The Global Ireland Football Tournament 2012 has confirmed that GAA venue Parnell Park will host two American football games featuring top high school teams from the United States playing in Ireland this summer.

Hot on the heels of announcing Páirc Tailteann as a GIFT 2012 venue, organizer Global Football has secured the 11,500-capacity GAA stadium in Donnycarney on Dublin’s northside for games on Friday, August 31.

Hamilton High School from Chandler, Arizona, which reached the Division 1 State Championship Game for the fourth year in a row in 2011, will face Notre Dame High School from Sherman Oaks, California, at 7.30pm. Two more traveling teams, who will open the two-game festival of American football at Parnell Park at 4pm, will be announced soon at

“The Irish American Football Association are delighted with the professionalism of Global Football and Mr. Steenberge,” said IAFA President Greg Loughran, whose organization governs the sport in Ireland.

“The GIFT 2012 event will give the visiting players and coaches a taste of Ireland and it’s sporting heritage that is not normally possible to experience. The fans of American Football and even the casual spectators who attend these games will be very impressed with the intensity and excitement of the little piece of history that they have witnessed.”

Brian Mullins, the noted Gaelic Footballer who played with St Vincent’s and the Dublin Senior Team and is now the Director of Sport at University College Dublin, will serve as Honorary Chairman for the games at Parnell Park. All 12 participating GIFT teams will hold training sessions that will be open to the public and media at UCD on Thursday, August 30, the day before they kick off their new season in Ireland.

“Through my role at UCD and having played football and hurling at Parnell Park over the years, I am really excited and enthusiastic about this event,” said Mullins, who holds four All-Ireland medals. “I want to congratulate everyone associated with these games for their hard work in making this happen.

“I encourage all Irish sports fans to come along and sample a different code of football at a traditional Gaelic sports venue and enjoy what will be a great evening of entertainment. It is an honor to be asked to serve as a GIFT Honorary Chairman, and as Director of Sport at UCD, I am eager to welcome the American football teams to our campus for their training.”

Dublin GAA Chief Executive John Costello said: “The Dublin GAA Board are delighted to host these games in Parnell Park. We can guarantee that those who travel to Ireland to either play or attend this event will have a memorable experience.

“Dublin is a great sporting city and it is also a unique opportunity for our residents to experience American Football in Parnell Park.”

The ‘double-header’ in Dublin 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 Parnell Park, Páirc Tailteann in Navan, and at a third venue still to be announced. The games will be played on the eve of the Emerald Isle Classic at the AVIVA Stadium between Notre Dame and Navy.

“From the start of planning this classic American football event for Ireland I have worked hard to have these showcase games played in various historical stadiums across the Dublin area, so fans of different areas of the city could come and enjoy the competition,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge.

“Parnell Park, the longtime home of the Dublin GAA, is ideally situated on the northside of Dublin. It allows easy access for all the sports fans in that part of the city, as well as being a very short distance from the city center for the American fans there for the Navy vs. Notre Dame game the next day. Our teams will be able to play on hallowed ground where so many Irish greats of Gaelic Football and Hurling have competed.”

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.


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