Category: International

Posts related to international football

Irish Wolfhounds Women’s Flag Football Team Now Recruiting

The Irish Wolfhounds National Flag Football coaching staff are recruiting Irish national athletes for the Women’s Flag Football team. The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Dan Shaw, are excited to put forward a competitive team for the 2023 IFAF European Flag Football Championships next August in Limerick, which will see numerous countries’ Men’s and Women’s teams taking part to be crowned European Champions!

When asked about the Women’s national team program, Coach Dan Shaw had this to say:
Female Participation in flag football is something I have always been passionate about both at club and national level. This will be a fantastic opportunity for top tier athletes from within our own league bit also across other sports to pull on a green jersey and represent this island next summer. I am very excite to see what caliber of female squad we can put on the field for next year. 

Interested athletes can submit their sporting CV to The opportunity to represent Ireland in a rapidly developing sport has presented itself — find out if you have what it takes to be a Wolfhound!

Press Release: Irish Wolfhounds @ Team Spain, October 22nd

Saturday October 22nd 2022 will see the Irish Wolfhounds start their campaign in Group B of the IFAF European Championships, travelling to Madrid to take on Team Spain at Estadio Municipal Rafael Mendoza, 17:00 local time. 

The IFAF European Championship groups are seeded groups: the winner of Spain vs Ireland will play the winner of Israel vs Turkey. The winner of that match will face Germany in 2023 for qualification to Group A, the elite group of European American football national teams. 

The last fixtures to take place for the Irish Wolfhounds were more than 3 years ago, with the Irish squad earning back-to-back home and away wins over Team Belgium. The Wolfhounds look set to cause more than just a spark in Group B and, after a remarkable domestic season, will be out to further Ireland’s visibility on the radar of Europe’s elite!

Tickets to the game are free, so we encourage all Wolfhounds fans to travel with the team this October to witness a fantastic international fixture

Ireland to host 2023 IFAF European Flag Football Championships

American Football Ireland are delighted to announce that Ireland will host the 2023 IFAF European Flag Football Championships. The tournament will see more than a dozen European nation teams compete in Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s games from 18-20th August 2023 at University of Limerick to crown the 2023 European Flag Football Champions.

AFI would like to thank IFAF President Pierre Trochet, IFAF Managing Director Andy Fuller, IFAF Director of Competitions Roope Noronen and all who were involved in the bidding process for this fantastic event. This tournament will help strengthen the public opinion of flag football and American football in Ireland, as well as further develop the on-field product for both sports. We are excited for the opportunity to host and learn from our peers across Europe and provide for elite players from Ireland and abroad the platform to achieve their full potential in the sport.


The Northwestern Wildcast will take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Aviva Stadium!



  • Northwestern (Chicago) will take on Nebraska in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on Saturday, 27 August 2022 at the Aviva Stadium Dublin.
  • The profile Big Ten Conference fixture is scheduled for week zero and will open the 2022 College Football Season.
  • 18,000 US fans and 5,000 European fans are expected to travel for game week in Dublin 2022.
  • It is expected to generate a massive €63 million for the Irish Economy next year. There will also be the benefits of a live US TV audience of 3 million viewers.

May 20th, 2021: A joint announcement in the US and Ireland has today revealed that Northwestern University (Wildcats) will take on the University of Nebraska (Cornhuskers) in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 27 August 2022. The Aer Lingus College Football five-game series was due to start in 2020 but was disrupted due the pandemic so this announcement is a significant milestone in getting the series back on track.

This is the first time that either team has ever travelled to play in Ireland and so, were thrilled to accept the invitation to take to the field and open the 2022 College Football Season at the world-famous Aviva Stadium. Nebraska was set to travel to Dublin later this summer for their game against Illinois, however, it was postponed because of Covid-19.

As Nebraska is one of the most successful American College Football teams in history, and with such strong Irish ties to the city of Chicago where the Wildcats are based, the game is sure to be a huge draw to sports fans here in Ireland as well as across the US and Europe. It is expected that it will also generate a massive €63million for the Irish Economy next year, providing a much-needed boost for the country’s Tourism and Hospitality sectors.

The wholly anticipated fixture is scheduled for week zero, and as both teams are a part of the famed Big Ten Conference, over 18,000 US fans and 5,000 European fans are expected to travel for the game that will be a major international, post-covid event for Ireland. The Series principal stakeholders are Aer Lingus, Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Dublin City Council.

Dan & Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach, Northwestern University, Pat Fitzgerald said: “This is an incredible opportunity for our entire University community, from student-athletes to coaches, alumni and fans. We are thrilled that our program will get to immerse themselves into the beautiful Irish culture, while we continue to help grow the game of college football on a global stage. It’s an honor to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime experience and can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings.”

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said: “We are excited to reschedule the trip to Ireland for our football program. The young men in our program have been looking forward to this trip and we are happy to provide them this memorable experience. I know our great Husker fan base will be excited as well and the opportunity to travel to Ireland to see their team compete on an international stage will truly be special. I also want to thank Irish American Events for being a great partner throughout this process the past couple years. We were pleased Northwestern was willing to move a home game to Ireland and look forward to a great season opener in Ireland in 2022.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin commenting on the announcement: “The past year has been a very difficult one for us all in Ireland and in the United States. With our vaccination rollout advancing at pace, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and we can begin to look forward with optimism to welcoming visitors safely back to our shores. When we do, we will have a very special welcome ready for the teams and their supporters when they visit us for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on the 27th of August 2022.”

