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.
Following on from our National Flag Football Programme Reboot announcement, IAFA are pleased to announce that Guillaume Poznanski will officially take up the role of Head Coach on 1st January 2020.
Guillaume brings with him a wealth of coaching experience as well as having spent 5 years as the IAFA Director of Flag Football. The full coaching staff will be announced in due course. We are very excited that the national flag programme is back and look forward to seeing the male and female teams in action very soon.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ireland Under 20’s
Ahead of March 31st game v AFW the first Team Ireland U20’s training session will take place on Saturday, February 17th in Westmanstown Garda Rugby Club, near Lucan in Dublin. Eligible players will be:
- Registered with an IAFA Team (Senior or Junior).
- Be between 16 & 20
- If under 18 have played at least one season of Junior Football.
Sign-up desk opens on the 17th of Feb at 10 am. Interested players are asked to bring their kit (IAFA rules cover playing kit – Helmet/Shoulder Pads/ Soft Pads) and Team Jersey & Football Pants. Dress code for the sign-up meeting is Black pants/tracksuit ends & plain white T/Polo shirt. Players should bring a packed lunch & a minimum of two litres of water.
Session 1 as above Feb 17th
Session 2 March 3rd
Session 3 March 10th
Session 4 TBC March 19th
Game March 31st.
All sessions will finish at 4:30 pm
All players meeting the above criteria are encouraged to attend. Questions on any details you need to know should be emailed directly to Head Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan at email@example.com . Team Ireland Under 20’s sessions are open for all IAFA Members to attend. Coaches are welcome to visit from all of our clubs.
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.
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.
Here’s some nostalgia – if you’re one of our alumni; or history if you’re currently playing. We’ve looked through some of the picture archives at some snaps from yester year. From the pioneering era of Irish football, when you had to be a real trailblazer to play the sport. Not all the uniforms match – this was before internet shopping and the advent of equipment stores in Europe. The fields may not have been as good many today. But, in spite of appearances, some great football was played by some very committed players. Apologies for the quality of some of the pictures – these were all taken on real cameras with film in them. No auto focus or touching up. Enjoy!
Above is the oldest picture in this batch. Dublin Celts (green) versus Craigavon Cowboys (black) in 1991. Two of the original teams who started playing competitive football in Ireland in the 1980s. Both played in Europe during this era. Greg Loughran, the current Cowboys coach was probably on the field in this game.
This is from the first ever American football game played on the historic campus of Trinity College Dublin. The game was part of the festivities for the colleges 400 year anniversary celebrations in 1992.Dublin Tornadoes (white) defeated Antrim Bulldogs (purple/yellow) with a field goal as time expired. The game was organised by our current Commissioner Cillian Smith during his college days. Interesting piece of trivia – this game took place before the first ever GAA game was played on campus later the same year.
In this picture, we see a familiar face to todays IAFA members. Kevin Sharkey – currently on the Wexford coaching squad and formerly of North Kildare – is player number 67 playing for the Dublin Celts against Dublin Tornadoes in 1993.
The Dublin Tornadoes 1993 Shamrock Bowl winning team. This is the Tornadoes first of 3 consecutive Shamrock Bowls. They were coached by the late Dave Curran (centre wearing blue/white shirt), who previously led the Dublin Celts to Shamrock Bowl success.
Picture of the Dublin Lightning huddle in 1997, when the team was defending its Shamrock Bowl title in the last full season of football before the start of the big shut down in the late 1990s. The opponents were Dublin Bulls – seen in the background – the only company team ever to play in Ireland. They were owned by the Gateway Computing who used to have a large plant in Dublin.
The mid to late 1990s saw flag football come to prominence with the very competitive Irish Flag Football League being played in various parks around Dublin. The league, which had 11 teams playing a 10 game regular season at its peak, played a 7-a-side version of semi-contact flag football. Pictured above is the Northside Devastators team, who won the title in the late 1990s.
A rare photo from the year that competitive football returned to Ireland in 2001. Dublin Rebels (black) play Dublin Dragons (burgundy) in Ringsend Park in Dublin.
Another rare snap from 2001 featuring the other two teams who made up the four who restarted in 2001. This is Carrickfergus knights at UL Vikings – believed to be the Vikings first ever home game. Note the blue scrimmage vests with painted numbers – the Vikings first uniforms did not arrive until later in the season.
