The 2022 Irish American Football season has come to a close, and what a season it was!
UCD claimed their first ever Shamrock Bowl title in a high scoring championship game against the Dublin Rebels last Sunday in Belfast. The students won on a scoreline of 52-24 and in doing so, finally took the next step in establishing themselves as one of the best teams in the country.
The Rebels (9-1 on the season) bounced back after a couple of down years and entrenched their position in the Irish american football pecking order, while an inability to win on the road proved to be the downfall of the reigning champion Belfast Trojans.
Keep reading for our full end of season American Football Ireland Premier Division Power Rankings!
Credit where credit is due:UCD finally got over the Semi Final hump by making and winning their first ever Shamrock Bowl appearance. We’re happy to admit that we were wrong earlier in the year when we had UCD ranked at #5 on this list. It’s great to see this team top off a fantastic year with some silverware and even better to see some new faces sitting atop the league at the end of the season.
- Dublin Rebels
The former champions had a massive year in 2022, thanks in large part to some ridiculously talented young receivers and an upgrade at QB. Ultimately they fell short at the final hurdle but rest assured we have not seen the last of this squad and they will be hot favorites for another crack at the title in 2023.
- Cork Admirals
Cork posted an excellent record of 5-2 this season behind the prolific arm of QB Stephen Hayes. They were no match for the ultimate winners however, suffering a heavy defeat in their semi final game to the eventual champions. The leesiders are sure to be disappointed with the way their season ended but can take solace from their excellent performance on both sides of the ball – they have lots to build on for next year.
- South Dublin Panthers
The 2019 finalists snuck into the postseason on a record of 4-4, where they were quickly dispatched by the Rebels. I don’t believe their record in 2022 does them justice, and they are certainly not lacking in playmakers. What the Panthers need is stability, and a new Head Coach that can tap into their potential. The Panthers definitely have a few more Shamrock Bowls in them, they just need someone to get them there.
- Belfast Trojans
Deramore Park was a fortress for the reigning champions this season – the Trojans were perfect at home. On the road however, was a different story. Outside of their comfort zone and away from the pageantry, the 5 time national champions just couldn’t get it done, dropping games to the Panthers and Admirals on the way to .500 for the season. On the hunt for a new Head Coach, “Green Machine” will be hoping for a return to what had been the status quo in 2023.
- Craigavon Cowboys
Back in the Premier Division for the first time in a long time, the Cowboys couldn’t quite keep up with the high level of play, ending their season with a record of 2 wins and 6 losses. The Craigavon side showed some flashes however, with outstanding QB Peter Loughran throwing for 12 TD passes, 7 of which went to WR Luis Alberto. The Cowboys did well to avoid the relegation zone and will look to take further steps towards in the seasons ahead.
- Belfast Knights
In 2019, the Knights went 1-6-1. In 2022, the Knights went 1-7. The other Belfast team are barely hanging on in the Premier Division but for having the head to head advantage over a dismal Rhinos team, would likely be heading for relegation. Serious steps clearly need to be taken if they are to have a better outcome next year.
- West Dublin Rhinos
My heart really does go out to my former team. Struggling with numbers all year, the Rhinos put on several brave displays but couldn’t amass more than a single victory in 2022. Demotion to IAFL – 1 could be the best outcome for the Rhinos as they enter what will undoubtedly be a rebuilding phase.