American Teams in Ireland (NCAA/NFL Games & Irish Teams v North American Teams):
The first ever American Football games played in Ireland were in the 1940s, when teams of US Servicemen returning from WW2 played matches in Ravenhill (Home of Ulster Rugby) and Croke Park (Home of the GAA) in aid of the Irish Red Cross. Further matches were played in the 1950s & 1960s by US Air Force Personnel stationed at US Air Bases in Britain & Germany during the Cold War.
In the 1980s the first Irish American Football teams were formed following the UK’s Channel 4 TV station airing a Weekly NFL Highlight Show, and matches were organised between Irish Teams and Eastern Football League (Massachusetts area) Semi-Pro Teams.
There were also during the late 1980s and up until the mid-1990s high-profile pre-season matches between NCAA College teams and one NFL match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears.
From the mid-1990s an irregular series of matches involving Canadian Football teams was organised with Canadian Rules slipped into the American Football Rules. Matches were also irregularly scheduled between Irish teams and US Servicemen and High schools.
In 2004 the first matches between Ireland and NCAA Division III teams were organised, and in 2007 these became a regular fixture in Ireland, between Irish Club Teams and NCAA Division III teams.
2012 also saw the return of the high-profile NCAA games to Ireland, featuring both NCAA Division I Regular Season Matches, and also the Global Ireland Football Tournament, a series of 6 Regular Season NCAA Division III and High School matches played at a variety of venues across Ireland.
European American Football (Irish Clubs & Team Ireland):
The Dublin Celts, the first American Football team in Ireland, formed in 1984, played matches against British opposition in 1985 & 1986 due to lack of kitted opposition in Ireland.
In 1986 the first Shamrock Bowl was played and the Irish American Football League was started the following year, with the Shamrock Bowl Champions winning the right to represent Ireland in the Eurobowl, the European Champions Cup.
Britain was expelled from the European Football League in 1992, and Ireland left the organisation at the same time as it could not afford to play games in continental Europe. Irish teams played a series of matches against English, Scottish and Welsh teams from then until 2000, and the Nations Cup, between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales was held from 1996-1999.
In 2002 Ireland rejoined the European circuit, with the Dublin Rebels playing in the Charleroi Trophy in Belgium, an unofficial Championship for amateur Western European Champions, such as the Irish, Belgian & Dutch Leagues.
From 2005-2006 Irish teams returned to playing British teams, and then in 2009 the first Atlantic Cup, an official tournament for the Champions of amateur Western European Leagues was held. Belgian, Dutch, Irish and sometimes either a Luxembourg representative or a team from the French third level competed for this European Tier 3 Trophy until 2016, when the Belgian & Dutch entrants made the step up to EFL (Tier 2) level.
From 2014-present a series of matches involving Irish teams and teams from the Atlantic Fringe, such as Scotland and Iberia, have been played, as well as Internationals between Ireland and Belgium and Netherlands.
Ireland Internationals (Overviews):
Irish Club Internationals (Overviews):
European American Football (Seasons):
European Football League | Eurobowl:
Four Nations American Football | Four Nations Bowl:
EFAF | Charleroi Trophy:
EFAF | International Friendlies:
EFAF | Atlantic Cup:
GFLI | Atlantic Cup:
IFAFE | Atlantic Cup:
IFAFE | International Friendlies: