Dublin Rebels Shamrock Bowl XV Champions 2001

Irish American Football League Autumn League 2001


League Table

*Dublin Rebels65101423210
*Carrickfergus Knights65101743010
University of Limerick Vikings6150121772
Dublin Dragons6150201092

Reference: [2]

Playoff Results

DateHome TeamAway Team
Shamrock Bowl XV (Carrickfergus)
16.12.01Carrickfergus Knights7Dublin Rebels28

Reference: [2][3]

Regular Season Results

DateHome TeamAway Team
Week 1
30.09.2001Carrickfergus Knights46Dublin Dragons0
Week 2
07.10.2001Dublin Rebels48UL Vikings0
Week 3
14.10.2001Dublin Dragons0Dublin Rebels12
Week 4
21.10.2001UL Vikings0Carrickfergus Knights34
Week 5
28.10.2001Carrickfergus Knights12Dublin Rebels16
Week 6
04.11.2001UL Vikings0Dublin Rebels34
Week 7
11.11.2001Dublin Dragons0Carrickfergus Knights21
Week 8
18.11.2001Carrickfergus Knights41UL Vikings0
Week 9
25.11.2001Dublin Rebels18Dublin Dragons0
Week 10
02.12.2001UL Vikings12Dublin Dragons8
Week 11
11.12.2001Dublin Dragons12UL Vikings0
11.12.2001Dublin Rebels14Carrickfergus Knights20
Reference: [2]

2Pts Win / 1 Pt Tie / 0 Pts Loss / x – Qualify for Shamrock Bowl

Shamrock Bowl XV

Carrickfergus Knights 7 Dublin Rebels 28 – The Carrickfergus Knights were appearing in their sixth Shamrock Bowl in seven seasons, and the Rebels, a merger of the Greystones Rebels and Dublin Tigers, were appearing in their first, although many, including Brian Dennehy saw Shamrock Bowl action in 1998 and 1999 for the Tigers.

The teams were evenly matched throughout the season, both finishing on 5-1 Won-Loss Records, with the Rebels giving up Home Field Advantage with a loss on the final day of the regular season to the Knights. The Shamrock Bowl, however, was to be a Rebel victory, as Running Back Brian Dennehy scored with a 90-yard Kickoff Return from the first whistle, and then ran in the two-point conversion. Carrickfergus didn’t get a hand on him until the one-yard line and never recovered.

Rebels Quarterback Paddy Blood played the game of his life, returning from injury. With the Dublin defense winning the ball back, he drove the offense the length of the field, sweeping behind the offensive line, and finishing with a 20-yard Touchdown pass to Paraic Reddington.

The Knights recovered their composure momemtarily, as they recovered the ball from a blocked punt and Quarterback Stephen McDowell drove to the 10-yard line, where he connected on an out pattern to Wide Receiver Ron Smyth to bring them back to within one touchdown. The Extra-Point Kick was successful, making the score 14-7.

That was as close as the Knights would get for the rest of the afternoon, as the momentum was still with the Rebels. They scored again just before halftime on a half back option, as Dennehy connected with Wide Receiver Brian Martin for a 30-yard touchdown. Paddy Blood then hooked up with Dennehy for the two-point conversion.

Both teams stepped up on defense, as the Rebels hung on, comfortable and composed but not complacent. Michael Finucane and Steve Porteous were punishing Carrickfergus from the Defensive Line, and the Knights defense, playing tight as a unit, managed to halt the Rebels offense.

The Knights decided to switch to an aerial attack for the remainder of the game in the third quarter, and completed passes to Smyth and Paul McKillop. Two goal-line stands by the Rebels, with Free Safety Marcus Naylor making a crucial acrobatic tackle kept the Knights out in what was a nail-biting time for the Rebels.

The game was sealed late in the third quarter as Dennehy kept the ball for most of a 70-yard drive that culminated in him seeping in from two-yards out, making the score 28-7. That was the way the score stayed throughout the fourth quarter, as the Rebels celebrated their first Shamrock Bowl win, in a game which bode well for the future of Irish American Football, in its first season since 1999, and with a new Spring League just around the corner in 2002.

