Dublin University American Football Club

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Dublin University American Football Club
First season 2008
Head coach David Barker
1st year, 8–0–0 (1.000)
Stadium College Park, Dublin
Seating capacity N/A
Field surface Grass
Location Dublin, Ireland
League IAFL
Conference SBC South
All-time record 40–25–1 (.614)
Claimed nat'l titles 2
Colors Red and Black
Rivals University College Dublin
Website Dublin University American Football Club

The Dublin University American Football Club (competing as Trinity College; formerly known as the Trinity Thunderbolts) is the American football team of Trinity College, the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, Ireland. First established in 1993, the team has competed in the Irish American Football League (IAFL) since 2010. It previously spent two years in the IAFL Development League, culminating in a league-record seven shutout victories during the 2009 season when the team went 7-1.[1]

The club was the final holder of the IAFL College Bowl, having won it in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In the 2014 regular season they went undefeated with an 8-0 record in the Shamrock Bowl Conference (2014 IAFL season) only to lose in the Shamrock Bowl game to the Belfast Trojans.[2]


Dublin University Gridiron Society[edit]

Trinity College class of 2009
A Trinity College cornerback rises to intercept an errant pass against the Craigavon Cowboys

The club was first established in the early nineties as the Dublin University Gridiron Society. It went on to play flag football under the name Trinity Thunderbolts for one season but soon folded due to lack of numbers and interest.[3]

Trinity Thunderbolts[edit]

2008 Season[edit]

In 2007, the club was reinstated by new club captain Conor O'Shea, once again as the Trinity Thunderbolts. IAFL commissioner Darrin O'Toole was recruited as coach. In their first year of full contact football, the Thunderbolts formed part of the new IAFL Development League (also known as the DV-8 league). Their season began with successive losses against the IAFL's oldest team, the Craigavon Cowboys. Another loss followed against the Dublin Rebels, the eventual league winners. The team then scored what would be its only victory of the season against the Dublin Dragons, in a 51-20 blowout. The Thunderbolts then lost to the Cork Admirals and the Rebels again to leave them at 1-5.[3]

Dublin University American Football Club[edit]

2009 Season[edit]

Following the conclusion of the 2008 season, the team undertook moves to become an official Trinity College club, as required by college rules, renaming itself the Dublin University American Football Club. After the departure of Darrin O'Toole, injured captain Conor O'Shea became head coach. The club went on a recruiting drive to increase its squad size, looking to improve on its 1–5 record.[3][4]

The moves proved successful, as in the club's first match of the 2009 season, it defeated the Edenderry Soldiers on a scoreline of 56-0, which would prove to be both the highest margin of victory in the league that season, and the first of seven shutout victories for Trinity.[5] Trinity's only loss of the season came in their second game, against the UCD Sentinels. They followed this quickly with two victories against the Sentinels, followed by victories against the Craigavon Cowboys, the Dublin Dragons, and two against the Erris Rams, to leave the team with an unassailable record of seven victories and one loss.[6]

2010 Season[edit]

In 2010, Darrin O'Toole returned as head coach, and the club looked to continue its success in the DV-8 league by moving into the main IAFL league. Trinity was placed in the IAFL Central division, alongside collegiate rivals the DCU Saints, the West Dublin Rhinos, and the league's most successful team, the Dublin Rebels. Despite a strong showing in early season games, including inaugural victories over the DCU Saints and the Belfast Trojans, the club suffered from poor form during the middle of the season, culminating in a 36-6 loss to the Saints in what would transpire to be their last competitive game before folding the following season.

2011 Season[edit]

2011 began brightly for the club, as they captured the IAFL College Bowl for the first time in spectacular fashion. Facing the UL Vikings in Limerick, the game finished 12-6 after triple overtime (7 quarters) and 3 hours and 45 minutes of play; an IAFL record for match length. The victory was sealed in the third quarter of overtime with a touchdown from Rob McDowell. Linebacker Stephen Carton was named game MVP.[7] This form continued into the full IAFL league, as the club recorded three victories in its opening four games: against UCD, the Dublin Dragons, and the West Dublin Rhinos. However, the season would end poorly: the club was forced to withdrew from the league in early June due to a lack of players (the college's term having finished in May, many students became unavailable after this time). Despite forfeiting three games, running back Rob McDowell would go on to be named the 2011 IAFL league MVP.

2012 Season[edit]

Trinity hosted a pre season charity game in November against rivals UCD, with Trinity coming out on top 7-0 thanks to a Rob McDowell touchdown. But more importantly the game ensured the children in Temple Street hospital received presents that were donated by both sets of fans and players.[8] Competing in the newly formed IAFL South division, following the restructuring of the IAFL's divisional system, Trinity was set to embark on their 2012 campaign with early match-ups against the top three-seeded teams in the country.

In their season opener, Trinity endured a crushing 55-8 defeat at the hands of the second-ranked UL Vikings. This was immediately followed by a 52-18 loss to the reigning league champions, the Dublin Rebels. Having begun the season 0-2, Trinity sought to redeem their poor start with a win against the number three-seeded Carrickfergus Knights. Trinity sprang to an early 12 point lead and would hold on to beat the Knights 19-16.[9] Trinity went on to dominate the rest of their season, ending 6-2 and setting various offensive records. The club concluded its season with an exhibition game on June 2 against the New England Ironmen, a collection of graduating seniors from a number of NCAA Division III football programs located mainly in the New England region, including Endicott College, UMass Dartmouth, Juniata College, Curry College, and Worcester State University.[10]

2013 Season[edit]

Trinity competed in the South division of the then newly formed Shamrock Bowl Conference (SBC) in the 2013 season.

2014 Season[edit]

Winning all eight regular season games, Trinity is leading the south division of the Shamrock Bowl Conference. On 25 May 2014 they defeated the Belfast Trojans 18-0, bringing an end to their two-year unbeaten streak. Trinity had three players leading in the Shamrock Bowl Conference individual statistical categories in the 2014 season (QB Dan Finnamore, WR Daniel Murphy and K Conor McGinn).[11]


The captain of the club is the team's central figure. He, along with the committee, decides team policy and procedure according to the club's constitution and previous precedents. The committee appoints the team's Head Coach and resigns football related matters in the club to him. The captain is elected in a separate election to the rest of the committee which takes place in March or April of each year. The current captain is QB Daniel Finnamore.

Name Years
Republic of Ireland Conor O'Shea
2007 - 2009
United States Matt McGrath
2009 - 2010
Republic of IrelandUnited Kingdom Stephen J Fallon
2010 - 2011
Republic of Ireland David Barker
2011 - 2013
Republic of IrelandUnited States Stephen Carton
2013 - 2014
United StatesDenmark Alexander Gurnee
2014 - 2014
Republic of Ireland Dan Finnamore
2014 -


2008 season[edit]

IAFL Development League W L T
1 Dublin Rebels 5 1 0
2 Craigavon Cowboys 5 1 0
3 Cork Admirals 4 1 0
4 Dublin Dragons 2 4 0
5 Trinity Thunderbolts 1 5 0
6 Edenderry Soldiers 0 5 0
  • April 5: Trinity Thunderbolts 12-45 Craigavon Cowboys
  • April 19: Craigavon Cowboys 52-8 Trinity Thunderbolts
  • May 4: Trinity Thunderbolts 8-39 Dublin Rebels
  • May 11: Dublin Dragons 20-51 Trinity Thunderbolts
  • May 18: Cork Admirals 14-0 Trinity Thunderbolts
  • May 25: Dublin Rebels 22-0 Trinity Thunderbolts

2009 season[edit]

IAFL Development League W L T
1 Trinity College 7 1 0
2 UCD 6 2 0
3 Craigavon Cowboys 6 2 0
4 Dublin Dragons 3 5 0
5 Erris Rams 2 6 0
6 Midlands Soldiers 0 8 0
  • March 8: Trinity College 56-0 Midlands Soldiers
  • April 11: UCD 34-13 Trinity College
  • April 25: UCD 0-34 Trinity College
  • April 29: Trinity College 42-0 UCD Sentinels
  • May 10: Trinity College 33-0 Craigavon Cowboys
  • May 30: Erris Rams 0-30 Trinity College
  • June 6: Trinity College 25-0 Dublin Dragons
  • June 20: Trinity College 51-0 Erris Rams