And finally, from August 2002, Carrickfergus Knights (yellow) versus Team Canada. The Knights, as Irish Champions, represented the league against the touring visitors in a challenge game, which was played at St. Vincents GAA in Dublin.
Dublin Rebels 12-6 Carrickfergus Knights
Dublin Rebels defended their Shamrock Bowl title in close battle with Carrickfergus Knights at Tallaght Stadium on Sunday 13th August. Rebels running back Wello Omorodion won the Terry Lynch MVP Award after having rushed for 145 yards and scored a key touchdown.
The game was played in good weather, with the pitch in perfect condition, on front of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.
The Knights, who were appearing in their first Shamrock Bowl final since 2004, started the game strong. They moved the ball well in their opening possessions and played well on defence. Their efforts were rewarded late in the second quarter when, following an interception by Josh Davis, QB Spencer McDowell connected with wide receiver Martin Caskey in the corner of the endzone for the opening touchdown of the game.
The Rebels came out strong in the second half, moving the ball downfield early in the 3rd quarter and scoring on a touchdown pass from Andy Dennehy to Cathal Keane. This was followed by a touchdown run by Omorodion to give the Rebels a tight 12-6 lead at the end of the quarter. The Rebels appeared to control the game in the fourth quarter and were unluckly not to add to their lead.
Victory gives the Rebels a record 9 Shamrock Bowl titles. Veteran quarterback Andy Dennehy, who has played in all 9 victories, indicated after the game that he may return next season to try and win a 10th.
Shamrock Bowl 31, the National Championship game for American football in Ireland will take place at Tallaght Stadium next Sunday. Dublin Rebels and Carrickfergus Knights will play in what is sure to be one of the most competitive games in Shamrock Bowl history. With the game fast approaching, both teams are making their final preparations in advance of the big game.
The Rebels and Knights are coming off impressive seasons where they won their respective divisions – the Knights winning SBC North and Rebels SBC South. The Rebels qualified for the Shamrock Bowl with a semi final win against Belfast and the Knights with an overtime win against University of Limerick. Both teams have well drilled explosive offenses which bodes well for an exciting Shamrock Bowl.
American football has been one of the fastest growing sports in Ireland in recent years, with twenty two teams playing competitive league football. This, combined with a focus on coaches training and the national programme has made the Irish league into one of the most competitive amateur leagues in Europe.
The game will kick-off at 2:30pm in Tallaght Stadium, Dublin – a modern all seater stadium that also hosts many high profile soccer games. Traditionally, the Shamrock Bowl is pitched at a family audience as it seeks to create the unique atmosphere that can only be experienced at a live American football game. It’s a great event for newcomers as there will be live in stadium commentary to take people through the game. As this year is the 31st edition of the game.
Tickets are priced between €7 and €10 and can be obtained on the day or via www.eventbrite.ie. Readers of this article can get a 50% discount by using the code tallaght31 when ordering online.
Shamrock Bowl 31,
Sunday 13th August 2017,
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in partnership with Local Sports Partnerships is organising a series of workshops on How to make an application under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme. For information on the seminars and to make a booking click on the links below.
Limerick: Thomond Park Conference Center, Monday 06/02/17, 7-9 pm. Book:
Athlone: AIT Main Building, Business Section. Tuesday 07/02/17 7-9pm. Book:
Dublin: Conference Center, National Sports Campus, Wednesday 08/10/17 6-7.30 pm & 8-9.30 pm. Book:
Cork: Cork Constitution FC, Churchyard Lane. Friday 10/02/17 7-9 pm
Sligo: Sligo RSC, Cleveragh. Monday 13/02/17 7-9 pm
The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) is operated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and provides grants to assist in the development or refurbishment of sports facilities and the provision of sports equipment.
The Programme aims to foster an integrated and planned approach to developing sports and physical recreation facilities throughout the country. In particular, its stated objectives are to:
- Assist voluntary and community organisations, national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport, local authorities and Education and Training Boards and schools to develop high quality, accessible, safe, well-designed, sustainable facilities in appropriate locations and to provide appropriate equipment to help maximise participation in sport and physical recreation.
- Prioritise the needs of disadvantaged areas in the provision of sports facilities.
- Encourage the sharing of local, regional and national sports facilities by clubs, community organisations and national governing bodies of sport.
