Fitzpatrick Cup 2020 Team Previews – CIT Saints

The 2020 edition of the Fitzpatrick Cup is just around the corner, with the finest University teams in Europe set to descend on Horspath Athletics Ground next Saturday, February 8th. First up in our Team Previews are the CIT Saints, who will be travelling across from Cork with two men’s squads for the tournament. Below, we hear from CIT’s Coach Eoin O Suilleabhain, on how the lads are shaping up for their second appearance at the Fitz.


What has the last year looked like for CIT?

Well, after a successful debut at the tournament we’ve gone from strength to strength. We beat our close rivals UCC in last year’s Cork Colleges Cup, and we won the Irish Universities Cup also, so it’s been great really. The game is growing in popularity year on year here. We’ve got a great Club Committee in place, and the Sports Dept. in CIT have been immense. Also, CIT hosted the Euro Cup in 2018 with helped us out with promotion too, so it helped our recruitment no end. We’ve had opportunities to blood a lot of new players through playing in The Leeside League and players togging for the AFL Ireland Premiership team The Leeside Lions too, so all is going well.

What’s the aim of the team for this years competition?

It’s simple really, we want to win The Fitz. Both squads want to win, and I realise that’s impossible, but our boys are hungry for success and want to go all the way. Our second squad is just as competitive as our firsts, with some boys missing a spot on the firsts due to being unable to commit to training while playing GAA, Rugby, Soccer, etc. But, with the likes of Oisin Fitz and Eamonn Browne in around the mids, Conall Kane and Chris Keegan at ruck or a forward option, Olan Murphy off the half back, Jack Skehan and James O Shea on ball and Andrew O Neill and Connor Tobin up front, both CIT 1 and CIT 2 will be out to win. To topple the likes of current champions UCC and past champions Birmingham is an aim, facing a no-doubt well oiled Danish machine and a strong Welsh representation will be very tough, to face up to hosts Oxford and ever-presents Cambridge and go toe-to-toe with them is an exciting challenge. 

Any young stars to keep our eye on?

As always, it’s hard to pick out individuals, but I’m not one to shy away from it. We have some accurate kicks out of the backs in Jerry Cronin and James Hegarty, a few great on-ballers in around the guts with aussie Dave Perkinson and Mark O Donoghue playing some great footy, and up top we have some tall timber with great boots in Ian O Callaghan and Padraic O Sullivan. Couple those with the likes of Sean Tyres, Patrick Connolly, Ross Moynihan & Fiachra Harrington in around the mids and you have the makings of a good squad.

What’s the key strength of the team?

Competitiveness & accuracy. Our boys were pipped at the post in The Leeside League, and a whole host of new players were competing in the first competition then against well drilled outfits in UCC and Leeside Lions. These boys just never let up, it’s amazing. And the accuracy in kicking has improved greatly in recent weeks. Right options being taken, making sure of majors instead of behinds, it’s all going well. What we might lack in experience we more than make up for in effort.

Who’s the coach in charge for this tournament?

Myself, Eoin O Suilleabhain, will be at the helm again this year, ably assisted by Paul Murphy. I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved with the Leeside Lions and UCC over the past 10 years, including three Fitz Cups won as coach, and I’ve also played for my club and country at a high level. Murph is the founder of CIT AFL, he’s a current Leeside Lions and Irish Warriors player, a former Fitz winning captain, and knows the game like an old stalwart already. His game-management is fantastic and his extensive experience of this competition is invaluable to us.


AFL Europe Wine Club – Latest Offers

After a successful 2019 European Championships, the last major AFL Europe tournament has been run and won for 2019. However, that doesn’t mean everything stops, as AFL Europe and Fine Wine Partners, are still offering a great opportunity to purchase a number of famous Australian wine brands to showcase a range of Australian produce. One of those brands on offer, thanks to Fine Wine Partners, is Hardys wine.

To place your Hardys or Christmas wine order, or to learn more about the wines available through the AFL Europe Wine Club, please contact

Offer ends January 31st 2020

Offer of the Month

Hardys mixed bottle case offer:
Mix n’ Match – 25% off
Case of six:
RRP £120.00
AFL Europe price £90.00
HRB Cabernet Sauvignon
The HRB bin D645 Cabernet Sauvignon is a powerfully structured wine displaying varietal definition and an intense, dense fruit style. As a tri-regional blend, each component brings to the fore added layers of complexity. Margaret River, with its cassis and herbal notes, melds effortlessly with the chocolate-mint richness of Coonawarra. Finally, the power and structure of the Frankland River creates definition and drive to the palate meshed together with finely integrated French oak and silky tannin finish.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £19.99
AFL Europe price £14.99
HRB Shiraz
Produced using 95-year-old basket presses to retain softness and fruit intensity HRB Bin D654 Shiraz demonstrates the power of cross-regional blending. Each region brings its own unique aspect to the final wine ensuring that the sum of the parts far outweighs the individual parcels. McLaren Vale offers dark chocolate and black fruit richness while Clare Valley lifts the aromas with mint and structure resulting from fine, firm tannins. Finally, the addition of the Frankland River further complexes the nose with pepper and violets supported by a vanillin spice and soft, black fruit finish.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £19.99
AFL Europe price £14.99
HRB Pinot Noir
This is the second release of an HRB Pinot Noir; the fruit was sourced from premium vineyards in Yarra Valley which produces classical strawberry fruit aromas and soft tannins, while Tasmania delivers a dark fruit spectrum with a richer and spicier mid to back palate. The 2015 vintage sees a sumptuous medium-bodied wine showing the influence of whole bunch natural ferments and use of French oak.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £19.99
AFL Europe price £14.99
HRB Pinot Gris
For this vintage of HRB Pinot Gris, the fruit was sourced from premium vineyards in Tasmania and Adelaide Hills viticultural regions. The 2014 Pinot Gris is a complementary blend of two cool climate regions, Tasmania and Adelaide Hills, with each region known for its high fruit intensity and structural finesse. This wine draws upon the depth of quality of fruit resources available to Hardys winemakers.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £19.99
AFL Europe price £14.99
HRB Riesling
For this vintage of HRB Riesling, the fruit was sourced from premium vineyards in Clare Valley and Tasmanian viticultural regions. In 2016 the regional blending approach continues for Hardys, leaning towards a traditional style of Riesling. This wine blends the fine lemon line and mineral tightness of Clare valley fruit with the expressive fruit flavours of Tasmania. The resulting blend creates a balanced wine that expresses lifted citrus fruit tones over a lengthening mineral and acid structure that draws you in for another juicy sip.Individual Bottles:
RRP £19.99
AFL Europe price £14.99
HRB Chardonnay
Combining the very best cool-climate Chardonnay growing regions in Australia, Tumbarumba, Yarra Valley, Margaret River, Adelaide Hills and Pemberton. This 2015 Hardys HRB Chardonnay delivers the power, drive and finesse that is attained through careful blending. Displaying intense citrus and stone fruit aromas and balanced by complex barrel-fermented creaminess, the finish is both long and focused, delivering a powerful end to an exhilarating wine. Enjoy now or cellar for up to 10 yearsIndividual Bottles:
RRP £19.99
AFL Europe price £14.99

As a special Christmas offer, Fine Wine Partners have also offered up the following selection of Christmas themed wines at exclusive prices for AFL Europe Wine Club members.

Grant Burge Aged Tawny
A Tawny ‘Port’ from Australia, exhibiting classic aromas of Christmas cake, spiced nuts and sweet spices, leading to a warming, unctuous and sweet palate that’s refreshing and beguiling.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £14.99
AFL Europe price £10
Croser Vintage Sparkling 2013
Made with all the love, care and attention of Champagne! A stunner from South Australia, often confused with Champagne as it has the richness, finesse and complexity of a sparkling wine from Northern France yet is still distinctly Australian with bold fruit flavours and a fantastic creamy texture.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £25.99
ALF Europe price £16
Ch Reynella Grenache 
From the winery with the oldest Cellar Door in Australia, made from 100% Grenache in a big, bold yet sophisticated and beguiling way; powerful flavours balanced with aplomb, big but not heavy and very long and intense. Not available in retail in the UK, only sold to our friends and family.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £25.99
AFL Europe price £16
Grant Burge Abednego GSM
The ultimate expression of Grenache, Shiraz and Mouvèdre (also known as Mataro in Australia) Fine Wine Partners has to offer; complex, intense, savoury and spicy,  Abednego epitomises the harmony that blending these three grape varieties together can offer; the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.
Individual Bottles:
RRP £59.99
AFL Europe price £40

To place your Hardys or Christmas wine order, or to learn more about the wines available through the AFL Europe Wine Club, please contact

Offer ends January 31st 2020

AFL International Cup 2020 Announcement

Exciting news out of AFL House today, as the dates and location for the 2020 AFL International Cup have been confirmed!

