American Football in Ireland | ETO, USAFE and High Schools 1942-1973

ETO, USAFE and High School Teams 1942-1973

DateTeam Team 
 ETO Teams   
01.01.44Navy Galloping Gaels0Army Wolverines0
 USAFE Teams   
1953Burtonwood Bullets27Weathersfield Raiders0
17.11.54Weathersfield Raiders7NAMA Bullets0
09.66Ramstein Rams Alconbury Spartans 
 US High Schools   
1973Trailblazers Red (Mass) Trailblazers White (Mass) 


Links to Team Rosters & Match Reports

Hale Blue Devils 1942


The first American Football matches played in Ireland were during WW2, teams of US Soldiers stationed in Northern Ireland, played matches in Ravenhill, Belfast in aid of the Irish Red Cross. In the first match of the tour Yarvard beat Hale 9-7 and in the second they beat Tech 14-0 (played at Larne Harbour). The 1942 Championship was dubbed the European Theater of Operations Football Championship. A match in 1944 between Army Wolverines and Navy Galloping Gaels at Ravenhill ended 0-0, and was called the Northern Ireland Championship.

In the 1950s and 1960s teams of US Servicemen stationed at Air Force bases in the United Kingdom and Germany played in the USAFE (United States Air Force in Europe – prononouced “You-Safe”) Football League with three conferences: UK, Continental and Mediterranean. In 1953 two of these teams played in Croke Park, with the Burtonwood Bullets winning 27-0 against the Weathersfield Raiders. A return match in 1954 in Belfast saw the NAMA Raiders win 7-0. In 1966 the Ramsfield Rams (Germany) and Alconbury Spartans (UK) played another game in aid of the Irish Red Cross.

In 1973 an American High School team, the Trailblazers (Massachusetts) played an exhibition match in Coolock, Dublin.

The Yarvard Team at Larne Harbour 21 November 1942: They beat Tech 14-0 on the day.




[1] Irish American Football Association (2016) Journey to Thirty [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 08 August 2016]

[2] Irish American Football Association (2016) History of US Teams playing in Ireland [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 22 November 2016]

[3] Irish American Football Association (2016) History [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 26 October 2016]

[4] Lucky Show (2016) American Football in Ireland [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 5 June 2017]

[5] Dublin Town – Article by Gerry Farrell (2016) College Football Classic Ireland’s Relationship with American Football [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 7 May 2018]


[6] Lensmen Photographic Archive (2012) . “The 1950s Ireland in Pictures”. pg. 36. The O’Brien Press Ltd. Dublin, Ireland.

[7] Anon. (1942) . “Photo caption: American Football at Ravenhill”. Belfast News-Letter. 16 November 1942. pg. 6.

[8] Anon. (1954) . “Photo caption”. Northern Whig. 18 November 1954. pg. 6.

[9] Anon. (1966) . “Rams bring 45 ‘Rough Scrappers”. Belfast Telegraph. 1 September 1966. pg. 18.

[10] Magee, Damian. “English Beer and American Football: Exporting American Football as a Cultural Commodity to the British Isles.” Irish Journal of American Studies, vol. 7, 1998, pp. 121–148. JSTOR, JSTOR,

[11] Anon. (1974) . “Americans at Chanel College”. Evening Herald Thursday, March 21, 1974. pg. 2.


[12] RTE Archives “Americans Footballers on Tour 1974”. [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2018]

Social Media

[13] Belfast Blitzers | Facebook (2019) Post 22 August 2019: “ So this is the last of the photos in the archive, it’s of the Yarvard team at Sandy Bay, Larne Harbour on the 21st November 1942. “ [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 August 2019]

[14] Belfast Blitzers | Faacebook (2019) Post 22 August 2019: “So this is the last of the photos in the archive, it’s of the Yarvard team at Sandy Bay, Larne Harbour on the 21st November 1942. “ [Internet] Available from:[Accessed 23 August 2019]


[14] Belfast Blitzers | Facebook (2019) Photo 22 August 2019 [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 August 2019]


Thanks to Cillian Smith, Michael Smith, Ralph Schmeer and Michael Brophy of the Irish American Football Association and Irish American Football Officials Association.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 17 January 2019

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2019

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Resereved.

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