Grants are available to sports clubs, voluntary and community groups, national governing bodies of sport and local authorities. Third level colleges, Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and schools may only apply for funding jointly with sports clubs or organisations.
All applications must be made online at www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie
The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 24 February
For more information on the Programme including a YouTube guide to application process and a sample application form visit www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie
American Football isn’t all about lifting weights and running sprints. It’s a game that requires you think, analyze, scheme and react: all in a very short period of time. A common comparison made to American football is a ‘Violent Game of Chess ‘ – a sport where you must always be three steps ahead of your opponent, but also willing to knock him into next week. And while the physical side of the game is crucial, there is much more to being a football player.
- A willingness to learn
It doesn’t matter if you’re an absolute buck rookie or a ten-year vet. You can always learn more about the sport. Almost every time I watch an NFL game I’ll notice something I didn’t before, or a new defensive scheme. If your eyes and mind are open you will absorb everything you need to know to be a successful football player.
- Be Coachable
This attribute ties in with the previous point. Anyone who is vaguely familiar with American football will at some point have heard the quote: “ Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” If you bring a positive mindset and attitude to every training session, and follow your Coach’s advice and instruction, you’ll flourish as a player. You mightn’t be the biggest, the fastest or the tallest. But you’ll certainly stand out. Remember: Your Coaches are there for a reason; to help you meet your goals and to succeed on the field.
- Play with all your heart
Football is a game that requires you to give everything. Every block and every tackle. “Leave everything on the field” There is nothing more frustrating than coming off after a game and thinking to yourself: “I should have done that” or “ I should have tried harder.” And the only way to play your best on the field is to prepare off it. This preparation starts in the gym during pre season. It comes with learning your plays. It’s your nutrition and your sleep. It’s everything you do before you play football. Some people put their hearts and souls into football. These are the ones that succeed.
If you’ve ever watched an NFL game and thought to yourself “I’d love to give that a shot” then why don’t you? There are over 20 teams in Ireland right now that play full contact football. And they’re always recruiting!
Notice of Annual General Meeting of Irish American Football Association
The Annual General Meeting of the Irish American Football Association will take place at 2pm on Sunday 20th November 2016 in Dublin. Confirmation of the venue hosting the AGM will be circulated within the next week.
Any proposal or resolution for consideration, and voting thereon, must be submitted in full, in writing to the Commissioner no later than 2 weeks before the date of the AGM; by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Irish American Football Association, 19 Castle Park, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.
Any candidate wishing to run for election shall complete and submit the attached candidate for election form and submit it to the Commissioner no later than 2 weeks before the date of the AGM; by email to email@example.com or in writing to Irish American Football Association, 19 Castle Park, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.
Note that this year there will be six Board positions up for election as follows:
- Position currently occupied by Declan McNally – 3 year term completed.
- Position formerly occupied by Ciaran O’Sullivan – resigned in July 2016, 3 year term up at this years AGM.
- Position currently occupied by Brian Cleary – 3 year term completed (Brian was elected last year as a replacement for the remaining 1 year of John Judges 3 year term).
- Position currently occupied by Matt Craig – replacement will be elected for remaining 2 years of term.*
- Position currently occupied by Ian Cahill – replacement will be elected for remaining 1 year of term.*
- Position currently occupied by Fergal O’Hanlon – replacement will be elected for remaining 1 year of term.*
* 50% of meetings attendance rule.
In summary, the first 3 persons in the Board elections will serve 3 year terms, the 4th placed person will serve 2 years and the 5th and 6th placed persons will serve 1 year.
Note that the persons currently occupying the positions can put themselves forward for re-election.
The draft Agenda, Candidate details, proposals and other documentation will be circulated 1 week in advance of the meeting.
American Football in Ireland is back from its break, and Teams up and down the country are gearing up for the 2017 season. Rookies are being recruited, gym sessions are kicking off and helmets are getting dusted off. With a long winter of preseason ahead for Irish American Football, now is the time to get stuck into the fastest growing sport in Ireland.
Why should I play American Football in Ireland?
There are so many reasons why you should get involved with American Football in Ireland. Firstly, the sport here is played for love, not money. All the American football players and coached in Ireland dedicate their time and energy for free. They play American football simply because they want to. Irish American Football players have a passion for the sport and put their heart and soul into playing.
