Croke Park Classic
The Croke Park Classic will see the University of Central Florida (UCF) host Penn State in their 2014 Season Opener in GAA HQ on the 30th August 2014. This is the first time UCF and Penn State have played outside the United States.
2013 was a very busy year for both teams with UCF completing the most successful season in their history and winning the American Athletics conference outright and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Penn State welcomed new Head Coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt following Bill O'Brien's departure to take up the post of Head Coach at NFL team Houston Texans.
The teams will compete for the Dan Rooney Trophy named after a key player in the GAA’s redevelopment plans for Croke Park in the early nineties. The trophy is made of bog yew and Pittsburgh steel. The yew comes from what remains of forests which grew 4,200 years ago in the Irish midlands. The steel is from Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Some facts about University of Central Florida (UCF)
Colours Black & Gold
Stadium Bright House Networks Stadium (45,323)
Location University of Central Florida, Orlando
Junior placekicker (similar to a free taker in GAA) Sean Galvin hails from Cork, Ireland.
Finished 2013 season 12-1 winning the American Athletics Conference and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
- UCF had a total of 15 players in the NFL in 2012, including several starters and key contributors.
- The Knights have had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft every season from 2006-13.
- Nine Knights have gone on to win a Super Bowl ring.
In his 11th year at UCF in 2014, George O’Leary is the longest tenured coach in the American Athletic Conference. O’Leary has been instrumental in taking the Knights to their most memorable season in history in 2013 with the American Athletics Conference title and culminating with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Some facts about Penn State
- Nickname Nittany Lions
Colours Blue and White
Stadium Beaver Stadium (106,572)
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
6 former Penn State players have been celebrated in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame: Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Mike Michalske, Lenny Moore, Mike Munchak and Dave Robinson
Finished 2013 season 7-5
Penn State had a total of 34 players in the NFL in 2013, including two players in Super Bowl.
35 Nittany Lions have gone on to win a Super Bowl ring sharing 52 rings among them.
James Franklin took over as head coach at Penn State in January 2014 and the Croke Park Classic will be his first competitive fixture at the helm. Originally from Pennsylvania, Franklin went to collage at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he played as quarterback for four years. Prior to moving to Penn State, he was head coach at Vanderbilt.
GAA - All Ireland
The Gaelic Athletic Association / Cumann Lúthchleas Gael is a 32 county sporting and cultural organisation that has a presence on all five continents. It is Ireland's largest sporting organisation and is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world today.
The Association has its headquarters at Croke Park in Dublin where it has been based on a full time basis since 1908. The stadium, which was redeveloped between 1993 and 2003, has a capacity of 82,300 and hosts some of the highest profile events in the Irish sporting calendar.
GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship 2014
All Ireland Hurling Final - Kilkenny vs. Tipperary
Sunday 7th September 2014 at Croke Park
GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship 2014
Semi Final 2 - Dublin vs. Donegal
Sunday 31st August 2014 at Croke Park
Book Now the Sports Package for the second Football Semi Final!
All Ireland Football Final - Semi Final 1 Winner (Kerry vs. Mayo) vs. Semi Final 2 Winner (Dublin vs. Donegal)
Sunday 21st September 2014 at Croke Park