From Duval To Dublin: The Jacksonville Jaguars In Ireland

The Jags caused a bit of a stir on social media last week, when they revealed they were giving a lucky Irish NFL fan the chance to announce one of their picks for the 2024 NFL Draft! History will be made on Saturday, April 24th when the winner of their competition will announce a draft selection, live from Dublin! The contest is part of a series of activations that Jacksonville are hosting to mark the occasion, and while there has been no word as of yet on a fan party, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if something was confirmed in the very near future.

You’d be forgiven for failing to recall that the Jacksonville Jaguars also earned the rights to market into Ireland last May, and while they may have been a little slower off the mark than the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’re certainly going to make up for it with what they have in store. The UK & Ireland branch of the Florida NFL team will be running two exciting events in late April. But what exactly is going to unfold? Well, you better keep reading to find out!

Draft Weekend will kick off in Dublin on Friday April 26th, with the official launch of the Jaguars “JagTag” flag football program into the Republic of Ireland. For those not familiar, JagTag is designed to introduce and teach young people the skills of flag football, in a friendly and informative environment and under the guidance of expert coaches.

“We are very excited to bring ‘JagTag’ and our grassroots programmes to the Republic of Ireland, activating around the 2024 NFL Draft weekend.” said Andy Scott, Jacksonville’s  UK & Ireland Grassroots Manager. “After great success with over 2,500 kids playing in Northern Ireland (since 2019), we have partnered with Sherpa Kids to deliver JagTag in Dublin & Cork schools”.

Over 100 school kids will descend on the Sports Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown for the day, where they’ll take part in positional drills, learn the fundamental techniques of the sport and even get to meet the Jaguars mascot!

Things will get serious (but still fun!) the following afternoon, when the pads and helmets go on for a fully kitted football clinic! For this, the Jaguars have teamed up with American Football Ireland to increase the overall skills and football knowledge of kitted players in the Island of Ireland. Former NFL Tight End Ben Koyak will be on hand to put the players through their paces, and will focus exclusively on the offensive side of the ball. While contact will be limited to ensure no one gets hurt, those taking part will still benefit from game simulation scenarios. The inclusion of a player alumnus by the Jaguars demonstrates that they are fully invested in this endeavor. Later that evening, the momentous occasion we alluded to earlier will unfold, with the live NFL Draft pick from somewhere in Dublin.

“During the weekend, we will be the first NFL team to make a Live NFL Draft selection from Ireland with our 4th round selection on Saturday 27th April. This historic pick will be delivered by a lucky fan as a competition winner.  Go Jags!”

While already firmly established in the UK, the Jags have quite a bit of catching up to do in order to capture a share of a relatively limited NFL fan base here in Ireland. Undoubtedly, they have a lot more in the works. It’s an exciting time to be an American Football enthusiast here in Ireland, and we’re looking forward to seeing what happens next!