Padraic O’Kane from Irish American Events Ltd. said: “The announcement of next year’s game marks a major milestone in both the recovery of major tourism and sporting events for Ireland along with the wider economy. On behalf of our stakeholders, we are delighted to welcome the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Husker’s game, and later this year we plan to announce a further game for 2023, the second in the five-game Aer Lingus College Football series. As organisers in consultation with our stakeholders, the absolute priority is to ensure that players, staff, alumni and fans will be awarded our famous Irish welcome within a safe environment for their visit to Ireland next year.”

David Shepherd, Chief Commercial Officer, Aer Lingus, said: “Today’s announcement is a welcome beacon of hope for travel on both sides of the Atlantic.  As proud sponsor of the Aer Lingus College Football Series, we look forward to flying the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Huskers and their respective delegations to Ireland next summer, and to promoting our airline to our valued US market.”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu said: “I am thrilled with the announcement of the 2022 Aer Lingus College Football Classic in the Aviva Stadium. The benefit for our city, both economically and socially, will be immense, providing a welcomed boost for the tourism and hospitality industries. Such events strengthen our ties with other great nations, showcasing Dublin as a premier hosting destination and after a challenging year gives great optimism to the Country for the months ahead.”

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: The announcement of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic for August 2022 is really good news. As we get ready to restart international tourism to the island of Ireland, the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Nebraska Huskers will deliver a very welcome boost for tourism from the United States, with about 23,000 people expected to travel here from the US and Europe. Our message to the teams and their fans is that we cannot wait to roll out the ‘green carpet’ and welcome them to Dublin and Ireland. I am confident that the Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be a truly wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland and, more generally, the many attractions we offer as a holiday destination.”

Paul Keeley, Director of Regional Development, Fáilte Ireland, said: “This announcement will provide a welcome boost for the tourism and hospitality sector especially in Dublin which has been hit hard by the pandemic. We will be thrilled to welcome the teams and their supporters to our capital city when they visit in 2022.  These games are of critical importance to our economy, not just in Dublin but regionally too, as fans will travel and visit other parts of Ireland. The millions of fans watching the game in the US will also provide Ireland with a valuable opportunity to showcase our ability to host large-scale international sporting tournaments while also reaching out to viewers – and potential visitors – in one of our key markets.”

The University of Nebraska fans are renowned for taking over stadiums, home and away, with their famous “Sea of Red”, and so with this trip to Dublin, natives can expect to see more red than ever before in the country.

The Northwestern Wildcats are also known as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” due to its proximity to Chicago which makes for a great celebration amongst the Irish spectators, with the high number of the population with close connections and roots in the US city that are so highly valued.

The specially commissioned Waterford Crystal trophy is the perpetual prize for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. The Keough-Naughton trophy bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America, Don Keough and Martin Naughton.

Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Ticketing / Hospitality & Travel Packages
Hospitality packages for the 2022 game are on sale now through the official corporate hospitality game partner Travel packages are on sale through the official travel partner On Location in partnership with Abbey Group Ireland. Corporate group ticketing opportunities will also be launched towards the end of the year. General ticketing information to be released in due course, with a pre-sale sign-up option available on the official game website.

The health and safety of those travelling to Dublin for this not to be missed event is at the forefront of all plans for Ireland. Over the next 15 months the nation will be continuously working behind the scenes to ensure a safe environment for all visitors in the late summer of 2022.

The Aer Lingus College Football Series will be bringing the usual college football fanfare with it, so attendees can expect lots of fun events including marching bands, cheerleaders and tailgating parties. For exclusive information see and follow College Football Ireland on Twitter @CFBIreland, Facebook @CollegeFootballIreland and Instagram @CFBIreland with the official game hashtag: #MuchMoreThanAGame

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.

National Flag Football Programme Gets a Reboot

While the Irish Wolfhounds senior team are travelling for a friendly game against Belgium this weekend and with the Flag Football 2019 seasons kicking off today, we thought it be appropriate to announce the reboot of the National Flag Football programme under the Wolfhounds’ banner.

The Irish National Flag Football programme has had a few spells over the years, with most recent tenures seeing the Irish team travelling to Italy in 2013 to compete in the European championship and in 2016 hosting a few European teams for a friendly tournament.

IAFA has invested a lot of time and personnel in making the National programme a very important factor in the growth of American Football in Ireland and a key element in the development of a competitive national programme. 

To add to that, Flag Football has also been growing organically over the years and is now reaching a wider population making the sport more than just an entertaining passtime but rather a very competitive platform to be part of. IAFA Flag Football officially started over 5 years ago and has seen it pool of teams growing from 8 competing in one league to what is now 25 teams across two leagues.

The  International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is also actively ramping up its initiatives to make Flag Football an international and competitive sports with of these initiative beeing the most recent IFAF European Championships which took place just last week in Israel ans seeing the Danish men’s team and the Spanish women’s team taking their respective trophies.

Finally, and to add to the mix, the Federation of Irish Sport is running it 20×20 campaign to create a cultural shift in our perception of girls and women in sport which will be achieved by increasing visibility of women’s sport.

All that been said, it is our pleasure to announce the rebooting of the Irish National Flag Football programme, or most commonly know as Irish Wolfhounds Flag Football, starting today and this time we will be catering for both an all-female flag football national team alongside an all-male national flag football team. Our objective is to enter both teams in the 2021 European Flag Football Championship and spendng the next 24 months building up two very competitive rosters to take on the best in Europe in 2020 and 2021.

IAFA will soon be announcing the coaching staff who will take on the challenge but the first step will primarly be taking place during the two 2019 running flag football seasons where players (male and female) will scouted to build up a potential list of male and female players to train in 2020. This will be followed by a sets of try outs taking place in early 2020. Both men’s and women’s team will be opened to anyone 16 years and upward.

Whatch this space for further exiting updates on the Wolfhounds Flag Football.

