Category: General

Posts related to IAFA activities (also general category)

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
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

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

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 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

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 ( 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


American Football Ireland

Special Guest Commentators: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

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

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

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

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

Round 1 Results: AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coaching Course: Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity

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

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

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

Specifically, learners will be able to:

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

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

AFI Madden Championship Series 2020

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

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

How will it work?

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

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

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

What do we do next?

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

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

Match Rules

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

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

Team Selection

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

Live Streaming

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


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


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

COVID-19 Statement

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary

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

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

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

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

New Commissioner Appointed

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

Congratulations Brian and best of luck in the position!

Commissioner: Brian Cleary

Press Release: American Football Ireland

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

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

Official logo of American Football Ireland

2020 Senior Kitted Schedule Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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


Shamrock Bowl Conference



Notice of SGM

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

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

20×20: Frieda Gallagher

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

What sparked your initial interest in American football?

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

How did you get involved with your club/IAFA?

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

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

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

What is the American football environment like in Ireland?

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

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

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

Wolfhounds Flag Football – Coaching Staff Announced

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

Without further ado, the Wolfhounds Flag Football Coaching Crew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Win A £100 Football America UK Voucher

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




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

Win Your 2020 American Football Ireland Membership Fee Back

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

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

Don’t miss out – purchase your membership today:

IFAF Congress – London 2019

Last November, IAFA partnered with Southend Airport to attend the 2019 IFAF Congress in London. London Southend flew us out with Ryanair on Thursday 31st of October and put us up in The Holiday Inn at Southend Airport for three nights, it was such a convenient location and the trip was smooth and enjoyable. The duration of the flight from Terminal 1 Dublin Airport was approximately an hour, it was quick and stress free. When we landed in Southend Airport we got off the plane to our baggage waiting for us on the luggage belt, we were off the plane with luggage in hand in less than half an hour. The terminal in Southend Airport is small but extremely efficient with everything in close proximity so there’s no need for walking miles to get your bags. The ground staff were amazing and very helpful, as it was our first time flying into Southend we asked for help to find our hotel and the staff were more than happy to help.

We stayed in The Holiday Inn at Southend Airport so it was less than a five minutes walk to get there. Like the staff in the Airport the staff in the Hotel couldn’t have been nicer and our check in, even though it was late, was pleasant and quick. The rooms in The Holiday Inn are spacious and have all the amenities that you need. The hotel itself is located across from a retail park with lots of shops and a large McDonald’s so if you’ve forgotten anything you can pick it up without having to go into London. The hotel has a bar and restaurant with food served in both, we enjoyed a continental breakfast each morning of our stay but it also has the option of hot food with your choice of eggs prepared fresh upon ordering.

To get into London the train station is approximately a hundred feet from the airport and as you leave the terminal the train station is right across the road. The train into London from Southend is really affordable and takes less than an hour. The train will take you to Liverpool Street Station, as well as many more, where you have access to the London underground that will take you to any station in and around the city. We took the train for the three days that we were there without any issues and as they go from quite early in the morning to very late at night you are never stuck for transport.

We were at the IFAF congress on the Friday and Saturday needing to be at the Crowne Plaza in London for 9am, the train was less than an hour and the underground took us nearly on the doorstep of the hotel. Leaving the congress at around 7pm on both days, we got the train with ease getting off at Southend Airport station, and with less than a 5 minute walk away to the Holiday Inn, it was a godsend.

On the Sunday, we flew home, we had a late flight so we checked out of the hotel with ease and decided to go to the airport for some dinner before we boarded our flight. The check in process was pleasant and quick as we had a lovely man who explained where security was and how to get to our gate. We were through security in about five minutes, and decided to eat at The Navigator restaurant in the departure lounge but there were plenty of options for food and drinks as well as Dixons Travel and WHSmith for some shopping, snacks, magazines, books and papers. They also have a Costa Coffee and a large World Duty Free. Dinner in the Navigator was really nice with friendly staff, lovely food and quick service. All in all it was a really pleasant and enjoyable trip to Southend Airport.

