Tag: aussie rules

UCC dominate Fitzpatrick Cup

University College Cork hosted the AFL Europe intervarsity competition last month and also took home the men’s and women’s cups.  On a bright February Saturday at the UCC sports grounds the well organised event finished in perfect fashion for the hosts who have developed an impressive club in recent years.

Read report below from www.afleurope.org

A last-minute pitch change and some early rain didn’t deter participants at the weekends annual Fitzpatrick Cup hosted by the University College Cork (UCC).

With 8 men’s and 3 women’s teams in action it was always going to be a great day of Aussie Rules action.

Despite the muddy pitches, Group A got off to a flying start with UCC 1 and Irish Uni’s claiming early victories. Group B started in similar fashion with Oxford 1 and Mixed ARFLI showing their class.

Mixed ARFLI went through the Group stages undefeated but were unable to progress as they were acting as a top-up team after a disappointing late withdrawal from reigning champions, University of Birmingham.

The standings following the Group stages:

Group A
Team Played Win Loss Draw Points For Against Percentage
UCC 1 3 3 0 0 12 152 18 844.44
Irish Uni’s 3 2 1 0 8 84 59 142.37
Cambridge 3 1 2 0 4 37 83 44.58
Oxford 2 3 0 3 0 0 9 122 7.38
Group B
Team Played Win Loss Draw Points For Against Percentage
Mixed ARFLI 3 3 0 0 12 129 37 348.65
UCC 2 3 2 1 0 8 79 73 108.22
Oxford 1 3 1 2 0 4 47 82 57.32
Maynooth 3 0 3 0 0 34 97 35.05


The women’s competition was hotly contested with Maynooth claiming two early victories to sit atop of the table following the Group stages. They were closing matched-up with UCC and were scheduled to play in the grand final later in the afternoon after finishing second.

The standings following the Group stages:

Team Played Win Loss Draw Points For Against Percentage
Maynooth 2 2 0 0 8 46 14 328.57
UCC 2 1 1 0 0 16 19 84.21
Oxford 2 0 2 0 0 15 44 34.09

The Men’s semi-finals pitted UCC 1 against Oxford 1 and Mixed Uni’s against UCC 2 to determine who would be playing off in the Grand Final.

UCC 1 lifted another level to easily account for a valiant Oxford 1 outfit with the final score reading 77 to 12.

The other semi-final went down to the wire with UCC 2 eventually getting over the line in a 1-point thriller. Final score in that game read 24 to 23.

The women’s final was between Maynooth and UCC after they finished in the top 2 of the division. Only 4-points separated these two teams in the Group stages and with Irish Banshees Head Coach, Pat Leavy watching from the side-lines it was always going to be a tight contest.

The first half proved just that with possession hotly contested and the scoreboard reflecting accordingly. UCC got the better of the second half and overran the previously undefeated Maynooth women claiming the Fitzpatrick Cup with a score line of 30 to 8.

It was destined to be a UCC clean sweep of the Fitzpatrick Cup but it was yet to be decided which men’s team was going to take the spoils. UCC 2 were the obvious underdogs but the chance to knock off their older rivals in UCC 1 meant that they were primed and ready to go.

The first half was a thriller with both teams putting it all on the line. A couple of quick goals got UCC 1 out to a 3-goal lead going into half-time. UCC 2 scored the first goal of the second half and the crowd was calling for an upset.

The more experienced heads of the UCC 1 boys proved too much to overcome for the 2s with some late goals blowing out the score line, 50 to 14. A well-deserved clean sweep for all involved at the UCC Aussie Rules program.

Special congratulation to John Enright who came away with the Golden Whistle for his excellent performance both on the pitch but also off it for arranging the umpire squad and formalizing the umpiring appointments.

Player of the Tournament for the men went to Paul Murphy of UCC 1 which topped of a great week for him after being named in the first five Irish Warriors to be selected for the International Cup in August.

Best on Ground in the final for the women went to UCC’s Eimear Sexton for her ferocity around the contest throughout the entire game.

Extra special thanks to all the volunteers who assisted in putting on a fantastic day of football along with the organising committee at UCC for making sure the day ran smoothly.

