The 2016 Atlantic Cup heads to Luxembourg this weekend

September 24th sees the return of the GFLI Atlantic Cup where teams from the Atlantic region compete for European honours. The tournament consists of teams primarily from the French, Irish, Dutch and Belgium domestic leagues and has been running since 2009.

The Atlantic Cup lasts over a single weekend and consists of two days of knockout style football. The tournament has made stops previously in Ireland and Belgium, however this year the Luxembourg Steelers of Dudelange, (Luxembourg) will be the hosts. Along with the Steelers, the Belfast Trojans (Ireland), Brussels Black Angels (Belgium) and the Groningen Giants (Netherlands) will all do battle this upcoming weekend.

Saturday will see the opening semi-final bouts with the 2015 Atlantic Cup winners and Irish representatives, the Belfast Trojans facing the debutants the Brussels Black Angels at 12 pm. The following semi-final fixture takes place at 4 pm with the Luxembourg Steelers hosting the veteran Groningen Giants.

The 3rd and 4th place playoffs will then commence on the morning of Sunday 25th at 11 am, with the final being held at approximately 2.30 pm.

To give to small taster of whats to come, we did a brief preview of the challengers that will contest for the Atlantic Cup this weekend.

Luxembourg Steelers (LUXEMBOURG)

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The Luxembourg Steelers will be the hosts this weekend and they were founded back in 1993. In January 2012, the team undergone somewhat of a rebrand by changing their name from the ‘Luxembourg Dragons’ to their recent name of the Steelers. Having originally tested their credentials in the Belgium league in 2012, they found it unfavourable and thus proceeded their move into the Regional Championship League in Lorient, France. Despite there being no contact senior league during 2016, their presence in the French Ligue has been much more successful having won the regional championship in both 2014 and 2015.

Brussels Black Angels (BELGUIM)

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The Black Angels will be competing in their first Atlantic Cup this year having replaced the Ghent Gators from 2015. The Angels are based within Brussels, Anderlecht and play their football in the Flemish American Football League (FAFL) as part of the wider Belgium Football League (BAFL). Since their existence in 1989, they have won several honours including winning the FAFL Championship in 2015 and 2016 as well as being awarded the BAFL Vice-Champion this year.

Groningen Giants (NETHERLANDS)

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Founded in 2000, the Groningen Giants have been steadily improving each year. They won the Dutch 1st Division National Championship in 2015, by completing a (10-0) league campaign; the perfect season. This year they competed for the first time at the highest level of the Dutch National League (AFBN) and will be making a return to the Atlantic Cup this year.

Belfast Trojans (IRELAND)

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The Trojans are currently the defending Atlantic Cup winners having defeated the Groningen Giants 26-7 in 2015 and have won the tournament twice in the last three years. They have won the Shamrock Bowl, Ireland’s National title game 4 times between the years of 2012-2015. Since their formation in 2006, Belfast has improved tremendously were they have become the perennial powerhouse of the Irish American Football League (IAFL). Their recent 12-7 defeat to the Dublin Rebels in this years Shamrock Bowl marks only their fourth defeat in the last 5 years although they remain unbeaten on the European stage.

Scott Morrow
Scott is an aspiring Sports Journalist who enjoys writing about all things American Football. He is a regular contributor to AFI Review and also writes for both NFL Ireland and Double Coverage, and currently plays for the Belfast Trojans. He also supports the Green Bay Packers.
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