Craigavon Cowboys History
The Craigavon Cowboys are one of the original American football teams in Ireland dating way back to 1986, with a rich history and a proud tradition. Below is a brief history of the Cowboys through each decade. Do you have anything to add to this page? Let us know as we will always be updating this page.
Coached by Charles Ebron from USA, they achieved some fantastic success and started to become well known in the local area. The Cowboys would contest Shamrock Bowl II in 1987 played at North Belfast RFC. The Cowboys would once again take on the Dublin Celts, however this time losing out 43-25. The 'Boys would continue to compete in 1988 & 1989 but would not see another Shamrock Bowl appearance until 1990.
"I always say, to make it with the Cowboys you have to be FAT: Faithful, Available and Teachable."
The success continued in the early 90s for the Cowboys with a return to the Shamrock Bowl in 1990, played at Goodyear, Craigavon. Once again the Dublin Celts would provide the opposition with the Cowboys beating them to secure our second Shamrock Bowl win. The Cowboys would then return to the main stage in 1992, playing in Shamrock Bowl VII. The 'Boys would go on to beat the Antrim Bulldogs 14-6 at Cooke RFC, Belfast thus securing the national title twice in three years.
After a hiatus the club were re-formed in 2005 and success followed with the club winning the 2009 DV8 championship, securing promotion back to the top flight of Irish American Football. Coached by former player Greg Loughran, the team where known as hard hitting, always growing into a game as their figured out an oppositions game plan and were able to adjust theirs to attack the opponents weaknesses. Throughout the noughties, the Cowboys played their home games from Lismore Playing Fields, Craigavon.
The club consolidated their position with promising league campaigns before a break out 2011. In the 2011 season the Cowboys made it to within one game of the Shamrock Bowl, falling just short to the University of Limerick Vikings in the semi-finals.
The following seasons were less successful, with the club losing many keys players for various reasons and having to move between various home playing fields including Lismore Playing Fields; Lurgan Park; Chambers Park; Lurgan RFC and currently Peoples Park, Portadown.
The club also had 5 players play for the Ireland Under-20 team that was the first Irish side to win a game against a North American team by defeating the Greendell Falcons (Canada) in August 2013. The Cowboys set up their junior football programme in 2014 as part of a club restructure and were rewarded early, winning the very first IAFA Junior Championship in 2014 and then repeating the feat again in 2015. Some excellent players represented the juniors and it was the ambition of the club to eventually see them move up to represent the club at senior level. Currently, we have 11 players who have moved up through the junior programme and play for the senior team. In April 2017, six members of the Cowboys junior team represented Ireland when they took on the AFW USA Elite team in Dublin.
The Cowboys have also been competing at Flag Football reaching the semi finals of Emerald Bowl I before going on to win Emerald Bowl II in 2016, beating the Mullingar Minotaurs 36-0. Following national success, they traveled to Denmark to take part in the Champions Bowl (European club competition). In 2017, the Cowboys reached the semi finals of Emerald Bowl III and are planning to compete at Champions Bowl 2017 in Austria.
2016 Emerald Bowl II Champions - Craigavon defeated Mullingar Minotaurs
2015 IAFA Junior League Champions
2014 IAFA Junior League Champions
2009 IAFL DV8 Champions
2007 Van Scoy Cup Junior Winners
1992 Shamrock Bowl VII - Craigavon defeated Antrim Bulldogs
1990 Shamrock Bowl V - Craigavon defeated Dublin Celts
1987 Shamrock Bowl II - Dublin Celts defeated Craigavon
1986 Shamrock Bowl I - Craigavon defeated Dublin Celts
Cowboys Hall of Fame