Irish American Football League Winter and Spring League Era 1997-2005

Irish American Football Association Logo 2001-2004 [Ref: 15]

AFAI Senior League 1997

DateHome Team Away Team 
 Shamrock Bowl XII   
 1997Carrickfergus Knights21Dublin Bulls0
Reference: [19]

AFAI Senior League 1998

*Dublin Tigers8602292106.875
*Carrickfergus Knights860223254.875
*Greystones Rebels8440132124.500
*Craigavon Cowboys817071232.125
Queens University Belfast Broncos817066277.125
Irish American Football Association Senior League Standings 1998 [Ref: 1]

Note: Teams tied on winning percentage separated by points scored

DateHome TeamAway Team
16.08.1998Dublin Tigers30Craigavon Cowboys0
16.08.1998Carrickfergus Knights40Greystones Rebels0
Shamrock Bowl XIII
30.08.1998Dublin Tigers14Carrickfergus Knights22
Irish American Football Association Senior League Playoffs 1998 [Ref: 2-4]

AFAI Senior League 1999

*Carrickfergus Knights43109224.750
*Dublin Tigers431011434.750
Queens University Belfast Broncos404010158.000
IAFA Irish Senior League 1999 [Ref: compiled from 5-10]
DateHome Team Away Team 
Shamrock Bowl XIVSantry, Dublin
15.08.1999Dublin Tigers22Carrickfergus Knights6
IAFA Irish Senior League 1999 [Ref: 2]

IAFL Winter League 2001

*Dublin Rebels65101423210
*Carrickfergus Knights65101743010
University of Limerick Vikings6150121772
Dublin Dragons6150201092
Irish American Football League Winter League Standings 2001 [Ref: 12]
DateHome Team Away Team 
 Shamrock Bowl XV   
16.12.2001Dublin Rebels28Carrickfergus Knights7
Irish American Football League Winter League Playoffs 2001 [Ref; 12]

IAFL Spring League 2002

*University of Limerick Vikings6510726410
*Carrickfergus Knights6420167468
Dublin Dragons624054954
Dublin Rebels6150401282
Irish American Football League Spring League Standings 2002 [Ref: 13]
DateHome Team Away Team 
 Shamrock Bowl XVI   
16.06.2002UL Vikings0Carrickfergus Knights66
Irish American Football League Spring League Playoffs 2002 [Ref: 13]

IAFL Division 1 2003

*Carrickfergus Knights65101702610
*Dublin Rebels65101853910
Cork Admirals6150681822
Dublin Dragons6150362122
Irish American Football League Division 1 Standings 2003 [Ref: 14]
DateHome Team Away Team 
27.07.2003Dublin Rebels56Cork Admirals8
 Shamrock Bowl XVII   
10.08.2003Carrickfergus Knights12Dublin Rebels24
Irish American Football League Division 1 Playoffs 2003 [Ref: 14]

IAFL Super League 2004

*Dublin Rebels87103008838
*Carrickfergus Knights86112898137
*Belfast Bulls843116110733
*Dublin Dragons83509122930
Cork Admirals #835012428127
University of Limerick Vikings80803521321
Irish American Football League Super League 2004 [Ref: 15]

Note: 5 Pts Win, 4 Pts Tie, 3 Pts Loss, 0 Pts Forfeit #

DateHome Team Away Team 
 Shamrock Bowl XVIII   
29.08.2004Dublin Rebels24Carrickfergus Knights22
Irish American Football League Super League 2004 [Ref: 15]

IAFA Irish American Football League 2005

*Belfast Bulls87101445614
*Dublin Rebels85212349011
*Carrickfergus Knights852129111411
*Cork Admirals83501741886
University of Limerick Vikings8350961746
Dublin Dragons808083010
Irish American Football League Standings 2005 [Ref: 16]
DateHome Team Away Team 
 Shamrock Bowl XIX   
28.08.2005Belfast Bulls19Dublin Rebels26
Irish American Football League Playoffs 2005 [Ref: 2]


The American Football Association of Ireland had been running the All-Ireland American Football League since the reunification of the League in 1991. In 1997 a new organisation, Image Management and Promotions, under Jim Hutton, took over the running of the League. A number of teams dropped out of the League during this period, most notably Dublin Lightning, who were dissatisfied with the running of the sport.

In 1997 Carrickfergus Knights defeated new team Dublin Bulls, who were formed by Gateway Computers and had a very international feel to the team, 21-0 to win their first Shamrock Bowl.

In 1998 a new team emerged, Dublin Tigers, who were a merger of the Dublin Bulls and players who had played for the Dublin Tornadoes. Based on the Northside they tied with Carrickfergus Knights for the League title, only winning on Points Scored. Carrickfergus Knights won the Shamrock Bowl 22-14.

In 1999, two more teams left the League: Greystones Rebels and Craigavon Cowboys, leaving three teams: Carrickfergus Knights, Dublin Tigers and Queens University Belfast Broncos. Again the Tigers and Knights met in the Shamrock Bowl, with the Tigers gaining revenge 22-6.

