Donegal Derry Vipers and American Football Ireland returns!

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
After what seems like a lifetime waiting for American Football in Ireland to return, the waitis finally over.

With the conclusion of the NFL season just a few weeks ago, the NFL off-season blues are no more and while local club Donegal and Derry Vipers must wait until Sunday, March 10th before they get underway at home to the Craigavon Cowboys, this coming Sunday marks the official opening of the American Football Ireland (AFI) season.

Indeed, American Football fans can look no further than the domestic game across Ireland kicking off this week. The AFI league has an all-new structure this year. Previous seasons involved three divisions: the Premier Division, AFI Division One and AFI Division Two.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, there has now been a merger between AFI Division One and Division Two to create a new Division One with NINE teams. The Premier

Division meanwhile has eight teams. This means non-stop action from every corner of the Emerald Isle.

Last year concluded with the Shamrock Bowl XXXV with the Dublin Rebels lifting the Shamrock bowl once again after beating UCD American Football in what proved to be an epic battle of two very strong teams.

The past two seasons saw these two sides battle it out in the Shamrock Bowl with each team winning one each.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In AFI Division One the University of Limerick (UL) Vikings lifted the AFI Division One bowl beating the Louth Mavericks who surprised a lot of teams last season. The Mavericks were a newly promoted side coming into the division and dominated all season but fell short in the final.

Donegal Derry Vipers in action.Donegal Derry Vipers in action.
Donegal Derry Vipers in action.

The UL Vikings proved to be a dominant force all year successfully obtaining a place in the Premier Division this year. Will they carry that momentum into the Premier Division? Only time will tell.

For Division Two the Wexford Eagle captured the title against the Causeway Giants in what was a battle of brains as well as brawns but ultimately Wexford emerged victorious.

As Division Two has now been abolished and both teams are set to battle it out later this season. Who will stand the victor?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Looking forward to this season, AFI Game-week one kicks off this Sunday and what a treat it is for fans across the country. In the Premier Division, we have what seems to be the biggest rivalry in the entire league with both teams being a 10-minute drive from each other. You’ve guessed it, it’s a repeat of Shamrock Bowl XXXV where the Dublin Rebels travel to UCD American Football.

Fixtures for the opening week of the new American Football Ireland season.Fixtures for the opening week of the new American Football Ireland season.
Fixtures for the opening week of the new American Football Ireland season.

This game can only be described as a clash of the titans and proves to be one of the most anticipated of the year… and its only week one! Shamrock Bowl XXXV MVP Ty Henry quarterback of the Dublin Rebels will have his work cut out for him as he comes up against Larry Doyle’s strong UCD defence.

Also, in the Premier Division we have the newly promoted UL Vikings taking on the one of the Premier Divisions top dogs in the Cork Admirals who have made the playoffs every year for the past few years. Will the Admirals be too much for the Vikings or will the students cause an upset? As we turn or attention towards Division One, the runner up of last year’s Division One bowl game in the Louth Mavericks travel to Wexford to face the AFI Division Two Bowl champions in the Wexford Eagles.

The last game this week is in Belfast where the NI Razorbacks clash with the Antrim Jets at New Forge Sports Complex. After a shut-out season last year the Jets will the Jets change their ways with the help of a new head coach, or will the hogs put them right back in the dirt?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The scene for AFI game week one is now set. All that is left to do is strap in the shoulder pads, buck the chin straps and get ready to rock the AFI season opener and make a statement to the entire league.

This article has been brought to you by the North-Wests very own American Football team, the Donegal/Derry Vipers who will bring you week on week previews and scores from around the league.