Match of the Round

ARFLI Men’s Grand Final

Belfast Redbacks v Leeside Lions

24/08/2019  National Sports Campus, Dublin  1:30pm

Another thrilling season in the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) has almost come to an end, after a season full of amazing matches it has all lead to this enthralling final weekend of footy.

Fighting extremely hard to get to this point, the Belfast Redbacks and the Leeside Lions will battle it out in this year’s Grand Final in the capital of the country.

The reigning premiers and champions of the league, the Redbacks, are looking to repeat last year’s phenomenal efforts.

Having not lost a game for two years now, their consistency to always get over the line even in the tightest of games is amazing and they are well deserving at a chance to win it all again this season.

Using his strength in the air and on the ground, Redbacks ruckman Declan Adler has been a major key to this success, helping them win clearances at ease with his taps and will be a major problem for the opposition on the weekend.

With a strong Champions League tournament in Amsterdam behind them, where they finished as narrow runners up, Belfast became even hungrier for success and have been ruthless ever since.

Excitement is buzzing around the whole of the Redbacks club and President Conor Mallon describes such a big occasion, “We want to make history to become the only Irish team to win back to back premierships and go two seasons undefeated. This would be a great way to mark the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Redbacks club this year.”

Leeside will be looking to get back to their 2017 form where they were a strong side and the league’s premiers.

Their rollercoaster 2019 season included some great wins and shock losses, and the Lions will be looking to be at their very best, much like they showed in the preliminary final win last week over Galway.

Having many close games and encounters with the Redbacks throughout the season, where Belfast prevailed, Leeside have run into some form at the right time and when playing at their best can beat anyone.

Photo by Keith Elgin Photography

“We have had to rebuild the last few years, so for a number of the lads it’s an opportunity to win their first bit of significant silverware. We are a relatively young team and we will be hoping to take advantage of our youthful exuberance,” said Lion Enzo O’Callaghan.

A pivotal player in this Lions side is Shane Quigley, who has had an impressive season and wants to finish it off with a statement win in the Grand Final this weekend. Quigley’s ability to create scoreboard pressure is great for Leeside as he is always able to slot some important majors when the ball is in the forward line.

Quigley, along with this young side, seem to use their fitness and energy well through the entirety of the game and have found a sense of unity at the right time of the season. This will help the Lions put on a show for the crowd on the weekend and make for some interesting footy.

Many Irish representatives will be on display in this match up, a large local crowd is expected and with this type of talent on display, they will see a high scoring, fast paced and exciting affair for the 2019 ARFLI Men’s Premiership.


Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!


Special thanks to Fine Wine Partners for their support of the growth of the game throughout Europe.

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe