College & High School teams – Invitation to The Gathering Dublin.

The Mayor of South Dublin has issued formal invitations to a number of college, high school and semi-pro teams from North America asking them to compete in The Gathering Dublin in 2013.

South Dublin will be hosting a minimum of two regular season games involving visiting North American teams in August/September 2013.  The games will be played in Tallaght Stadium and have been called ‘The Gathering Classics’. The Gathering Dublin is seeking to hear from more teams who are be interested in playing in this unique event. Teams will be matched with teams of a similar status/standard to ensure that all the games are competitive. Any interested North American teams should read the information below and contact IAFA The Gathering Event Manager, Russell Kerley at

The Gathering Classic – Your team could play in Ireland in 2013!

Your High School, College (NCAA Division 2 or 3 or JUCO) or Semi-Pro football team can avail of the unique opportunity to be part of a special event taking place in Ireland in 2013. In addition to having your team play a competitive fixture against similar opposition as part of a spectacular American football game which is the centrepiece of a major civic celebration, your team members, staff and supporters can enjoy the world famous Irish hospitality and avail of a wide range of cultural and educational tours and experiences.

The Gathering Dublin:

The Gathering Dublin ( was launched by Michael Ring TD, Irish Minister for Tourism & Sport and Cllr. Cathal King, Mayor of South Dublin on 3rd October 2012. This initiative is part of the wider The Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative announced by the Irish Government at the Global Irish Economic Forum.

South Dublin is home to the three main American sports organisations in Ireland – the Irish American Football Association (IAFA), Basketball Ireland and Baseball Ireland. Due to this unique association with North American sports, the Mayor of South Dublin wants to invite four teams to play in two American football games at Tallaght Stadium in August or September 2013. Similar events are also being arranged in basketball and baseball. These will be the showcase events of The Gathering Dublin.

The various partners in The Gathering Dublin, including South Dublin Tourism, will put together an exciting itinerary of educational tours and social events for the visiting teams and their supporters, including a civic reception hosted by the Mayor. Due to the community nature of the events, these packages will be better priced that those available commercially and can be tailored to your particular teams needs.

The Gathering Dublin is unique in that local government, the tourism industry, major sporting facilities and the National Governing Bodies in each sport are working in cooperation. This complete package cannot be found anywhere else.

An invitation from the Mayor to any teams interested in playing in The Gathering Classic games is attached below for download (#1).

A copy of an invitation letter from IAFA President Greg Loughran is attached below for download (#2) as is a copy of a leaflet re: The Gathering Dublin (#3).

The Games – The Gathering Classics:

The format of the football tournament for The Gathering Dublin is that two games will take place in Tallaght Stadium. Both will be competitive games matching up visiting teams who play a similar level of football at either High School or small college level. We envisage that these will be early season games – taking place in August or early September – possibly your teams first fixture of the season. Your team can be matched up against an opponent of your suggestion or against a similar standard team sourced by the event organisers.

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 I have no doubt that visiting teams and their supporters will enjoy a big Irish welcome and be made feel at home.

Travel Packages:

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. With their links to the third level institutions in the County, they have a panel of guest lecturers covering a broad range of subjects that can offer a bespoke experience. Arrangements are in place to provide airline transport from any major airport in North American at prices cheaper than those available to the general public. A sample itinerary and price is attached below (#4).

Gameday, Practice Facilities and other Supports:

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.

Each visiting team will also be provided with practice facilities which include a marked football field with a good surface and goal posts. All practice facilities will have good quality locker rooms and meeting rooms. The IAFA will set up the practice facilities to each visiting teams individual requirements.

A brochure on the football facilities at Tallaght Stadium and practice supports is attached in below (#5).

Further Information & Downloads:

If you are interested in visiting Ireland for these events or require any further information, please email:

IAFA The Gathering Event Manager: Russell Kerley.

Information for Download:

1. Invitation from the Mayor

2. Letter from IAFA President

3. The Gathering Ireland – Dublin

4. The Gathering Travel Packages

5. Information on Tallaght Stadium