Irish Wolfhounds to travel for a Belgian Barbarians rematch next September

IAFA are pleased to announce the Irish Wolfhounds’ next friendly fixture against the Belgian Barbarians in Belgium on Saturday 7th September 2019 (venue to be confirmed).

The Wolfhounds come off a thrilling and historic first international win against the Barbarians last October at the Navan RFC, Co. Meath.

While losing to the Irish Wolfhounds in a close game, the Barbarians got back up on their feet and added a significant landmark first success as a national team against their close neighbours the Dutch Lions. The Belgian Barbarians are ready to welcome and take on the Wolfhounds at home in a rematch that is sure to be another close and gripping game not to miss for all American Football aficionados and especially Irish Wolfhounds supporters.

The Irish Wolfhounds are also looking forward to make the trip to Belgium to validate their first win and progress further towards the building of a strong Irish National Squad and ultimately participate in European and International competitions.

Photo courtesy of Terrence McCann Photography

Irish Wolfhounds Team Selection and Training Announcement

The Wolfhounds coaching staff will be announced following the Shamrock Bowl.

Joint Training Sessions for the Senior and U20 Irish Wolfhounds will take place at the NSC (National Sports Campus) on the following dates;

Saturday September 8th, Sunday September 23rd, Saturday October 6th, Sunday October 14th.

Times and details will be announced closer to these dates.

Players who were in the U20s squad for the AFW game in Navan will be expected to attend these sessions.

Senior players selected to the squad for the session in Feb 2017 will be expected to attend these sessions.

We will be adding to both squads as coaches select players who have impressed throughout the 2017/18 seasons.

Time factors prohibit traditional try-outs in the run up to this game. Try outs will be part of the Team Ireland schedule for 2019. We welcome players sending highlight reels from 17/18 only to

Ground-breaking partnerships announced by the Antrim Jets

IAFL 1 side Antrim Jets have announced ground-breaking partnerships with two clubs, the Coventry Jets from the UK and Australian club the Claremont Jets.

The Coventry Jets were formed in 2004 and they’ve been one of the most successful teams in the UK during their short history, having competed in six bowl games and four National Championships over eleven years. They also won BritBowl in 2008. Continue reading “Ground-breaking partnerships announced by the Antrim Jets”

Ireland U20’s Head Coach and GM Appointed

Shamrock Bowl Winning Coaching Duo take charge of Ireland U20’s. 

Ireland Senior Team Head Coach, Ciaran O’Sullivan has been appointed interim Head Coach of the Ireland U20’s team. Alan Orr of the Belfast Trojans has been appointed interim General Manager.

On the 31st of March, Easter Saturday, Ireland face American Football Worldwide Elite High School Team in Dublin. Venue and Kick Off details to follow. 

Given the time pressures, an expedited recruitment process resulted in these interim appointments. Coach O’Sullivan said that he is looking forward to continuing the good work on the junior programme and building upon the solid foundation for the future when a permanent staff can be appointed.

President Orla McAleese said ‘these appointments allow us to get the National Programme back on track and will put it on a strong footing for when we invite candidates to apply for these roles in the future‘ 

Enquiries regarding the team click here.

Battle of the Rebels – Dublin Rebels win 2017 Atlantic Cup.

Irish Champions, Dublin Rebels had a comprehensive 42-14 victory over their Romanian namesakes, Bucharest Rebels to win the 2017 Atlantic Cup in ALSAA on Saturday. In spite of the very cold weather, the Rebels had a lot of success through the air with touchdown receptions by James Kalis (x2), Ciaran Fitzpatrick and Peter Keely. Three were thrown by veteran quarterback Andy Dennehy and the fourth by backup Jack Fagan. Shamrock Bowl MVP Wello Omorodian continued his good form with a rushing touchdown. A second rushing touchdown was added by Pete McMahon.

Bucharest acquitted themselves well, in what was the first ever European final involving a Romanian team – scoring two touchdowns. This was the Rebels first ever Atlantic Cup victory, having played in the finals tournament on two previous occasions. The Rebels maintained Irelands unbeaten record for finals played in Ireland.

Dublin Rebels Going For European Glory – Atlantic Cup 2017

The Dublin Rebels will play Bucharest Rebels in the final of the Atlantic Cup, in ALSAA, Dublin on Saturday 25th November, kick-off 1pm.

The Atlantic Cup is a competition where the Irish National Champions are invited to compete against the winners of other European amateur leagues in a mini-tournament format to crown the Champions. This years competition sees some change to the usual county line-up with France and Romania replacing the traditional Belgian and Netherlands opposition, who have opted to step up to EFL level. Unfortunately due to flight issues – Ryanair flight cancellations – the French entrant Les Diables Rouges, have had to pull out of the tournament at short notice. This means that this years Atlantic Cup will be a single game final between Dublin Rebels, and 2016 Romanian Champions the Bucharest Rebels (pictured in orange jerseys below).

As winners of the Shamrock Bowl in 2016, the Dublin Rebels return to the competition, having been Irelands inaugural representatives in the competition, and having competed previously in Belgium twice, and the Netherlands. They will be fielding a strong lineup on Saturday as they seek to win their first Atlantic Cup title. The Romanians are coming off a strong domestic season. Their key players are wider receiver Radu Ene (#85) and linebacker Cosmin Zamfir (#50).

GFL International and IFAF Europe have announced that the Atlantic Cup format will be reviewed for 2018 with a view to expanding the tournament to more European countries and adding additional entrants beyond the normal three of four.


Centre College Colonels @ Belfast Trojans

The Belfast Trojans are delighted to host the Centre Colonels, a NCAA Div. III College from Kentucky, USA on Saturday 27th May 2017. The event itself will commence at midday, with the featured match kicking off at 3pm.