The countdown to the Fitzpatrick Cup 2018 is on!

Women’s Champions – UCC Crusaders

Men’s Champions – UCC 1 

For more event photos jump click through the following links




Ireland ready for Euros

Starting on Sunday, Irish Warriors commence their challenge of retaining the 18 a-side European Championships in Motspur Park Oval, Wimbledon, London.  The women’s team, the Irish Banshees are also there and commence their competition on Thursday with both Grand Finals on Saturday 21st August.

Stitched Panorama
The 2013 Euro winning Warriors

This year there are four men’s teams and three women’s teams competing.  It is the first women’s full sided tournament and shows the progress the women’s game has made in Europe in recent years.  The men’s competition has shrunk in nations compared to the 2013 edition hosted by ARFLI in Dublin.  Then there were six men’s teams but absent this year are Denmark and Croatia.  Also a team that competed in the 2014 International Cup, France are not made the short trip to London.  Denmark are the most notable absence having impressed in recent 9 a-side Euro Cups however it is disappointing they are not attending considering their strong footy tradition in real aussie rules on a full sized oval and 18 a-side.

The IC14 squad, only 8 of them will play at EC16

However based on rankings from the 2013 tournament and International Cup performances the two strongest teams in Europe at competing, Ireland and Great Britain.  The Warriors field only eight of the squad that were such narrow runners up to Papua New Guinea at the 2014 International Cup in Melbourne and come with a mixture of home based and English based players.  Some notable players include Lions duo Muiris Bartley and Conor O’Halloran who both won their first ARFLI title last week and also competed in IC14 and EC13.  Another Lion, Luke Hickey has youthful dash and could have a big tournament.

Of the English based players, Tom Stack played in the European Champions League Grand Final in Amsterdam last March with Manchester Mosquitos and should make an impact.  Another very notable English based player is Kevin O’Brien who was on the team of the tournament at IC11.  Slightly confusing is the fact that their are actually two Kevin O’Briens in the Irish squad and both play for London club Wandsworth Demons.

Kevin O’Brien evades PNG at IC11 Grand Final in the MCG

Player of the tournament in The Euro Champs in 2013, former Galway Magpie John O’Regan is absent as he has emigrated and will be missed for his all round footy ability.  Probably the Warriors biggest obstacle in winning their third European Championships is Great Britain.  In 2013 only one point separated the sides with a last gasp goal from Mark Leavy the difference.  At the 2014 International Cup Great Britain had high expectations but probably under performed.  In particular at that tournament they struggled against the free flowing style of the Pacific island teams, with Nauru the team the halted their progress.  With many Warriors have Gaelic games backgrounds it is hoped they can replicate this free flowing game that seems to unhinge team GB.

However only three of the International Cup 2014 GB Bulldogs squad remain, they are Will Worthington, James Talbot & Owain Ryland.  Many of the GB players named will be making their GB Bulldogs debuts after impressing club competitions with others returning to the Bulldogs guernsey after a competing in either IC11 or EC13 Bulldogs campaign.

Irish Warriors’ Squad


Muiris Bartley(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Sean Paul Henry(Belfast Redbacks)

Luke Hickey(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Brendan Kelly(Belfast Redbacks)

Stiofán Mac Finn(Wimbledon Hawks)

Tom McKenna(Belfast Redbacks)

Paul Murphy(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Conor O’ Halloran(Leeside Lions)

Eoin Ó Súilleabháin(Leeside Lions)

Tom Stack(Manchester Mosquitoes)

Gerard Walls(Belfast Redbacks)



Liam Burns(South Dublin Swans)

Conor Fitzgerald(Wandsworth Demons)

David McElhone(Belfast Redbacks)

Sean McGlinchey(Belfast Redbacks)

Stuart McKeating(Belfast Redbacks)

David Miller(Belfast Redbacks)

Gavin Murray(South Dublin Swans)

Kevin Young Kev O’ Brien(Wandsworth Demons)

Eoin Ó Murchú(Wandsworth Demons)



Conor Fitzgerald(North London Lions)

Dominic Joyce(Leeside Lions)

Ryan McCloskey(Belfast Redbacks)

