January 29, 2023

The viral GAA star trying to make it in American football

While American football is more popular than ever on these shores, Ireland hasn’t had much…

While American football is more popular than ever on these shores, Ireland hasn’t had much of an impact on the sport over the years.

Although many coaches and players of the oval-ball game have Irish heritage, few who are born on these shores have cracked into college football or the NFL.

There may be one avenue, however, where Irish sportspeople can make their way into American football: the good old art of kicking.

Irish athletes like Ross Bolger are trying to crack the American football art of kicking and punting. Pic: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Kickers and punters are a specialist breed in American football due to the fact that hoofing the ball up field is the only job they have to perform, leaving all the tackling and running down to the rest of the team.

Given the emphasis that kicking has in most of Ireland’s sports – football, soccer, and rugby – there is an opportunity for young Irishmen to bring their talents across the Atlantic.

Step forward Laois native Ross Bolger, who is currently trying to crack America as a kicker/punter.

The DCU student is currently over stateside and is attempting to get a spot on a university programme as a kicker.

Bolger first moved over to American football back in October and has earned serious plaudits for his kicking skills on social media.

‘The support I’ve received on social media and in person recently has been mind blowing,’ the football hopeful wrote on Twitter.

Ross Bolger is a GAA star who is trying to transition into American football. Pic: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

‘I can’t thank everyone enough as I start this exciting new journey.’

The Killeshin native is working alongside kicking coach Brendan Cahill as well as former Connacht player Tadhg Leader.

Leader moved to the US to play rugby but has since transitioned over to American football, before setting up the Leader Kicking programme last year to help Irish athletes apply for scholarships.