Top American football teams to play, Páirc Tailteann in Navan, August 31st
Two top high school American football teams from the United States will open their regular season at the famous Páirc Tailteann, home of Meath Gaelic Football and Hurling in Ireland, on Friday, August 31 as part of the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) 2012.
The clash between the Notre Dame Preparatory High School Saints from Scottsdale, Arizona and Father Judge High School Crusaders of Philadelphia will kick off at 7.30pm local time in Navan. Two more traveling teams, who will open the two-game festival of American football at the 20,000-capacity venue at 4pm, will be announced soon at www.GIFT2012.com.
“The great bond between our two nations is well documented,” said Meath GAA Cathaoirleach (President) Bernard Allen. “I trust our visitors will enjoy their historic visit to an equally historic county. Coiste Na Mí (County Meath) is determined to make their stay an unforgettable one.
“Páirc Tailteann has hosted many great games since it opened in 1935. Australian youth teams played in the Navan venue, so the United States teams will be joining an elite group of great sports personnel who will display all that is good in sport. We hope the memories they will take with them from the Royal County will endure well into the future.”
The ‘double-header’ at the historic GAA stadium is one of three American football showcases that day featuring a total of 12 teams from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin being staged at three different venues in and around Dublin. The games will be played on the eve of the Emerald Isle Classic being played at the AVIVA Stadium between Notre Dame and Navy.
Tickets for all GIFT 2012 events, which each offer six hours worth of top-quality American football action, will go on sale on March 1 at the three host venues and through Ticketmaster, priced 15 Euros for adults and 10 Euros for students, with free admission for children aged 12 and under.
The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) endorses the GIFT 2012 event and one of their member teams, the Trim Bulldogs, County Meath’s first and only American football club, will provide support for the games at Páirc Tailteann. With more than 40,000 gridiron fans expected to travel to Ireland in the last week of August, the town of Trim will add to the celebrations by holding the ‘Feile Americana’. The 5-day festival will showcase the very best of music, arts and cuisine from both sides of the Atlantic from August 29 to September 2.
Bulldogs head coach Garland Drake said: “I am delighted to hear GIFT 2012 has confirmed their commitment to Meath, the Royal County, to play two competitive games in Páirc Tailteann. This will heighten how popular American football is becoming in Ireland. It is truly an honor for County Meath to have been chosen as a destination for Global Ireland Football Tournament 2012, which is so aptly named.”
The town of Trim welcomes Notre Dame Prep, Father Judge and fans to a ‘Feile Americana’ five-day festival as Greater Dublin embraces Global Ireland Football Tournament
Trim’s pubs and hotels will have live music each night of the festival, ranging from traditional Irish music to jazz, country and bluegrass. An American-style drive-in cinema will provide entertainment for the whole family on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event will be centrally located in the town’s Porchie Fields and will be showing up to three movies a day free of charge. A pedestrian viewing area will accommodate those who prefer sit out in the open air to enjoy the screenings.
Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon will provide locals and visitors alike with the chance to experience the very best in traditional music from both sides of the Atlantic. The Music Stage along with a selection of food and beverage vendors will provide a relaxing atmosphere, where people can sit out and enjoy the music that our festival has to offer.
The beautiful green area at the front of Trim Castle’s Dublin gate will be transformed into a quintessential American style country fair, with the best of Irish and American artisan foods and crafts on sale. The market will give all comers the opportunity to indulge in everything from Californian Blueberry muffins to New England clam chowder, a New Yorker Hot Dog to the Deep South’s ‘Creole Cooking’ as well as the many unique foods and flavors that Ireland has to offer.
Other events over the weekend will include a Gala Dinner and Charity Auction and an exhibition game featuring County Meath’s very own Trim Bulldogs.
The GIFT visiting teams will immerse themselves in the local community during the event. Notre Dame Prep will hold public training sessions at the GAA fields in Trim and the Saints will also stay in the town’s Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort. One of the other teams playing in Navan as part of the GIFT event will stay at the New Grange Hotel there, a bedroom community west of Dublin, and local schools will be encouraged to form a cultural exchange with their American counterparts.
Patrick Steenberge, President of GIFT 2012 organizer Global Football said: “I have been in Ireland numerous times with many teams and only recently had an opportunity to visit County Meath. The people there are just what we Americans all think of when we think of the Irish: warm, friendly, proud and engaging.
“Trim is just a lovely drive from Dublin and boasts the largest Norman castle in Ireland, with the Boyne River flowing through it, and their burgeoning American football team will insure our games in nearby Navan will be well-attended. Páirc Tailteann Stadium is an ideal showcase for our games.”
Media may download action photos of Notre Dame Prep for media use only, here:
Notre Dame Prep won back-to-back Arizona Class 4A Division II championships in 2007 and 2008 and just missed out on the championship in 2010, losing a heartbreaking 49-48 game to Williams Field, then made the first round of the playoffs in 2011.
Philadelphia’s Father Judge High School’s team finished with a won 7 lost 4 record in 2011. The football program, which competes in the Philadelphia Catholic 4-A league, has won five championships (1964, 1975, 1981, 1983, 1984) and most recently reached the championship game in 2008.
About Páirc Tailteann: The Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Navan, County Meath, Ireland, is the home of the Meath Gaelic football and Hurling teams. The ground has a capacity of 20,000 and is the venue of the annual Meath GAA club championship finals of which the winners receive the Keegan Cup (for Football) and the Jubilee Cup (for Hurling). It is the principal GAA stadium in County Meath, which boasts 60 GAA clubs, and was opened in 1935.
About Global Football: Under the guidance of President Patrick Steenberge, a former Notre Dame Quarterback and high school All-American at Erie Cathedral Prep, Global Football has produced football games in 19 nations during the past 16 years. Working partners include USA Football, NFL, Super Bowl Host Committees, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Notre Dame, Penn State, Pop Warner, Tanzania Sports Council and dozens of NCAA Division III colleges as well as National Football Federations worldwide. www.globalfootball.com
About the Irish Association of American Football (IAFA): The National Governing Body for American Football in Ireland is recognised by the Irish Sports Council and the Federation of Irish Sports. It is affiliated to the European Federation of American Football (EFAF) and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). The Irish American Football League (IAFL) plays adult, full contact American football U.S. college football rules and has also established an 8v8 league to allow new teams to progress.
About Anthony Travel: The leader in university and sports travel management, playing a critical role in the success of the Emerald Isle Classic and Global Ireland Football Tournament. Providing over 10,000 guests with comprehensive travel solutions to Ireland, Anthony Travel is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.
For information about the Global Ireland Football Tournament 2012 please visit www.GIFT2012.com or email Patrick@GlobalFootball.com. All team and fan travel for GIFT is being expertly handled by Anthony Travel, which also manages all team and fan travel for the Notre Dame and Navy. Contact Sheldon Baxter, email@example.com for details, or visit www.anthonytravel.com/globalfootball/gift.