Category: EBC

GBC & EBC 2019 Final Week Preview

Time flies and we are now in the final week of the regular season games for both the EBC and GBC 2019 seasons.

This being the penultimate preview of 2019 we thought we’d start with the inaugural GBC season. It all started with thirteen teams but only the top six will claim the right to compete in the playoff and maybe a shot at becoming Glas Bowl 1 champions.

A few teams have already booked their ticket to the playoff although without a definitive position yet. The Cork City Outlaws (5-1) and the South Dublin Panthers (4-1-1) currently 1st and 2nd, will be going to the playoff on the 2nd of November. However, since they have no remaining fixtures, they will only have to wait and see to find out what seeding they will finishing at.

On their trail (although already playoff bound) and with two games left to play, the Craigavon Cowboys 2nd (4-0) and Louth Mavericks 2nd (4-0) are a in a good position to take the top seeds if they win both their games with the added bonus that their last game will be against each other (which is our pick for the GBC game of the week). Now, that being said if both teams failed to win their first game and tied their second or even tie both games, they would still be in the top four teams.

The real excitement will come from further down the table. The West Dublin Rhinos (3-2-1) will be on the edge of their seat hoping for the Maynooth Hurricanes (2-2) or Belfast Trojans 2nd (2-2) to lose at least one of their games which would then seal their playoff ticket. If both Hurricanes and Trojans were to win two games then both would go to the playoff.

Now deeper in the table, the Ulster Elks (1-2-1), UCC Raiders 2nd (1-3) and Downpatrick Saints (1-3) could be giving us some upset. If the Hurricanes and Trojans were to loose both their games and the Elks were to win both their games then the Elks would go to the playoff as 5th or 6th seed (tie-breaker would apply against the Rhinos). If the Elks, the Hurricanes and Trojans were to lose both games and UCC were to win both their games then they would take the 6th seed. Same scenario for the Saints if all four teams currently above them were to loose both their games.

All in all, nothing is certain yet which should make for some great games this Saturday at the Dundalk IT Sports Grounds from 11am.

Now for the EBC. The EBC is the Premier League of Flag Football in Ireland and as such we have some of the best teams and players in the country battling it out to claim the sought title of Emerald Bowl Champions or National Champions.

Just like the GBC, it started with twelve teams, who were the top twelve teams from the EBC 2018 season. Just like the GBC, only the top six teams will be eligible to compete in the playoff with a shot at the championship at the Sport Ireland Campus on the 2nd of November. We would like to point out that even though this is the “premier league” of flag football, we did not go through the season unscathed as the season was plagued with a string of forfeits – which will be addressed at the end of the season.

With that out of the way – what’s cooking in the EBC?

Well the season is basically over for UCD (2-5-1), Meath Bulldogs (0-8) and Dublin Rebels (0-8).

Current National Champions Craigavon Cowboys (6-0) and Emerald Bowl 5 runners-up Louth Mavericks (6-0) are seating comfortably at 1st and 2nd and have already booked their ticket to the playoff although we do not yet know which will be topping the group. Mavericks have two tough fixtures against 3rd seed Edenderry Eagles (5-2) and 7th seed Trinity (3-3) with Trinity playing it all out to make the playoff a second year in a row. Some cracking games to watch there.

The Cowboys, being a competitive team, will try to keep they clean record and grab the highly sought after 8-0 perfect season against the 8th seed UCC Raiders and 9th seed Westmeath Minotaurs (also first ever Emerald Bowl champions in 2015). Both teams are on the hunt for a much needed 6th seed to make the playoff.

This is the Dublin Bay Raptors’ (4-2) second EBC appearance, and while they came very close to make the playoff last year for EBC 2018, they are now in a good position to reach the tops seeds if only they make sure to win two tough fixtures against Trinity and Belfast Trojans (4-3). The Raptors, Trojans and Knights are all on 12 points but the Knights have no fixtures left to play and while currently seating at 6th, are on the fence and will have to wait and hope that both Trinity and UCC lose both their games as one win would be enough for either Trinity or UCC to make the playoff as the Knights lost a game against both teams and would lose on head-to-head.

Some exciting games ahead to look forward to kicking off at 11am at the Newbridge College sports ground.

Good luck to all!!

GBC 2019 Week 3 Preview

Since GBC Week 2 games had to be postponed to the end of the season, we will now focus on the GBC 2019 week 3 games in Cork. Twelve teams and twelve games on the same day.

It has been a few weeks since the week 1 fixtures so as a refresher – the Cowboys, Outlaws, Panthers and Mavericks finished 2-0 on the day followed by the Razorbacks with 1-1. Since the season is a six game season, every single game counts and the current top four teams have taken a very good option on a playoff berth.

Now, with that being said, a few teams will be starting their season this Saturday and could change the entire picture.

Veterans Ulster Elks, Maynooth Hurricanes, and and newcomers UCC and first IAFA Corporate Flag team Norton Wasps, will have a chance to make their mark on the season.

There is also a chance for bottom of the table Saints, Trojans, Rhinos and Warriors to get some points on the board and hopefully help  them reach the playoff zone.

Top seed Cowboys will be on a bye this week so it will be an opportunity for anyone to take the top spot from them (at least temporarily).

Quick reminder, only the top six teams at the end of the regular season will make it to the playoff and maybe the GB1 game on the 2nd November.

You can find all fixtures from this page Flag Football | League Details | GBC.

Week 3 teams are the Belfast Trojans, Cork City Outlaws, UCC, Maynooth Hurricanes, Norton Wasps, Louth Mavericks, South Dublin Panthers, West Dublin Rhinos, Belfast Razorbacks, Galway Warriors, Downpatrick Saints and Ulster Elks.

This week, we had the pleasure to chat with team managers and head coaches from the Norton Wasps, the Maynooth Hurricanes and the Ulster Elks.

NOrton WASPS - VINCENT BAR, TEAM MANAGER

GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Wasps

IAFA: What are your goals for the season?

VB: Have fun will be our main goal for the season, we are just starting out and hoping to get people in work to join us next year for a bigger season.

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

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VB: There was an initiative launched in work and the goal was to provide a platform for employees to bring ideas forward and if there was enough interest, to bring the idea to life. Ideas could be anything, from clubs (artistic, sports, board game,..), to process or skill improvement. Flag Football was put forward as we saw the IAFA was starting the Glas Bowl Conference league for newer teams and would be the perfect place to start and have fun. From there, the idea of a Flag football was up-voted then pitched to the committee and decision was made to start the team, the Norton Wasps were born.

IAFA: How has your team prepared for this season?

VB: We have trained on a regular basis, working on basics skills, how the game plays, etc… we kept it simple for this year and we will work more in depth next year.

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IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

VB: We will keep that as a secret…. you better watch out and not get stung!

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?

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VB: We have few experienced players in the team and their experience might give us the edge.

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

VB: Not this year, in the next few seasons it might change but as answered above we are here to have fun this time around.

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

VB: Don’t think to much and go out there to have fun!

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MAYNOOTH HURRICANES - JOE KINAHAN, TEAM MANAGER

GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Hurricanes

IAFA: What are your goals for the season?

JKI think our team has always had the pieces to be too contenders, our problem has always been numbers. With the depth we have this year, and the fact that everyone from last year has developed further as football players, we’re kinda looking at this season as a disappointment if we don’t make the playoffs.

IAFA: Second season as the Hurricanes with another three as the Maynooth Phantoms, do you think your team is a strong contender this season?

JKIt’s definitely experience that gives us the edge. As you said, there’s a lot of brand new teams and development squads in this league that are used as a learning ground for rookies in their contact team. For all but a handful of us, flag football is all that the Hurricanes know. We feel that gives us the best chance of succeeding.

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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?

JKLooking at our schedule there’s not an awful lot of teams that we have played before, let alone teams that have 

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had games of any kind before this season. Usually we know what to expect from teams and work on schemes based on that. This season we’ve worked on what we do best as opposed to our opponents. I think because of that our new guys and girls have learnt a lot quicker than past versions of this side have.

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

JKI genuinely believe we’re full of weapons on both sides of the ball. There are too many teams that focus on getting the ball to one guy to make plays – I have no problem letting teams know that we will be spreading the ball around because we have the talent to do that; and I have no problem letting teams know that everyone on our defence is capable of some special plays if you give them an opportunity to do so.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

JKAs a coach I’m thinking of things a little differently, sure, since there’s only a small handful of games to make playoffs. As president I’m thinking of things a little differently because it means travel works differently, and training work differently. As a player, I am (as I’m sure everyone else is) seeing six games of flag football that are played just like any other game of flag football.

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

JKAnother cliche; have fun, above all else, then worry about winning. I think as teams we need to realise that sometimes we don’t play flag football for the right reasons – being blown out and running up the score can sometimes end up being as fun as each other. If we’re able to keep the banter levels the same before, during, and after game day,  even with a 6-7 hour round trip, and regardless of results, then we’re playing for the right reasons. I want to make sure every Hurricane remembers that before heading down to Cork. Winning is always great, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of it being a chore either.

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ULSTER ELKS - DANIEL KASSIR, TEAM MANAGER
GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Elks

IAFA: What are your goals for the season?

DK: We plan to try and make playoffs and get back into the EBC for the 2020 season!

IAFA: Fourth season for the Elks, tell us a bit about how your approach this season?

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DK: Our approach has always been the same. Bring positivity and hard work to the field. Try our best and have fun.

IAFA: First games for the Elks this weekend, how has your team prepared for the season?

DK: We have trained three times a week since college started to get ready. We have been recruiting hard and working on plays for the new season.

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

DK: I would say that the Craigavon Cowboys 2nd team provides the biggest challenge this year if we meet them in playoffs.

IAFA: Since most teams in the GBC are 

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new or in development, what would make your team have the edge over other teams in the GBC?

DK: Since we are a college team we would have younger players with more energy and enthusiasm. We also have two players from North America on the team which could give us an edge.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

DK: Players to watch are Reece England for his leadership and skill, Jamie Totten for his defensive talent and awareness, and Alex Hancock for his great route running and catching ability.

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?

DKWell you can always have fun without winning so we will try and do both but not focus on one or the other too much.
 

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

DK: My advice to the team is to go out there and try your absolute best. No less. And have fun. Play for your teammates and play for yourselves!

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EBC 2019 Week 3 Preview

Time for some Flag Football and week 3 of the EBC 2019 season.

Week 2 saw collegiate teams kicking off their season with UCD and UCC finishing 0-2 and Trinity 1-1 on the day. Trinity, who reached the Emerald Bowl 5 semi finals last year, started strong with a 66-6 score on their first game only to lose by a mere one point (32-33) against another EB5 playoff team, the Belfast Trojans.

Northern teams have started their season strong with all three taking three of the top five seeds. 1st seed and current national champions, Craigavon Cowboys, seem to be the team to beat with a perfect 4-0 start to their season. They are topping the table with both the best offence, with an average 48 points scored per game, and the second best defence with an average 11.5 points scored against them. Only the Raptors, who sit at third place, who have a better points against average of 8 points per game and therefore the best defence in the league.

EB4 champions, Edenderry Eagles, failed to convince on week 2 with two straight losses against top seed Cowboys (43-26) and number 2 seed Belfast Knights (36-26). They have a tough schedule ahead if they want to make the playoff while currently seating one position short of making the cut.

Quick reminder, only the top six teams at the end of the regular season will make it to the playoff wiht a shot at the National Championship on the 2nd of November.

You can find all fixtures from this page Flag Football | EBC.

Week 3 teams are the Belfast Knights, Belfast Trojans, Craigavon Cowboys, Dublin Bay Raptors, UCC, UCD, Trinity and Westmeath Minotaurs.

This week, we had the pleasure to chat with team managers and head coaches from the Dublin Bay Raptors, the Belfast Knights and the Edenderry Eagles.

Dublin Bay RAPTORS - TODD ZBOYAN, HEAD COACH

EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Raptors

IAFA: Second year competing 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 2019 season?

TZIt was very disappointing to not make the playoffs last year but we took away a lot of lessons from our first year in the league and have tried to apply them

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 to the current season.

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

TZOur main goal is to win the EBC.  Secondary to that is to keep improving and having fun.

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?

TZWe really love the two league structure put in place this year, it gives

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real legitimacy to the sport and we hope it will help grow the sport.  We competed against most of the same teams last year so we’re really just focused on playing our game.

IAFA: You are currently positioned 3rd in the league with another four games to play. Have you changed your strategy since the start of the season?

TZOur strategy hasn’t changed, we’re happy with the position we’re in at the moment and feel we’ve put ourselves on a good place to get a playoff spot this year.

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?

TZAll the teams in the EBC have the potential to win games….”any given Sunday”.  We had a particularly close game against the Cowboys last year and are looking forward to the rematch this week.  We’ve had competitive games against UCD in the past, they’re always a fun team to play.  And we’re looking forward to playing Trinity in week 5, as we haven’t played them before.

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

TZ: The majority of our players have immense football knowledge and experience.  This gives us an advantage coming up with a game plan and also being able to adapt that plan during the game to take advantage of the other teams strengths and weaknesses.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

TZI can’t really single any one player out, as we’ve really fostered a team first attitude with the Raptors.  Everybody knows the job they need to do and isn’t afraid to ask for help if they’re struggling.

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?

TZFemale participation is important for the growth of the sport.  We’ve had at least one female player on the team since it’s inception and will continue to look for more females players. 

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

TZ: The National Programme starting up again is very exciting for the sport.  We have a few players who played on the National Team a few years back and we’re able to draw on their experience to help the team.  Our players focus is on making the playoff and winning the EBC.  If they get selected for the Wolfhounds, that’s just icing on the cake.

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

TZSame as always….play hard, play error free, do your job, and have fun.

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BELFAST KNIGHTS - KRIS MCCOMBE , TEAM MANAGER

EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Knights

IAFA: Second year competing in the EBC. You made bang reaching the playoff last year just short of making the finals. Tell us a bit about how this all sunk in and about your preparation for the 2019 season?

KMCWe’ve come a long way from the five guys that played in People’s Park last year. Once we won our first game that day, momentum just grew and grew. It

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 felt great to make the playoff and that’s something we’ll be looking to repeat, and hopefully with a better outcome this year. Being in the EBC means the games are now consistently tough and we have needed to up ours. Our players are hungry to build upon our success from last year.

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

KMCOur goals for the season are the same as I suspect all the teams are; to win the Emerald Bowl. We’ve made a solid start to the season and hope to continue that through the last four games.

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?

KMCThe stratification of the teams 

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into the EBC and GBC has certainly made a difference in competitiveness. We knew that this year would be harder than last and our players understand that. We’re training harder, running more complex concepts and not taking any game for granted. With eight games this season as opposed to ten last year, there’s far less room for error. We are continuing to improve week on week. The great thing about the team is that we can be confident that if one person goes out, the next person in will be able to do the job as well if not better.

IAFA: You are currently positioned 2nd in the league with another three games to go. Have you changed your strategy since the start of the season in order to assure you are in the top 6 teams by season end?

KMCWe don’t really think about our league position at this stage. Just going to focus on one game at a time and play ours. If we do thatthen the wins will come.

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?

KMCThe Cowboys are the team to beat again this year. We came away with a draw against them last season and we’re hoping to get three points this time around.

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

KMCWe’re a very adaptable team. If things aren’t working we can change very quickly to fix it. We also have incredible coaches at the helm who have been around this game longer than I’ve been born!

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

KMC: It’s very hard to pick players to watch because they all have so much quality!  I would say we have at least five players who are Wolfhounds material. If I had to name a couple though, I’d say watch Josh Davis. He’s been quietly racking up the touchdowns the last few games. Paul Crothers is a menace at DB in the kitted game and that has translated really well to flag. Michael Harland is a brilliant two-way player, having picked up interceptions and touchdowns throughout the season. Jordan Clinton has ridiculous speed and route running which has translated into a lot of points. Chris Muir is one of our new guys who has become an excellent tackle and blitzer. I believe he has three sacks on the season so far. We can’t underestimate the impact our female players have had either. Amber Perry and Lauren Purton both have experience in BAFA (British American Football Association) and are excellent on the defensive side.

