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  • Northside East

Pirates invade American Football scene

Sunday, 19th June, 2016 4:00pm
Pirates invade American Football scene

The North Dublin Pirates team is looking to recruit new players.

Pirates invade American Football scene

The North Dublin Pirates team is looking to recruit new players.

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A NEW American Football team based on the Northside is currently recruiting players of all skill levels to join their ranks.

Founded in August 2015 by head coach Ross Neville, North Dublin Pirates have quickly grown from nothing to a full team competing in the third tier of American Football in Ireland.

Playing their home games at Malahide Rugby Club, and training in Donaghmede Park, the team represents a number of Northside areas, with a squad of 25 players consisting of Swords, Skerries, Rush, Balbriggan, and Donaghmede natives.

However, the first few months of the club’s existence were not without difficulty. Neville and his original group of players and coaches had to deal with the high cost of equipment and recruiting the large amount of players needed to compete.

“Trying to raise funds was a huge challenge, because the country is rooted in its history with GAA or soccer so any kind of foreign sport is looked down upon,” Neville tells Northside People.

The Pirates were aided in recruiting players and gathering equipment thanks to Neville’s connection to teams such as the Donegal-Derry Vipers, and the close-knit nature of teams in the Irish American Football Association (IAFA).

With only five players within their team having played the sport before, it was up to Neville and team captain, Rush local Robbie Rock, to teach them the game’s rules.

Despite its reputation though, Neville insists that there is no need to be physically gifted or skilled to excel in the sport.

“Regardless of your level of fitness, height, weight, size, whatever, there’s always a position on the team for you,” Neville says.

“What we’ve tried to instil in the guys is that you’re protected with your technique and your equipment, and when you execute that correctly you won’t injure yourself.”

While the Pirates may have lost their first three games, they have relished in the little victories they’ve achieved since their inception, such as recruiting enough players to finish a game or scoring their first touchdown in a competitive match.

Captain Robbie Rock insists that it is the team spirit and unity between such a young team that has made them so special.

“This is the first team I’ve felt that’s given me a proper chance. A load of teams have cliques and if you’re not part of that clique, you’re just not going to be left,” Rock says.

“There’s none of that with us. Everybody is ‘fighting’ with everyone else.”

As American Football continues to grow in popularity in Ireland, both Neville and Rock insist that the sky’s the limit for one of Ireland’s fastest growing sports and invites anybody interested to join them.

“We’re not a team, we’re a family. When you come down you come straight into it, and you get to hit people for free without getting into trouble for it,” Rock adds.

Those looking for more information can contact head coach Ross Neville on 087-6332718.

REPORT: Daniel O’Connor 

North Dublin Pirates in action during one of their matches.

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