IAFA Management Changes & Restructure

Following yesterday’s AGM, several management changes took place:

  • Brian Cleary stepped down from the management board after 4 years of service. Brian will continue in the role of interim Commissioner. Joseph Maguire also stepped down from the management board having been co-opted on earlier this year. We would like to express our sincere thanks to both for their time and effort whilst on the board.
  • Christine Bolton and Paul O’Donnell were elected to the board, both to 3-year terms. Christine had been co-opted on to the board earlier this year and is a former chairperson of the West Dublin Rhinos. Paul has been a member of the Donegal/Derry Vipers for 4 years. You are both very welcome and we wish you all the best in your roles.
  • Emma Burrows stepped down as Director of Coaching following 2 years in the role. Emma has been instrumental in transforming the coaching department with a new level 0, Sport Ireland accredited coaching course and several level 1 courses close to being accredited. Thank you Emma for your time and effort in the position. We are now accepting applications for the Director of Coaching role – more details can be found here.

There were also numerous changes to the constitution approved, one of which included the management structure of IAFA. The new structure that was approved by the membership can be seen in the image below.

Director of Youth Football, Director of Flag Football, and Commercial Director have been added to reinforce our commitment to grow the Association and secure its future, both financially and in terms of membership numbers. Director of National Programme Operations created to reinforce our commitment to the highest level of our sport. The Director of National Programme Operations will head a National Programme Operations committee to include team managers for senior, youth and flag. The additional roles added is due to our growth, particularly our youth and flag programmes.

Significant Increase In Membership 2018/19

2018/19 has been a stellar year for IAFA that’s seen a 31% increase in unique membership, with particularly strong growth at youth level, in female membership and officials. These statistics formed part of our Commissioners (interim, Brian Cleary) report at yesterday’s AGM.

Unique Members
% +/-

Overall memberships totalled 1774 – this includes members who took one more than one membership e.g. registered as an official and player.

Overall Memberships
% +/-


Youth football had huge growth this year, thanks to the addition of four new teams to the youth league. Youth football is key to the future of our sport and whilst IAFA is pleased with this increase, IAFA will continue to push this growth and encourages more clubs to join the youth league in 2020.

Officiating was another department that seen considerable growth. There have been changes made to the operations of the officiating department, including 5 new personnel appointed to help improve standards across the whole department. The success of this can be clearly seen, with an 81% rise in the amount of trained and registered officials.

Youth Kitted

IAFA is delighted with the increase in female membership, with members taking on roles across all areas including kitted and flag players, coaches, officials and volunteers (club and NGB level). IAFA has worked hard to increase the visibility of American football to females as part of Sport Irelands 20×20 strategy. IAFA will continue to strategize to increase female membership and welcomes all feedback to help with that strategy.

Slight decreases were noted in the number of senior kitted players and coaches – IAFA are working hard to address this to ensure that these increase next year.

Senior Kitted

Statistics collected using the IAFA registration system (Azolve).

Play American Football In Ireland!

American football is played right across the island of Ireland, with 22 teams competing at senior level (ages 18+). No prior sporting experience is needed to play – American Football is a sport for all shapes and sizes as well as for both females and males.

Many of our member clubs are currently recruiting for the 2020 seasons – they will have experienced, qualified coaches who will teach you all you need to know to play American football. Check out our A-Z of clubs and get in contact with your nearest club to start playing:





Calling all (potential) referees

Have you ever sat at home watching the NFL or College Football and found yourself calling the penalties during a game? Why not put it into practice?

We are looking for new officials to join our panel of experienced referees. Officiating American Football in Ireland is open to men and women over the age of 18. Full training will be provided to you, no previous experience in the sport is required.

Officiating is a great way to get involved in the sport, stay active, meet new people and you will be paid a game fee for your services too!

Get in touch today for more information on how to become an official.

 Contact Us Here

What We Learned from GBC’s Week 1 Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current Standings

[ninja_tables id="15311"]

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.

Shamrock Bowl 33 featured on Sport for Business

Only just a week in the role of Commercial Director and newly appointed Kate Sherry has already managed to have the word spread about IAFA and more specifically Shamrock Bowl 33 in a short feature on the Sport for Business website.

Sport for Business is publishing, networking and events business at the heart of the commercial world of Irish sport. They connect sport and business in ways that go well beyond the standard forms of sponsorship and hospitality.

Through our industry-leading Sport for Business Daily Digest, Sport for Business engage daily with an audience of 4,000 leaders in sport, business, politics and society.
Sport for Business host and partner with over 30 events during the year and they work closely with their members to make things happen for them.

The Shamrock bowl will be held in Energia Park, Donnybrook on August 4th and will see the Belfast Trojans take on the South Dublin Panthers in what should be a craic of a game. Tickets are available for purchase by clicking the big green “Buy SBXXXIII Tickets” button found to the right hand side of your screen.

You can find the featured piece at the following link Sport for Business.