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?

KMCWe were able to recruit a couple of female players from our Freshers Fair stall last year who have stayed with us this year. The hope is to continue to recruit female players and eventually get to the point where we can field an all-female squad in the near future.

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

KMCOur guys are very excited about the Nnational Team forming and I believe it is bringing out the best in them. It kind of works hand in hand. They play well on the field, they get noticed and we win games because of it. Like I said before, we have at least five or six guys and girls who I believe could be starters on the Wolfhounds Flag Football squads.

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

KMCNever underestimate the opponent. Flag Football can be a crazy sport and it’s important to treat every team as the toughest team in the league.

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EDENDERRY EAGLES - ROBBIE TIGHE, TEAM MANAGER
EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Eagles

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

RTNaturally we were disappointed  in missing out on a final placement but the better team won on the day. 

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We’ve increased our plays and worked on our communications amongst ourselves as players.

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

RTSame as every season. Enjoy every game. Have fun. Score points and win!

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?

RT: We haven’t actually changed our stance or mindset. A lot of these teams we’ve met at some stage over the last few seasons. So we view every team as dangerous but beatable. It can be anyone’s on the day.

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IAFA: You are currently positioned 7th in the league with another four games to play. Have you changed your strategy since the start of the season? 

RTThat would be telling!!

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?

RTThe cowboys are probably the biggest challenge so far. Lads play well and are extremely skill-full. And able to adapt to different roles. They’ll be the team to watch out for.

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

RTWe don’t take the game too seriously and go out to enjoy it. Plus most of our players are well experienced in flag football. With several of us having gone to the jags tourney last year and finishing 3rd. We’ve got some good players 

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?
 

RTPretty much all of them. Can’t count any of them to not be troublesome for the opposition.

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?

RTWe’ve reached out to local communities and have an open invitation to all players male and female. While there has been some interest it hasn’t really taken traction yet. This is something we hope to address for the next season.

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

RTWe’re in a tough spot on the table at the moment but I can depend on the team to give 100%. The focus won’t change which is to compete, play fair and represent the team with pride. 

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

RT: Relax, smile, get that flag, get the TD. Most of all enjoy it.

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EBC 2019 Week 2 Preview

Time for some Flag Football and week 2 of the IAFA EBC 2019 season.

Week 1 started well with three EBC 2018 playoff teams (Cowboys, Eagles, Mavericks) already 2-0 and scoring a whole 224 of the total 419 points scored on the day. Some teams were not as lucky but still have room to improve for a shot at the playoff.

Week 2 will see collegiate teams kicking off their season. Returning veterans UCD, EBC18 semi-finalists Trinity, and second timer UCC will have a chance to make their mark on the season.

Week 2 will also see some great games to watch for but our pick of the week is the Eagles v Cowboys game at 11am. The two-time and current champions started their season strong with the lowest points scored against them (a total of 3!!). EB IV champions Edenderry Eagles also started strong with a hard fought 50-44 win over EB I champions Westmeath Minotaurs.

You can find all fixtures from this page Flag Football | EBC. Week 2 teams are the Belfast Knights, Belfast Trojans, Craigavon Cowboys, Dublin Bay Raptors, Edenderry Eagles, Meath Bulldogs, UCC, UCD, Trinity and Westmeath Minotaurs.

This week, we had the pleasure to chat with team managers from the three college teams playing this Saturday. We talked to David Healy, team manager of the UCC Raiders; Steven Culligan, team manager of UCD and John Quirke, team manager of Trinity.

UCC - DAVID HEALY, TEAM MANAGER

GBC_Flag Football Gloves_UCC Raiders

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 EBC 2019 season?

DH: It was obviously really disappointing to miss the playoff last year, especially in the manner that we did as it was so close in the end. We felt like we had a

good shot at winning had we made the playoff but we started out slowly last season so with that in mind, we’ll be aiming to brush the dust off and get off to a better start this year.

IAFA: What is your main goal this season?

DH: All eyes are firmly on the prize this year. At a minimum we expect to make the playoff and anything can happen from there.

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?