Kevin McDonnell(Galway Magpies)

David McGinty(Galway Magpies)

Kevin McSorley(Belfast Redbacks)

Kevin Old Kev O’ Brien(Wandsworth Demons)

Padraic O’ Connell(Leeside Lions)

Cóilín Ó Lordáin(Leeside Lions)



Rory O’ Donnell(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Alan Tobin(Wandsworth Demons)




1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles

3pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Swedish Elks



4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Irish Warriors



1.30pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

2.15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

3pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans

4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v German Eagles



11.30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

12.15pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

1pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans



1pm Men’s Third Place PO

2.30pm Women’s Grand Final

3.30pm Men’s Grand Final

(The following team previews are based on those that appear on the AFL Europe website that were then reported on World Footy News www.worldfootynews.com)

Ireland Warriors

The team itself is coming together well, blending a mix of youth and experience. With multiple International medal winners like David McElhone and Eoin O’Suilebhain mixing with some really exciting prospects like Stuart McKeating, Paul Murphy and Luke Hickey this Warriors side looks pretty formidable.

The ruck duo of Gavin Murray and Dominic Joyce (Dominic back in Ireland after multiple seasons playing in rural NSW) will be ones to look out for and can be really dominate. They could dictate first use for their midfielders which is key to winning big games.

The improvement shown by players like Sean Paul Henry is going to be vital for the Warriors. His natural athleticism has always had him at the forefront of opposition discussions but not his foot skills have become a focal point of his game which makes him a really exciting prospect for the Irish side.

Great Britain Bulldogs

With a very young looking Bulldog’s squad, many of who are making their international debut, it’ll be very hard to pick who would potentially provide the difference in this tournament. The University of Birmingham keep producing high quality players and their link up with the North London Lions continues to be fruitful. Ross Denton, Jack Coughlan, Jonny Harvey, Andy Walkden, Chris Britton, George Dibble and Michael Sharp have all come through the pipeline and will be worth a watch at EC16.

The London league is seeing impressive performances from the Wimbledon newbies in Myles Hudson, David Hastie, Marc Cashman and Jason Hill, while Alex Watson and David Jordan at the Wandsworth Demons are putting in highly rated performances along with West London Wildcats defender, Lewis Brackstone.

The AFL CNE league continues to churn out new and young talent in Craig Degville, Andrew Cochran and Harry Duffield. More experienced players such as Owain Ryland, Andy Smith, Will Worthington and Luke Booth will be keys to bringing success, through their big tournament experience and years of service to the Bulldogs. All in all, X-Factor performances have the ability to come from the whole GB squad and we’re as excited as anyone to see who’ll shine at the AFL Europe Champs.

Sweden Elks

You can never go past veteran Andy Svensson. The oldest player in the team seems to get younger when he plays footy. Having played since the early 2000s he is a valued member of the team. Andy was a member of the Denmark side that defeated Great Britain back in 1996 when the Helsingborg Saints were members of the Denmark AFL. New Elks, Alex Olsson and Calle Wrang have proved in domestic footy that they can produce, whilst stalwarts Chris Martensson and Hampus Olsson will lead the team with bravado.

One of the most improved players is Buster Sund from Norrtalje. He was just 17 years old at International Cup in 2014 and gained valuably from that experience to become one of the most dominant players in the Stockholm league in the past two years.

German Black Eagles

The Germans are strong across the park and are blessed with the ability to play their players in any position. A few names to keep an eye out for are big bodied midfielder/defender, Florian Naumann, who can take a strong mark overhead and hits very hard. Ruben Streicher is a raw talent who plays as a tall forward or ruckman. He was named in the Euro Cup team of the tournament last year in Croatia and is only going to improve. Jakob Jung is one to watch for the opposition. He has all the attribute of a top-quality midfielder with his speed and skills, he’s also tough as nails so will be hard to stop in the Champs.

Players who have shown significant improvement for the Eagles are Jan Husken and Simon Assmus. Both will be hoping to continue their rapid develop and shake up competition.