The International Cup is held every three years for national teams from all across the world. The 2017 edition saw the Irish Banshees crowned Women’s World Champions at Etihad Stadium after defeating a talented Canadian squad, while the Croatian Knights defeated the German Eagles to claim top spot in the Men’s Division 2 of the competition.

Croatian Knights, Winners of the Men’s Division 2 at IC17

2020 AFL International Cup

Dates: 25th July – 8th August 2020

Location: Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

We look forward to having AFL Europe represented in the 2020 edition of the International Cup. The 18-a-side tournament, which began in 2002, provides a fantastic opportunity for national teams to get full-format experience while playing against some of the best sides in the world, in the home country of AFL.

The Irish Banshees, Winners of the Women’s Division at IC17

Champions League returns to Amsterdam in 2020!

AFL Europe are thrilled to announce that next year’s Champions League will once again be held in Amsterdam on the 4th of April, 2020.

This will be the sixth consecutive year Amsterdam has hosted the AFL Europe event since the inaugural competition in 2015.

Whilst the tournament was initially set to change hands to a new host in 2020, it soon became apparent that the growth of this event in recent years has proved difficult for most venues to accommodate.

Europe’s premier international club competition will bring together the best teams from around Europe in their quest of becoming club champions of the continent.

2019 Women’s Champions, the West Clare Waves

Hosted by AFL Europe in conjunction with AFL Netherlands, the continent’s feature tournament of its type will remain at the Sportpark De Eendracht complex.

Both Grand Final’s will be played at the complex’s marquee venue, the National Rugby Centre Stadium (NRCA Stadium), home of the Netherlands national rugby team.

AFL Europe Events Manager, Lily Beck said “we are excited to be returning to Amsterdam in 2020, and to once again welcome Europe’s champion club sides to The Netherlands for a fantastic day of football.”

“These events take considerable time and effort and I would like to thank AFL Netherlands for their continued support in growing the game of Australian Football within Europe. There are not many places in Europe that can adequately host an event of this stature and Amsterdam continues to exceed our teams’ expectations in terms of the overall tournament experience.”

“AFL Europe are confident that next year’s competition will once again showcase some of the best talent from some of the best clubs across the European continent. We are very excited to work alongside all staff involved to ensure the 2020 Champions League is another rousing success.”

2019 Men’s Champions, the Amsterdam Devils

For more information on the Champions League for 2020, keep up to date with and follow AFL Europe on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest updates.

Belfast launch AFL Ulster Winter League

Following on from the success of the recent ‘Leeside League’ series in Cork, Ireland, this weekend saw the launch of another winter league emerging from the AFL Ireland domestic competition.

This time round, winter footy was embraced in Ulster, where the North Down Hawks took on the Mid Ulster Suns during the traditional off-season of the AFL Ireland fixture.

The AFL Ulster Winter Series has been created by the Belfast Redbacks, a true powerhouse of Irish football and current premiers of AFL Ireland. The Redbacks have tapped into their expansive membership base to create two new feeder clubs within Ulster, and the Winter Series presents a fantastic opportunity to keep up the off-season fitness whilst developing new talent within the squads.

The league is set to be a 5-match series, and will be played as a 9-a-side format. The aim of these matches is to maximise match time for both new and old players, while capitalising on the traditional off-season of GAA to attract potential new recruits during their down time.

Round 1 was played on Sunday, December 1st, and saw the North Down Hawks host the Mid Ulster Suns in the crisp conditions. With Belfast Redbacks regulars taking charge of managing both sides as well as the whistle, the teams themselves boasted a mix of experienced campaigners and some shining new talent.

Gerard Walls of the Belfast Redbacks said that the highlights of the match “Had to be the impact the new players had on the match. Annie McCole and Fern Wilson had sized each other up all game in a very evenly matched contest, with both players looking very comfortable on the field… Finn Collins, a 17 year old local lad from North Down, making his footy debut and kicking 4 goals in the process!”

After four 15-minute quarters of top quality Irish footy, it was the Mid Ulster Suns who came away with the win in the inaugural match of the league.

