Dublin Celts Shamrock Bowl IV Champins 1989

Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference 1989

Final League Table

Duke Premier Division
*Dublin Celts8800242431.000
*Belfast Spartans8440113202.500
Craigavon Cowboys8350127160.375
East Antrim Cougars817038206.125
Baron First Division
*Belfast A26 Bulldogs87108828.875
*NI Giants853012384.625
Dublin Tornadoes808008.000
Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference 1989 [Reference: 1]

Playoff Results

DateHome TeamAway Team
04.09.1989Belfast A26 Bulldogs7Belfast Spartans0
28.10.1989Dublin Celts19NI Giants6
Shamrock Bowl IV
05.11.1989Dublin Celts7Belfast A26 Bulldogs6
Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference Playoffs 1989 [Reference: 2;4]

Regular Season Results

DateHome TeamAway Team
Week 1
07.05.89Belfast Spartans0Belfast A26 Bulldogs40
07.05.89Dublin Tornadoes0 #NI Giants1
Week 2
13.05.89East Antrim Cougars14Belfast Spartans36
14.05 89Dublin Celts38Craigavon Cowboys0
14.05.89Belfast A26 Bulldogs6NI Giants0
Week 3
20.05.89East Antrim Cougars0Dublin Celts51
20.05.89Craigavon Cowboys13NI Giants19
21.05.89Dublin Tornadoes0 #Belfast A26 Bulldogs1
Week 4
28.05.89NI Giants19Dublin Celts43
28.05.89Belfast A26 Bulldogs1East Antrim Cougars0 #
Week 5
03.06.89Belfast Spartans26Craigavon Cowboys21
04.06.89Dublin Celts1East Antrim Cougars0 #
04.06.89Belfast A26 Bulldogs1Dublin Tornadoes0 #
Week 6
11.06.89Dublin Celts14Belfast A26 Bulldogs9
11.06.89NI Giants1Dublin Tornadoes0 #
Week 7
17.06.89East Antrim Cougars6NI Giants46
18.06.89Belfast A26 Bulldogs17Craigavon Cowboys7
Week 8
24.06.89Belfast Spartans35East Antrim Cougars3
25.06.89Craigavon Cowboys1Dublin Tornadoes0 #
Week 9
02.07.89Dublin Celts1Dublin Tornadoes0 #
02.07.89Craigavon Cowboys36East Antrim Cougars14
02.07.89NI Giants30Belfast Spartans3
Week 10
08.07.89Belfast Spartans12Dublin Celts48
09.07.89NI Giants7Belfast A26 Bulldogs13
09.07.89Dublin Tornadoes0 #Belfast Spartans1
Week ??
??Dublin Tornadoes0 #East Antrim Cougars1
28.05. ??Belfast Spartans0Craigavon Cowboys46
??Craigavon Cowboys3Dublin Celts46
Combined Gridiron League Regular Season Results 1989 [Reference: 4]

Shamrock Bowl IV Box-Score and Match Report

5 November 1991 – Musgrave Park, Belfast – A26 Bulldogs 6 Dublin Celts 7

The Dublin Celts survived a scare from the A26 Bulldogs, as a combination of wind, and poor snaps and kicking left the Antrim team a point adrift of the Celtsat the end of Shamrock Bowl IV, played in Musgrave Park, Belfast. The A26 Bulldogs took a 6-0 lead after Dave Elliott and William ‘Demo’ Beattie ran the ball down field after a Celt fumble. However, the Point After Touchdown was missed, which they were to rue at the end of the day. The Celts struck back through Quarterback John Donnelly connecting with Mark Rutherford in the second quarter, to leave them 7-6 ahead at the interval after Jimmie Kelly’s extra-point kick was good.

In the second half the ball changed hands regularly, and with 40 seconds to go, the Bulldogs defense, strong on the day, gave the offence which was out of sorts possession within field goal range, but the kick went wide, sending the Bowl back to Dublin. The Celts defensive unit played tough the entire game, holding the A26 Bulldogs to just 62 yards, including a total of minus-10 yards for the Belfast passing game.

At Musgrave Park, BelfastQ1Q2Q3Q4Total
Belfast A26 Bulldogs60006
Dublin Celts07007
Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference Shamrock Bowl IV Box-Score 1989 [Ref: 8]
1st Quarter
A26TD Run (XP Kick missed)6-0
2nd Quarter
DUBMark Rutherford TD Pass from John Donnelly (Jimmie Kelly 1xpt)6-7
3rd Quarter
No Scoring6-7
4th Quarter
No Scoring6-7
Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference Shamrock Bowl IV Box Score Scorers 1989 [Ref: 8-9]


The Dublin Celts won their third Shamrock Bowl in a row, defeating the Belfast A26 Bulldogs 7-6. Both had convincingly won their respective divisions, with the Celts winning all eight matches and the Bulldogs only losing to the Celts. The Celts had won their playoff game with the Giants 19-6, despite reports of the Giants team being stocked with players from the other Northern Ireland teams [Reference: 3] In the Playoffs, the A26 Bulldogs beat the Belfast Spartans 7-0 and the Celts had defeated the NI Giants 19-6. Dublin Tornadoes forfeited all their matches, and the NI Giants, Belfast Spartans and Craigavon Cowboys finished mid-table, with wins over the East Antrim Cougars.

Dublin Celts Shamrock Bowl IV Champions 1989
Dublin Celts Shamrock Bowl IV Champions 1989 [Reference: 10][Picture Credit: World American Football]


For the 1989 season (the fourth season of the IAFL) the Irish American Football League elected to play in the Combined Gridiron League, which was an attempt to unite the various Independent Leagues of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Teams were placed in an Irish conference in the Duke Premier Division (CGL 2nd Level – 3rd in the Atlantic Isles) and the Baron First Division (CGL 3rd Level – 4th in the Atlantic Isles).

There were Playoffs in each Division, with the two Irish conference winners also playing off in the Shamrock Bowl for the Irish title. Teams played a balanced schedule of two games against each division opponent and once against teams from the other division.

New Teams: Belfast A26 Bulldogs. Belfast Giants returned after a hiatus of one season as the NI Giants.

Non-Returning Teams: Coleraine Chieftains (sat out year – returned in 1990), Belfast Blitzers.

Name Changes: Carrickfergus Cougars moved to Newtownabbey, becoming the East Antrim Cougars.

Home Venues

TeamHome Ground
Belfast A26 BulldogsAllen Park, Antrim
Belfast SpartansMusgrave Park, Belfast
Craigavon Cowboys
Dublin CeltsOld Belvedere RFC, Dublin / O’Rahilly Sports Stadium
Dublin TornadoesTymon Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24
East Antrim CougarsValley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey
NI GiantsOrmeau Park, Belfast
Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference Home Venues 1989 [Ref: 1-7]



[1] Britball Now (2016) Historial League Tables [1989] [CGL] [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/history-index/historical-league-tables-in/ [Accessed 27 February 2017]

[2]Britball Now (2016) Results Section [1989] [CGL] [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/history-index/results-section.html [Accessed 27 February 2017]

[3] Irish American Football Association (2018) Shamrock Bowl History [Internet] Available from: hhttp://www.americanfootball.ie/american-football/shamrock-bowl-history/ [Accessed 23 March 2018]


[4] Anon. (1989) “Tornadoes Dublin” Public Service News. Summer 1989. Pg 14

[5] Anon. (1989) “Tymon Park Touchdown” Evening Herald. 1989

[6] Anon. (1989) “Giants make Celts cross” Evening Herald. Wednesday, November 1, 1989. [Pg. 56 Irish Newspaper Archive: https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ [Accessed 29 January 2020]

[7] Anon. (1986) “Weekend Sport: American Football” Belfast Telegraph. Monday, September 4, 1991. pg. 23 [Internet] Available online at the Irish Newspaper Archive at: https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ which is a subscription service.

[8] Anon. (1986) “Bulldog Blues” Belfast Telegraph. Monday, November 6, 1991. pg. 16 [Internet] Available online at the Irish Newspaper Archive at: https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ which is a subscription service.

[9] Anon. (1989) “Team Profile: Dublin Celts” World American Football. Vol. 2 Issue 1. 30 November – 5 December 1989. pg. 14.


[10] Anon. (1989) “Team Profile: Dublin Celts” World American Football. Vol. 2 Issue 1. 30 November – 5 December 1989. pg. 14.


Thanks to John Malone, Tony Meenaghan, Declan Mulvey and John O’Reilly.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 23 November 2020

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2020

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

Leave a Reply