Secondly the game here is played to the highest of standards. Players wear all the gear and don’t hold back on the hits. If you play American football in Ireland you get to be part of a live game every Sunday. Imagine playing in a full contact game on a Sunday afternoon and after, going home to watching your favourite team on TV . Now we’re not saying you’ll be the next Tom Brady, but you will get to experience what American Football is like in real life.
And finally, the Irish American Football League boasts some of the best players in Europe. In September of 2016 we sent a squad to play an international game against the Dutch National Team in Holland. Every year, the National Champions go to the Atlantic Cup, where they play against some of the top clubs in Europe. The standard of American Football in Ireland is always on the rise, and now is the perfect opportunity for you to get involved.
How do I get involved?
There are American football teams in every province in Ireland. Dublin has the highest concentration of teams; boasting the Rhinos, the Panthers, the Rebels, The Pirates along with College teams in UCD and Trinity. In Wexford you can find the Eagles, While in Waterford and Galway you can play for the Wolves and the Warriors respectively. Further south in Limerick and in Cork are two stalwarts of Irish American Football in the UL Vikings and the Admirals. On your way back up North you will come across the North Kildare Reapers and the South Kildare Soldiers.
Northern Ireland is a stronghold for American Football in Ireland with the likes of the Trojans, the Cowboys, the Knights and the recently crowned third division champions the Donegal/Derry Vipers.Also based in the North are the Antrim Jets and the PSNI Razorbacks .And lest we forget the Titans, the Mavericks, the Bulldogs and the Minotaurs: based in Tyrone, Louth, Meath and Mullingar! Phew! That’s a lot of teams for such a small island and a whole lot of opportunity’s to play here, no matter what corner of the country you come from.
All of these Teams are now actively recruiting for their 2017 seasons and would love to heat from you. If you want to play American Football in Ireland in 2017 then now is the time to get involved!
How The Pro’s Do What They Do!
By Shane Carberry – Guest Writer.
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!
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!
After 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:
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.
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.
Oisin Dowling, Sean Sheehy, Craig Switzer, Adam Skelly, Ray Burke, Frankie Tchiofo, Alan Neary.
On behalf of every IAFA member, we want to congratulate every player and wish them all the best of luck in their upcoming fixture.
In January this year, a series of open sessions were held to recruit players to try out for the Ireland Flag Football team. 78 players turned up for those try outs, and 35 were selected from these sessions by the Ireland Flag Football coaching staff; Head Coach Joe Grey, Assistant Head Coach Anne Gaule, Offensive Coordinator Dermot Corroon, Defensive Coordinator Steve Walsh and Assistant Defensive Coordinator Paul Kirkwood.
The selected players met for the first time in April to begin the process of refining the final selection. This Saturday sees the next step in that refining process to get to the final 20 players, who will train over the Summer to play International friendlies in September in Dublin.
The friendlies in September mark the end of the first of three phases in the development of an Ireland Flag Football programme. Phase two will be entering the European Championships in 2017 and the start of a Women’s Ireland Flag Football squad and the third phase will be entering the World Championships in 2018.
Last Saturday, 43 flag football players gathered at the National Sports Campus to take part in the first try outs for the Ireland Senior Flag Football team. Led by an experienced coaching staff, the players were put through their paces. Players first underwent a series of combine drills to assess their athleticism and stamina, before running through drills focused on testing flag football skills. The session finished up with a scrimmage where players could put the skills they learnt into practice.
Last weekend’s try outs were the first of two try outs planned for the Ireland team, the next being March 19th, again in the National Sports Campus. The Ireland coaching staff will select the final 40 players to make up the squad. More information on these tryouts can be found here.
Yesterday, 37 youth players from all over the country met in Westmanstown, Dublin for the first ever under 20s Ireland Training Camp.
This first session was designed to give these players an introduction to the Ireland programme, so the coaches kicked things off with classroom sessions to give an overview of the day and explain the playbooks and strategies for the programme.
The afternoon was used for on field activities with players being taken through positional drills and exercises followed by an offense vs defence session to put what they learnt into practice.
They were put through their paces by an experienced coaching staff comprising of coaches from many clubs around the country.
Today’s session also leads into the opening event of the Youth Football League on September 13th – more details to follow.