History in the Making: Women’s European Championships in Australian Football

Some of the Banshees at a recent training session
Some of the Banshees at a recent training session

Irish Banshees’ squad

Claire Donnelly  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Terri Kelly            Dublin Angels

Ciara Mone         Ulster Kookaburra’s

Catherine Collins              Dublin Angels

Emma Kelly         Ulster Kookaburra’s

Fiona Roarty       Ulster Kookaburra’s

Carolann Cassidy              Ulster Kookaburra’s

Olivia McCann   Ulster Kookaburra’s

Onóra Mulcahy Wandsworth Demons

Naomi Curtis      Dublin Angels

Mairead Walsh  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Marley Bevan    Dublin Angels

Ursula Murphy  Irish Exiles AFL

Linda Connolly   Wandsworth Demons

Leona Russell     Ulster Kookaburra’s

Claire Doherty   Ulster Kookaburra’s

Clara Fitzpatrick                Ulster Kookaburra’s

Aisling Gillespie Ulster Kookaburra’s

Edel Gray             Ulster Kookaburra’s

Crea McAleer    Ulster Kookaburra’s

Tracey Moloney               Irish Exiles AFL

Amy O’Donnell  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Nuala O’Hagan  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Colleen Quinn   Ulster Kookaburra’s

Oonagh McAnespey       Ulster Kookaburra’s

Niamh Mc Fadden           Ulster Kookaburra’s

Colleen Mallon  Irish Exiles AFL

Ashleigh Payne                 Dublin Angels

The Banshees at IC14
The Banshees at IC14

The below discussion is from World Footy News, more detail on Banshees later in week.

Women have competed at the Euro Cup 9’s since 2010, but the 2016 edition of the European Championships showcases the continuing growth of Women’s Footy across Europe with Great Britain and European Crusaders* joining Ireland in full-field 18-a-side competition.

The Irish Banshees are currently ranked 4th of only four fully Ranked Nations (Played more than 8 International Matches) with 46.81 Rating Points. As Great Britain Swans and the Crusaders debut at this level they begin their international journey with 40.00 Rating Points. It is difficult to predict how the two new teams will measure up against each other and the seasoned campaigners, Ireland, winner of International Cup 2011 and Runners-Up to Canada Northern Lights at IC14.

So if we assume the Higher ranked nation will win more often than not then we could expect to see the Banshees to gain enough rating points (over 2 rounds and final of this tournament) to enable them to climb above United States Freedom into third place behind Australia and Canada.

Great Britain and the European Crusaders will slot in amongst the other provisionally ranked nations possibly at P1 and P4 depending on which team is more successful. Congratulations must be extended to both debutante teams as they join the International Australian Football family of nations

*European Crusaders: Team made up from players from other nations unable to field full 18-a-side teams. This team has players from France, Great Britain and Scandinavia.

Lions’ Roar Again

The 2016 ARFLI Grand Final played last Saturday was a famous occasion for the Leeside Lions as they secured their first Premiership in nine years defeating the Belfast Redbacks who have now lost back to back Grand Finals. The victory also means the Lions join South Dublin Swans at the top of the roll of honour with five Premierships in the history of ARFLI and also they gain the right to represent Ireland at the 2017 AFL Europe Champions League.

The scenic Mardyke on the banks of the river Lee
The scenic Mardyke Arena on the banks of the river Lee


Leeside Lions
Leeside Lions


Belfast Redbacks
Belfast Redbacks


Captains Padraic O’Connell and Gareth Baird with umpires John Enright and Bryce Fraser

Grand Final day was a cloudy, slightly damp day with a moderate cross field wind blowing. The ground was in perfect condition at the impressive Mardyke Arena in Cork city. One notable abseetee on the day was Lions’ regular ruckman Dominic Joyce who was getting married the same day. Reliable defender Sean Paul Henry was also absent for the Redbacks. The 3pm start was delayed by 20 minutes to allow the Redbacks sufficient warm up time as their bus was late to arrive at the ground.

