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


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:

International 8v8 American Football

black player of american football on stadium
Photo by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma’aji on