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The history of Australian Football in Ireland is a relatively short one. While there has long been links between the GAA and the AFL/VFL, and while a number of Irish players played in Australia in the 80s and 90s, most notably Jim Stynes and Tadhg Kennelly, football on a recreational level in Ireland has only existed since 1999. In time no doubt, a complete history of the sport in Ireland will be written for now, we offer you these highlights.

1999

September: Belfast Redbacks founded by Darron Nutt and Ian Bracken.

October: Dublin Demons founded by Colm Cronin, Mick McCormack, Trevor Lawless and Ciaran O’ Hara.

November: Joint Training Session held in Belfast of both clubs.

 

2000

March: Combined Redbacks/Demons team plays North London Lions in Cherryvale Park in Belfast, with the Lions running out comfortable winners.

April: Dublin Demons finish 3rd at FSS Pre-Season Cup in London

June – October: Demons and Redbacks play out best of three season, the Demons win the third and decisive game in Dublin watched by AFL C.E.O Wayne Jackson. Robert Dipierdominico plays a half for each team in the game.

October: Leeside Lions formed in Cork by Brian Currane and Diarmuid Griffin. Midland Tigers formed in Westmeath by Paul Ryan, Damien Cassidy and Tom Leavy.

November: Australian Rules Football League Of Ireland founded by Michael Currane with assistance from Ciaran O’ Hara. Later that month the Drogheda Dockers are founded by Justin Stubbs.

 

2001

March – June: Inaugural Super 10s held sponsored by Outonthetown.ie, Midland Tigers beat the Leeside Lions in the final in Drogheda.

June: Darren Fitzpatrick appointed inaugural Coach of Irish National team, David Tierney is appointed Team Manager.

August: Ireland win the Atlantic Alliance Cup in London, defeating Canada, USA, Great Britain and Denmark twice.

September: Dublin Demons defeat Leeside Lions in the first ARFLI Premiership Grand Final in Kilkenny.

 

2002

March: South Dublin Swans and Limerick Saints join the league, founded by Phil Howarth and Troy Newton respectively.

July: Leeside Lions awarded Premiership Grand Final after Dublin Demons fail to arrive in adequate time for the Grand Final.

August: Ireland Wins The Inaugural AFL International Cup defeating Papua New Guinea in the Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Along the way the team defeats Canada, USA, Samoa and New Zealand.

September: The Leeside Lions complete the double by winning the ARFLI Super 10s.

November: Irish National Team and Leeside Lions Player John ‘Lock’ O’ Sullivan dies tragically, the Premiership Cup is named in his honour.

2003

The Drogheda Dockers and Limerick Saints fold. The Clare Crows founded by Amdrew Sexton.

Leeside Lions win the ARFLI Super 9s.

Leeside Lions retain the Premiership defeating South Dublin Eagles in the final.

 

2004

Krizan Vekic appointed National Team Coach.

Dublin Demons win the ARFLI Super 9s.

South Dublin Eagles win the ARFLI Premiership defeating the Leeside Lions in the final.

 

2005

West Dublin Saints founded by ex members of the Dublin Demons.

Dublin Demons win the the ARFLI Super 9s.

Leeside Lions win the Premiership defeating South Dublin Eagles in the Grand Final.

Ireland finish fourth in the AFL International Cup.

Ireland defeats GB at the Oval in a curtain raiser to the AFL Exhibition game at the oval.

 

2006

Belfast Redbacks and Clare Crows opt out of the league with members playing for other clubs for the season.

 

 

 

 

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