DH: We’ve entered a team in the GBC to allow our squad to grow and develop at

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a sustainable rate. This also allows us to take the gloves off and put out our strongest team available in the EBC. We have a plethora of talent in the squad so we’re looking forward to pushing ourselves against the best.

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?

DH: We’ve got fixtures against current Champions, Cowboys, and EB IV Champions, Eagles, who are always going to be tough. We’re also looking forward to seeing the Raptors again as we’ve had a few good games with them over the last few years.

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

DH: We definitely have an impressive level of camaraderie in the group. Every player on the squad is on the same page and everyone’s here to enjoy themselves whilst playing the sport.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

DH: Jahn Dasini is one of those players who’s a threat to score anytime they touch the ball, Jack Fagan is one of the top dual threat QBs in the country and James Hogan is really solid on both sides of the ball, they’d be our most prominent players but we’re really happy with the strength in depth that we have.

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?

DH: Absolutely, it’d be an incredible experience and it’d be great to see the standards of play outside of Ireland.

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?

DH: We’ve had a strong female presence in the club since we started out three years ago, and we continue to recruit new members around campus and make them feel welcome on the squad at every available opportunity.

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?

DH: I don’t think so, as long as we’re wearing UCC jerseys, every member of the squad is playing for the team. We’ll definitely be encouraging our players to try out for the national program at the end of the season to get some fresh perspectives on the game and compete on a national level.

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

DH: Know your job, do your job and enjoy the game.

UCD - STEVEN CULLIGAN, TEAM MANAGER

EBC_Flag Football Gloves_UCD

IAFA: Sixth 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 EBC 2019 season?

SC: Last year was viewed a success for our flag program as we were able to up skill our new rookie players that were added to the team through flag

games versus very good opposition. We had a tough division last year and narrowly missed out on the playoff. We would hope to take a step back into the playoff through the coming year.

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

SC: Our goals for the season remain the same. To win as many games as we can, grow the sport through our player base and hope everyone takes the football skills learned to our contact 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 in teams in the country?

IS: From a preparation standpoint we 

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begin the year with so many new athletes that we have to teach the basics. We are confident that our young, hungry group of rookies will step up and support our established flag players in making a playoff push.

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?

SC: The Dublin Bay Raptors are always a fun team to play. Highly competitive and a great bunch of lads.

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

SC: A new group of young hungry players.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

SC: Our players to watch would be our rookies, see how the perform and adapt to the sport. It is early at the minute but there are some young stars that are sure to emerge from the group.

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?

SC: Of course we would be interested in a champions league. The idea of competing against the best of the best is an appeal to any athlete of any 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?

SC: Our emphasis is on developing sound football players so in that regard nothing will change. If they perform well enough I am sure selectors will take notice. These things tend to look after themselves.

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

SC: Have fun, don’t be afraid to make mistake (what are a few flags anyway) and try your best. The rest will look after itself.

TRINITY - JOHN QUIRKE, Team Manager
EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Trinity

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

JQ: We were obviously all gutted with how last season ended. We didn’t adjust well enough in-game to a lot of 

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?

JQSame as everyone else in the EBC, win the bowl.

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?

JQWe’re delighted with the restructure. We only want to compete against the best. Iron sharpens iron and all that.

6.2.5
blackboard-trinity

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?

JQWe want to compete against the best, and at the moment that’s the holders, the Craigavon Cowboys. They’re the top team that we’re yet to face off against, so that should be a fun matchup in a couple of weeks time.

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

JQWe have a great ball hawking defense. In the regular season last year we had more picks than TDs conceded, which is something we’re proud of.

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

JQOffensively we’re looking forward to seeing how Franklin Ume Obiekwe and Jamie Bolger get on after successful full kit rookie seasons. On the defensive side of the ball, Ger O’Halloran has been top quality for years and is looking even better this year.

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?

JQAbsolutely. We were trying to participate in an European tournament over the summer but unfortunately it didn’t work out. A Champions League style tournament would be great for the sport and definitely something we’d be interested in.

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?

JQMost of our recruitment is done over the course of freshers week on campus, so this year was the first time there was an emphasis on recruiting both men and women into the club.

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?

JQOur sole focus will be on winning each and every game. If we have some standout players who end up getting call ups – fantastic!