It was Conor Mallon of Mid Ulster who sealed the win for the suns, coming up with “a touch of brilliance in the last quarter at a crucial time for Mid Ulster, selling Sean McGrath from North Down some candy before side stepping and splitting the posts from 30 out, putting the nail in the coffin for the Suns” said Walls.

Round 2 of the series is set to be hosted by the Belfast Redbacks on Saturday, December 7th. With some new players lined up for the next match, North Down will be looking to even up the score while the Suns will be eager to defend their lead.

Sunday 1st of December 2019 @ Spafield Rugby Pitch, Holywood, Co.Down

North Down Hawks (78) vs (93) Mid Ulster Suns

Round 1 teams:

North Down Hawks: Gerard Walls, Declan Alder, Daniel Eastwood, Conor McPeake, Ultan Clancy, Rodney, Ferne Wilson, Finn Collins, Sean McGrath

Mid Ulster Suns: Dean Skinner, Tom McKenna, Oliver Monaghan, Annie McCole, Sean Lynch, Daniel Padget Padgett, Conor Mallon, Michael McGarry, Conor Cronin


Euro Cup 2020 Announcement

Stirling selected to host Euro Cup 2020

AFL Europe can today confirm the date and location for one of the feature events on the 2020 European football calendar, with the 9-a-side Euro Cup to be held in conjunction with AFL Scotland in the city of Stirling, Scotland.

Following on from the 2019 Euro Cup’s success as a summer tournament, the 2020 Euro Cup will be held on the 6th of June meaning participants can enjoy warmer weather and longer daylight hours in the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.

President of AFL Scotland, David Baldie, said he was excited to introduce Australian Football to Stirling, which currently does not have it’s own club.

“We can’t wait to bring footy to the locals of Stirling and introduce them to both the sport itself and the AFL Europe community. This could be exactly what we need to get a new AFL Scotland club up and running in the area!”

“Alongside AFL Europe we’re aiming to put on a great event and ensure everyone has the best experience possible. In what is sure to be an exciting year, we look forward to hosting not only some great games of footy, but also giving everyone a flavour of what Scotland has to offer.”

AFL Europe Events Manager, Lily Beck, said she was thrilled to announce AFL Scotland as the host nation for the tournament.

“We’re excited to see how David and his team take on our premier event next year, especially given their strong history of hosting their successful community event The Haggis Cup each year. The Stirling County Rugby Club is a fantastic venue for this tournament and we know our teams will be thrilled with the overall player experience that Stirling offers as a host city.”

“I’d like to thank AFL Scotland for their commitment to the growth of the game in Europe and also to the development of the Euro Cup event itself. We are very excited to work alongside them to make it a great success and are looking forward to seeing our national teams attending this special event.”

Euro Cup 2020

9-a-side International Tournament

Stirling, Scotland

Saturday 6th June

The Leeside League – AFL in Cork

Ahead of their inaugural finals round, we spoke to Eoin O’Sullivan of the CIT Saints about the impact the newly founded ‘The Leeside League’ has had on the three men’s teams based in Cork, Ireland, and the development opportunities that come with having a local winter league. 


Which teams are involved in the Leeside League, and what was the idea behind the league forming?

The teams involved are the local men’s teams in Cork; The Leeside Lions, and both University teams in Cork, The UCC Bombers and The CIT Saints. The idea behind setting up this league was that we noted the inactivity of The Lions throughout the Winter, and the lack of competitive games for the Uni’s in the run-up to The Fitzpatrick Cup – so The Leeside League covered those 2 issues. We opted to go with 11-a-side games to get more boys on the field for experience, and also to reduce the running for the older boys!


Can you give us a bit of background on each of the teams?

The Lions are a well established outfit, with a record number of Irish Premierships to their name and are celebrating their 20th year in 2020. Beaten Grand Finalists last year, they are a serious side. 

The UCC Bombers are the most decorated University Team outside of Australia, and boast huge numbers every year. Current holders of the Fitzpatrick Cup, and now in their 7th year, UCC Bombers are always strong.

The CIT Saints are the new-kids-on-the-block so to speak, but now in their third year are a serious force to be reckoned with. Winners of the Irish Universities Cup and Cork Colleges Cup last year, CIT are still going from strength to strength.


What has been the highlight of the league so far, on field or off?

