GIFT – Ireland

Global Football boasts a rich history of organizing successful multi-team events in Ireland in association with the NCAA D1 college football games that have been played in Dublin in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The coaches, administrators, players, families and friends who venture across the Atlantic to the Emerald Isle provide our greatest and most heartfelt testimonials.

“Our trip to play in Ireland offered our student athletes, coaching staff, school personnel, alumni and families a unique opportunity to share in a special event.  We are grateful to be able to participate and to provide our school community with a tremendous educational experience beyond the norm. Playing this game abroad provided our players with a life experience beyond the realm of sport, and a platform to experience community service, develop team chemistry and perform in a once in a lifetime venue.  It is a great tribute to our program and school community.” – Rich Hansen, St Peter’s Prep Director of Athletics and Head Football Coach.

The 2012 Global Ireland Football Tournament featured 12 high school and D3 college teams playing double-headers at three venues across Dublin and County Meath in a special Dublin Friday Night Lights event.  More than 13,000 spectators flocked to three venues to enjoy the spectacle of high school and college American football teams, bands, cheerleaders and dancers in action.

GIFT montage

Travelers enjoyed a Parade that brought Dublin City Centre to a standstill, a Pep Rally at Trinity College, educational tours of various Dublin and County Meath sites, practices at University College Dublin and venues throughout the region, the GAA semi-finals at Croke Park, interaction with local sports teams, and friendships made that will last a lifetime. They attended the sell-out Emerald Isle Classic between Navy and the University of Notre Dame at the Aviva Stadium.

In 2014, Global Football returned to Ireland with a second event under the GIFT banner, as Penn Manor and Cedar Cliff high schools from Pennsylvania traveled opened their football season beneath Dublin Friday Night Lights at the University College Dublin. Two former NFL stars – GIFT honorary chairman and former Patriots, Jaguars and Jets tight end Kyle Brady and special guest Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson – watched as Penn Manor won 27-20 in front of an appreciative crowd.

Read the comments of those who enjoyed a spectacular visit to Ireland with Global Football: GIFT testimonials

TCD Pep Rally 1a

John Carroll University v St Norbert College - Global Ireland Football Tournament 2012“These event require an amazing team effort on the part of hundreds of dedicated people, but it all starts – and ends – with the visionary commitment of each of the schools’ leaders,” said Global Football President and GIFT organizer Patrick Steenberge.

“The head coaches, athletic directors, principals, headmasters and administrators take on a huge challenge in order to provide their student-athletes and communities with this most special educational experience. These are the ones who make it possible, and are very special, dedicated educators. They each dare to dream and work on behalf of their youngsters and schools, and should be praised far and wide for their efforts and commitment.”

In 2016, the third such event, was played at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin, which hosted a triple-header of high school games, with all proceeds from the day’s events donated to Special Olympics Ireland.  The three games marked the opening of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech and all participants attended the game the following day.

Are you considering traveling with Global Football for a future GIFT event? Take a look at the itinerary from one of our previous travelers and see what awaits your players, coaches, families and friends: Jesuit Football Final Itinerary.

“Duck McDonald has been with Father Judge High School for 39 years; four as a student and 35 as a valued teacher and was part of our Ireland trip.  He believes that the trip and experience may be our school’s greatest moment!  Thank you for this opportunity.  Everyone in our party had a great time.”  Kudos to you and everyone with Global Football and Anthony Travel. – Tom Coyle, Father Judge High School, Head Coach

“I just wanted to congratulate you on a vision that many thought was nuts the closer we got to game days, but you pulled off an experience that all of these kids will remember. If Loyola Academy can ever do anything for you, please do not hesitate to let me know.” – Dennis Stonequist, Special Assistant to the President, Alumni Relations Director