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

JQ: 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?

JQ: Do your job.

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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 

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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 end-zone to end-zone. 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

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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 game-day 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

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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 assignment. Win or lose as a team.

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.

Flag Football Leagues Fixtures Live

Official fixtures for the upcoming IAFA Flag Football Emerald Bowl Conference (EBC) and the Glas (as in Irish for green) Bowl Conference (GBC) seasons are now live.

Little fact – this is the most flag football teams (25) competing in an organised league setting at the same time on the island, ever!!
 
The EBC is now entering its sixth season. It is the premier league of flag football in Ireland, with the top twelve flag football teams on the island to compete for the national championship or Emerald Bowl VI – currently held by the two-time champions Craigavon Cowboys. This season promises to be very competitive.
 
 
Its sister league, the GBC, will kick off its inaugural season on the 7th of September. The GBC is a bit like the championship is to the premier league in soccer. This season will see thirteen teams,  either new or returning, who will have a shot at the championship. Even though the level of game will be lower than the EBC, we would not be surprised to see some great games and competition taking place.
 
 
Both leagues will see the conclusion of their respective season with playoff and bowl games – Emerald Bowl VI and Glas Bowl I – taking place on the same day and at the same venue that is the National Sports Campus on the 2nd of November. The top 6 GBC teams and the top 6 EBC teams will battle it out for a shot at the championship.
 
With the creation of a new league we are also introducing a promotion/relegation scheme between EBC and GBC. In short, one EBC team will be relegated to the GBC and one GBC team will be promoted to the EBC. We also have a playoff game between the 2nd GBC seed and the 11th EBC seed to determine another possible set of relegation/promotion between the two leagues. All in all, two teams could go up and two teams could go down making the competition really interesting.
This will also ensure a fairly levelled EBC league in the long-run and a reason to improve and compete for all GBC teams.
 

You can find all fixtures under Flag Football/Leagues Details or click on the images below.

 
 

Flag Football 2019 Team Registration Open

Team Registration for IAFA Flag Football 2019  is now open. The form can be found here.

IAFA Flag Football will be running two mixed leagues this season. The Emerald Bowl Conference (EBC) and the Glas (Green) Bowl Conference (GBC).

The EBC has now become the premier league for Flag Football in Ireland, and the 2019 season will see the top 12 teams from EBC18 compete for the national championship.

The GBC is a new league created for new teams wanting to give a go at Flag Football and also for returning teams needing a bit of TLC to hopefully reach the EBC in a future season.

We will also allow for clubs to field two teams if their numbers are consequent enough to do so. If a club has already a team in the EBC, then the second team will be automatically entered in the GBC. If this is the club’s first time playing Flag Football, then both their teams will be competing in the GBC. As the end of the season, only one of the two teams will be allowed in the EBC (if in a position to do so) with the weaker team forfeiting any promotion to the next team in the overall standings.

As it stands and based on EBC18 these are the 12 teams to enter EBC19:

1. Craigavon Cowboys 2. Louth Mavericks
3. Trinity College Dublin 4. Edenderry Eagles
5. Belfast Knights 6. Belfast Trojans
7. UCC 8. Dublin Bay Raptors
9. UCD 10. Westmeath Minotaurs
11. UL Vikings 12. Dublin Rebels

Registration for EBC teams closes on April 15th.
Registration for all others teams closes on April 30th.

More details on rules for both leagues to follow.

Emerald Bowl Conference is back!

The IAFA Flag Football Emerald Bowl Conference is back!

Team registration opens today!

The season format will change a little from previous ones.

Games will be played from September 1st through to December 1st with the playoffs and Emerald Bowl V games on December 1st.

The season will run with a maximum of 20 teams who will be divided across 4 geographical divisions.

Each team will play 10 games – 8 divisional games and 2 interdivisional games.

All teams must submit the names of their Team Manager and Head Coach, with at least one of them being a non-playing member.

Teams a can have a maximum of 30 mixed players on their overall roster, with a maximum of 20 players on game day.

Games will run, as previously done, on a blitz format with several teams meeting at the one venue. Continue reading “Emerald Bowl Conference is back!”