2010 season[edit]

College Bowl[edit]

  • November 21: Trinity College 0-6 UL Vikings (game shortened due to weather conditions)
  • November 21: UCD 0-8 Trinity College

Regular Season[edit]

IAFL Central W L T
1 Dublin Rebels 8 0 0
2 West Dublin Rhinos 3 3 2
3 Trinity College 2 5 1
4 DCU Saints 2 5 1
  • March 14: DCU Saints 15-28 Trinity College
  • March 28: Dublin Rebels 39-6 Trinity College
  • April 18: Belfast Trojans 8-42 Trinity College
  • April 25: Trinity College 8-17 Craigavon Cowboys
  • May 16: Trinity College 0-55 Dublin Rebels
  • May 23: West Dublin Rhinos 24-20 Trinity College
  • June 6: Trinity College 20-20 West Dublin Rhinos
  • June 20: Trinity College 6-36 DCU Saints

2011 season[edit]

College Bowl[edit]

  • November 20: Trinity College 12-6 UL Vikings

Regular Season[edit]

IAFL Central W L T
1 Dublin Rebels 5 3 0
2 Trinity College 3 5 0
3 West Dublin Rhinos 2 6 0
  • March 6: Trinity College 20-16 UCD
  • March 27: Dublin Dragons 14-59 Trinity College
  • April 3: Trinity College 6-20 Dublin Rebels
  • April 17: West Dublin Rhinos 8-13 Trinity College
  • May 22: Trinity College 0-30 Craigavon Cowboys
  • May 29: Carrickfergus Knights 39-0 Trinity College
  • June 12: Dublin Rebels 30-0 Trinity College
  • June 19: Trinity College 0-30 West Dublin Rhinos

2012 season[edit]

College Bowl[edit]

  • December 3: UCD 0-7 Trinity College[8]
    • Touchdown: Rob McDowell; PAT: Peter Quinlan

Regular Season[edit]

IAFL South W L T
1 UL Vikings 8 0 0
2 Dublin Rebels 6 2 0
3 Trinity College 6 2 0
4 UCD 4 4 0
5 Cork Admirals 3 5 0
6 Tullamore Phoenix 1 7 0
  • February 26: Trinity College 8-55 UL Vikings
  • March 11: Dublin Rebels 52-18 Trinity College
  • March 18: Carrickfergus Knights 16-19 Trinity College
  • April 1: Trinity College 70-0 Dublin Dragons
  • April 6: UCD 8-22 Trinity College
  • April 22: Tullamore Phoenix 0-35 Trinity College
  • May 20: Trinity College 34-13 West Dublin Rhinos
  • May 27: Trinity College 42-19 Cork Admirals


  • June 17: Trinity College 6-28 Dublin Rebels[12]

Other games[edit]

2013 season[edit]

College Bowl[edit]

Regular Season[edit]

SBC South W L T
1 Cork Admirals 0 0 0
2 DCU Saints 0 0 0
3 Trinity College 0 0 0
4 UCD 4 4 0
5 UL Vikings 0 0 0
  • February 17: UCD @ Trinity College
  • March 3: Trinity College @ UL Vikings
  • March 24: Trinity College @ DCU Saints
  • April 14: Trinity College @ Cork Admirals
  • April 21: UL Vikings @ Trinity College
  • May 12: Cork Admirals @ Trinity College
  • May 19: Trinity College @ UCD
  • June 2: DCU Saints @ Trinity College

2014 season[edit]

Regular Season[edit]

SBC South W L T
1 Trinity College 8 0 0
2 UL Vikings 6 2 0
3 North Kildare Reapers 3 5 0
4 West Dublin Rhinos 2 5 0
5 Waterford Wolves 0 8 0


External links[edit]