I suppose the highlight has been having 60+ guys kicking footys under floodlights in Winter. Of course, hard and entertaining footy is to be seen at each round, and the ”refreshments” at the bar after have their own part to play, but competitive AFL in Cork throughout October & November is great to see. There have been stand-out moments with some great goals kicked, and the commitment of boys to the contest is unbelievable at times, but for me the highlight is still seeing such numbers playing AFL in Cork.

Current standings heading into the final round of The Leeside League

Any standout players so far?

The safe answer would be to say that all players are tracking well, but it’s hard to look past a few gems among each team. The Lions have had good showings from regulars Mattie Cronin & Kristain O Sullivan, as well as James O Shea shooting the lights out in the Lions guernsey; UCC have had James Daly and Rory O Donnell playing out of their skin, and Cathal Curran tearing it up off half-back; and CIT have unearthed some new talent in Andrew O Neill and Eamonn Browne to go with captain Oisin Fitz around the mids. That said, with each new game we see a new name stand out.


Where do you see the future of the league heading? 

It’s hard to say really, we haven’t finished our first year yet. But i suppose long-term goals would be the inclusion of a women’s league, adding more teams if and when they get up and running, and seeing similar Winter Leagues elsewhere in Ireland set up so we can have a National Finals Round.

Fixtures for the final round of The Leeside League

Who are the favourites to be the inaugural winners?

Well CIT & Lions are tied at the top with 3 wins each – Lions out in front on points difference, so their final game against one another could be the decider. With that said, UCC will have a big say too in who are named the inaugural Leeside League Champions, they could well beat one or both teams in Round 3 and put some serious pressure on.

It’s a funny league in that the Lions are obviously experienced players, albeit a bit, ahem, older than the Uni players. But as the weeks progress, the new boys at Uni level are steadily improving, so every game is hard to call.


Any final words? 

Heaps of praise must go to the organisers from each club for getting this up and running so smoothly. They have been giving up their own time to book and prepare pitches, umpire games, keep score & time, gather scorers names, update social media, promote the league, etc. And of course the continued support from both UCC & CIT Sports departments is fantastic, the league couldn’t run without them.


Check out The Leeside League on Facebook to see who takes home the flag!

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Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Slava Belov

Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

Slava Belov grew up surrounded by many sports, but AFL was not one of them.

Always eager to watch ball sports like rugby and American football, Slava found his real passion in 2012 when visiting Australia.

Curious about the Australian game, Slava attended a NAB Cup game and from his first moments of seeing the sport live at Etihad Stadium, he was completely hooked.

Moving to study in London in 2013, Slava found out about the AFL London league, later joining the West London Wildcats and he was excited to finally play the sport that he loved to watch.

Since then, Slava has improved his skills in the game and selflessly wants to share his passion to help others join the AFL Europe community.

“I think my marking ability is quite good and I am not much an athlete so I see my role in the footy community to promote and inspire the game for other people.”

Moving back to his home land of Russia, Slava wanted to continue his new passion and share it with the locals.

In 2014 this dream became a reality when he founded the St Petersburg Cats, who are becoming an exciting club and continually growing thanks to Slava and his teammates.

“I’m so grateful to have made friends and loved ones who are now a part of the club life. My girlfriend Nastia keeps the statistics at the St.Petersburg AFL matches. It makes it much easier to keep the balance and I urge clubs around Europe to get as many people they can involved as it creates a real family environment.”

Along the way, Slava has also travelled to the US and played in the USAFL Finals, having a great time improving his own game for the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids in 2016.

Proud of his country and heritage, the pinnacle of Slava’s career has been being able to represent his country at an international tournament.

Representing the Russian Bears in some of AFL Europe’s major tournaments has been a real highlight and his efforts to get this team up and running have been phenomenal.

I would say that scoring for the national team is big thing for me. Playing on the highest possible level on two continents, Europe and America, makes me feel great. And to see that the sport that I started five years ago in my home town is growing and flourishing is an amazing feeling!”

Now known as a football nomad having played and promoted the game all across the world, Slava Belov really is what AFL Europe stands for and his work to grow the game has been exceptional.


Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

AFL Europe 2020 Internship Applications

AFL Europe are now accepting applications to join our team as part of our Internship Program for 2020.

The role revolves around delivering the AFL Europe communications plan. This includes both written and video content to be published on our website and social media platforms as highlighted in the attached Job Description below.

To apply for the position, please send your CV and cover letter to by Sunday, November 17th 2019 to be considered.

AFL Europe Intern (Digital Content) – Job Description