It’s been a tremendous year for American football in Ireland. A fiery regular season schedule saw the Dublin Rebels reassert themselves as top dogs, and our little Island hosted the European flag football championships. The sport of American football is experiencing unprecedented growth around the country and plenty of exciting things are in store!
Established in 2021, Gaelic Gridiron’s Irish American Football Hall of Fame recognises the greatest to ever play the game here – individuals who have contributed significantly to putting Irish American Football on the map, and this year’s Hall of Fame class features some absolute legends! These stalwarts have earned the plaudits of their peers and we are delighted to welcome them into the company of their Hall of Fame counterparts! Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for the Irish American Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023!
Kieran Coen – University of Limerick Vikings
A ten year veteran on the offensive and defensive line, Coen captained the Vikings to Shamrock Bowl glory in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He also won a professional Spanish league title with the Valencia Firebats and played a season with the London Blitz. After hanging up his boots, Kieran began coaching the next generation and contributed massively to the clubs’ growth and success. Welcome Kieran to the Irish American Football Hall of Fame!
Neil Graham – Belfast Trojans
When he joined the Trojans back in 2012, Neill was one of 3 on the team and being in the middle in terms of his height he earned the nickname “Average”. But his career was anything but as he made 6 Shamrock Bowl appearances, winning 5 of them. Widely regarded as one of the best to play American football in Ireland, Graham represented his country on numerous occasions, taking on teams from Europe and the USA. Despite being forced to retire from the sport early, his impact on those he played against leaves a lasting legacy! No one is more deserving of being inducted into the Irish American Football Hall of Fame than Mr. Neil Graham!
Kevin Klatt – Dublin Celts/Wexford Eagles
Starting out as a QB and Linebacker in high school in the USA, Kevin came to Ireland in the early 1980’s. He later discovered the Dublin Celts, eventually winning a Shamrock Bowl title with them after an undefeated season in 1987! Despite his playing days coming to a conclusion shortly after, he found his way back to football through coaching the Wexford Eagles. He led the Wexford side to an undefeated season in 2016, narrowly losing to the Vipers in the bowl game. Coach Klatt most recently guided the Eagles to a Division 2 title in August, defeating the Causeway Giants in a tough championship game in Dundalk. Kevin, congratulations on joining the Irish American Football Hall of Fame!
Alan Lomasney – Cork Admirals
Alan began his career with the Cork Admirals as a Quarterback in 2002, a position he would hold until he was appointed Head Coach in 2006. He led the Leesiders to a 6-2 season in 2007 and a berth in the Shamrock Bowl, where they ultimately suffered defeat at the hands of the Vikings. His dedication to the Admirals could not be more complete, and since his 3rd term as top man began in 2015 the club have enjoyed huge success as one of the country’s best teams. After a hiatus in 2012, they came back with a bang to claim the Division One title over the Trojans on home turf and would soon have a Shamrock Bowl trophy to their names as well. Alan has also been instrumental in developing the youth aspect of Irish American Football, a vital component in the growth of the sport in Ireland. He currently serves as Head Coach of the U19 Irish Wolfhounds team, a position he has held since the team’s formation earlier in 2023. A man who often flies under the radar for all he’s done and continues to do, there is no doubt he belongs in the Irish American Football Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to everyone inducted into the Irish American Football Hall of Fame. These men exemplify the hard work, dedication and sacrifice required to make American football in Ireland a success and continue to be a shining example for everyone involved in the sport here. As American football continues to become more established here, it’s so important that people like Kieran, Neil, Kevin and Alan get all the support possible to aid them in their mission.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who follows Gaelic Gridiron – whether you read our posts or listen to our podcast. Your engagement means the world to us!