The first quarter saw the Redbacks attack the river Lee end of the very scenic oval, but it was the Lions that had the better of opening exchanges. First a high tackle on Lions gun forward Matty Moore led to a goal from the subsequent free kick. Then Kerryman Vince Manning got another one for the Lions from a mark 40 metres out. The impressive Matty Moore marked 40 metres out and with deadly accuracy put the Lions three goals to the good. Late on in the first quarter the Redbacks managed a recovery. First Ryan McCloskey marked on the edge of the goal squared and goaled. Then Johnny Duffin got a 25 metre penalty for a late contact and goaled from 25 metres out. At the hooter to end the first quarter the Redbacks had pulled the Lions back to three points.

End Quarter 1 Lions 3.1 19 Redbacks 2.4 16


Perhaps the delayed arrival had flustered the Redbacks in the first quarter but they opened the second quarter with all guns blazing and took the lead for the first time when ruckman Gerard Walls scored a goal on the run from 50 metres out. Lions’ Australian forward Matty Moore then went on a scoring spree first kicking a goal from 30 metres after getting a free kick. Next after marking 40 metres out he got another goal and then another from open play.

The Lions rounded off the quarter with another goal, this time from talented small forward and Lions’ captain Padraic O’Connell. So even though the Lions had the same number of scores as the Redbacks at half-time they kicked seven goals to the Redbacks’ three, meaning they had pushed their lead out to 22 points. The player of the first half was undoubtly Matty Moore who kicked five goals by this stage.

End Quarter 2 Lions 7.4 46 to Redbacks 3.8 24

Matty Moore who had an impressive game


The resumption of play for the third quarter was a time when the Redbacks needed to get some early scores to avoid the final slipping away. The quarter started well with a free kick for a push on Redbacks’ Paul Brogan, resulting in a goal from 20 metres out. However shortly after that the Redbacks imploded. Gerard Walls was sin binned for 10 minutes for dissent and at the same time Shaun McElhone received a red card for contact with an umpire. Even though the Redbacks were now down a player for the rest of the game they managed the next goal. Then Lions’ Padriac O’Connell and Redbacks’ John McNabb exchanged behinds before Lions’ veteran forward Vince Manning got his second goal of the game. Lions’ on-baller Conor O’Halloran then scored a fine goal with a snap kick from a tight angle on the left side to put 19 points between the teams.

Redbacks go to forward John McNabb, then reduced the margin to 13 points with a big goal from 40 metres after being awarded a free kick. But again star Lions’ forward Matty Moore steadied the Lions’ ship with an impressive mark and goal from 25 metres out. Lions’ experienced defender Muiris Bartley then got up the oval and won a free kick 20 metres out that he scored a goal from. The quarter was finished off with former Irish Warrior Vince Manning’s third goal of the game. At the hooter the Lions had extended their lead to 31 points. Again it was the superior accuracy of the Lions’ forwards that was the telling factor in the three-quarter time lead. Up to this point the Lions had goaled 12 of 17 scores compared to Redbacks only goaling 6 of 16 scores.

End Quarter 3 Lions 12.5 77 to Redbacks 6.10 46

Michael Scanlon attempts to evade a tackle

The final quarter saw they Lions exert their dominance on the game scoring the first three goals of the quarter. First Dan O’Connell scored after being awarded a free kick. Vince Manning then got his fourth goal of the game soon followed by a goal from Michael Scanlon. Redbacks managed to pull a goal back but the game was long gone from their grasp at this stage. It was only apt that the final goal went to the best on ground at the 2016 Grand Final Matty Moore, who scored his seventh goal of the game from 10 metres out.

Final Score Lions 16.8 104 Redbacks 7.10 52

Best on Ground, Matty Moore celebrates the win
Best on Ground, Matty Moore celebrates the win


Matty Moore getting his award
Matty Moore originally from Adelaide getting his award

So it was the Lions who emerged victorious for the first time in nine years with only a few of the old timers having ever experienced the thrill of winning a flag before. The Lions victory was built on a solid defence only conceding 7 goals over the 80 minutes. Their ruckmen and midfielders worked well although Redbacks won more hit outs. It was the Lions forwards that really shone on the day with Matty Moore’s seven goals and Vince Manning’s four proving important in getting the Lions over the line in front.  Moore last won a flag with Darwin University Rats having previously played for Kilburn in Adelaide.  Undoubtedly the Redbacks will be disappointed, but a combination of less accurate goal kicking and poor discipline cost them dearly on the day.

Manager Chris O'Brien and captain Padraic O'Connell receive the John Lack O'Sullivan Cup
Manager Chris O’Brien and captain Padraic O’Connell receive the John Lack O’Sullivan Cup


The winners with their medals
The winners with their medals

The Grand Final concludes the ARFLI club season with the very successful carnival format proving popular with all the clubs for both men and women. Next up starting this weekend is the AFL Europe European Championships in London with both the Irish Warriors and Irish Banshees in action in the week long tournament.

ARFLI Grand Final Preview

The final of the 2016 Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) sees the Leeside Lions take on last year’s beaten finalists the Belfast Redbacks at the Mardyke Arena GAA field in Cork City at 3pm this coming Saturday August 6th.

The Mardyke on the banks of the river Lee

This promises to be an exciting game between the Lions who have not reached the final since 2011 and the Redbacks who lost out to the South Dublin Swans when hosting last year’s final in Belfast.  This season it has been the Lions that have been the form team after several years in the doldrums where a Grand Final appearance alluded them.  They started the season with a bang in the opening game defeating the reigning  champions the Swans on their home turf in Bushy Park and they continued the season undefeated with nine wins from nine.  At times they looked unstoppable but the Redbacks gave them their best challenge at the Belfast carnival with the Lions only winning that game by a single point.

In contrast the Redbacks have had a less successful season to date with only three wins during the carnival rounds.  However they managed to raise their game for the semi-finals playoffs defeating both the South Dublin Swans and Galway Magpies to secure their Grand Final spot.

Lions 2016 Galway carnival
Lions 2016 Galway carnival

Victory for the Lions on Saturday would see them join the Swans at the top of the ARFLI list of Premiership winners with five, if the Redbacks win they will get their third title.  The Lions previous victories are a distant memory for some younger players coming in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007.  In contrast the Redbacks achieved their Premierships much more recently in 2012 and 2014.

The Lions this season have been a mixture of experience and youth with their efforts developing the UCC club paying off as more players are coming into the Lions’ ranks.  As well as youth the Lions have experience in the likes of Ian O’Sullivan and Cian Quigley.  Both these players have represented the Lions and Ireland with distinction with Kinsale native Quigley being the captain of the 2011 AFL International Cup winning Irish Warriors.  Another Corkman O’Sullivan, played in the 2005 and 2008 AFL International Cup and was selected on the 2008 team of the tournament.  The Lions also have eight players in their ranks going to the 2016 AFL European Championships in London later in the month including 2014 International Cup runners-up Muiris Bartley and Conor Halloran.  One notable absence for the Lions will be regular ruckman Dom Joyce who is getting married on Saturday.  At least if the Lions manage the win it will be a double celebration.

2014 Premiership winning Redbacks
2014 Premiership winning Redbacks

The Redbacks are again in a Grand Final, familiar ground for them in recent years.  Their most recent finals appearances have been close affairs with a one point victory over Galway Magpies in 2014 followed by a two point loss to South Dublin Swans last year.  The Redbacks also have the largest number of Ireland players going to play in the European Championships with ten in total.  They won’t lack in finals experience and are expected to be driven on by influential players such as David McElhone and Gerard Walls, who incidentally played against each other in last year’s Antrim GAA senior county final.  Gareth Baird will be the one to watch in the ruck contests for the Redbacks and former Irish Warriors player and manager Shaun McElhone is expected to use all his experience to advantage in the forward line.

In summing up, Lions will go in as slight favourites based on their form of this year, however the absence of Dominic Joyce is a loss for them.  The Redbacks have been here many times recently and are used to playing tight finals footy.  They also showed they aren’t going to be push overs this year when only losing to the Lions by a point at the Belfast carnival.  The final is expected to be another close game with the team with greater desire for victory possibly edging it.

Since 2014 the winners of each of the European leagues have been invited to compete in the AFL Europe Champions League in Amsterdam, this is another huge incentive for each team.  It is forecast to be warm and humid on Saturday, so get down to the Mardyke’s main GAA pitch, ball up at 3pm in what promises to be an intriguing game, admission is free.


