The Atlantic Cup, a tournament that has been held every year since 2009, brings together American football teams from Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
This weekend the reigning Irish champions, the Belfast Trojans will travel to Groningen, Holland to take on the 2014 Belgian champions the Ghent Gators in the opening game of the tournament. Then the Groningen Giants will face the Luxembourg Steelers of Dudelange, Luxembourg.
The winners of each game will square off on Sunday afternoon in the final and the losers will battle for third and fourth place.
The Trojans enter the tournament as favorites having won the Irish championship for their fourth straight title. They also played almost even with British semifinalist the East Kilbride Pirates earlier this season. The Trojans won the Atlantic Cup in 2013. The only other Irish team to capture the title was the University of Limerick Vikings who took it home in 2010.
The Gators won the Belgian title in 2014 after demolishing the Brussels Tigers 38-0. Although the Gators faded in the Belgian playoffs this season, they have a strong nucleus of players including quarterback Bart Killens. In fact, Belgian teams have won the Cup twice. The West Vlaanderen Tribes won it in 2009 while the Brussels Tigers took the trophy last year beating Holland’s Hilversum Hurricanes in the final.
This is the first appearance in the Atlantic Cup for the Groningen Giants. The Giants were formed in 2000 and this past year went undefeated in the Dutch first division and enter their game against the Steelers with confidence.
The Luxembourg Steelers from Dudelange, are coached by Bobby R Love, played in the Ligue Lorraine Football Américain in France this past year.