The Trojans will be looking to build on the success generated by last year’s fixture against the Sewanee Tigers (another Div. III College) that ran out to a close 27-20 loss.

In keeping to the family atmosphere within the Club that has been cultivated in Belfast, they have opted to feature the game as part of a Family Fun Day. This will feature the following: bouncy castles, face-painting, bbq, bar, drinks deals, science shows, merchandise stalls, a raffle, an ice cream van etc as well as plenty of space to run around and have fun. By supplementing the day with these attractions, the Trojans are looking to further engage with the wider community and build support and a following for the sport of American Football in Ireland.

The Trojans, partnering with local charity Action Mental Health, hope to use this event to actively promote awareness of mental health issues and provide support for those who deal with them.

The Belfast Trojans would like to welcome one and all to join them in enjoying the Family Fun Day and to watch the match. Having enjoyed the memories they made in last year’s fixture, the Trojans will be looking to generate more positive ones, such as the following:

For all those who enjoy American Football or are involved in the sport, this is a great opportunity to help it grow across Ireland and to encourage more such events in future. For anyone looking for a fun day out, this event will also provide just that. Finally, it’s in aid of a very worthy cause, so the Trojans hope they can encourage you to come down and take part in the day, not just to make a good memory and actively support Action Mental Health, but also to help them show some real Irish hospitality to the visiting American team.

-The Belfast Trojans


Daniel Rooney – one of footballs greats.


The Irish American Football Association would like to express its condolences to the family and friends of Pittsburgh Steelers President, Dan Rooney, who passed away on Thursday.

As well as being one of the most influential figures in NFL history, Mr. Rooney was a great friend to Ireland, serving as Ambassador and supporting many initiatives such as the Ireland Funds. During his time as Ambassador, many in the IAFA will fondly remember the flag football games played on the Ambassadors Residence lawns on 4th July. His affinity to Ireland is due to his families strong Irish heritage – having emigrated to the United States from the Newry.

He was proactive supporter of bringing major games to Ireland – starting with the Emerald Isle Classic series in 1988 and 1989. This support extended to some of the more recent College Football games such as the 2014 Croke Park Classic. Mr. Rooney also brought NFL football to Ireland when his Pittsburgh Steelers played a preseason game against Chicago Bears – after which Mr. Rooney very kindly donated 80 sets of football equipment to local clubs in Ireland.

While we are all saddened by his passing, his life is to be celebrated as someone who made a big difference.


Senior National Team – Call Ups

On November 19th the Senior National Team held their first Open Try Outs at the National Sports Campus in Abbottstown.  The day was a huge success, with over 100 players registered and support from Avonmore & Shadowman; even the weather obliged with bright blue skies.  Players travelled from all over Ireland and represented almost every club in IAFA. They were put through their paces by the National Team’s coaching staff.  A combination of athletic tests and football drills were used to evaluate players.  It may well have been the biggest gathering of players and coaches in Ireland for a non-game event.

The Senior National Team staff issued invites to successful candidates.

The following players have been added to the Senior National squad:

O-Line:  David Shaw, Phil Gunning, Barry Conlan, Dean Johnston, Barry Bolton, Richie Cronin.

QB: Sam Doran, Kevin Duffy.

WR: Dave Bennett, Declan Mulvihill.

RB: Alfie O’Sullivan, Gareth Millar, Ola Bademosi. 

D-Line: Stephen Conor, Ikpons Idelegbagbon, Peter Farrell, Thomas Kavanagh, Luke Kenny. 

LB: Eoin Feely, Eoghan Hurley.  

DB:  Senan O’Mahony, Micheal Skyes, Lewis Barrett, Wellington Omo, Michael Kane. 

These players will attend the next Senior National Team training session in February 2017.  Players who were not selected at this point, contributed hugely to the success of the day and also put themselves on the radar of the coaching staff, who now have baseline measurements of their athletic abilities.  We are very much looking forward to seeing them in action within their clubs and have challenged all of them to make a massive impression on the gridiron, which is after all the best test in American Football!

Boom in entries for 2017 European Club Competitions


IFAF Europe confirmed today that 22 teams from 13 countries have applied to take part in the various European club competitions in 2017.

For the first time in a number of years, and reflecting the new sense of greater cooperation within Europe, entry to the competitions is being coordinated by IFAF Europe. The suite of competitions is as follows:

BIG6  – Europes premier professional club competition.

EFL – Mini league featuring clubs from stronger leagues.

Atlantic Cup – western European amateur teams.

IFAF Champions League – mainly amateur clubs from eastern/southern Europe.

Dublin Rebels will be the Irish entry into the Atlantic Cup, which will be hosted by IAFA. Belfast Trojans have also been put forward as a reserve entry depending on the final format of the competition.

IFAF Europe will now review the entries and formats of the competitions with a view to announcing the lineups in the coming weeks.

Senior National Team Announces Open Try Outs.

On Saturday November 19th the Senior National Team coaching staff will be holding an Open Try Outs at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. This event is open to any football player who currently holds or is entitled to hold an Irish Passport. The day will consist of a mix of fitness testing, football drills and meetings. The day will afford players the opportunity to work with the National Team Coaches on their skills, as well catching the eye of Coaches who have places to fill on the roster. Places on the day will be limited and players should book their place, free of charge, on the Eventbrite website. The ticketing process on Eventbrite will also provide details of what players are required to bring with them/ sign in times etc.

Register for the Try Outs on Eventbrite here.

The National Sports Campus is a world class facility which Team Ireland calls home. IAFA’s representative teams share the Campus with Olympic and High Performance programs in other sports, including the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

Guest Post – How the Pro’s Do What They Do!

How The Pro’s Do What They Do!

By Shane Carberry – Guest Writer.

