Irish International Football

Irish International American Football

From the first ever touring American Football teams in Ireland in the 1940s to the big NCAA College Games from the 1980s onwards to the matches played by Irish American Football teams – both club and country – against North American teams and European teams there is plenty to savour in the history of International American Football in Ireland and Irish teams overseas.

NFL American Bowl 1997 Official Programme
NFL American Bowl 1997 Official Programme

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. 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. 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.

football player with ball running on green field during daytime

Irish Teams v American Teams (1986-Present)

Irish Teams v American Teams

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. 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. 

All Games Overview

American Football Ireland Irish Teams v USA & Canadian Teams 1985-Present

Games by Era

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

International American Football | Irish Teams v Canadian Semi-Pro Teams 1994-1995

American Football Ireland Irish Teams v USA & Canadian Services & Underage Teams 1993-Present

International American Football | Ireland v NCAA Division III Teams 2004-2005

International American Football | Irish Teams v NCAA Division III Teams 2007-2019

Seasons

ETO Football Championship (Seasons):

   Spring 1944

Box-Scores and Match Reports

Irish American Football League v Eastern Football League (Semi-Pro)

Green Isle All-Stars 0 Marlboro Shamrocks 36 – 29 November 1986

Dublin Celts 0 Taunton Raiders 46 – 19 April 1987

Irish American Football League v Canadian Football Teams (Semi-Pro & U22)

Carrickfergus Knights 6 Team Canada 34 – 25 August 2002

Irish American Football Association / Global Football (NCAA Division III)

William Wagner Trophy – Tallaght Outlaws 0 Claremont-McKenna Stags 67 – 19 May 2007

Picture Credit: Pexels Free Photos

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. 

Irish International Box-Scores

Irish Wolfhounds; Charleroi Trophy

Ireland International American Football (Box-Scores & Match Reports):

Ireland Fighting Irish International Results (Box-Scores & Match Reports):

Great Britain Lions 22 Ireland Fighting Irish 0 – 17 March 1995

Ireland Fighting Irish 45 Northwest GB All-Stars 0 – 26 November 1995

Irish Leprechauns | Nations Cup (Box-Scores & Match Reports)(Seasons):

Four Nations American Football | Nations Cup Box-Score & Match Reports 1997

Team Ireland International Results (Box-Scores & Match Reports):

Ireland 6 Great Britain Bulldogs 69 | 4 September 2004Ireland 8 Coventry Jets 35 | 15 October 2006

Irish Wolfhounds International Results (Box-Scores & Match Reports):

Dutch Lions 20 Irish Wolfhounds 0 | 27 August 2016

Irish Wolfhounds 20 Belgian Barbarians 19 | 20 October 2018

Belgian Barbarians 6 Irish Wolfhounds 7 | Oct 2019

Irish Clubs Internationals (Box-Scores and Match Reports):

European Football League International Challenge Cup Game Summaries 1986-1988

EFAF Chareroi Trophy (Box-Scores & Match Reports): 2004 2003

Picture Credit:

Irish 8v8 American Football

This is the Index Page to the All-Time Archive of 8v8 American Football (Contact) in Ireland. This version of American Football is designed to facilitate the playing of American Football in 3 areas of competition: (1) Junior Kitted Teams. (2) Small Towns; and (3) 11v11 Teams to field 2nds Teams. depending on the numbers that turn up on gthe day it could be 6v6; 7v7; 8v8 or 9v9. Includes Early Pre-Pads American Football 1983-1991

Header Picture Credit: [1] Hogan, Sean (2016) “Kildare’s American football team crowned All Ireland champs”. Kildare Now. 26 October, 2016. [Internet] Available from: https://www.kildarenow.com/upload/2016/10/26122252/IMG_1564-e1477481286183.jpg [Accessed 30 January 2020]

Junior / Youth Kitted Football

American Football Ireland Youth Kitted League 2013-Present; NIAFA Northern Ireland Junior American League Two-Touch 1991-1994; Youth Challenge Games 1995-2012

The first Junior / Youth Kitted American Football League was created in 1991, when the Northern Ireland Junior American League made the step up from Two-Touch to Kitted. It lasted two seasons, and from then the Ballymena Wolfhounds played international exhibition games against British opposition as they had no opposition in Ireland.

