Dublin’s Friday Night Lights; High School American Football Rivals Meet In Ireland!

Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) under the lights 

Dublin, Ireland is the scene of the opening game of the 2014 season for two Pennsylvania high school rival football teams!

This game is presented by Global Football, an organization that provides amateur American football players, coaches, families and fans the opportunity to travel and compete internationally with similar people of differing cultures,.

Please check out their full press release below!

Press Release
Dublin Friday Night Lights will be a reality this Friday night as the Cedar Cliff Colts will do battle with their state rivals, the Penn Manor Comets 3,200 miles away from home in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT).

Although Penn State is playing UCF (read more about it this week on AFI) the following day in the Croke Park Classic,  also in Dublin, the GIFT partner event at the UCD Bowl on Friday, August 29 promises just as much excitement and is the perfect way to kick off a wild weekend of American football action.

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The last time they met, Penn Manor edged Cedar Cliff in a 69-point thriller by a score of 35-34, as only a missed extra point enabled the Comets to advance in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) playoffs and ended the Colts' quest for a championship.

The two teams might have had to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to come face to face in Dublin, but only 41 miles separates the Cedar Cliff base near Harrisburg, PA, and Lancaster, LA, home of Penn Manor.

The Global Ireland Football Tournament at a glance

Venue: UCD Bowl, University College Dublin
Date: Friday, August 29
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local time / 2 p.m. EST
Broadcast: sportslive.aertv.ie ($10 subscription)
Teams: Cedar Cliff Colts v. Penn Manor Comets
Honorary Chairma: Former Cedar Cliff, Penn State and NFL veteran tight end Kyle Brady

The Coaches

Cedar Cliff Head Coach Colin Gillen kicks off his tenure in charge of the Colts in Ireland. He began his coaching career as an assistant on the defensive line for the Huntingdon Bearcats as they won the Big Eight Football Conference and the District 6 AAA Championship. He spent the next seven years as an assistant offensive and defensive line coach at ELCO High School then in 2008 became assistant football coach at Cedar Cliff, where he coached offensive line for six years, highlighted by five straight District 3 AAAA playoff appearances and a Mid Penn Keystone Division Championship in 2013.

Penn Manor Head Coach Todd Mealy has accounted for nearly 30% of the football program's victories, or 23 more wins than Penn Manor posted from 1990-2006, during his seven seasons at the helm. Mealy became Penn Manor's all-time wins leader in 2012, accumulating a 50-31 overall record, including 49-22 since 2008. The Comets have had four nine-plus win seasons during that time. Penn Manor has made the District-3 AAAA playoffs six consecutive times, including a 5-6 overall playoff record and has finished with a winning record in Section-1 six of seven years.

Why Ireland?

"Ireland holds an allure for many of the high schools and colleges who have traveled with Global Football since we first started exporting the game of American football beyond the United States and of course, many Americans trace their heritage to Ireland," explained Global Football President Patrick Steenberge.

"We held a hugely successful GIFT event in 2012 and made many wonderful friends and contacts that ultimately served as a catalyst for Penn State and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) getting together to create the Croke Park Classic. It made sense for us to bring a high-profile high school game across the Atlantic as a partner event."

Kyle Brady

Forgive former Penn State tight end Kyle Brady if he cheers for Cedar Cliff while performing Honorary Chairman duties for the GIFT 2014 game. A veteran of 13 NFL seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots and New York Jets, Brady was a high school standout player for the Colts before making his mark with the Nittany Lions. Brady will perform the pre-game coin toss on Friday evening.

The Key Players

Cedar Cliff - Sophomore quarterback Grant Breneman steps into the spotlight and like his head coach Colin Gillen, will begin the new season steering the fortunes of the Colts for the first time. He will target experienced wide receivers John McGee and Noah Malone. Defensively, the Colts are led by linemen Dylan Farrow and Garrett Villar and linebackers Jordan Stiles and Cole Whalen.

Penn Manor - Quarterback Tenner Erisman threw for 1,383 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and will target receivers Keagan Gamber and Gerrin McKinnie, while Tyler Spanger poses a threat on the ground at running back. Defensive end Noah Braun and a trio of linebackers in Ashton Leschke, Seve Johnson and Carter Kinser promise to cause disruption on the other side of the ball.

Tickets for GIFT 2014

Available at www.TicketGroup.ie priced €10 for adults and €5 for students.

Direct link: https://www.ticketgroup.ie/events/tickets_for_GIFT_2014_-_Cedar_Cliff_Colts_Vs._Penn_Manor_Comets_in_UCD_Bowl_Dublin_4/52895147

 Live Webcast

For fans not traveling to Ireland, the clash between the Colts and Comets will be streamed live on Aertv Sportslive (sportslive.aertv.ie) for a subscription of $10. Aertv is Ireland's No.1 streaming service. Aertv is disrupting the TV landscape across Ireland by embracing mobile and video technology to distribute live content to a growing smart economy that consumes the majority of their TV content online.

Philippe Brodeur, director of Aertv said, "We are delighted to be a part of GIFT 2014, an exceptional and unique event in Ireland. Aertv gives real accessibility on every platform and device, which will be really important for the families and friends of players who can't make it over. It's the next best thing to being at the game!"

About Global Football

Since 1996 Global Football has provided amateur football players, coaches, families and fans the opportunity to travel and compete internationally with similar people of differing cultures. During that time they have produced games and tours in 21 countries on six continents, including the 2012 GIFT event staged in Ireland alongside the Notre Dame-Navy game. Through these games, clinics and tours the people involved experience and learn about unique lands, fascinating peoples, and the sports environment in different parts of the world. Through these efforts, Global Football has been the world's largest exporter and producer of American football outside of the USA. About Global Football


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.