Ireland… Shamrock Bowl XXII kicks off on Sunday, August 10 when the Dublin Rebels take on the University of Limerick Vikings at 2pm in the new 1,200 capacity CIT Stadium in Bishopstown, Cork. The annual championship game of the Irish American Football League (IAFL) not only brings together Ireland’s top two teams, but also offers an afternoon of family activities and a chance for many to see American Football live for the first time.

The Rebels return to the final after being upset in the semi-finals last year by the Cork Admirals. A strong running game and a stingy defence has served the Rebels well this year and standout players include linebacker Ross McCooey, offensive lineman Tobias Hansson and quarterback Andy Dennehy.

UL Vikings won their first Shamrock Bowl last season and are intent on retaining it, racking up seven wins in the regular season this year. Their only defeat came, ironically, against the Rebels and they will be hoping to overturn that result. Limerick pride themselves on their quick and aggressive defense and strong running game.

The junior (U19) national team of Australia will play two scrimmages in the United States this month, as they visit California and Arizona from August 16-31 . Many of the stars of the traveling Australian team could take part in the first IFAF Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio, next summer if they overcome New Zealand in the qualifying game in January.

The Aussies touch down in Los Angeles on August 16 for a two-day training camp (venue to be confirmed) before heading to Yuma, AZ for two more days of practice (Aug 20-21) at Arizona Western College.

The Australian junior team will then scrimmage against the AWC Matadors at 7pm on Friday, August 22 and participate the following day in the school’s Champions Day community program.

The team will practice again in Los Angeles and at the University of San Francisco soccer field on August 28. The following day at 4pm they will scrimmage Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep School before attending the San Francisco 49ers final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.

Bahamas, Canada, Japan, Mexico and UK… International representatives of five IFAF nations took part in the eighth annual NFL Youth Summit in Canton, Ohio. The event is made up of educational seminars that cover a variety of important football-related topics.

In addition to networking opportunities, the coaches listened to presentations that focused on a variety of topics, such as training methods, strategy, hydration issues, nutrition and positive coaching principles. Presenters included renowned football experts, leaders in the fields of sports medicine and sports psychology, and representatives from USA Football.

Victor Castillo (Mexico), Jim Messenger (UK), Scott Farmer (Canada), Isao Hashizume (Japan) and David Adderley (Bahamas) all attended the Summit and also met NFL Youth Football Fund Director Alexia Gallagher.

The Youth Football Summit is funded each year by the NFL Players Association and the NFL, which made a major commitment to investing in the game with the establishment of the $150 million NFL Youth Football Fund.

Sweden, France… After both their junior national teams finished in the top three places at the 2008 European Junior Championship in Sevilla, Spain in July, the senior national teams of Sweden and France met for a friendly game in Stockholm.

The visitors got off to the perfect start as Larroque returned the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, then France opened a 13-0 halftime lead as receiver Marc Soumah caught a 46-yard touchdown.

Ortu returned an interception 24 yards for a third French score and tagged on his second extra point of the game to open a 20-point advantage. Sweden reduced the arrears with a 40-yard field goal and mounted a stirring comeback as Carlsson and Eklund both pulled in touchdown catches from Thune to cut the France lead to three points.

Within the two-minute warning, Sandino Octobre burst through for France to seal a 27-17 victory.

>> Gamestats

Bahamas… Independence Park in Freeport, Grand Bahamas, is currently hosting a free High School Player Development Camp for all juniors in grades 9-12 who are under the age of 19 and wish to join the Bahamas Youth Football Program.

The camp is also free to existing players and runs from 5.30pm to 8.30pm until Friday, August 8 and will include instruction from visiting US coaches.

United States… The newly appointed head coach of the United States‘ first junior national team in football, Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius H.S., has selected his offensive and defensive coordinators.

Steve Specht, head football coach at Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School will serve as Team USA’s defensive coordinator while Gary Swenson, head football coach at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator. Specht and Swenson combine for a 303-88 (.775) coaching record, 25 state playoff berths and six state championships in their 36 seasons as head coaches. Team USA will compete among a field of eight countries from four continents in the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship. The tournament will take place June 27-July 5, 2009, in Canton, Ohio. All games will be played in historic Fawcett Stadium, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. America’s team will be composed of top student-athletes entering their college freshman year in the fall of 2009.

Poland… At the midway point in the Polish American Football League season, there is no clear front-runner in the Major League, but the Minor League shows clear indications of which teams should advance to the playoffs.

PLFA Major League: In the beginning of June, there were three teams without a win, but by the summer break that changed when Kozly (Goats) Poznan went on the road to battle against the Krakow Tigers and played to the first overtime game in league history. Having been tied at 14-14 the Goats scored an overtime touchdown to triumph 20-14. Four weeks later, Kozly Poznan drove all the way to Szczecin and lost 21-6 to one of the remaining winless teams, Husaria Szczecin.

According to League rules, the lowest placed team at the end of the campaign will drop to the Minor League and the second lowest will play a playoff game with the Minor League vice-champions for a Major League place. The drop is still possible for four of the eight teams, and the Tigers will have to win their remaining two games and count on bad luck for the Hussars and Goats to leave the red zone.

After a strong 42-6 win against the Tigers, the Wroclaw Devils went to battle the Warsaw Eagles on their home turf. The Eagles, shut out 17-0 a week before by The Crew Wroclaw needed to rebound. Their Defense scored two safeties and one interception for a touchdown, while the offense claimed four touchdowns in a 36-7 win. 

The unquestionable leader of the Spring round are the Pomorze Seahawks with a 5-0 record. After a classic 28-22 win over the Silesia Miners and another hard match-up with Husaria Szczecin that finished 42-21, two games remain for them to decide the final playoff seeds.

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