After stumbling upon the Irish American Football League’s website, Cathal Curran figured he might as well submit the paperwork for authorization for a team in the Donegal/Derry area .
Unknown to Curran at the time, the Irish American Football League had been around for 35 years. The league consists of over 20 teams across Ireland. Many Irish men have been allowed the opportunity to try out the sport that Americans can’t get enough of and now the Donegal/Derry area will join the fun.
Just months after Cathal Curran and his friend James Fox decided to get a team together, the Donegal/Derry Vipers are practicing for their first game against the Belfast Trojans, which will be held on April 19 in Drumahoe.
The Vipers were officially formed following the first training session on January 11 of this year when an excited group of 47 players came to try out.
The team of newcomers to the sport needed a suitable head coach and eventually found their man in Jason Brock. Brock is an American-born football fanatic whose knowledge of the game became apparent to the Viper founders during a three hour meeting and was enough to land him the gig.
Brock has become both teacher and coach as his players explore the ins and outs of the game and he seems excited about the opportunity to do so.
Brock told Donegal TV that he sees the area as an “untapped gem of talent” and is hopeful that any skills picked up through the somewhat similar sports of rugby and even hurling can translate on to an American football field.
It didn’t take long for Curran to think, “In a couple of years, there could be a Donegal/Derry team winning the Shamrock Bowl,” the IAFL’s version of the Super Bowl.
Like many others, Kevin Tarr, a player on the Vipers and a New England Patriots fan, was attracted to the excitement surrounding football in America. He explained to sister publication the Irish Emigrant that his interest in American Football, “started when family members would go on holidays to the United States and they would bring me back an NFL jersey." He admits that ever since he has been, “mesmerized by the glitz and glamour of the game.”
Tarr also noted the popularity of the sport has skyrocketed in Ireland saying, “supporting NFL teams is just as popular here as following professional soccer teams.” He added that, like many others, he watches the Super Bowl every year, “without fail no matter who is playing.”
Some players sat down with Drive FM and explained that they want to recreate the buzz and excitement surrounding football in America. They want to, “make it a proper event, not just sporting but entertainment as well,” adding they want to do it right down to the, “hotdogs on game day, cheerleading squad, and halftime show.”
To find out more about the Donegal/Derry vipers, visit their website here.