With Queens University disbanding after the season and the Rebels and Tigers merging, there was no League in 2000, and the only match played was between the Ireland National Team and a High School from Baltimore, Maryland. A resulting Court Case involving Image Management and Promotions saw the League Organisation awarded to the Irish American Football Association, under Cillian Smith of the Dublin Lightning, with the history of the League also awarded to the IAFA.

In 2001 a new League started up in Winter, with all new teams: Carrickfergus Knights returned, and the Greystones Rebels reformed as the Dublin Rebels. They were joined by Dublin Dragons and University of Limerick Vikings, who had been Flag Football teams from 1999. Shamrock Bowl XV saw Dublin Rebels defeat the Knights 28-7.

The same four teams played in Spring 2002, with the Carrickfergus Knights winning easily in the Shamrock Bowl against a University of Limerick team shorn of their American players, who had left after the College Term had finished. The Vikings made the decision to drop down to the newly formed Division 2 (an 8-v-8 League) in 2003 to focus on developing their own players, and the Cork Admirals, who had played 8v8 challenge matches in 2002 made the step up to Division 1.

Again the Rebels and Knights met in the Shamrock Bowl in 2003, with the rebels winning 24-12 after thrashing the Cork Admirals 56-8 in the Semi-Final. For 2004 Divisions 1 and 2 were merged into one Super League of six teams, with Belfast Bulls making the step up along with the Vikings. The Craigavon Cowboys decided to continue playing 8v8 Football.

with a new 6-team League playing an expanded 8-game schedule the Irish American Football League again made the pages of the Evening Herald, and the Dublin Rebels (7-1) and Carrickfergus Knights (6-1-1) were again the teams to beat. Showing they weren’t just making up the numbers though were the Belfast Bulls and Dublin Dragons who both made the playoffs for the first time. Dublin Rebels won the closest Shamrock Bowl in a decade, beating Carrickfergus 24-22.

In 2005 the same six teams again took part, with The Belfast Bulls causing a shock, winning the League title on a 7-1 record, ahead of the Dublin Rebels and Carrickfergus Knights (both 5-2-1) with Cork Admirals also making the playoffs. Experience told in the Shamrock Bowl, however, as the Rebels defeated the Belfast team 26-19.

Dublin Rebels v Dublin Dragons, Ringsend Park, 2001 [Ref: 18]




[19] Dublin Tornadoes (1997) Shamrock Bowl [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 6 April 2001]

[1] Carrickfergus Knights (1998) Full 1998 Results and League Table [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 May 2000]

[2] Irish american Football Association (2018) Shamrock Bowl History [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 16 April 2018]


[3] Naughton, L. (1998) Tigers roar. Evening Herald. Saturday, 17 October 1998. p. 29.

[4] Naughton, L. (1998) New season. Evening Herald. Saturday, 29 May 1999. p. 25.


[5] Irish American Football Association (2019) Shamrock Bowl Winners [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 11 August 2019]


[6] Naughton, L. (1999) Tigers roar. Evening Herald. Saturday, 21 August 1999, pg. 111.

[7] Naughton, L. (1999) Tigers maul the Knights. Evening Herald. Saturday, 19 June 1999, pg. 27.

[8] Naughton, L. (1999) Tigers roar!. Evening Herald. Saturday, 3 July 1999, pg. 25.

[9] Naughton, L. (1999) Tigers spring into final. Evening Herald. Saturday, 31 July 1999, pg. 24.

[10] Anon. (1999) “Factfile and Greyhound Racing: American Football” Irish Independent. Wednesday, July 21, 1999. pg. 22. [Internet] Available from: the British Newspaper Archive at: [Accessed 22 April 2020]

Internet Archive

[11] Carrickfergus Knights | Wayback Machine (1999) News [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 March 1999]


[12] Irish American Football Association (2001) 2001 IAFL Standings & Schedule [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 March 2014]

[13] Irish American Football Association (2002) 2002 IAFL Standings & Schedule [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 March 2014]

[14] Irish American Football Association (2003) 2003 Results [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 September 2016]

[15] Irish American Football Association (2004) 2004 Results [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 September 2016]

[16] Irish American Football Association (2005) 2005 Resuults [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 September 2016]


[17] Lucky Show – Irish American Football (2016) IAFA Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 5 June 2017]

[18] Irish American Football Association (2017) October 22, 2017: Nostalgia: A rare photo from the year that competitive football returned to Ireland in 2001. Dublin Rebels (black) play Dublin Dragons (burgundy) in Ringsend Park in Dublin.  [Internet] Available from:×768.jpg [Accessed 21 April 2020]


Thanks to Cillian Smith, Michael Smith, Michael Brophy and Ralph Schmeer of the Irish American Football Association and Irish American Football Officials Association.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written 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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