Category: Management

Management Board Changes

AFI President Orla McAleese “This weekend saw the departure for two of our board colleagues, Christine Bolton and John Lynch. Both have left for personal reasons. I would like to acknowledge the work, input and support they have given to the association during their time on the board.

Their time and effort to work with their fellow members to help maintain and grow the sport has not gone without notice. Giving up their free time to attend meetings, work with our directors and members on queries, and endless nights of going through paperwork and policies.

From everyone on the board, our directors and our members, we thank both Christine and John for everything they have done over the past months and years.”

New External Board Member Appointed

AFI is delighted to announce the appointment of Peter McKenna to the board as an external board member.

Peter is a keen sports enthusiast and brings a vast wealth of experience including involvement in the GAA at various levels. Peter has worked in Ireland, the US, Canada and Europe in all levels of an organisation from board level to staff. Peter has a wide range of qualifications including a Professional Diploma in High Performance Business Development, a Professional Diploma in Applied Performance Analysis, a GAA Accredited Performance Analyst and is a Sport Ireland Accredited Coaching Tutor. Welcome to AFI Peter and best of luck in the role!

This now means that the board is running at full capacity with 9 board members – details of the AFI Management Team can be found here.

Peter McKenna

Statements Of Intent (Flag & Youth)

A reminder to all clubs that statements of intent (non-binding) to compete in the 2020 flag and/or youth seasons should be sent to AFI by the deadlines set below:

  • For flag football, by 8pm on Thursday 18th June. This should be sent to robbie_ca@americanfootball.ie
  • For youth football, by 8pm on Monday 22nd June. This should be sent to bill@americanfootball.ie

2020 Senior Kitted Season Cancelled

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary “The AFI board held an online meeting to discuss the current ongoing situation and the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has been decided that the 2020 Senior Kitted season will be cancelled in its entirety. A number of factors were considered in making this tough decision. There remains uncertainty as to when this crisis will end, which makes it very difficult to publish a schedule that will allow for enough time to prepare and complete a season for our members. It may also prove very difficult to secure ambulance bookings for fixtures due to the increased workload of our front-line services. We are also very aware of the financial difficulties our clubs and members may be facing during this time and do not wish to add any more pressure than what they are already facing. Ultimately, we need to put our members physical and mental welfare first before football.

We will continue to monitor the situation and, if circumstances allow, we are open to the possibility of hosting a 2-3 week tournament at the end of the summer for clubs that wish to participate and have some form of kitted football in 2020.

With immediate effect all current Adult Kitted, Coaching, Officiating and Non-Playing memberships will be extended until 30th September 2021 and there will be no need to purchase or renew your membership for the 2021 season.

No decision has been made yet in relation to Youth and Flag football. We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with our directors in the coming weeks and update you when we have a clearer picture on the possibility of the Youth and Flag seasons going ahead.

It is important to note that we have put our insurance on hold at this time and under no circumstances is any physical footballing activity to take place until further notice.

Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and we will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. If you have any queries please contact me at brian@americanfootball.ie.”

COVID-19 Statement

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary

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

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

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

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

New Commissioner Appointed

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

Congratulations Brian and best of luck in the position!

Commissioner: Brian Cleary

Press Release: American Football Ireland

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

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

Official logo of American Football Ireland

New Associate Member Clubs

At the recent SGM, 8 flag football clubs were made associate members of our association. We would like to extend a warm welcome to each and look forward to seeing their progress in the future:

  • Edenderry Eagles​
  • Dublin Bay Raptors​
  • UCC​
  • Ulster Elks​
  • Downpatrick Saints​
  • Norton Wasps​
  • MU Hurricanes​
  • Cork City Outlaws​

Further details of the SGM will be released at a later date.

New Board Members Appointed

American Football Ireland are delighted to announce two appointments to the management board. John Lynch (Wexford Eagles) and Paul Kirkwood (Dublin Rebels) have been co-opted on to the board with immediate effect. We would like to extend a warm welcome to both and wish them all the best in their roles.

Further opportunities to join American Football Ireland management can be found here.