The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) is delighted to announce that Orla McAleese has been appointed as the General Manager of the Irish National team. As well as her 15 years’ experience in Event Management, Orla has held the position of Event Manager of Ireland’s largest hotel, event and convention centre in Citywest. Orla is the Chairperson of the North Kildare Reapers and has been instrumental in developing the Reaper’s football programme over the past three years.
As General Manager, Orla will be responsible for working with the Ireland coaching staff to put structures in place develop a sustainable and successful National team, with a view to competing against other National teams throughout Europe. Orla will also be responsible for the recruitment of a full time Head Coach of the National programme.
Speaking on Orla’s appointment as General Manager, IAFA President Michael Smith commented “The Ireland programme has been put in place to develop our players to enable them to compete on the International stage. Orla’s appointment as General Manager is part of IAFA’s development of a full National programme which will include Senior, Youth and Flag Football teams and is a step towards competing in international competitions. We look forward to working with her and the rest of the team to continue to develop the programme and squad over the coming months”.
Orla’s appointment as General Manager is part of IAFA’s development of a full National programme which will include Senior, Youth and Flag Football teams as well as Centres of Excellence to develop players and prepare them for the National stage.
“I am delighted to be asked to be involved in the Ireland Team”, Orla said after her appointment. “There was a lot of concern in the direction of team in last few months. IAFA have pushed forward to restructure its backroom management, which is a positive step towards the team’s progression. We have a lot of talented players and coaches in Ireland and it will be a fantastic experience for them at this level.”
In addition, Ciaran O’Sullivan will carry out the duties of the Ireland Senior Head Coach pending the appointment of a permanent Head Coach.
Following yesterday’s announcement of the Ireland coaching staff, Head Coach John Judge and his fellow coaches have invited players from clubs in Ireland, the UK and Europe to participate in upcoming training sessions. These sessions will work towards building an Ireland team to compete in future International fixtures and will take place in Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield on the following dates:
- Saturday November 1st 2014
- Saturday November 29th 2014
- Saturday January 31st 2015
The players selected to attend the training sessions are as follows:
|Andy Dennehy||Dublin Rebels|
|James McKelvey||Belfast Trojans|
|Daniel Mullan||Tyrone Titans|
|Stephen Hayes||Cork Admirals|
|Neil Montgomery||Belfast Trojans|
|Dave Colvin||Belfast Trojans|
|Sean Leamy||Dublin Rebels|
|Erin Kelly||North Kildare Reapers|
|Oisin Russell Conway||West Dublin Rhinos|
|Brian Sullivan||Waterford Wolves|
|Brian Curry||Tyrone Titans|
|Lee McLaughlin||Tyrone Titans|
|Adrain Garvey||UL Vikings|
|Pete McMahon||Meath Bulldogs|
|Chris Carson||University of East Anglia Panthers|
|Glen Carr||UL Vikings|
|Ian Cahill||UL Vikings|
|John Mullen||UL Vikings|
|Brian Leonard||Cork Admirals|
|Conor Beckett||Carrickfergus Knights|
|Augustus Zigimantavicius||South Dublin Panthers|
|Fergal O’Hanlon||Dublin Rebels|
|Steve Walsh||Dublin Rebels|
|Patrick McElkerney||Belfast Trojans|
|Conor Blythe||Mullingar Minotaurs|
|Jono Cribbin||Galway Warriors|
|Darragh McDonald||West Dublin Rhinos|
|Paul Grogan||Dublin Rebels|
|Sean Goldrick||UL Vikings|
|Dave Richardson||Belfast Trojans|
|Peter Loughran||Craigavon Cowboys|
|Chris Purdy||Dublin Rebels|
|Adrian Cassidy||Belfast Trojans|
|Dan Breslin||West Dublin Rhinos|
|Adam Skelly||West Dublin Rhinos|
|Sean Sheedy||UL Vikings|
|Ryan Brolly||Tyrone Titans|
|Corey McKenna||Tyrone Titans|
|Senan O’Mahony||Dublin Rebels|
|Kevin Finnegan||Dublin Rebels|
|Oisin Dowling||Drogheda Lightning|
|Chris Mikheal||Belfast Trojans|
