Ireland are set to host the the 2023 IFAF European Flag Football Championships, it was announced yesterday. The Tournament will run from August 18th to 23rd in the University of Limerick, and will see more than a dozen European nation teams compete in Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s games.
Speaking at the launch in UL, American Football Ireland President Aidan Maguire had this to say:
“Flag football is the key to getting more people involved in the sport. This brings American football Ireland to the forefront and gives us additional exposure.”
“A marquee event like this is only the first step to getting to where we want to be. The first step of many.”
It seems like this could be the first of many international flag football events to take place in Ireland in the near future. “After yesterday’s launch we received an enquiry to host another international event, but it’s very early days yet” Maguire told Gaelic Gridiron.
The news is a massive boost for the flag football movement in Ireland and is a testament to the fantastic work being carried out to grow and promote the sport here. For years, flag football in Ireland was poorly run. But now it’s a different story. The non contact iteration of the game provides an inclusive and accessible path to anyone who wants to try out the sport and get involved.
Newly appointed Director of Flag Football, Guillaume Poznanski also welcomed the news, citing it as ” the opportunity we have been waiting for to showcase Flag Football to all corners of the island.”
GP is aware of the magnitude of the potential returns from Ireland hosting such a high profile event.
“Flag Football has grown rapidly over the last couple of years globally and AFI Flag Football has been following the same trend too. While AFI and the National Team will focus on making sure the event in Limerick is a success, as a national league our aim is to make sure we also raise the standards of the sport locally in Ireland to ultimately raise our national game and become real contenders on the international scene. We welcome the event and hope it will greatly raise interest and bring more players and skills to the game of Flag Football on the emerald isle.”
Dan Shaw, who recently took over the reins as Head Coach of the national flag football team, will have an immediate focus for his new charges; a European Championship on home soil.
“The championships next year are a fantastic opportunity for flag players in Ireland to be involved in a historic event and to compete with the best Europe has to offer. Securing these championships when the sport is still growing here in Ireland is a huge coup from the association and a lot of credit has to go to our President, Aidan Maguire, for the work he’s done to bring the championships to Limerick next year. I can’t wait to get started in the role and build a team that can make Ireland proud next August.”
Dan has long been involved with the sport in Ireland, most recently as co founder of the Belfast City Lions.
This is without a doubt a massive scoop for not only the league, but for the wider flag football community in Ireland. Flag football is still very much a fringe sport. And while massive progress has been made in recent years to alter this perception, a high profile event such as this will give a much needed boost to the game’s profile.
So if you’ve thought about playing flag football or have played before and want to take it back up, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for!