International American Football Irish Teams v Eastern Football League Teams 1986-1988

Irish Teams versus Eastern Football League 1986-1988

DateIrish Team EFL Team 
1986IAFL All-Stars0Marlboro Shamrocks (Mass)36
19.04.1987Dublin Celts0Taunton Raiders (Mass)51
08.11.1987Limerick Mind Benders Charlestown Townies (Mass) 
08.11.1987Dublin Tornadoes0Charlestown Townies (Mass)12
14.11.1987Craigavon Cowboys0Charlestown Townies (Mass)60
15.11.1987Dublin Celts0Charlestown Townies (Mass)36
1988Dublin Celts0Taunton Raiders (MASS)50
[References: 1-6]


Irish American Football League teams played the first ever matches between Irish and American teams in 1986 and 1987. The matches were against Eastern Football League teams, a Semi-Pro League that still operates in the Massachusetts region.

The Irish teams were easily outclassed in what was a sport that was brand new to Ireland, losing heavily with not a single team scoring over the course of the five matches.

In 1986 the Marlboro Shamrocks defeated an IAFL All-All Star Team 36-0, and in 1987 in a pre-season game the Taunton Raiders, also from Massachusetts won 51-0 against the Dublin Celts. Later that year the Charletown Townies of Massachusetts toured Ireland beating Dublin Tornadoes, Craigavon Cowboys and Dublin Celts. In 1988 the Celts made a return visit to Massachusetts to play the Taunton Raiders, losing 50-0 at Middlesborough High School. [Reference: 1-6]


[1] Irish Press (1987) It’s not so good for the ‘Giants’ Irish Press. Thursday, November 05, 1987. pg. 11[Internet]

[2] Irish Independent (1987) Your Sports Diary – Tomorrow – American Football Irish Independent. Saturday, April 18, 1987. pg. 16


[3] Britball Now (2016) History of the Game in Ireland [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 02 October 2016]

[4] Britball Now (2008) UK Clubs Against Foreign Opposition [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 16 November 2008]

[5] Semi-Pro Football (2017) Eastern Football League Champions [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 16 November 2017]


[6] Kevin Sharkey (2020) “The Dublin Celts” Word Document shared by John Gunning on Facebook Messenger with permission.


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: 18 October 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 Reserved.

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