|Thomas Brockebank||North Kildare Reapers|
|Darragh Farrell||Lubeck Cougars|
|John Sullivan||Cork Admirals|
|Ross McCooey||Dublin Rebels|
|Barry Bolton||West Dublin Rhinos|
|Darragh O’Callaghan||UL Vikings|
|Mohamad Ramadan||Belfast Trojans|
|Kieran Coen||UL Vikings|
|John Cannon||UL Vikings|
|Joel Neill||Carrickfergus Knights|
|Derek McGarr||South Dublin Panthers|
|Tom Telford||Dublin Rebels|
|Paul Kirkwood||Dublin Rebels|
|Michael Bradford||Belfast Trojans|
|Mark Davidson||Belfast Trojans|
|Barry Kiel||Belfast Trojans|
|Mark McGrath||Belfast Trojans|
|Mark Beattie||Craigavon Cowboys|
|John Scott||Craigavon Cowboys|
|Simon Cherry||Belfast Trojans|
|Justin Graham||Tyrone Titans|
|Kevin Catney||Tyrone Titans|
|Kevin Tempany||Mullingar Minotaurs|
|Alan O’Carroll||UL Vikings|
|Craig Switzer||UL Vikings|
|Stuart Lecky||Belfast Trojans|
|Conor Whitla||Belfast Trojans|
|Jonny Connell||Belfast Trojans|
|Rick Duffield||Belfast Trojans|
|Harris Monaghan||Cork Admirals|
|John McGrath||Waterford Wolves|
|Franklin Tchiofo||Waterford Wolves|
|Mick O’Shea||Drogheda Lightning|
|Robert Smith||Dublin Rebels|
|Luke Ivers||West Dublin Rhinos|
|Aidan Waters||South Dublin Panthers|
|Neil Graham||Belfast Trojans|
Since the launch of the Ireland football programme earlier in October, Head Coach John Judge has been building a coaching team from some of the best coaches around the league. These coaches will select the panel of players to take part in future training sessions later this year.
The Ireland coaching staff are as follows:
|Head Coach||John Judge|
|Assistant Head Coach / Offensive Coordinator||Ciaran O’Sullivan|
|Defensive Coordinator||John Romanoski|
|Special Teams Coordinator||Paddy Lally|
|Offensive Line Coordinator||Paul Braniff|
|Offensive Line / Strength & Conditioning Coach||Mark Thompson|
|Quarterbacks Coach||Adam Devenney|
|Receivers Coach||Brendan McAleese|
|Running Backs Coach||Robbie Andrews|
|Defensive Line Coach||Russell Kerley|
|Linebackers Coach||Garland Drake|
|Defensive Backs Coach||Robert Wills|
The first training session will be held in November and to help run this and other sessions, the Ireland coaching staff are looking for assistants. If you would like to apply for an assistant role, please email John Judge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Team Ireland flag football team is currently competing in the EFAF European Championship Finals in Italy. The competition is taking place in Pesaro from 22nd to 24th September 2013.
Ireland has been drawn in Group B for the group stages alongside Germany, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands. Group A consists of Austria, France, Israel, Czech Republic and Great Britain.
Each team plays round robin within their group on the 22nd and 23rd. A series of play-off games on the 24th will decide the final order from 1st to 8th.
The Irish team is being coached by Ken Farrell and consists of players from senior flag football teams.
Team Ireland Squad:
Brennan, Conor – QB, Mullingar Minotaurs
Corroon, Dermot – WR, Mullingar Minotaurs
Elston,Ted – S, South Kildare Soldiers
Elston, Will – CB, South Kildare Soldiers
Grey, Joe – QB, Terenure Titans
Loughran, Peter – CB, Cragavon Cowboys
Moran, Darragh – LB, Edenderry Eagles
Nolan, Gary – LB, Mullingar Minotaurs
O’Donnell, Brian – LB, Edenderry Eagles
Purcel, Nathan – C, Edenderry Eagles
Sommerville, Gary – WR, Dublin Rebels
Whelan, Eoin – RB, South Kildare Soldiers
Group B Fixtures/Results:
Germany 52:13 Ireland
Ireland 00:58 Denmark
Ireland 36:60 Netherlands
Italy 39:06 Ireland
Tuesday 24th – 9th place play-off:
Ireland 24:39 Czech Republic
The IAFA Under 20 Selection had a historic 22-20 win against the Greendell Falcons of Canada in a challenge game played at Westmanstown last night. This marks the first time in the history of the sport that an Irish team has defeated a highly rated team from North America. The IAFA U20 Selection was comprised of young players from IAFL teams, many from the emerging squads who competed in IAFL-1 over the past number of months. The Greendell Falcons team comprised of a mixture of players from their high school (16-18) and college (18-22) aged squads.