In the 2000s there were a number of exhibition games played among Junior Kitted teams, and in 2013 the first IAFA Junior Kitted Programme was officially launched, with a 7-team League, playing 7v7, 8v8, 9v9 Kitted Football (depending on the numbers on the day) in 2019.

There has also been 6v6 Junior Kitted American Football.

Junior / Youth Kitted Finals

American Football Ireland Youth Kitted Finals 2013-Present

Junior / Youth Kitted Standings

Irish American Football Association Youth Kitted League 2013-2019

Northern Ireland Junior American League 1991-1992

Junior / Youth Kitted Results

AFI Youth League (Seasons): 2020

IAFA Youth Kitted League (Seasons): 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013

IAFA Youth Cups, Leagues and Tournaments (Seasons): 2009 2008 2007 2006

AFAI Junior Kitted Challenge (Seasons): 1994

NIAFA Northern Ireland Junior American League (Kitted – Seasons): 

1994 1992 1991

NIAFA Northern Ireland Junior American League (Kitted – Preseasons): 

1991

Junior / Youth Kitted Box-Scores

Youth Internationals (Club):

UK & Ireland Youth Kitted Football | Exhibition 1998 Box Score

Picture Credit: [2] Irish American Football Association | Facebook (2019) Photo, October 20, 2019: “Congratulations to Cork Admirals American Football Club who are this years IAFA Youth Champions after defeating the Belfast Knights 44-7 in the final! “ [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/iafaireland/photos/pcb.2768526973181185/2768526746514541/?type=3&theater [Accessed 21 October 2019]

Prospect Pumas Two-Touch Junior American Football Team 1986[Picture Credit: Andrew Wilson]

Junior Two Touch American Football

NIAFA Northern Ireland Junior American League Two-Touch 1986-1990; ICAF Youth Blitz 1991; East Coast Junior Football Association 1985-1986

From 1986 to 1991, before Flags were brought in, there were a number of Junior Two-Touch Leagues organised by regional development bodies, such as the East Coast Junior Football Association (Greater Dublin Area) from 1986 to 1987, and the Northern Ireland Junior American League which ran from 1988 to 1990, when it became fully kitted. In 1991, a Junior Two-Touch American Football Blitz took place in Tymon Park, Tallaght. These Leagues were Two-Touch, although it was only the ball carrier who had to be touched twice, all other ;positions were full contact (i.e. Blocking etc.) [References: Andrew Wilson’s reply to Eirball’s post, March 27, 2020 [Internet] Available at : https://www.facebook.com/eirballenda/posts/2433567573622264?comment_id=2696161900696162&notif_id=1612882525056885&notif_t=feed_comment&ref=notif [Accessed 11 February 2021]

Junior Two Touch Results

ICAF Junior Touch American Football Blitz (Seasons)1991

Northern Ireland Junior American League (Seasons): 1990 1988 1987 1986

East Coast Junior Football Association (Seasons): 1987 1986 

Northern Ireland Junior American League (Preseasons): 1990

Picture Credit: [3] Andrew Wilson (2021) Reply to Eirball Facebook Post, March 27, 2020 “this is a very early publicity photo (pre kit) taken in 1986, I think.” [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10219341931087529&set=p.10219341931087529&type=3&av=2226857640959926&eav=AfZG4VnfE0tNSFTwa-nyACGq3CrmStfgyhPu8_I0C1E4keYcOz_YZe5FHtJXGznrua2a22r7OV1hILGkeHYHClQT [Accessed 11 February 2021]

DV8 Development League / Blitzes

IAFA DV8 Development League 2008-2012; IAFA Mini-League 1993; IAFA Blitzes and Challenge Games 1994-2012.

