Dublin Celts 1987

Irish American Football Association Irish League and Conference 1984-1990

IAFA Irish American Football League 1986

DateHome TeamAway Team
Shamrock Bowl I
1990Craigavon Cowboys6Dublin Celts2


IAFA Irish American Football League 1987

Tara Conference
*Dublin Celts1010001.000
*Craigavon Cowboys10820.800
*Belfast Giants10730.700
Belfast Spartans10460.450
Bangor Buccaneers10370.300
Jordanstown Jaguars100100.000
Mourne Conference
*Belfast Blitzers10910.900
Carrickfergus Cougars10550.500
Dublin Tornadoes10550.500
Coleraine Chieftans10280.200
East Side Jets10280.200
Irish American Football League 1987 [Ref: 2]
DateHome TeamAway Team
12.09.1987Belfast Blitzers20Craigavon Cowboys28
12.09.1987Dublin Celts43Belfast Giants0
Shamrock Bowl II
27.09.1987Craigavon Cowboys25Dublin Celts43
Irish American Football League Playoffs 1987 [Ref: 3]

IAFA Irish American Football League 1988

National Conference
*Belfast Blitzers651013651.833
*Dublin Celts541011833.800
*Craigavon Cowboys63308074.500
Dublin Tornadoes615058123.167
Irish Conference
*Labatt Belfast Spartans53118099.700
Carrickfergus Cougars41306758.250
Coleraine Chieftans403139140.125
Irish American Football League Standings 1988 [Ref: 4][Adjusted]
DateHome TeamAway Team
14.08.1988Belfast Blitzers26Craigavon Cowboys12
14.08.1988Dublin Celts45Labatt Belfast Spartans6
Shamrock Bowl III
21.08.1988Belfast Blitzers6Dublin Celts34
Irish American Football League Playoffs 1988 [Ref: 5-6]

Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference 1989

Duke Premier Division
*Dublin Celts8800242431.000
Belfast Spartans8440113202.500
Craigavon Cowboys8350127160.375
East Antrim Cougars817038206.125
Baron First Division
*A26 Bulldogs87108828.875
NI Giants853012384.625
Dublin Tornadoes808008.000
Combined Gridiron League Irish Conference Standings 1989 [Ref: 7]
DateHome TeamAway Team
Shamrock Bowl IV
1989Dublin Celts7A26 Bulldogs6
Shamrock Bowl IV [Ref: 8]

Irish League of American Football 1990

DateHome TeamAway Team
22.07.1990Belfast Spartans6A26 Bulldogs0
22.07.1990Craigavon Cowboys1Carrickfergus Cougars0#
Irish League Final
11.08.1990Craigavon Cowboys54Belfast Spartans3
Irish American Football League Playoffs 1990 [Reference: 8-9]

Craigavon Cowboys met Dublin Celts in Title Game to Decide All-Ireland Champions [Ref: 8]

DateHome TeamAway Team
Shamrock Bowl V
1990Dublin Celts40Craigavon Cowboys0
Shamrock Bowl 1990 [Ref: 8]


The first Irish American Football team was the Dublin Celts, formed in the Phoenix Park in 1984. With no opposition in Ireland to play against they played a couple of friendly matches against English opposition in 1985. at the same time teams were forming in Northern Ireland, although they were not fully kitted. The first match in Ireland between two Irish Teams took place in Omagh Co. Tyrone in 1985 with the Tyrone Tornadoes and Coleraine Chieftains the teams involved.

By 1986 there were enough teams to start an informal league – Belfast Blitzers won both the Irish American Football Association League and Cup, and also won the Northern Ireland American Football Association Championship, which included all the IAFA matches played between Northern Irish teams (i.e. it was a League on paper only). Other teams were the Carrickfergus Cougars, Coleraine Chieftains, Belfast Spartans and Craigavon Cowboys. Ballymena Wolfhounds played Junior only.

There was a Shamrock Bowl at the end of the season which was by invite, but the Blitzers declined to take part as they considered themselves already Champions having won both League and Cup. The Craigavon Cowboys beat the Dublin Celts 6-2 to take the first Shamrock Bowl.

By 1987 there were 11 teams playing full-contact kitted American football, with the addition of the Belfast Giants, East Side Jets, Jordanstown Jaguars, Bangor Buccaneers and Dublin Tornadoes, meaning the creation of two Conferences: Tara and Mourne, named after two mountain ranges associated with ancient Irish kings. Dublin Celts gained revenge in the Bowl, beating the Cowboys 43-25.

Two of the sides in the League, Jordanstown and East Side had disbanded by the halfway stage of the 1987 season, and in 1988, the Bangor Buccaneers moved to Newtownards, becoming the North Down Raiders, but never took part in the League that year. Belfast Giants also sat out the season. The two Conferences were renamed the National and Irish Conferences, and in Shamrock Bowl III, Dublin Celts defeated Belfast Blitzers 34-6.

By 1990, the League lost another team as the Blitzers disbanded after losing the Shamrock Bowl, but the Giants returned, now playing as the NI giants, and based in Lisburn. The League elected to play in the Combined Gridiron League, which was intended to unite the various competing leagues in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the English Regional Leagues. As well as playing in the CGL playoffs, the winners of the two Irish Conference played each other for the Shamrock Bowl, and the title of Irish Champions. Dublin Celts beat new team A26 Bulldogs, from Antrim 7-6.

The Irish League returned to independent status in 1990, but the Dublin Celts continued playing in the British Second Division (NCMMA), and the Dublin Tornadoes did not take part, leaving a five team Irish League, which was Ulster teams only. The Celts played a number of matches against the Irish teams as well as NCMMA teams, and after the Craigavon Cowboys beat the Belfast Spartans 54-3 to win the Irish League title, they met the Dublin Celts for the All-Ireland title in Shamrock Bowl V, which the Dublin Celts won 40-0

Dublin Celts Shamrock Bowl II Champions 1987 [Ref: 11]



[5] (1988) “Ireland” American Football News. 18 August 1988. pg.[6] (1988) “Shamrock Bowl report” American Football News. 29 September 1988. pg. 22

[6] (1988) “Shamrock Bowl report” American Football News. 29 September 1988. pg. 22


[1] Britball Now (2016) Results Section [1986] [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/history-index/results-section.html [Accessed 23 March 2017]

[2] Britball Now (2016) Bangor Buccaneers [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/History/Britball%20Teams/BangorBuccaneers.htm [Accessed 23 March 2018]

[3] Britball Now (2016) Results Section [1987] [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/history-index/results-section.html [Accessed 23 March 2017]

[7] 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]

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


[9] Anon. (1990) “American Football: Cowboys riding high..” Sunday Life August 5, 1990. pg. 43


[10] Lucky Show (2016) Irish American Football [Internet] Available from: http://www.luckyshow.org/football/Shamrock%20Bowl.htm [Accessed 5 June 2017]

[11] American Football Ireland (2020) Shamrock Bowl Champions [Internet] Available from: https://www.americanfootball.ie/home/american-football/shamrock-bowl-champions/ [Accessed 30 April 2020]


[11] Dublin Celts American Football Team | Facebook (2017) [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10213260818544676&set=gm.457477981311995&type=3&theater&ifg=1 [Accessed 21 January 2019]


Thanks to John Malone, Declan Mulvey, Gareth Quigley & John O’Reilly.

About this document

Prepared and maintained by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 21 April 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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