GRANBURY, Texas (Blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is the latest school from the United States to head overseas on an American football and cultural sightseeing adventure with Global Football and will visit Ireland from June 9 to 16.
The Blugolds will face the University of Limerick Vikings at the Garryowen Rugby Club in Limerick in the 'Celtic Classic V' on Sunday, June 10, kickoff 2pm. The visiting party of 60 players, coaches, family and friends will then embark on a sightseeing tour before heading home.
The visit comes on the back of two recent Global Football tours to Italy for Adrian College and a Team Stars & Stripes all-star squad and in advance of the spectacular Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) 2012 that will see 10 high school and two college teams play at three venues in Dublin and Navan on Friday, August 31.
"What a thrill this will be for all the players, coaches and parents from Wisconsin-Eau Claire to travel to Limerick to play one of the top teamsin Ireland," said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. "We have staged games in Ireland for many years, but have never had the chance to visit and play in Limerick, so I am also excitedto check out the town and see the level of football played there. Coach Todd Glaser brought a great group of guys and supporters to Spain three years ago, and they are all eager to play, then to tour the wonderful Irish island."
UW-Eau Claire finished the 2011 college season with a 5-5 record, though the close score in three of those losses was within one touchdown. Head coach Todd Glaser has been at the helm since 2006 and guided the Blugolds to an NCAA Division III playoff berth for only the second time in program history in 2007.
The Blugolds are led on the field by junior quarterback Austin Neu, who led the entire Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in passing yards per game as he averaged 247.9 playing in 10 games. He threw 17 touchdown passes, third best in the league, and completed 65.7 percent of his passes (199-for-303), a school record for a single season.
The University of Limerick hosts were formed in 1999 and won the Irish national championship Shamrock Bowl three consecutive years in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and the EFAF Atlantic Cup in 2010 when they were ranked among the top 20 teams in Europe.
Led by head coach Ciarán O'Sullivan, the Vikings are unbeaten in 2012 with a 7-0 record and close their regular season this Sunday, June 3 at home to the Tullamore Phoenix. They will enter the playoffs following the clash with UW-Eau Claire with high hopes of reaching a sixth Shamrock Bowl in team history on Saturday, July 14 at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin.
"We are looking forward to this game immensely," said UL Vikings Chairman Ian Cahill, who also wears number 22 for Limerick and plays on the defensive line. "We have had a great season so far and it will be a great challenge for us to test ourselves against an American college team."
The game is sanctioned by the Irish American Football Association, which governs the fastest growing sport in Ireland.
After the Celtic Classic V game, the two teams will socialize together and the American visitors will experience the Irish national pride as Ireland's soccer team opens its Euro 2012 campaign in Poland against Croatia in a game that will be shown live in bars and restaurants throughout the country.
The UW-Eau Claire party will stay at the George Boutique Hotel while in Limerick and will spend time sightseeing in Ireland, visiting Limerick, Killarney, the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle and Dublin.
For more information regarding Global Football tours and events, contact Patrick Steenberge: Tel: 817-219-7274 / Email: Patrick@GlobalFootball.com
-Written By Michael Preston: MP@MPrestonSports.com-