Category: EBC

EBC 2019 Week 1 Preview

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

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

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

Louth mavericks - robbie calwell, HEAD COACH
GBC_Flag Football Gloves_Mavericks

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

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

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

IAFA: What is your main goal this season?

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

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

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

blackboard-mavericks

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

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

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

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

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

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belfast Trojans - IAN SHAW, HEAD COACH
EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Trojans

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

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

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

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

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

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

IS: Our schedule is definitely a step up

blackboard-trojans

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

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

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

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

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

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEATH BULLDOGS - Gytis Stankevicius, Team Manager
EBC_Flag Football Gloves_Bulldogs

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

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

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

IAFA: What are your goals for this season?

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

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

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

blackboard-bulldogs

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

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

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

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

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

IAFA: Who are your players to watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!”