Marty Clarke makes ARFLI debut

Former AFL star Marty Clarke made his ARFLI debut on Saturday last at the Belfast Carnival.  Lining out for Galway Magpies he was impressive in helping the Pies to their first ever away win against the Belfast Redbacks.  Wearing his most recent Collingwood guernsey and Co Down shorts he looked fit and strong.  The Pies beat the Redbacks by 17 points before overturning the South Dublin Swans by 4 points in an exciting second game.


Clarke who started his career as a star underage Gaelic footballer for County Down first went to Collingwood in 2007 and impressed from the start.  He earned a nomination in the NAB AFL Rising Star award in just his second ever AFL game having scored three goals against Hawthorn.   At his best, Clarke was one of the AFL’s brightest young hopes.  In his debut season 2007 he helped Collingwood to finals before narrowly losing a famous Preliminary Final to Geelong.

He returned to Ireland at the end of the 2009 season citing his desire to return home and to play Gaelic football.  In 2010 he was a star performer for County Down as they got to the All-Ireland final, a game they lost to Cork by just one point.  Clarke was recognised for his efforts with an All-Star award that year.

Clarke returned to Collingwood at the start of preseason in October 2011 and played three more years with the Pies.  However a condition called Addison’s disease, which stops the adrenal glands from producing hormones and leads to chronic fatigue cut his AFL career short.  In total Clarke played 73 games for Collingwood over two three-year stints.


Clark who is now a student at Queen’s University Belfast played in midfield for the Galway Magpies in Belfast and his game sense and accurate passing and goal kicking were impressive.  Clark who played Sigerson Cup Gaelic football for Queen’s University this year also hopes to resurrect his County Down GAA career in the near future.  If he is interested and available he would be an exciting addition to the Irish Warriors team for the 2017 AFL International Cup in Melbourne next August.

Magpies double up in Galway

Galway Magpies hosted Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2016 ARFLI season in sunny conditions at the Swamp, Galway City on Saturday June 11th. The carnival format has proved to be successful this year with good turnouts at all carnivals to date including women’s games.  The home team the Magpies went into the day without a win this season but they rectified this by turning over the South Dublin Swans and the Belfast Redbacks to push themselves off the bottom of the ladder.
The Leeside Lions maintained their position at the top beating both the Swans and the Redbacks. The Swans and Redbacks had winless afternoons but were competitive.


The results see the impressive Leeside Lions remain undefeated with six wins from their six games played. The Belfast Redbacks are second with three wins and three losses, just ahead of the Galway Magpies on two wins and four losses. The South Dublin Swans now sit in fourth place with just one win from their six matches to date.

In women’s footy, the Ulster Kookaburras and the Dublin Angels had a good training game as they continue preparations for  upcoming internationals with Ireland.

The next carnival is in Belfast next Saturday June 25th.
Galway Magpies 9-2-56 d South Dublin Swans 5-5-35
Galway Magpies 9-2-56 d Belfast Redbacks 6-3-39
Leeside Lions 11-10-76 d South Dublin Swans 1-0-6
Leeside Lions 7-3-45 d Belfast Redbacks 3-3-21

Leeside Lions (W) 6 (L) 0
Belfast Redbacks (W) 3 (L) 3
Galway Magpies (W) 2 (L) 4
South Dublin Swans (W) 1 (L) 5







A big thanks to Mark Scooby White www.scoobyphoto.com for taking photos on the day of the carnival. See all photos here.


Galway Carnival this weekend

The ARFLI league makes the trip to the west this coming Saturday June 11th  when Galway Magpies host rounds 5 and 6 of the league.  It is always a fun weekend for all teams in the party capital of Ireland and with the weather expected to be fine it should be another good days footy.  The women are also back for the Galway carnival with the Dublin Angels renewing their rivalry with the Kilrea Kookaburras.

In the men’s competition the fixtures and times are:

Swans v Magpies 12:30

Magpies v Redbacks 13:25

Swans v Lions 14:15

Lions v Redbacks 15:00


The most interesting clash will be the Lions against the Redbacks, with the Redbacks having dropped points in Cork they will be looking to catch up with the Lions who have four wins so far to the Redbacks three.

