Irish American Football League 1985-1989

Shamrock Bowl I 1986

Belfast Blitzers32108488.667
Dublin Celts21106631.500
Aldergrove Hawks10102253.00
Craigavon Cowboys000000.000
Bangor Buccaneers77001.000

Table compile from: [1][2]

Shamrock Bowl I
Craigavon Cowboys6Dublin Celts0


Irish American Football League 1987

Tara Conference
x – Dublin Celts1010001.000
x – Craigavon Cowboys10820.800
x – Belfast Giants10730.700
Belfast Spartans10460.450
Bangor Buccaneers10370.300
Jordanstown Jaguars100100.000
Mourne Conference
x – Belfast Blitzers10910.900
Carrickfergus Cougars10550.500
Dublin Tornadoes10550.500
Coleraine Chieftans10280.200
East Side Jets10280.200


DateHome TeamAway Team
12.09.1987Belfast Blitzers20Craigavon Cowboys28
12.09.1987Dublin Celts43Belfast Giants0
Shamrock Bowl II
27.09.1987Craigavon Cowboys26Dublin Celts39


Irish American Football League 1988

National Conference
x – Belfast Blitzers651013651.833
x – Dublin Celts541011833.800
x – Craigavon Cowboys63308074.500
Dublin Tornadoes615058123.167
Irish Conference
x – Labatt Belfast Spartans53118099.700
Carrickfergus Cougars41306758.250
Coleraine Chieftans403139140.125


Playoff Results

DateHome TeamAway Team
14.08.1988Belfast Blitzers26Craigavon Cowboys12
14.08.1988Dublin Celts45Labatt Belfast Spartans6
Shamrock Bowl III
21.08.1988Belfast Blitzers6Dublin Celts34


Combined Gridiron League 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


DateHome TeamAway Team
Shamrock Bowl IV
1989Dublin Celts7A26 Bulldogs6




The First Irish American Football Team was the Dublin Celts, formed in 1985 in the Phoenix Park, after playing matches for the first season against English teams there were enough teams in Ireland in 1986 for an informal league at the end of which the top two were invited to play in Shamrock Bowl I, which the Craigavon Cowboys won 6-0 over the Celts.

The Following year, 1987, saw the first full season, 11 teams organised into two conferences, playing a 10 game season, with Semmi-Finals and the Shamrock Bowl. The Celts would go through the season undefeated, beating the Cowboys 39-26 in the Bowl. 1988 would see a drop in the number of teams to seven, and again the league would be divided into two conferences, with Semi-Finals and a Shamrock Bowl, which was won by the Celts again, 34-6 over the Belfast Blitzers.

In 1989 the teams would play in an Irish Conference in the Combined Gridiron League, which was a league set up to unite all the various competing leagues in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. At the end of the season, as well as competing in the CGL playoffs, the two division winners, the Dublin Celts and new team, the A26 Bulldogs, met in Shamrock Bowl IV, which the Celts again won by the slimmest of margins, 7-6.



[5] (1988) “Ireland” American Football News. 18 August 1988. pg.

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


[1] Britball Now (2016) Results Section [1986] [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 March 2017]

[2] Britball Now (2016) Bangor Buccaneers [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 March 2018]

[3] Britball Now (2016) Results Section [1987] [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 March 2017]

[7] Britball Now (2016) Historial League Tables [1989] [CGL] [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 27 February 2017]

[8] Irish American Football Association (2018) Shamrock Bowl History [Internet] Available from: h [Accessed 23 March 2018]


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

Prepared and maintained by Enda Mulcahy for the

Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 6 June 2018

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and INAWSA 2018

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Resereved.

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