Ireland's Minister for Sport Michael Ring and the Mayor of South Dublin Cathal King, launched The Gathering Dublin.
The IrishAmerican Football Association is pleased to announce that it is one of the partners in The Gathering Dublin and will be staging a number of events in South Dublin during 2013.
At the Global Irish Economic Forum held in 2011, the Irish Governmentannounced that 2013 would mark the year of The Gathering, the biggest tourism initiative ever created for Ireland. Minister Leo Varadkar stated that “The Gathering will be a year long programme of events festivals and fun”. In response, South Dublin Tourism conceived The Gathering Dublin, which is expected to be the most prominent initiative in the entire The Gathering 2013 calender of events.
South Dublin County is home to Basketball Ireland, Baseball Ireland and the Irish American Football Association, so the county decided to build on this unique association with American sports to put together a series of events aimed at giving visiting North American teams the opportunity to compete in sporting events within the County. Other sporting and cultural organizations have also joined the initiative to give a programme of events that spans 15 sporting and cultural areas.
The Gathering Dublin is also unique in that it brings together local government, national sporting facilities, the tourist industry, cultural organizations and the sporting National Governing Bodies into a single partnership that is not only able to host major events, but also able to fully cater for the travel, accommodation, cultural, educational and sightseeing needs of the visitors.
The Gathering Classic games (Aug/Sept): The format of the American footballtournament for The Gathering Dublin is that a minimum of two games will take place in Tallaght Stadium. These will be competitive games matching up visiting teams who play a similar level of football at either High School or small college level.
The IAFA wants these games to be special – similar to the ‘kick-off classic’ type games you see in college and professional football. The winning team in each game will be awarded a ‘The Gathering’ themed trophy. We want to recreate the unique atmosphere of a North American college or high school football game, but with an Irish twist. Irish sports fans are renowned the world over for their warmth and enthusiasm, so visiting teams and their supporters will enjoy a big Irish welcome and be made feel at home.
The games will be played in Tallaght Stadium, a newly constructed ‘bijou’ stadium with capacity for 8,000 spectators. The stadium is the only one in Ireland permanently equipped to host games up to NCAA Division 1 standard. It is a UEFA Category 4 stadium that is used to hosting major sporting events across a variety of sports. The IAFA and staff at Tallaght Stadium will work in tandem to ensure that everything is perfect for the football games.
The Joe O’Reilly Travel Group in partnership with South Dublin Tourism will put together the travel packages for each team and their supporters. Packages can be tailor made to the visitors’ requirements and budget in terms of duration and itinerary. They can include visits, including overnight stays, in any part of Ireland as required. The County can provide Irish cultural classes covering dance, history, language and drama which are not available to commercial operators.
Any U.S. College (NCAA Division 2 or 3 or JUCO) or High School interested in being part of this great event can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or download the information pack on the IAFA website – www.americanfootball.ie.