All games are being played at South Park main pitch in the Claddagh, just a stones throw from Shop Street, the main street in Galway City.


Lions top after Leeside Carnival

Leeside Lions top the ARFLI men’s ladder after a very successful carnival in Cork on May 21st.

The second carnival (Rounds 3 & 4) results:

Leeside Lions 12.10 (82) d Galway Magpies 1.3 (9)
South Dublin Swans 5.8 (38) lost to Belfast Redbacks 7.1 (43)
Leeside Lions 14.11 (95) d Belfast Redbacks 2.0 (12)
South Dublin Swans 9.5 (59) d Galway Magpies 6.4 (40)

The Lions dominated the Leeside carnival, again having big numbers.  They easily won both games although the Redbacks were understrength compared to the previous Swans carnival in Dublin.  The Swans got their first win of the season against the Magpies and will probably be disappointed not to have got two wins on Leeside after a narrow defeat to the Redbacks.  The Magpies were out of luck on the day but put in a determined effort over the two games.

After four completed rounds in two carnivals, the ladder is:

Leeside Lions (Wins) 4 (Losses) 0
Belfast Redbacks (Wins) 3 (Losses) 1
South Dublin Swans (Wins) 1 (Losses) 3
Galway Magpies (Wins) 0 (Losses) 4

The next carnival will be held in The Claddagh, Galway City on Saturday June 11th as the home team look for their first wins of the 2016 season.

Leeside Lions Carnival

This Saturday ARFLI teams make the trip to Cork for round 2 of the ARFLI season.  Games are taking place from 1pm on Saturday May 21st at the Farm, Curraheen Road Sports Grounds on the edge of Cork City.  This week sees the Leeside Lions play the Galway Magpies and the Belfast Redbacks and the South Dublin Swans playing the Redbacks and Magpies.  The Lions and the Redbacks are looking to consolidate their position at the top of the table with both the Swans and Magpies looking for their first wins.


Fixtures for Saturday’s Carnival are as follows:

Game 1. Lions v Magpies ballup @ 1.00pm
Game 2. Redbacks v Swans ballup @ 1.50pm
Game 3. Lions v Redbacks ballup @ 2.45pm
Game 4. Swans v Magpies ballup @ 3.30pm



First ARFLI Carnival Great Success

The ARFLI club season got off to a great start on Saturday May 7th with six teams participating in the opening carnival hosted by South Dublin Swans in Bushy Park, Terenure.  There were four men’s games and one women’s game on the day that started off damp but dried up quickly.  Although it was the first round of the competition teams arrived fit and with some impressive skills.

In the women’s game the Dublin Angels renewed rivalries with the Ulster Kookaburras.  In a competitive game the Kookaburras took the win.

In the men’s competition the first game was hosts South Dublin Swans against the Leeside Lions.  Some had tipped the Lions to have a big year in 2016 and they started impressively with a convincing win over the Swans.  At the same time the Belfast Redbacks got the better of the Galway  Magpies.  The second games saw the Redbacks defeat the Swans and the Lions defeat the Magpies.  So it’s two from two for the Lions and Redbacks with the Magpies and Swans having some work to do for round two.


Lions 8.8 (56) beat Swans 1.2 (8)

Belfast Redbacks 8.4 (52) Galway Magpies 5.4 (34)

Belfast Redbacks 10.3 (63) South Dublin Swans 3.2 (15)

Lions 9.8 (62) beat Magpies 3.5 (23)


Not surprisingly regular top goalkicker in the competition Shaun Murphy took the award for most goals kicked on the day.  Redbacks’ veteran Gerard Walls was awarded Best on Ground over the carnival.  Best newcomer awards went to Ronan O’Brien (Swans), Kieran Conroy (Redbacks), Luke Hickey (Lions) and Rory Madden (Magpies).  Incidentally Ronan O’Brien, the Swans’ best newcomer is the younger brother of 2011 AFL International Cup Team of the Tournament selection Kevin O’Brien.


Finally special thanks to the umpires on the day, Bryce Fraser, Brett Morrison and John Enright.  Next up is the Leeside Lions carnival next Saturday May 21st in Cork.