My Career

I was described as many things during my short, amateur, football career; fast, quick, aware, protective; but not once was I ever called a heavy hitter! Don’t get me wrong I got the job done, but I don’t think I ever left someone feeling like they just had their lungs forcefully evacuated by some monstrous being overpowering their respiratory system. Being just 150lbs, and easily one of the shortest on the Tullamore Phoenix team, that isn’t surprising. Thankfully I had some semblance of speed and change of direction capabilities to be of reasonable use to the team, even if it was only from time to time.

One thing I could do though was take a hit. Coming up against some of the older teams – especially The Cowboys, Rebels and Knights – always gave rise to some heavy hitting games, but I never felt like it was beyond me. You take the contact, get up and get ready for the next snap; It’s just a part of the game that all players in the league love!

This fact was something we, my fellow Phoenix and I, talked about a number of times during our post game pints down in the local. These conversations always left me wondering what would it be like to get hit by a “real” footballer – a professional NFL player!

I was always of the opinion that yeah, it might be a totally different experience than anyone in the IAFA could produce, but it wouldn’t be something that was beyond my capabilities. Sure, I’d not be getting back up any time soon, and taking multiple impacts in a short period of time was anything but likely, but not something that would cause me to wish my life was over or start singing Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”!

I found it surprising that I was always alone in that thought: everyone else was happy that no players in the Irish leave had been practicing padded contact from a younger age then eighteen! Still, I was happy thinking that a bit of fun between myself and John Lynch wouldn’t result in me adopting the fetal position, and afterwards we could go hit the local sports bar to devour wings and beer for the night!

Man oh man how my mind has changed!


The Difference

Right now I’m writing to you from the staff office of “The Athlete Factory” here in Calgary, Canada. The factory, my place of work for the last number of months, is a strength and conditioning facility where we work with professional and aspiring professional athletes from a range of different sports, some of which are of course football (Both American and Canadian Variants). On our roster we have three current professional CFL players, one of whom got drafted with the Panthers a few years ago, unfortunately having to drop out due to injury.

Watching these guys train has been an eye opening experience for a million and one reasons. They are incredibly powerful, strong, and fast, and are completely dedicated to getting better at their sport. It has expanded my outlook on what I think is possible within strength training and general sports performance, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot even from just watching them train every day.

The most important lesson I’ve learned? Taking contact from these guys would be, on a scale of 1-10, negative 100 levels of fun. Thanks, but no thanks. I’m happy just sitting here drinking my beer and over telling that mediocre highlight reel of mine to anyone who’ll listen!

All joking aside, having played the wonderful sport that is full contact football and working with these guys as they train has been an amazing experience: an experience there is a lot to learn from. Because, honestly, professional athletes attack their training totally different than any amateur player does.

This isn’t because of the weights they lift, which are huge, or their abilities to transfer that strength into real world movement, which is insane, but it’s their mindset when it comes to each and every training session. Their focus is on truly maximizing every single rep, of every single set, of every single session, and it’s astounding because they know that each rep is an opportunity to get better – an opportunity to make their dreams a reality.


What can we learn from the Pro’s?

Until you’ve witnessed this first hand you won’t fully understand what I’m talking about. I used to think I worked hard. I pushed myself to the “limit” and did my best to improve every single time I stepped into the gym or onto the field – hell for three years straight I didn’t miss a single training day – but these guys bring something more. Something much more!

It’s almost as if they see each rep as the most important rep of their lives; as the rep that will make or break their career. It is this one rep that will be seen by every Head Coach in the league, and based on that rep and that rep alone, their entire future will be decided. They attack it with everything they have, knowing full well that doing anything else is deciding to throw away their potential dream career.

It is astounding.

What can us Irish football players take from this? It really is the age old advice of Working Harder. Football is an amazing sport, but it’s also a difficult one to excel at – especially given the fact that the majority of players in Ireland also hold day to day jobs, too! But that shouldn’t stop us from trying to maximize our return on the time we do spend at football. Although it is a recreational league, nothing sucks more than losing a game you know you should have won – especially for those of you spending hours in the gym and on the track specifically training to be better football players.

But just imagine what football in Ireland could be if every player in the league approached their training this way. Our beautiful, small, cultured country would quickly become one of the best outside of north America to play this wonderful sport, and every single one of us would be the reason for it!

Belfast Trojans competing in the Atlantic Cup

This weekend, 2015 SBC Champions the Belfast Trojans will be travelling to Luxembourg to take part in the 2016 Atlantic Cup. The Trojans are the current Atlantic Cup Champions after beating the Groningan Giants 26-7 last year in the Nethelands.

The Atlantic Cup is the Western European Championship, of which Ireland is a founding member, and this year will be hosted by the Luxembourg Steelers in State JF Kennedy in Dudelange. Also taking part are the Brussels Black Angels and the Groningen Giants.

The Atlantic Cup will take place on Saturday and Sunday:


12:00 Belfast Trojans vs Brussels Black Angels

16:00 Groningen Steelers vs Luxembourg Steelers


11:00 3rd/4th place game

14:30 Final

Best of luck to the Trojans!

Team Ireland play historic fixture away to the Netherlands.

Saturday 27th August 2016 will go down as a historic day in Irish American football. It is the day that Ireland played its first ever full International game since the establishment of IFAF in 1999. Team Ireland, led by Head Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan played the very experienced Dutch Lions in hot and humid conditions at the ‘Webster University Bowl’ at Mandemakers Stadium, Waalwijk on Saturday evening.