Notice of SGM

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

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

20×20: Frieda Gallagher

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

What sparked your initial interest in American football?

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

How did you get involved with your club/IAFA?

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

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

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

What is the American football environment like in Ireland?

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

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

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

New Director of Flag Football Appointed

IAFA are delighted to announce that Robert Caldwell has been appointed as the new Director of Flag Football and will officially start the role on 1st January 2020. Robert will be working with outgoing director Guillaume Poznanski in a hand-over phase throughout December 2019. Guillaume will begin his new role as Head Coach of the Wolfhounds Flag Football on 1st January 2020.

Robert (L) pictured with former NFL kicker Nick Novak (R)

Robert has been a member of IAFA for 8 years and was one of the founding members of the Louth Mavericks. Having played both kitted and flag football, Robert was appointed Head Coach of the Mavericks flag football programme 2 years ago and was instrumental in helping the Mavericks field two flag teams this year whilst also a member of the IAFA flag football committee in 2019.

Robert (bottom middle) pitcured with members from the Mavericks Flag Football squad

His main objectives are to increase participation (particularly females), improve officiating and reduce forfeits. Welcome aboard Robert and we wish you all the very best in your role!

IAFA Management Changes & Restructure

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

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

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

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

Significant Increase In Membership 2018/19

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

Year
Unique Members
% +/-
2017
1314
+7%
2018
1256
-4%
2019
1641
+31%

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

Year
Overall Memberships
% +/-
2017
1567

2018
1635
+4%
2019
1774
+9%

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

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

Year
Youth Kitted
Officials
Other
2017
70
78
173
2018
63
75
44
2019
123
136
106

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

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

Year
Coaches
Senior Kitted
Flag
2017
99
956
191
2018
125
1006
322
2019
110
968
331

Statistics collected using the IAFA registration system (Azolve).

Notice of AGM

The IAFA AGM will take place on the 17th November 2019 at 2pm. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood Park, Santry Demense, Dublin (same venue as last year).

Any proposals to amend the Constitution must be sent to the Commissioner no later than the 18th October 2019.

Any proposals to amend the IAFA bylaws they must be sent to the Commissioner no later than the 2nd November 2019.

When submitting proposals, please include the original wording as per the Constitution/Bylaws and the actual amended wording you would like to replace it with. Please also include a brief rationale for the proposed change.

Elections

The following Management Board positions will be up for election at the AGM;

  • 3 Year Position – Currently Vacant
  • 3 Year Position – Currently held by Brian Cleary
  • 1 Year Position – Liam Ryan’s remaining term currently held by Joseph Maguire
  • 1 Year Position – Donnchá O’Comhuí’s remaining term currently held by Christine Bolton

All candidates for election must have 3 years consecutive membership in good standing with IAFA. Board members are expected to attend monthly management meetings, attend occasional midweek training courses and meetings with external organizations e.g. Sport Ireland. The role of a Management Board member is to promote the growth and development of the sport in line with our governing documents and the Governance Code.

If you wish to run as a candidate for election, please complete the “Candidate for  Election” form found in Appendix 2 of IAFA Bylaws (under Governance > Resources) and return it to the Commissioner no later than the 2nd November 2019.

IAFA Flag Football Directorship Announcement

It is with great regret that we inform you that our Director of Flag Football, Guillaume Poznanski, will be stepping down from the position at the end of the year.

IAFA President Orla McAleese “Guillaume­ has transformed flag football in Ireland over the past 5 years, bringing it from a small league with a handful of teams to a 2 tiered nationwide league system with 25 teams. The work and dedication that he has given to bring it to this standard has been outstanding. He has worked tirelessly with his committee for this sport and has been a true ambassador for Flag Football in Ireland.

On behalf of the board and the entire association, we would like to thank Guillaume for all his work – his volunteering to have a flag football to where it is today in Ireland.

Guillaume will not be going anywhere, he will still be part of the association in another capacity in the coming months.”