At CarrickfergusQ1Q2Q3Q4Total
Dublin Rebels  7028
Carrickfergus Knights  007
IAFL Autumn League 2001 Shamrock Bowl XV Carrickfergus Knights 7 Dublin Rebels 28 Box-Score [Ref: 13]
1st Quarter 
REBBrian Dennehy 90yd Kickoff Return, Brian Dennehy 2XPT Run8-0
REBParaic Reddington 20yd Pass from Paddy Blood14-0
CARRon Smyth Pass from Stephen McDowell, XP Kick Good14-7
2nd Quarter 
REBBrian Martin 30yd Pass from Brian Dennehy, Dennehy 2XPT Pass from Blood22-7
3rd Quarter 
REBBrian Dennehy 2yd Run28-7
IAFL Autumn League 2001 Shamrock Bowl XV Carrickfergus Knights 7 Dublin Rebels 28 Scorers [Ref: 13]
Dublin Rebels – Shamrock Bowl XV Champions 2001 [Ref: 4]

Season Report

After a break of over a year, the Irish American Football League was restarted under new administration, led by brothers Cillian and Michael Smith. There were four teams in the League, and the Dublin Rebels, a merger of the Greystones Rebels, and 1999 Shamrock Bowl Champions the Dublin Tigers, won their first Shamrock Bowl, defeating the Carrickfergus Knights 28-7 in the finale. New teams the Dublin Dragons, an offshoot of the Dublin Gladiators Flag Football team, and the University of Limerick Vikings, who had started as a Flag Football team in 1999 rounded out the four-team League.

Team Changes and League Structure and Organisation

The Irish american Football Association was set up in 2001, under the leadership of Cillian Smith, formerly of the Dublin Lightning, and his brother, Official Michael Smith. It took over the running of the League from the American Football Association of Ireland, under Image Management and Promotions, led by Jim Hutton.

There were four teams in the League in 2001, up from 3 in 1999, and two in 2000 after the Greystones Rebels and Dublin Tigers had merged and the Queens University Broncos had folded after the 1999 season. Bringing the total number of teams up to four were new teams the Dublin Dragons and University of Limerick Vikings. the teams played a balanced Home & Away schedule of 6 games each followed by the Shamrock Bowl, between the top two teams at the end of the Regular Season.

Home Venues

TeamHome Ground
Carrickfergus KnightsWoodburn, Carrickfergus
Dublin DragonsRingsend, Dublin
Dublin RebelsRingsend, Dublin
University of Limerick VikingsUL Sports Grounds, Limerick


The IAFL was restarted in Winter 2001 after a lapse of over a year, with entirely new teams, although Carrickfergus Knights had been in existence since 1994, the Dublin Rebels were a reformed Greystones Rebels & the University of Limerick Vikings had been in existence as a flag football team since 1999. The Dublin dragons joined them in a four team league, themselves also starting off in the 1990s as a flag football team: the Dublin Gladiators.

There was a big gap in the playong standards between the more established fully kitted teams (Rebels & Knights both finished 5-1) and the newer teams which grew out of flag football teams (Dragons and Vikings both finished 1-5)

The top two teams all season, the Dublin Rebels & Carrickfergus Knights met in the Shamrock Bowl, with the Rebels emerging victorious, 28-7 in Carrickfergus.



[1] Irish American Football (2016) IAFA Logo [Internet] Available from: http://www.luckyshow.org/football/pics/IAFA.jpg [Accessed 5 June 2017]

[2] Irish American Football Association (2001) 2001 IAFL Standings/Schedule [Internet] Available from: http://www.americanfootball.ie/iafl-standings/2001-iafl-standingsschedule/ [Accessed 24 March 2014]

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


[4] Dublin Rebels | Wayback Machine (2007) 2001shamrockbowl [Internet] Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20071117020944im_/http://www.dublinrebels.com/images/2001shamrockbowl.jpg [Accessed 29 May 2020]


Thanks to Cillian Smith, Michael Smith and Ralph Schmeer of the Irish American Football Association and Irish American Football Officials Association, and Sean Douglas, Dublin Rebels.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 4 March 2019

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2019

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

Leave a Reply