This game was marked by an excellent performance by the U20s defence which created four crucial turnovers including 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. The Falcons started well on offense, driving downfield into scoring range on their first possession. However, Dublin Rebels cornerback Senan O’Mahony intercepted a Falcons pass and returned it 80 yards for the games opening touchdown. A 2 point conversion gave the Irish an early 8-0 lead. Greendell responded straight away, moving the ball effectively on the ground and then scoring on a running play to make the score 8-6. Later on in the quarter, the Irish recovered a fumble deep inside the Greendell half, but failed to punch in the ball for a score. The U20s next big defensive play came early in the second quarter when they recovered another Falcons fumble, this time close to midfield. U20s quarterback , Dan Finnamore of Drogheda picked up a first down on the ground and shortly afterwards, North Kildare running back Sean Leamy scored a 25yd touchdown run to give the Irish a 14-6 lead.
The play that sealed the win for the Irish came later in the second quarter, when linebacker Luke Ivers of the West Dublin Rhinos got the U20s second key interception and returned it for a touchdown. Another two point conversion gave the Irish a surprising 22-6 lead close to halftime.
The start of the second half was delayed due to a Greendell player having to be transported to hospital after picking up a serious knee injury on the last play of the second quarter. When it resumed, the U20s faced an aerial onslaught from the Falcons who now had to chase the game. Indeed, Greendell attempted 37 passed in total during the half. On offense, the U20s tried to control the clock by keeping the ball on the ground. The aerial power of the Falcons soon showed with them scoring two passing touchdowns to bring the game back to 22-20 in favour of the Irish. However, the Irish offense did enough to take some time off the clock and the defense put up sufficient resistance to keep the score down and give the Irish an unexpected 22-20 victory.
After the game, the U20s coach squad, led by John Judge, praised the work that the players and coaching squad did during the short time that they have been together.
The Greendell Falcons have a couple of days rest before facing the Bristol Academy Pride in the Gathering Bowl at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 7pm. The Pride is the UKs best U19 club and play in the European US High School league, where they ranked in the top 4 in 2012. This game is expected to attract a large crowd – tickets are free of charge and can be obtained via the link on this website.
The Team Ireland squad to compete in the 2013 European Flag Football Championships was announced today. The 12 man squad was chosen from in excess of 30 players who attended the recent trials/training sessions and includes players from 5 clubs.
Conor Brennan – Mullingar Minotaurs.
Dermot Corroon – Mullingar Minotaurs.
Sean Douglas – Terenure Titans.
Ted Elston – South Kildare Soldiers.
Wil Elston – South Kildare Soldiers.
Joe Gray – Terenure Titans.
Connor McCarthy – South Kildare Soliders.
Darragh Moran – Edenderry Eagles.
Gary Nolan – Mullingar Minotaurs.
Brian O’Donnell – Edenderry Eagles.
Gary Sommerville – Dublin Rebels.
Eoin Whelan – South Kildare Soldiers.
Head Coach – Ken Farrell.
The EFAF 2013 European Championships are due to take place in Pesaro, Italy from 22-24th September. The tournament line-up is as follows:
37 players representing 11 teams attended trials for the Ireland Senior Flag Team over the past 2 weeks. Trialists included both specialist flag football players and players with IAFL experience who also play flag. Head Coach Ken Farrell now has the difficult task of chosing the final squad of 12 players who will represent Ireland at the European Championships in Italy in September.
The EFAF 2013 European Championships are due to take place in Pesaro, Italy from 22-24th September. The tournament line-up is as follows:
Ireland last entered a team in 2009 when it hosted the Championships in Belfast. Italy has good memories for Irish flag football – the Irish Junior squad finished 2nd in the 2010 Junior European Championships, which was the last time a major flag tournament was hosted by the Italian Federation.
Consideration is being given to entering a team in the upcoming European Senior Flag Football Championshios in Italy next September.
Any players interested in trying out for Team Ireland should contact Ken Farrell at email@example.com
Age limit is 16 and over and consideration is being given to entering both mens and womens teams.