Croke Park, Sunday 27th April: A delegation from Penn State and the University of Central Florida (UCF) visited Dublin this weekend to put detailed operations plans in place with the Croke Park team for the Croke Park Classic on August 30th.
A crew from both universities, including UCF Head Coach, George O’Leary, and Penn State’s Director of Athletics, Dave Joyner, along with their backroom staff joined the team at Croke Park to run through logistics plans ahead of their 2014 American College Football season opener.
This included a pitch transformation at GAA HQ as American Football posts were erected and pitch markings laid down. The American Football pitch size for the college game is half the size of the Croke Park pitch at 110m x 45m compared to 144m x 86m. The visit was the first time the pitch plans had been laid out and game operations and production were also finalised. In addition, the groups visited the locations for citywide events including the joint Pep Rally and Tailgate venues at Dublin Castle and Temple Bar.
Speaking at the visit UCF’s George O’Leary said he is eagerly anticipating the Croke Park Classic clash, “It’s been great to put the last few operations plans together over the past few days. Now we can start to look ahead to the big game with excitement. We are really looking forward to putting on a show in Dublin.”
Since the team’s first visit to Ireland for the official announcement of the game last year, Penn State University have seen a change in Head Coach as Bill O’Brien, who departed for the NFL’s Houston Texans. He was replaced by James Franklin, whose first competitive game in charge at Penn State will be the Croke Park Classic.
Coach Franklin also can’t wait to arrive in Ireland for the season opener, “Our team is excited about coming to Ireland to play UCF and open the season. Irish fans of American Football and all of the Penn State fans travelling to Dublin will be in for an exciting game and a memorable experience. We’re looking forward to getting the season underway in front of a huge Penn State crowd at Croke Park.”
GAA Director General Páraic Duffy said, “It was great to welcome the colleges to Croke Park again this weekend. Next time it will be for the big game in August which promises to be a superb event for the city.”
Photographs released FOC by Sportsfile www.sportsfile.com