The first DV8 Development Mini-League was created in 1993, for smaller teams like the Ardee Falcons (Co. Louth), and Dublin Tornadoes Vets (2nds team). Blitzes were played over the following 10 years, with another Mini-League (IAFL Division 2) created in 2003. Again Blitzes were employed up until the creation of the DV8 Development League in 2008, which lasted until 2012, when the League became the full 11v11 IAFL 1 Conference. The DV8 format was then used for the Junior Kitted League.

DV8 Development League / Challenge Standings

DV8 Development League – 1st and 2nds Teams Standings 2008-2012

Irish American Football League | DV8 Development League 2008-2012

Irish American Football Association DV8 Challenge 1998-2003

DV8 International Blitz Results

DV8 International Blitz (Seasons): 1995

DV8 Development League / Challenges and Blitzes Results

IAFA DV8 Development League (Seasons): 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

IAFA DV8 Blitzes: 2012 2012 2011 2010 2008 2007

Spring & Autumn League Era Division 2 Leagues, Blitzes and Challenges:

2004 2003 2002 20011998

AFAI Development Mini-League: 1993

Picture Credit:
[4] Drogheda Lightning (2011) dsc00574 “David Murray carries the ball for the Lightning the last time the teams met in Tullamore.” [Internet] Available from: https://boltsinblue.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dsc00574.jpg [Accessed 21 January 2019]

Early Pre-Pads American Football

Pick-Up Games and Challenge Games 1983-1986

Beginning with a match in Banbridge between two teams of specially trained Rugby players for American Indeendence Day in 1983 through to the first Irish American Football League season in 1986, non-kitted contact Football was played between Irish teams due to the huge cost involved in getting helmets and padding imported into the country from USA. By 1987 all teams were now fully kittted and the League played its first full season. The non-kitted version of American Football would have been very like the early days of the NFL or Ohio League from 1900 to 1930s, or more modern day pick-up games in parks throughout the United States. These non-pad, non-helmet pick-up games have recently been codified by the American 7s Football League, which has similar rules to 8v8 Football such as Arena / Indoor Football.

Early Pre-Pads Football Matches Results

Early Pre-Pads Football Matches (Seasons): 19851983

Picture Credit: Modern Day American 7s Football League [5] A7FL Facebook (2020) Photo, August 22, 2020 [Internet] Available from: https://i0.wp.com/www.a7fl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/A7FLBackInMotionFINAL.png?resize=294%2C300&ssl=1 [Accessed 12 September 2020]

International 8v8 American Football

black player of american football on stadium

International 8-Man American Football (Irish Clubs):

AFI 8-v8

American Football Association of Ireland | Wicklow Festival 8-a-side Blitz 1995

UK & Ireland Youth Kitted Football | Exhibition 1998 Box Score

Picture Credit: Pexels Free Photos

Irish 8v8 American Football Teams

This is the Eirball Index Page to the History, Results and Rosters of Irish 8v8 American Football (also known as Arena or Indoor Football) was invented in the USA to help smaller towns, colleges and High Schools play Football. It is most popular in Mexico. American Football Ireland runs Leagues for three types of 8v8 Teams: Youth Contact, Smaller Towns and 2nds Teams. It is also hoping to start an 8v8 Blitz for Women. The Leagues can also be 7v7 and 9v9 depending on the numbers of players on the day.

Youth Contact 8v8 Teams

Northern Ireland Junior American Football League Two-Touch 1986-1990; Northern Ireland Junior American League Kitted 1991-1993; Irish American Football League Junior Blitz 2009-2012; Irish American Football League Youth Kitted League 2013-2019; American Football Ireland Youth Kitted League 2020.

