland over the past 3 years.

Aidan Maguire
Interim AFI President

Wolfhounds Flag Football: Squad Selection

The Irish Wolfhounds Flag Football coaching staff has finalized the selection of the first 32 athletes to train with the Wolfhounds Flag Football squad in 2021.

The selected athletes will be given a training plan to follow over the next few months in order to prepare for squad training beginning in 2021. The plan will cover strength and conditioning, nutrition, regular check-ups, individual position-based and skill-specific drills, and when possible (within COVID-19 guidelines) group drills.

The coaching staff are keen to reiterate that if you were not selected on this occasion, keep working hard to improve your game – chances to be selected for the squad will arise in the future.

The 32 athletes selected are listed below:

2020 AFI AGM Announced

The American Football Ireland AGM will NOT take place as previously advertised on the 8th November 2020.

The new date for the AGM is Sunday 6th December 2020. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood Park, Santry Demense, Dublin at 2pm (same venue as the 2019 AGM).

We are Constitutionally bound to advertise our AGM before year end and this date is subject to Covid restrictions being appropriately lifted.

We will have a Presidential election and a number of board positions becoming available so in the interim please share this notice with your members who may wish to consider joining the management of AFI.

Further information on submission of proposals and election nominees will be forwarded in due course.

Brian Cleary
Commissioner
American Football Ireland

2020 Flag Football Season Cancelled

American Football Ireland has taken the decision to cancel the 2020 flag football season in its entirety following the Irish Governments announcement earlier this week regarding all Irish counties entering level 3 restrictions. Results from any games played in the 2020 season will be null and void.

We understand that participants will be disappointed, particularly after the season got underway in many parts of Ireland, but the risk to our members welfare has become too great with the latest resurgence of COVID-19.

Those who have purchased flag football membership for the 2020 season will have their membership extended for the 2021 flag football season. If there are any queries regarding this, please direct them via email to brian@americanfootball.ie

Training within clubs can continue in line with Government restrictions and clubs risk assessments. For further information on restrictions, please see gov.ie

Flag Football 2020 Season Update

PREMIER DIVISION

There are no changes to the teams in each conference. The Northern Conference will kick off this Saturday as planned in Craigavon. Southern Conference matches are postponed until the 10th October at the earliest.

DIVISION ONE

Teams in each conference have been adjusted – please see updated conferences below. The Northern and Central Conferences will kick off this Saturday, with Southern Conference matches postponed until the 10th October at the earliest.

Northern Conference

  • Antrim Jets
  • Belfast Trojans Dev
  • Causeway Giants
  • Donegal Derry Vipers
  • Downpatrick Saints
  • UU Elks

Central Conference

  • Cill Dara Reapers
  • Galway Warriors
  • Louth Mavericks Dev
  • Westmeath Minotaurs
  • WIT Vikings

Southern Conference

  • Dublin City Quetzals
  • Dublin Rebels
  • North Dublin Pirates
  • South Dublin Panthers
  • UCD

NOTES

  • The AFI Flag Football Committee are providing constant updates to designated representatives from each team. If you are a member of a team and have a query, please contact your team representative first.
  • No spectators are permitted at games due to COVID-19 regulations. AFI personnel will be at each venue to enforce.

2020 Youth Season Cancelled

American Football Ireland has taken the decision to cancel the 2020 youth season in its entirety following todays announcement regarding County Dublin.

Whilst we know this will be a huge disappointment for many, it is the action that has to be taken in response to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases.

Those who have purchased youth membership for the 2020 season will have their membership extended for the 2021 youth season. If there are any queries regarding this, please direct them via email to brian@americanfootball.ie

The 2020 flag football season is currently under review.

Youth 2020: Volunteers and Officials Needed

AFI requires volunteers and officials for the upcoming 2020 youth season, which sees the next generation of American football players take to the field and compete – do your part to help facilitate the games!

Games will take place on 20th Sep, 4th Oct & 18th Oct from 1pm to 5pm at the Sport Ireland Campus, Dublin. Volunteer roles include chain crew, scoreboard operator, camera persons as well as officials.

If you are interested in volunteering or officiating, please complete the form below. The form will close at 8pm on Thursday 17th Sep.

Management Board Changes

AFI President Orla McAleese “This weekend saw the departure for two of our board colleagues, Christine Bolton and John Lynch. Both have left for personal reasons. I would like to acknowledge the work, input and support they have given to the association during their time on the board.

Their time and effort to work with their fellow members to help maintain and grow the sport has not gone without notice. Giving up their free time to attend meetings, work with our directors and members on queries, and endless nights of going through paperwork and policies.

From everyone on the board, our directors and our members, we thank both Christine and John for everything they have done over the past months and years.”

Coronavirus Update – August

Yesterday evening, the Irish Government introduced new measures. As a result, all fixtures scheduled for this coming weekend have been postponed. No games will take place until the government has given the green light which will be the 13th September at the earliest.

Furthermore, no practice sessions should take place unless it meets the new guidelines set out below:

  • strict avoidance of gatherings, including social gatherings, before or after events.
  • strict adherence to 2 metre physical distancing before and after events during breaks in play, on the sidelines and avoidance of team huddles.
  • limits of 15 apply to groups outside including training sessions .There should be no mixing between groups.

Teams based in Offaly, Laois or Kildare must NOT engage in contact practice sessions. Non-contact sessions are permitted.

For more information, please refer to this gov.ie update.

Teams based in Northern Ireland may continue to practice as normal as no new restrictions have been introduced.

If you have any queries please contact your clubs. Club managers please contact your relevant Director of Youth/Flag Football with any scheduling queries.

Brian Cleary, Commissioner, American Football Ireland

Youth Football 2020: Schedule Update

Following a meeting last night with representatives from each youth team, the schedule was voted to be adjusted.

Gameweek 1 will now take place on Sunday 20th September, with the following game weeks taking place on Sunday 4th October and Sunday 18th October.

Further details will be released in due course.

Find Your Closest Flag Football Club

Flag Football is a version of American Football played without the contact element (similar to tag rugby). Flag Football is played as a mixed sport (males and females) for ages 16 and above. Select your county/closest county from the list below to see Flag Football clubs in that county and contact them to find out more about how to start playing:

New External Board Member Appointed

AFI is delighted to announce the appointment of Peter McKenna to the board as an external board member.

Peter is a keen sports enthusiast and brings a vast wealth of experience including involvement in the GAA at various levels. Peter has worked in Ireland, the US, Canada and Europe in all levels of an organisation from board level to staff. Peter has a wide range of qualifications including a Professional Diploma in High Performance Business Development, a Professional Diploma in Applied Performance Analysis, a GAA Accredited Performance Analyst and is a Sport Ireland Accredited Coaching Tutor. Welcome to AFI Peter and best of luck in the role!

This now means that the board is running at full capacity with 9 board members – details of the AFI Management Team can be found here.

Peter McKenna

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