Green Isle All-Stars vs Marlboro Shamrocks (Mass)

At Glenalbyn, Dublin – The Marlboro Shamrocks, from Boston, Massachusetts, became the first ever US visitors to play an Irish team when in 1986 they took on and defeated an Irish American Football Championship All-Stars side, the Green Isle All-Stars, 36-0. With Billy Lefreniere, a former New York Giants trialist, outstanding for the Shamrocks, scoring three touchdowns in the first half, including an 85 yard run, the Boston team constantly put the Irish team under pressure. Despite good work by Mark Harris, Chris Millar and Martin Murphy, the All-Stars could not prevent Gene Massa hauling in a 3 yard touchdown in the third quarter. Paul Sharon added the visitors fourth touchdown while four Point After Touchdowns from five attempts by Pat Caruso and a Safety in the final quarter completed the scoring for the Shamrocks.

Scorers

1st Quarter

MAR – Billy Lafreniere TD (Pat Caruso PAT Kick) 0-7

MAR – Billy Lafreniere TD (Pat Caruso PAT Kick) 0-14

2nd Quarter

MAR – Billy Lafreniere 89yd Run (Pat Caruso PAT Kick) 0-21

3rd Quarter

MAR – Gene Massa 3yd Pass from Tommy Power (Pat Caruso PAT Kick) 0-28

MAR – Paul Sharon TD (Pat Caruso PAT Kick) 0-34

4th Quarter

MAR – Defensive Safety 0-36

Background Report

The highlight of any season is the Final match or International matches following the season and for members of 6 Irish American Football teams the first American Football season in Ireland ever to feature home-grown teams finished in Stillorgan on November 29th 1986 with a 36-0 victory for the visiting Marlboro Shamrocks from Massachusetts, USA.

In what was the sternest test for the fledgling league the Green Isle All-Stars, made up of players from the Dublin Celts, Belfast Blitzers, Belfast Giants, Craigavon Cowboys, Bangor Buccaneers and Dublin Tornadoes, kept the scoreline to a modest 36-0 given the Shamrocks, who played in the Eastern Football League, a Semi-Professional League in New England, included players such as Paul Scopetski, who once nearly made it in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns, and who was celebrating his 25th year in the game; Quarterback Tommy Power who could throw for 70 yards, 10 short of New England Patriots QB Tony Eason; and Tackle Tony Wallace who stood 6’8″ tall.

The American team were made up of students, mechanics, bankers, construction workers, engineers and data processors, and the Evening Herald noted it had one African-American in the team, then rare enough in Ireland to be considered worth mentioning. Paul Scopetski joked that they were here to play Football, and not hurling, which he thought was more dangerous than Ice Hockey!”. The Shamrocks were also Champions of the Eastern Football League that year.

SOURCES

[1] Anon. (1986) “American Football comes to Dublin” Irish Press. Wednesday, November 12, 1986. Pg. 11. [Past Copies of the Irish Press are available to view online at: https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ ]

[2] Anon. (1986) “Today’s sport” Irish Press. Wednesday, Friday, November 28, 1986. pg. 22 [Past Copies of the Irish Press are available to view online at: https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ ]

[3] Anon. (1986) “Marlboro on the march” Irish Press. Wednesday, Friday, November 28, 1986. pg. 17 [Past Copies of the Irish Press are available to view online at: https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ ]

[4] Sean Moloney (1986) “Shamrocks from USA are playing to win” Evening Herald. Saturday, November 29, 1986. pg. 6.

NEWSPAPERS

[5] Anon. (1986) “Marlboro Burn Up Stars” Sunday Press, November 30. 1986. pg 43.

WEBSITES

[6] Britball Now (2016) History of the Game in Ireland [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/history-index/ireland/history-of-the-game-in.html [Accessed 02 October 2016]

[7] Britball Now (2008) UK Clubs Against Foreign Opposition [Internet] Available from: http://www.britballnow.co.uk/History/UKClubsForeignOppo.html [Accessed 16 November 2008]

[8] Semi-Pro Football (2017) Eastern Football League Champions [Internet] Available from: http://www.semiprofootball.org/minor/champs/eastfl.htm [Accessed 16 November 2017]

SOURCES

[9] Kevin Sharkey (2020) “The Dublin Celts” Word Document shared by John Gunning on Facebook Messenger with permission.

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