The Irish equipped themselves very well, losing 20-0 to the Dutch in a game that was halted early due to heavy thunder and lightning. The first quarter started off as a tense affair with both defences playing well. The Dutch opened the scoring early in the second quarter with a 10 yard touchdown run by Kevin Wesselink. Miquel Castelen of the Amsterdam Crusaders added a second touchdown for the Dutch on a 20 yard run. The final score of the quarter was a 68 yard interception return by Dennis de Wit to make it 20-0 in favour of the Dutch at the half. Neither team scored before the game was stopped in the third quarter due to lightning. Eventually, the game was called as a result after it became clear that the weather would not improve for the remainder of the evening.


In spite of the game being called early, the taste of top class International football was a great experience for the newly established squad.

The event was otherwise a tremendous success with a great football atmosphere. The Director of Webster University, Prof. Dr. Jean-Paul van Marrising did the coin-toss honours and the Alderman for Sport in Waalwijk, Hans Brekemans was on hand for the post-game ceremonies.

The Dutch Lions will now travel to Worcester, UK for the Group B European Championship tournament. Team Ireland will continue to develop its squad in preparation for the next round of European Championships.

Game summary

Webster University Bowl
29 August 2016
Netherlands – Ireland (friendly)
Mandemakers Stadium, Waalwijk
Kickoff 19:15
Referee: Tony Rivers (UK)
Attendance: 2,250

Scoring Summary
1st          2nd        3rd         4th         Final
0-0          20-0       20-0                     20-0

Second Quarter
#26 Kevin Wesselink (Trojans) 10 yard run, kick failed 6-0
#20 Miquel Castelen (Crusaders) 20 yard run, Rody Vink (Hurricanes) kick 13-0
#6   Dennis de Wit (Hurricanes) 68 yard interception return, kick failed  20-0
(game suspended at 10:10 3rd Quarter due to lightning)

Photo Credit: Sander Evenwel



National Flag Football Team Gets Ready for International Friendly Event

Team Ireland Flag Football prepared for their upcoming international friendly series at Three Rock Rovers in Dublin last weekend. IAFA is hosting a six-team international Flag Football series in Gormanston, Co. Meath on September 10th. Two full squads from Sweden, the Dutch Lions as well as Team GB Silver Lions squad (2nd team) and local German team Ramstein Mayhems will travel to Ireland for the event. Team Ireland squad has been selected from players evolving in the IAFA Flag Football League, Emerlad Bowl Conference, which also opened its membership registration for 2016/17 recently. The tournament will take place at Gormanston Park in County Meath with all visiting teams being accommodated on site.

Team Ireland Flag Football Squad:

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Steve Walsh
Assistant Head Coach: Áine Nic An Ghail
Offensive Coordinator: Dermot Corroon
Assistant Offensive Coordinator: Guillaume Poznanski
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Kirkwood
Physio: Eleni Henry

Team Roster

Joe Grey1Dublin Vipers
Danny Lucas Johnson5UCD
Conrad Cook8Dublin Rebels
Andrew Bracken10Dublin Vipers
Sean Douglas11Dublin Vipers
Conor Brennan13Westmeath Minotaurs
Paul Grogan18Dublin Rebels
Jason Owens20Westmeath Minotaurs
Conor McGroarty22Dublin Vipers
Bobby Smith27Dublin Vipers
Ben Arulogun32Dublin Vipers
Michael Sykes36UCD
Darren Byrne42Dublin Vipers
Gavin Quirke85UCD
Peter Loughran87Craigavon Cowboys
Niall King91Westmeath Minotaurs

Team Ireland International Preview

Saturday the 27th of August marks a monumental event in the history of American Football in Ireland, as the Irish National Team take on the Dutch Lions in Holland. The squad have been training hard in the National Sports Campus in preparation for what is sure to be a hard hitting contest. The top players from around the country came together less than a month ago, and have been putting in the hours ahead of Saturday’s matchup.  It’s been almost ten years since the last incarnation of Team Ireland and Head Coach Ciarán O’Sullivan, is aware of the prestige and hype surrounding the game. “This is the first full international game for team Ireland. It’s a remarkable event for football here. “Coach O Sullivan knows how steep the challenge presented is. “ It’s hard to gauge where we stand right now. It’s been a learning curve, it’s a different story altogether from club level football.”

Preparations for the big game have been taking place at the National Sports Campus, located in Abbotstown.  The high performance centre has proved to be the perfect preparation zone for Team Ireland. “The national sports campus has been a great working environment” Coach O’Sullivan told us. “It’s an absolutely world class facility. We’ve had the likes of the Rep. of Ireland soccer team training beside us. “

Despite the quality training facilities, there has been a number of challenges in the run up to the game. The main issue – getting players together. Some members of the squad were still playing for their club up until only a week ago. “Having access to players only a few weeks prior to a game has been a challenge” O’Sullivan admitted. “Another couple of weeks could have made a difference. That’s the problem with international fixtures – club seasons in different countries don’t run concurrently.“ Logistical inconveniences aside, the progress being made for Irish American football on an international stage is fantastic and is vital for the sport to continue to grow here.

So are we ready to take on the Dutch? The 2016 Team Ireland can be thought of as a prototype, and the Dutch Lions as a test run. And a very important test run. “We’re really stepping into the great unknown” says Coach O’Sullivan. “This is not a one game project. This game allows us to judge here we are compared to other international programs. “Team Ireland’s performance will allow the coaches to evaluate and to prepare and develop for future international fixtures. While the Dutch are objectively the “favourites going into the game”, it doesn’t mean that Team Ireland won’t win. “We’re all working towards a good result. We’re going to play as hard as we can and be as competitive as we can be.” Coach O Sullivan asserted.

“We’d like to specially thank Orla McAleese, Team Ireland’s General Manager. This project has been a massive test logistically and it has been a huge accomplishment on her behalf.” O’Sullivan added.

The Irish American Football Association would like to wish Team Ireland Players, Coaches and Staff the very best of luck this weekend. Do us proud guys!

Team Ireland Senior Squad Named

Team-Ireland-Shield-Final_SeniorAfter a series of training sessions and camps over the past year, the final Team Ireland senior squad has been selected by Head Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan and the Team Ireland coaching staff. These players will represent Ireland against a friendly against the Dutch Lions on August 27th in the Netherlands.

The coaching staff selected the majority of players from Irish clubs, reflecting the high level of skill and athleticism that has made our domestic leagues extremely competitive; we have players from clubs in the Shamrock Bowl Conference (SBC), IAFL1 and IAFL2 conferences. We are also lucky to have several players who have graduated from the Team Ireland U20’s program on the squad – the high percentage of that team that made the Senior team once eligible represents the dedication and preparation of those players and the effort of their coaches. Team Ireland has also had involvement from eligible players overseas and they have representation on the squad.

“Team Ireland Coaching Staff & Management would like to congratulate these players and their clubs on this achievement”, said Head Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan. “We also appreciate the access IAFA clubs have given us to their players & coaches. Team Ireland is made up of more players than we have listed & we are thankful for the positive support of our team mates who will not be taking this trip”.

The following is the full Team Ireland Senior squad:

Offensive Line

Joe McGrath, Fergal O’Hanlon, Mike Bradford, Graham Murtagh, Ross McCoey, Mark Davidson, John Cannon, Tom Telford, Paul Kirkwood.

Running Backs & Receivers

Neil Montgomery , Ian Cahill, Oisin Russell Conway, Paul Grogan, David Richardson, Sean Goldrick, Adrian Garvey, Peter McMahon, Shane Sweeney, Sean Leamy, Conor O’Dwyer.


Tosan Memuduaghan, Andrew Dennehy, Tom Donovan.

Defensive Line

Donal Drew, Steve Walsh, Conor Becket, Aaron McNaughton, John Mullen.


Neil Graham, Conor Whitla, Laurent Doyle, Spencer McDowell, Jonathan McConnell, Mick O’Shea, Conrad Cook, Darragh O’Callaghan.

Defensive Backs

Oisin Dowling, Sean Sheehy, Craig Switzer, Adam Skelly, Ray Burke, Frankie Tchiofo, Alan Neary.


Eric Lawless

On behalf of every IAFA member, we want to congratulate every player and wish them all the best of luck in their upcoming fixture.

Sewanee Tigers narrowly defeat Belfast Trojans

The Belfast Trojans fell to a narrow defeat this past weekend, losing 27-20 to visiting American college team the Sewanee Tigers.

Report from 

It was a valiant effort from the four-time reigning champions, a performance and scoreline that will go down in the history of the game on these shores. The NCAA Div III Tigers were impressive with both sides of the ball performing at a level rarely seen in this country. Their defence gave the Belfast offence difficulties all day, while their offence was relentless in pounding the ball as well as finding tall receivers on the outside.

It was Sewanee who opened the scoring a superbly thrown deep ball caught by a wide receiver in the corner of the endzone. In the 2nd quarter and it was 14-0 on a similar play, with again their receiver who eclipsed the 6 foot mark going up and snagging the ball despite the blanket coverage by Trojans cornerback James Gallagher. However the Trojans showed they weren’t here to be in awe of the American squad and responded before the break. James McKelvey found rookie Jack Millar in the corner of the endzone and the rookie did the rest to cut the deficit. Into the 2nd half and it was the Tigers who added to the scoreboard first, with a tough run from their running back punching it in from close.

The moment of the game, however, was soon to follow and if you see a better touchdown in any form of football this year you will be doing well. On the ensuing kick off, Matt Armstrong fielded the ball and took a few steps forward. He then hit the brakes and laterally passed the ball to Jona Siri on the other side of the field. Siri then put the foot on the gas and weaved through the Tigers kickoff unit with some fantastic blocking. The home crowd went wild and Siri’s highlight went viral (video from

Trojans Kick ReturnIf you didn’t see this today, watch it now! Belfast Trojans

Posted by NFL-Ireland on Saturday, 14 May 2016

David Colvin scored with less than two minutes remaining to make the score 27-20 to Sewanee, a smart grab on a post route with McKelvey putting the ball on a dime.

That was all she wrote, though, as Sewanee ran out the clock, handing the Trojans their first loss of the season, albeit a heroic performance from Belfast against a team with such resources and knowhow. A fantastic day was had by all the visiting Tigers squad, staff and parents and indeed the hundreds of spectators that enjoyed their day out at Deramore Park watching American Football in Ireland.

Flag Football National Squad Named

Over the weekend, the Ireland Flag Football programmed worked with selected athletes to get to the 20 players that will compete in a friendly fixture later this year. These 20 athletes came from a wide range of clubs, some dedicated Flag clubs and others linked to kitted clubs. This is a great step forward for Flag Football in Ireland. Thanks to every player who turned up to the tryouts and training sessions, and congratulations to all the players that will represent Ireland later this year. The full list of these players are as follows:

Joe Grey1Dublin Vipers
Danny Lucas Johnson5UCD
Conrad Cook8Dublin Rebels
Andrew Bracken10Dublin Vipers
Sean Douglas11Dublin Vipers
Conor Brennan13Westmeath Minotaurs
Paul Grogan18Dublin Rebels
Jason Owens20Westmeath Minotaurs
Conor McGroarty22Dublin Vipers
Bobby Smith27Dublin Vipers
Ben Arulogun32Dublin Vipers
Michael Sykes36UCD
Darren Byrne42Dublin Vipers
Gavin Quirke85UCD
Peter Loughran87Craigavon Cowboys
Niall King91Westmeath Minotaurs


Team Ireland

Team Ireland American Football to play first International fixture

On August 26th, the Senior Ireland American Football team will travel to the Netherlands to take on the Dutch National team in a friendly fixture. This fixture is the first time an Irish National American Football side will take on another country’s National team and marks a significant forward step for our Ireland programme.