Applications for the role are now open here

IAFA: Positions Available

IAFA is the National Governing Body for American Football in Ireland and is recognised as such by Sport Ireland and the International Federation of American Football. At present, IAFA is an entirely volunteer-run organisation and there are over 3,000 active members involved in the sport at various levels. American football is a rapidly growing sport in Ireland, and we are expanding our Management team to meet this increased demand. We currently have the following roles available:

Select each of the links above to find out more about the role and to apply.

Officiating: New Appointment

IAFA are delighted to announce that Stephen King has been appointed as Assistant Director of Officiating. Stephen is a keen supporter of American football and has experience as a soccer referee. Stephen was employed by the FAI as a referee program and development co-ordinator and we look forward to him bringing his vast knowledge and experience to help develop the Officiating Department.

IAFA Management – New Appointments

The IAFA is delighted to announce the following appointments;

Director of Officiating: Steve Moles has been appointed to this role on a full time basis. Steve has been involved with IAFA for over ten years and during that time participated as a player, official and sat on club boards. Steve has been the Interim Director of Officiating since the start of this season and has done a fantastic job in this role. We wish him continued success in the development of the department going forward.

Officiating Development Officer: Tony Rivers has been appointed to this role within the Officiating Department reporting directly to the Officiating Development Manager (Barry Bolton). Tony has been involved in American Football for over 30 years both in the UK and Ireland and having previously served as the Director of Officiating will bring invaluable experience to the role. This role will involve the continued development of our full time officials. Tony will be attending games and submitting reports to the Development manager with a view to providing feedback to our officials and the further development of our training courses.

Commercial Director: We are delighted to welcome Kate Sherry into the IAFA family. Kate is about to undertake a Masters in Sports Management and brings with her extensive experience in the commercial sector having worked in senior positions with a number of market leaders over the past 15 years. Kate will be responsible for maximising our income opportunities at events and seeking sponsorship/partnerships for IAFA.

We look forward to working with these newly appointed personnel over the next number of months for the betterment of our association.

Board Meetings 2019

The Board will continue to meet regularly on the 1st Saturday of the month (in most cases). If you wish to have a topic discussed at a board meeting contact us here

  • Saturday, 5th January
  • Saturday, 2nd February
  • Saturday, 2nd March
  • Saturday, 6th April
  • Saturday, 11th May
  • Saturday, 8th June
  • Saturday, 6th July
  • Saturday, 10th August
  • Saturday, 14th September
  • Saturday, 12th October
  • Sunday, 9th November – Pre AGM Meeting
  • Sunday, 17th of November – AGM
  • Saturday, 7th December

Board Members in 2019 are

  • Orla McAleese – Non Attached – President
  • Brian Cleary – Non Attached – Commissioner (Interim)
  • Aidan Maguire – Louth Mavericks
  • Ross Neville – North Dublin Pirates
  • Jo Buchanan – Craigavon Cowboys
  • Christine Bolton – Non Attached
  • Joseph Maguire – UL Vikings

IAFA Appoints New Personnel

IAFA are pleased to announce the following changes in position and appointment of personnel for the following role:

  • Guillaume Poznanski has been appointed as interim Communications Officer replacing Stephen McDonnell (South Dublin Panthers)

We would like to thank Stephen for all the work and valuable contribution he provided to upgrade our website and improve our use of social media which has come on leaps and bounds since his appointment.

IAFA Appoints New Management Personnel

IAFA are pleased to announce the following changes in positions and appointment of personnel for the following roles:

  • Ross Neville (North Dublin Pirates) has been appointed as the Anti-Doping Officer replacing Stuart Donaldson (Cork Admirals)

We would like to thank Stuart for all the work and valuable contribution he provided and look forward to work with the newly appointed personnel.

IAFA Appoints New People to Administration

The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) are pleased to announce the appointments of the following, both at Board and Administration level;

Our new External Board Member Colum Cronin is originality from Cork. Colum has been living in Dublin for over a decade. He works as the International Student Adviser at University College Dublin, having previously been in a similar role at Trinity College Dublin. Continue reading “IAFA Appoints New People to Administration”