Team Ireland announces matchup with Belgian Barbarians

The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) has announced the return of the Irish National Team Program following a two-year hiatus. As part of that, the newly-named Irish Wolfhounds will take on the Belgian Barbarians in an International match on October 20th.

The last time the Irish national team took the field was in 2016 when they lost a rain-shortened game 20-0 to Holland’s Dutch Lions.

Team Ireland Head Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan spoke about the announcement:

“Yeah, there’s a lot of excitement around. It’s been building for a while now. We’ve been working on it since start of the year so it’s great to see everything’s signed sealed and delivered. To see a full International game in Ireland and against really good opponents, is an exciting time for football here in Ireland.”

National Team General Manager Alan Orr :

“Yes, we’re really looking forward to the challenge. The Barbarians are a good team. We’ve played some of their club members through the Atlantic Cup, so this is really a fresh start for the National program to start with Belgium in an international friendly. We’re already committed to a return fixture. So at the moment yes, we’re just getting everything in place and getting the program up and running and looking forward to playing a good quality game.”

There has been a great deal of excitement in Ireland surrounding the resurgence of the national team program. According or Orr, the Wolfhounds will be scheudling more quality games over the next few years:

 “This is a 3-4 year program at least, we’ve already have the Under-20s playing at high school team last April so this is a continuation of this. We’ve already lined up games for the under 20’s for next year and we’re just waiting on confirmation. Obviously I can’t say too much other than until everything’s signed and sealed. Our aim is to at least have three fixtures next year for the under 20’s and potentially 2 for the senior team.”

Belgian National Team Head Coach Spencer Wood is really looking forward to bringing his team to Ireland:

“There is tremendous excitement surrounding our trip to Ireland – anytime you can schedule a quality friendly game on the road is always exciting. We’re very much looking forward to the Irish hosting us and experiencing a bit of their culture, both on and off the field.”

Wood has taken over the coaching duties from Lee Rosky, who stepped down last year after four years in charge of the program in Belgium:

“We are stepping into a new era of Belgian football as we have several new faces on both the coaching staff and the roster this year. New offense, new defense, new culture. We were fortunate to come into a good situation here where the national team program had already experienced some success in recent years. I can’t guarantee what you’ll see from us in this game, but what I can say is that we will be fast and physical. American football in Europe is constantly progressing, and we are happy to be on the upward trajectory as well. It’s a tremendous experience for our players to see and compete against varying levels and styles of football.”

Both kick-off time and venue will be announced at a later date.

AFI
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