The Ireland programme is a country-wide and cross-border initiative that was started last year to develop competitive teams to represent Ireland at the International level. The programme includes a Senior and Junior team full contact team and a Flag Football team, all with the goal of competing in friendly fixtures as well as European and International competitions.

“I am delighted that our senior team will be playing in their first friendly game against the Dutch Lions later this year” said Ireland General Manager Orla McAleese. “Our coaches and players have worked extremely hard over the past few months and they are really looking forward to putting that work into practice. The work and efforts to get the national team programme up and running by all involved is looking positive for the future and it is our hope that this will be the first of many games to come with our neighbours in Europe. Our senior players and coaches are looking forward to playing the Dutch Lions in September and I know our entire organisation is behind them. This is a great boost for the programme as it leads us closer to joining the leagues in Europe.”

At the signing of the agreement, Irish American Football Association President, Michael Smith, reinforced the importance of this game. “We have a fantastic relationship with the AFBN, having competed in many European competitions with Dutch clubs, and we’re very much looking forward to playing against their National side. This game marks a significant step for us on the International stage and, combined with the significant increase in membership and followers we are experiencing, makes this a very exciting time for American football in Ireland”.

IAFA President Michael Smith (left) and AFBN President Gian Zandoná
IAFA President Michael Smith (left) and AFBN President Gian Zandoná

Players on the Ireland squad come from the 22 Senior American Football clubs currently active around the country. Players are scouted by the Ireland coaching staff, comprised of the most experienced coaches in the Irish league, and invited to a number of assessment and training sessions before being

Tickets will be made available for Irish fans closer to the game and further information will be available here on our website

GFLI Atlantic Cup – Belfast Trojans win European Title.


The Belfast Trojans added a European title to their Irish title by winning the GFL International Atlantic Cup in Groningen over the weekend. The Trojans had a comfortable 26-7 win over Dutch hosts, Groningen Giants in the Final played on Sunday 27th September. The previous day, they defeated Gent Gators of Belgium in their Semi-Final. This is the second time the Trojans have won the title in three years – they won the 2013 title held in Ireland in conjunction with The Gathering.

 The turning point in the first quarter of the game was an interception by the Trojans which set up a 30 yard field goal by Gregory Gibson. From that point forward, the Trojans never looked back. Their defence came good again early in the second quarter when Neil Graham sacked the Groningen QB in the end zone for a safety. The Trojans capitalised even further when David Colvin returned the ensuing free kick for a touchdown to give the Trojans a 12-0 lead, which they held onto until halftime.

 The Trojans running game got going in the second quarter adding two touchdowns. Neil Montgomery had a short yardage touchdown in the third quarter to put the Trojans up 19-0. The game was then sealed in the fourth quarter with another rushing touchdown, this time by Matt Armstrong. Groningen scored a touchdown late in the game to make the final score 26-7 to the Trojans. The Trojans finish the 2015 season with an unbeaten 12-0 record for their first team – prior to this game, Groningen had also been unbeaten in 2015.

The previous day, the Trojans defeated Gent Gators of Belgium by a score of 27-14 in their Semi-final. The Gators opened up the scoring early in the game, but three unanswered touchdowns gave the Trojans a 20-8 lead at halftime. Both teams scored touchdowns in the second half to make the final score 27-14 to the Trojans.

The Trojans performance in this tournament serves to underline the significant improvements in the standard of play in Ireland in recent years – where the SBC is now regarded as one of the best purely amateur leagues in Europe.

 Next years Atlantic Cup is being hosted by Luxembourg with the tournament expected to return to Ireland in 2017.

 Atlantic Cup Results 2015:

 FINAL – Belfast Trojans 26-7 Groningen Giants

 3rd PLACE PLAY-OFF – Gent Gators 26-12 Luxembourg Steelers.


 Belfast Trojans 27-14 Gent Gators.

Groningen Giants 35-6 Luxembourg Steelers.

Atlantic Cup 2015 – Trojans seek European title this weekend in the Netherlands


Irish Champions, Belfast Trojans travel to the Netherlands this weekend to play in the GFL Atlantic Cup. The team has high hopes of winning the title for the second time, but will face stiff opposition from the Benelux countries. The GFL Atlantic Cup is the officially recognised Western European amateur club championship. The tournament was established by the EFAF, and is now operated by GFL International – the international wing of the German American Football Federation (AFVD) operating in nine western European countries. This year’s tournament is being held in Groningen in the Netherlands over the weekend of 26/27th September.

The Trojans have just completed an unbeaten season in the IAFL, retaining their Shamrock Bowl title. They face the Gent Gators in the first of two semi-finals on Saturday 26th. The Gators qualified for the tournament by winning last years Belgian Bowl by 38-0 over the Brussels Tigers. They have a 6-1 record in 2015.

The other semi-final sees the Groningen Giants playing the Luxembourg Steelers. The Giants have had a spectacular season in the Dutch Eerste Diviste, finishing with an 8-0 record, including 6 shut-out victories. The Luxembourg Steelers recently won the inaugural Luxembourg league with an unbeaten record and without conceding a point – in 2014 they played in the Belgian League.

The final and third/fourth play-off take place on Sunday 27th.


2015 Atlantic Cup Schedule:


Saturday 26th September:

12:00 Belfast Trojans @ Ghent Gators.

16:00 Luxembourg Steelers @ Groningen Giants.

Sunday 27th September:

 11:00 3rd/4th Place Play-off.

14:30 Atlantic Cup Final.