March 9, 2011

John Carroll, St. Norbert to open in Ireland

More news about: John Carroll | St. Norbert
St. Norbert and John Carroll will play Division III's first regular-season game in Europe since 1992.
Photos by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com; Beckie Reid, John Carroll

St. Norbert will face John Carroll in Dublin, Ireland, in its 2012 season opener as part of the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT). The game, scheduled for Aug. 31, 2012, will mark the first NCAA Division III game played in Europe since 1992.

The game marks the first time St. Norbert will compete intercollegiately outside of North America, and only the second time any team will have played outside of the continental United States. The St. Norbert hockey team played at Alaska-Fairbanks in 1997. The trip will be financed through private funding and no college operating funds will be used.

"St. Norbert College is extremely excited to partner with a fellow Catholic institution in John Carroll University in this event," St. Norbert president Thomas Kunkel said. "This is a great opportunity not only for our football program but for the college overall."

It will be the first regular season NCAA Division III football game to be played in Europe since Bowdoin defeated Tufts, 7-6, on Nov. 29, 1992, in Galway, Ireland. 

The St. Norbert-John Carroll game, with the venue still to be determined, is the only college game played as part of GIFT. At least three American high school games will also be played that weekend at various locations around Dublin. All teams participating in GIFT will have an opportunity to attend the Notre Dame-Navy game on Sept. 1, 2012 in Dublin.

"This will be a wonderful educational opportunity for our student-athletes, and I am appreciative of our administration for supporting this endeavor," St. Norbert coach Jim Purtill said. "This experience will be great for those who might not normally get a chance to travel abroad in not only an athletic setting but an educational one as well."

"This is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said John Carroll coach Regis Scafe. "This is not an exhibition game like our past trips overseas has been. This will be our 2012 season opener, and will be played in one of the most famous cities in the world. I am excited for our team, our university, our alumni and the entire John Carroll community."

"After a year of planning, GIFT 2012 is now becoming a reality, and is already much bigger than I had anticipated," Global Football president Patrick Steenberge said. "Through the help of American football leaders in Ireland, we have found a number of top quality stadiums which are eager to host our games. Since there currently are no high school or junior-level league teams there, it will be a chance for the American coaches and players who travel to Ireland to demonstrate their abilities to passionate Irish sports fans and media."

Unless the regional lines are redrawn, John Carroll-St. Norbert will be a non-regional game, not because of the location of the game but because of the location of the schools, in Ohio and Wisconsin.

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@ Salem, Va.
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