American Football comes to Ireland this weekend with the Aer Lingus College classic featuring Boston College and Georgia Tech.

But just as it is in the course of an educational life, high school will precede college and in this case it will be if the form of three back-to-back football games courtesy of the “American Football Showcase High School Teams.”

The Classic clash is set for the Aviva Stadium in Dublin Saturday and will be broadcast in the U.S. on ESPN2.

The high school games will be Friday in nearby Donnybrook Stadium with the first kick-off at 11 a.m. local time.

Friday’s three games are: Westminster School (Georgia) vs. Community School Naples (Florida); Blessed Trinity (Georgia) vs. St. Peters Prep (New Jersey) and Marist School (Georgia) vs. Belen Jesuit (Florida).

Voluntary donations from those attending the games will be in support of Special Olympics Ireland.

Before the football comes a parade and the visiting schools' players, coaches, bands and cheerleaders marched through the heart of Dublin today led by the Boston College and Georgia Tech bands and cheer teams.

Starting at Parnell Square, the festivities proceeded down O'Connell Street over the O'Connell Bridge, along D'Olier Street and to the front of Trinity College where a high school pep rally made for an unusual backdrop for homebound Dublin commuters.

"I'm really looking forward to the parade and seeing all the tourist attractions and having fun here with my teammates," said St. Peter's Prep running back Adonis McGee, as he arrived at Dublin airport on Wednesday morning from New Jersey.

"We all got some sleep and it was a smooth flight. We're excited and this is a great opportunity to be out the country and playing football.

“We have to combine two things, focusing on what we have to do for the game and have fun being in a different country at the same time," McGee said.

During their Irish sojourn the high schoolers have a packed schedule even beyond the demands of practice and playing.

The six schools visited Croke Park, Malahide Castle and the site of the Battle of the Boyne before heading for the practice field.

"Now we've got to redirect and handle the flight and travel, but we're here and we're ready to get going," said Marist School head coach Alan Chadwick.

"Everything's gone really smooth and we're really looking forward to exploring Irish culture. In some respects it is a distraction to do this in the middle of the football season, but now that it's here, everybody's excited about it and are raring to go."

Said a release: “Reigning Georgia Class AAA State Champions the Westminster School will be led this week by assistant coach Marty Wild, who will assume the head coaching responsibilities in place of Gerry Romberg, who remained stateside due to family reasons.

“The sheer size of the Wildcats players literally stopped traffic as they exited the tour bus to take a look at Donnybrook Stadium, where they will play on Friday.”

"The enthusiasm has been outstanding, they're really having a great time and they're really focused on taking in and understanding all the things we're seeing," said Coach Wild.

"I thought that after not sleeping for 24 hours they might be a little dull, but they've really adapted to the environment and I'm really happy with the way they've reacted to the ride across the Atlantic."

 

Players and cheerleaders from the visiting high schools took time out to tour Croke Park.