All-Time Record & [Season Roster & Match Reports]

Antrim

Antrim Cobras 1987-1988 [ 1988 ]

Ballymena Wolfhounds 1991-1998 [ Exhibition 1998]

Belfast Junior Spartans 1991-1992

Prospect Pumas 1991-1993 [ 1992 ]

Carrickfergus Knights 2013-2014

Antrim Jets [ 2019 ]

Ulster

Brownlow Bandits 1991

Leinster

Midlands Soldiers 2009

Drogheda Lightning 2013

South Kildare Soldiers 2013-2018

Munster

University of Limerick Vikings 2018

Picture Credit: [1] Antrim Jets | Facebook (2019) Photo 29 September 2019: ” Not the result we wanted but very proud of all the players and coaches. “ [Internet] Available from: https://scontent-dub4-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/71796121_333178334149483_7674892213314125824_o.jpg?_nc_cat=101&_nc_eui2=AeFrwSzjzHcQ_Oer8BdkB0CSC4KBTqSKbt5BCSRSSIg2JY8oRhVmcBoT6chcZMt0KWLDiYqjTv8_W_8w0S5eUE8iLyxwVzXSdGXnQW6j6GFN3A&_nc_oc=AQl1AFRPuYKThDw91QzPPAK52NYc7Z5nydyoPVv4JrEpu93MGFkPnr1PbY2S02RKxi5JUzdBfH6_ESultq3H66jq&_nc_ht=scontent-dub4-1.xx&oh=06a3046d14837f681fa3d34c626ca3d4&oe=5E27717C [Accessed 30 September 2019]

Smaller Towns 8v8 Teams

American Football Association of Ireland Mini-League 1993; Irish American Football Association Blitzes 1998-2005; IAFA DV8 Development League 2006-2012; IAFA DV8 Blitzes 2013.

All-Time Record & [Season Roster & Match Reports]

Louth

Ardee Falcons 1993 [ 1993 ]

Drogheda Lightning 2011-2012

Wicklow & Carlow

Bray Seahawks 1989-1990

IT Carlow Chargers 2010

Midlands

Edenderry Soldiers 2007-2008

Midlands Soldiers 2009

Tullamore Phoenix 2010-2011

Trim Bulldogs 2011-2012 [ 20112012]

Mullingar Minotaurs 2012

Kildare

North Kildare Reapers 2012

Munster

Limerick Patriots 1993

University of Limerick Vikings 2003

Waterford Wolves 2012

Antrim

Belfast Lasers 1998

Belfast Bulls 2002-2003 [ 2003 ]

Ulster

Craigavon Cowboys 2003-2009

Dublin

Dublin Dragons 2008-2009

Trinity College Dublin Thunderbolts 2008-2009 [ 2008 ]

University College Dublin Sentinels 2009

Connacht

Erris Rams (Mayo) 2009-2010 [ Erris (Mayo) Rams 2009 ]

PIcture Credit: [2] Meath Bulldogs Fan Group | Facebook (2012) Photo by Garland Drake, July 9, 2012 “Trim Bulldogs win a dramatic exhibition game against Drodghea Lighting in Moneygall 28-26 “ [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4037194604090&set=gm.412879918758381 [Accessed 14 November 2020]

American Football Ireland 2nds Teams (8v8)

AFAI DV8 Mini-League 1993; IAFA Blitzes 1998-2005; IAFA DV8 Development League 2006-2012; IAFA DV8 Blitzes 2013;

All-Time Record & [Season Roster & Match Reports]

Dublin

Dublin Tornadoes Vets 1993

Dublin Dragons 2nds 2001-2012

Dublin Rebels 2nds 2002-2010 [ 2008 ]

Tallaght Outlaws 2nds 2007

Antrim

Carrickfergus Knights 2nds 1998-present

Queens University Belfast Broncos 1998

Belfast Bulls 2nds 2007

Munster

Cork Admirals 2nds 2002-2008 [ 2007 ]

Leinster

Tullamore Phoenix 2nds 2012

Picture Credit: [3] Carrickfergus Knights | Wayback Machine (2003) Gallery [2001] [Blitz 26 July 2001] [Internet] Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20030221070129/http://www.carrickfergusknights.com/thumbs.asp?game=1 [Accessed 18 May 2020]